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Archive for October, 2015

Fort Lauderdale Church Hosts Play

posted on October 31, 2015, under Church by

by Jeffrey Thompson

Nate Palmer, with the cast behind him, addressed the audience at the conclusion of the play. (Photo: Jeffrey Thompson)

Nate Palmer, with the cast behind him, addressed the audience at the conclusion of the play. (Photo: Jeffrey Thompson)

A near-capacity crowd gathered at Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Church on July 25 to witness a powerful play, “At the End of Time.” This play, based on Matthew 24:9-14, dramatizes the effect of faith, love, and commitment to Jesus. The story line features Matthew and Alice, two teenagers persecuted for their beliefs in addition to noncompliance of a National Sunday Law.

The cast, comprised of 19 actors and four understudies, came from Plantation Church. The play incorporated live acting and filmed scenes on a wooden revolving stage. Volunteers from Brazilian Temple Church in Oakland Park joined producers and actors in stage construction.

Production of the filmed scenes took two days with a professional crew that included three nonAdventist volunteers. Use of the Texaco gas station in the film was donated by the owner who is of Jewish faith. The estimated donated cost for film production was $9,500. Friends, family, and producers donated other expenses for the play. Collin Williams was the technical director and Nate Palmer was the executive producer.

“This play kept every person in the audience on the edge of their seat,” said Jeffrey Thompson, pastor, Ft. Lauderdale Church. “Congratulations to our young people for sacrifice, sense of mission, and belief in prophecy.”

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His Was a Life Well Lived

posted on October 31, 2015, under Member by

by Lynell LaMountain

Ron Halvorsen Sr., 77, passed away with the blessed hope of Jesus Christ very much alive in his heart. From 1986 until 2003, he served as Church Growth Director for Southern Union Conference. This photo of Diane, Ron, Ron Jr., and Carrol appeared in the cover story of the December 2006 issue of Southern Tidings. Visit the Tidings archives to learn what it was like growing up Halvorsen. Together, theirs was a wonderful life. (Photo: Ron Quick)

Ron Halvorsen Sr., 77, passed away with the blessed hope of Jesus Christ very much alive in his heart. From 1986 until 2003, he served as Church Growth Director for Southern Union Conference. This photo of Diane, Ron, Ron Jr., and Carrol appeared in the cover story of the December 2006 issue of Southern Tidings. Visit the Tidings archives to learn what it was like growing up Halvorsen. Together, theirs was a wonderful life. (Photo: Ron Quick)

Ron Halvorsen was born January 18, 1938, in Brooklyn, New York. He attended William E. Grady vocational high school which had a delinquency rate so high that a book, The Blackboard Jungle, was written about it and later made into a movie.

One day in 1954, Ron, who joked about having his own truancy officer, ditched school to see his neighborhood friend, Jim Londis, who attended Greater New York Academy. It was Week of Prayer, and Jim invited Ron to chapel. He pretended not to listen, but he felt the Holy Spirit tugging at his heart.

Ron skipped school every day that week to attend Week of Prayer. He responded to the altar call and gave his life to Christ. For a kid who spent his life on the run, he met the one thing he couldn’t outrun: the unconditional love and grace of Jesus.

He transferred to Greater New York Academy, but kept in touch with his friends in the gangs. He shared the Good News with them because he desired that they experience abundant life in Jesus. Some accepted Christ, others didn’t. One of his close friends said, “Ron, it costs too much to be a Christian,” to which Ron responded, “It costs too much NOT to be a Christian.” His friend stayed in the gangs and was later arrested for a violent crime and sent to prison.

Ron graduated from the academy in 1956 before enrolling at Atlantic Union College (AUC) to study theology and become a minister. Here, he fell in love with Carrol LaMountain. They married on September 1, 1957, and, for the next 58 years, worked as a team sharing the Good News that resulted in thousands of people giving their hearts to God and living with the hope of Christ’s soon return.

Graduating from AUC in 1961, Ron continued his religious studies at the Andrews University Theological Seminary before entering full-time ministry in 1962.

During the next 24 years, he pastored churches in Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas, and Maryland; was a full-time evangelist in Carolina Conference, New York City, and with Faith for Today; served as Ministerial Director for Mid-America Union Conference; and held field schools of evangelism for Andrews University, Southwestern Adventist University, and Union College.

In 1986, Ron accepted an invitation from Southern Union Conference to serve as Church Growth Director, a position he held until he retired in 2003. While here, he started the Lay Pastor Training program, held field schools of evangelism for Southern Adventist University, and organized Union-wide Evangelism Councils.

In retirement, Ron worked for It Is Written with Mark Finley, Shawn Boonstra, and John Bradshaw as Prayer Coordinator, in addition to holding evangelistic meetings resulting in more than 1,000 baptisms.

Ron served the Lord with great zeal. Ministry wasn’t his career—it was his calling. He spoke the truth and lived with passion. Young and old alike considered him their friend. Ron’s love for Jesus never wavered, even during life’s darkest moments. His faith was unshakable because his love for Christ was undying.

Ron’s love for his family was generous, faithful, and constant. He was their leader, shepherd, protector, mentor, hero, and friend. He was an outstanding husband to Carrol; father to Ron Jr. and Diane; grandfather to Ron III, William, Kelsey, and Stephanie; and great-grandfather to Noah and Katelynne.

Ron fought the good fight and finished the race. His was a life well lived in faithful service. The next sound he will hear is the voice of his Forever Friend calling him from the grave victorious over death. On that glorious day, Ron will be reunited with his family to celebrate the joy of eternity with them and the countless thousands who called him friend.

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The Learning Tree Academy Serves Community

posted on October 30, 2015, under Church by

by Robert Broome

Energetic graduates of The Learning Tree Academy in Apopka perform at their baccalaureate program. (Photo: Robert Broome)

Energetic graduates of The Learning Tree Academy in Apopka perform at their baccalaureate program. (Photo: Robert Broome)

The Learning Tree Academy, an outreach ministry of Apopka, Fla., Church, offers the community a complete preschool curriculum for children ages two months to five years. On May 30, the school held its annual baccalaureate program.

Most of the 30 graduates’ parents are not Adventist Church members. These parents have entrusted their children to the caring staff who show their dedication to students by offering an interactive program inspired by God’s love for each young person. The morning message with testimonials from parents encouraged the young people to never quit.

The staff believe children need the healthy development of emotional, spiritual, physical, and cognitive skills according to biblical principles. The philosophy of The Learning Tree Academy follows Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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Florida Living Retirement Community Celebrates Fifty Years of Service

posted on October 30, 2015, under Florida Living by

by Betty Kossick

Florida Conference President Mike Cauley speaks to those assembled at the 50th anniversary celebration of Florida Living Retirement Community in Apopka, Fla. Seated behind him, Apopka City Commissioner Diane Velazquez (center) and FLRC administrator Nancy Pleasants await their turn to address the attendees. (Photo: courtesy of Florida Living Retirement Community)

Florida Conference President Mike Cauley speaks to those assembled at the 50th anniversary celebration of Florida Living Retirement Community in Apopka, Fla. Seated behind him, Apopka City Commissioner Diane Velazquez (center) and FLRC administrator Nancy Pleasants await their turn to address the attendees. (Photo: courtesy of Florida Living Retirement Community)

On September 12, 1965, when Apopka was a small Florida town of 4,000 residents, Florida Living Retirement Community (FLRC) opened its doors to a community within a community. The two grew together and, 50 years later, with the City of Apopka pushing close to 50,000 residents, FLRC celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sunday, September 13, 2015.

The celebratory occasion was enhanced by the presence of Diane Velazquez, Apopka City Commissioner. With a detective background in law enforcement, Velazquez told the attendees how she used FLRC as a landmark to know she was nearing home when she first moved to Apopka from New York City. Her appreciation for Apopka as her new home meshed with the residents who find FLRC to be a home where friends become family.

Mike Cauley, president, and Duane Rollins, treasurer, represented Florida Conference which owns and operates FLRC. Other program participants were: Nancy Pleasants, FLRC administrator; Jim King, Florida Living Church pastor; Benjamin Reaves, Adventist Health System representative; and Russell Bates, retired pastor and FLRC resident. Musical selections included a trombone ensemble and a vocal rendition of “Bless This House” by Les Clark, accompanied by pianist Sharon Swafford.

Guests were invited to continue the celebration in the dining room at Guenther House with hors d’oeuvres and conversation while being entertained with “Songs from a Secret Garden” by Bonnie Hannah, pianist, and Ed Linquist, violinist.

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Lighthouse Mission Group Reaches Community

posted on October 29, 2015, under Church by

by Martin Butler

Members of Lighthouse Mission Group and other churches ministered to families living in an area hotel, providing free haircuts, backpacks with school supplies, food, activities, and friendship. (Photo: Delwin Finch)

Members of Lighthouse Mission Group and other churches ministered to families living in an area hotel, providing free haircuts, backpacks with school supplies, food, activities, and friendship. (Photo: Delwin Finch)

With help from several surrounding churches and businesses, Lighthouse Mission Group members of Altamonte Springs spent Sabbath morning, August 22, uplifting Christ to the 300 families who live in the Remington Inn and Suites community.

The mission group, which meets Sabbath afternoons in a storefront a few minutes away, is sponsored by Florida Living Church, Apopka. According to group leaders, the goal is to meet people where they are, and let them know there is a church that cares and loves them. That motivation takes members to the streets on Sabbath mornings.

Free haircuts were part of the services provided by Lighthouse Mission Group. (Photo: Martin Butler)

Free haircuts were part of the services provided by Lighthouse Mission Group. (Photo: Martin Butler)

At their most recent event, Lighthouse lay pastor and head elder Gabriel Cardona stopped amidst a flurry of outreach activity to say, “We’re really excited to be out here. As you can see, we’re just trying to serve the community and, more importantly, we’re just trying to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

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Quilting Ministry Is Her Passion

posted on October 29, 2015, under Church, Member by

by Shereen Scheuneman

Centenarian Elda Mae Reichard participates in Forest Lake Church’s Prayers and Squares ministry by hand-sewing each quilt’s perimeter binding.

Centenarian Elda Mae Reichard participates in Forest Lake Church’s Prayers and Squares ministry by hand-sewing each quilt’s perimeter binding. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Elda Mae Reichard, is a special 100-year-old member of Prayers & Squares Ministry at Forest Lake Church, Apopka. Quilting ministry is her hobby, her passion! At home, she carefully hand sews the perimeter bindings of each quilt top before bringing her finished products to exchange for new quilt tops in need of hand sewn bindings.

Elda Mae celebrated her birthday at the Prayers & Squares quarterly birthday dinner when she turned 100 years old in May. At that time, she indicated that her goal had been to make prayer quilts until she was 100 years old, but now she was going to have to set a new goal!

Each Prayers & Squares meeting begins with many shared praises and prayer requests during a spirit-filled, prayerful, and interactive worship. It is love and intercessory prayer that transforms each quilt into a comforter.

Suddenly, the room is alive with activity. Six quilters work with fabric pieces forming intricate patterns soon to be sewn into unique quilt tops. Seam pressing, machine sewing, hand stitching, and knotting are all being done by more than a dozen ladies. Every quilt must have 60 knotted ties, each representing a special prayer for the person who will ultimately receive it.

To date, the dedicated members of this ministry have prepared 3,556 quilts for those facing major life challenges in 49 states and 35 countries. Each quilt requires 30 hours of work which equals 106,680 devoted hours of prayerful labor since 2004 when the ministry was formed under the prayerful and capable guidance of Jo Ann Roth. Collectively, these prayer quilts have blessed many people, and those who lovingly prepared each quilt are equally blessed.

Elda Mae's granddaughter, Aiko Ramdin, says, "Grandma continues to get up most mornings to have devotional time in her office. This picture says more about her than anything I could say."

Elda Mae’s granddaughter, Aiko Ramdin, says, “Grandma continues to get up most mornings to have devotional time in her office. This picture says more about her than anything I could say.” (Photo: Aiko Ramdin)

Elda Mae Thompson was born May 7, 1915, near Bloomington, Nebraska, as the youngest of eight brothers and sisters. She was married to Paul Reichard who passed away two and one half years ago.

Elda Mae retired from her career as a medical technologist at Kettering Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. As early as 1963, she and Jo Ann Roth, founder of the Forest Lake chapter of Prayers & Squares, made prayer quilts from used clothing for the Sunshine House at Kettering.

At 80, when she and her husband no longer participated in mission trips, and she retired from serving in the Kindergarten division, Elda Mae got into quilting. “She loves sewing and feels it gives her life purpose,” says daughter Margaret Hess. After moving to Florida in 2010, she became a member of Prayers & Squares.

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