October 20, 2020

For the last couple of months, when churches were allowed to hold outdoor religious services, some of our churches decided to open for these services following SCC requirements as well as protocols from the state and local counties, and they are doing well. Many church members have felt the need to worship in person while others have chosen to wait for attending later. (For the latest protocols and more information on guidelines, click here.)

Within the last weeks, Esther and I have decided to join these members in worship, while following the protocols. I preached at the El Sereno Spanish and Van Nuys churches and encouraged the congregations to keep our faith amid the challenges in life and trust the Lord and be ready for our encounter with Him at His coming. We were glad to see their eagerness to keep the faith. Thanks, pastors Jesus Torres and Ron Park, for leading these wonderful people and for your gracious hospitality.

On the first two Sundays of October, I attended the annual church treasurers’ training, presented by our SCC Treasury, Auditing, and Human Resources teams. More than 100 people participated in this vital orientation to help in our local churches' fiscal operation and our conference. Thanks, Kathleen Diaz, for organizing this event and a big thank you to all the presenters. Great information was presented and is available for these local church officers to revisit the presentations. Click here to access the presentations.

During October 6-14, I had to wake up very early in the morning to attend the General Conference Annual Council, which began at 3:30 a.m. and ended at 8:30 a.m. (PST). For the very first time, these meetings were held virtually, and the 300+ committee members received reports, submitted initiatives, and voted proposals. Very interesting seeing our church working administratively in a way that we never imagined. But, God’s church keeps moving forward, despite the obstacles and inconveniences. To see reports and presentations, click here.

The month of October has been known as Pastor’s Appreciation Month. This day has been set aside for our Christian churches to recognize the sacred work of the pastors. Ministry is exciting, encouraging, and rewarding by many satisfactions, and a few times with concerns and frustrations. Simultaneously, we are still amazed why God called feeble human beings as His spokespersons to tell His plans for salvation. One day He will explain why. In the meantime, I invite our church members to take a minute to call, text, or email your pastor expressing appreciation for his ministry.

After seven months, on Friday, October 16, 2020, the family and close friends of Theodore R. (Ted) Benson had the opportunity of honoring Ted’s life and memory, who passed on March 8, 2020, after fighting cancer for the last years.  Click here to watch the funeral service.

Ted’s life was full of wonderful experiences. His interests and skills fitted very well to hold different positions in the Seventh-day Adventist church serving at the local church, leading Pathfinders, risk management, treasury, audiovisual, community services, etc. At the Union, as a systems analyst, trust auditor, undertreasurer and, lastly, as treasurer. This last post took him to serve among other denominational organizations: La Sierra University, Pacific Union College, Holbrook Indian School, Adventist Health, North American Division, and General Conference. 

In his role as treasurer at the Pacific Union, he was God’s instrumental agent helping the Southern California Conference to endure the financial challenges we have faced for the last 10 years. And for that, we are forever grateful for his counsel and his intervention.

At this communique, we praise God for such a life of service and commitment to serve others and advance the Kingdom of Heaven. Our most deep condolences to his wife Beverly, their son, Ted Jr., and the rest of the family, and let’s pray that the Lord keeps giving peace and hope as we all wait for His coming.

In await,

Velino A. Salazar