July 3, 2018

July 3, 2018
We just concluded our annual Pacific Union Conference Administrative Retreat in Indian Wells, CA. The four SCC officers joined the leaders of the seven conferences and two higher education institutions. We set aside this time from our routine work to be blessed by the ministries of our colleagues Leslie N. Pollard from Oakwood University and David & Barbara Sedlacek from Andrews University. The music ministry of Robin Shea and Logan Dickinson from Newbury Park was a special blessing as well.

In the quietness of Sabbath afternoon, I reflected on the invitation of Jesus to His disciples to “come and rest awhile” after their intense ministry in Galilee. Mark 6:30-32 describes that Jesus wanted to be with them in a private, solitary place with no distractions. Ellen G. White comments in the Desire of Ages chapter 38 that the disciples opened their hearts to Jesus and Jesus reaffirmed their faith in Him, preparing them for a future expansive ministry in the midst of the challenges they would face.

Oh, how we and our families needed this experience! We were exceptionally blessed! I invite each one of you to have this “rest awhile” experience from time to time. I’m sure you will be blessed as well.

Within the past two weeks, we had the opportunity to say THANK YOU in a meaningful way to two coworkers in the SCC office who are leaving our SCC family. Wonderful banquets, moving speeches, and the sharing of memories were the highlights of these two luncheons. Bethania Diaz, who has been our undertreasurer since 2013, has decided to return to the Sacramento area to be closer to her family who needs her at this time. Eunice Winston, the director of asset/risk management, has decided to retire after 34 wonderful years of ministry in SCC. Stay tuned for an article in an upcoming issue of the Recorder about the life and ministry of Sister Winston.

On Tuesday afternoon, June 19, I flew to Oakland to attend the retirement dinner for Elder James Pedersen, Northern California Conference President. After 41 years of ministry, he retires at the end of July 2018. For 20 years, four of our churches (Temple City, Glendale City, Oxnard, and Eagle Rock) were blessed by the faithful and committed ministry Pastor Pedersen and his wife Debi provided to God’s people in our conference. I went to personally tell them how much we appreciated his ministry in SCC.

Last but not least, our SCC treasurer, Orville Ortiz, has reported to our administrative team that our net YTD tithe has increased 9.7 percent as of May 31, compared to the 2017 YTD. This increase has not been seen in many years. We praise God for such a wonderful blessing, and we thank you for sharing your faithfulness to God in Southern California Conference.

Your fellow traveler,

Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference