Vernon Advent Christian Church
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A Unique Church of Understanding People

December 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014 View Comments Comments (0)

December 2014                                                                                                           EASTERN REGIONAL ASSOCIATION

A Growing Network of Healthy Churches

We pray that you and your family are exceedingly, abundantly blessed and highly favored by our Father in Heaven.  Christmas provides an excellent opportunity for us to thank Him for his wonderful Son, and the fulfillment of the Promise that we see all through Scripture, as well as to thank him for one another.  We truly appreciate you and your life and ministry and we pray that God will continue to bless you and use you till the day He calls us home.  May we each be salt and light in this dark world, making a difference one disciple at a time by fulfilling His great mission for us.


May the Father of Lights who came in the form of a man and lived among us, make your CHRISTmas season a bright and joyous time!  


Paradigm Shifts - Introduction (1 of 12)


In the coming months we are planning to provide a series of follow up resources and discussions around some of the specific Paradigm Shrifts that we feel are important.  Rev. Steve Brown launched this series of study in his excellent address on the subject at the 2014 Convention.  The emphasis of his message was for us to, "Let us commit ourselves to embrace the project of reading Luke and the Apostles to validate the presence of a paradigm philosophy of church planting and expansion."  He encouraged us to look to scripture to find the answers to the changes that are necessary in our approach to missions, theological education, planting, leadership development, and even our church models and practice. 


I would like to have us study and discuss together 5 Key paradigm shifts that I believe are crucial for the church today.  Here is the line up and what we have planned:


1.  Church based Theological Education (November)

a.  Paradigm Papers by Jeff Reed

b.  Panel discussion between Steve Brown, Steve    Kemp, and Sam Warren

2.   Family of Families (February)

a.  Provide study guide

b.  WebEx multiple small groups for 6 week study

3.   Plurality of Elders (March/April)

a.  Provide book "Church Elders" by Rinne

b.  Discussion groups held around Region

4.   Spontaneous Expansion (Planting) (May/June)

a.  Provide Encyclical on "Spontaneous Expansion"

b.  Video provided
c.  Speaker lined up

5.   Church Gatherings (September/October)

a.  Provide Encyclical on "Churches of the 1st Century"

b.  Discussion Groups

 Along with providing these resources, creating videos, holding discussion groups, and bringing in a speaker, I hope to speak to the issues through this column each month in the Regional Newsletter.  I hope that we will be able to learn, grow, discuss, and become stronger leaders through all of this. 


A friend of mine says, "I'm not a one time learner!"  Meaning that it's okay to hear things twice, or that it may take more than one message to really get it.  I hope that through all of these different approaches we can all learn and apply something to our ministries that will prepare us for the important shifts that lie ahead.  

From The  Super Headeruper 

I would like address an important study in my column this month.  I learned about a study that was commissioned by Ligonier Ministries and carried out by LifeWay Research.  They conducted a survey of Americans from all walks of life, asking them questions about what they believe regarding Heaven, Hell, Jesus, and Scripture.  Here is an info graphic with some of the results that they found:  



According to this, only 48% believe that "the Bible is the Word of God" and 45% believe that there are "many ways to heaven".  I'm not overly alarmed by what Americans in general believe, because we know that relatively few Americans are biblically literate or have a relationship with Jesus.  What I do find alarming is the statistics on Evangelicals.  While they answered more closely to what we believe scripture teaches, I do find it disconcerting that half of all believers believe that we are "by nature good", or that 24% believe that the Bible isn't always accurate in what it teaches.  Can we trust that these views are held by people in someone else's church?  Certainly no one who has sat under our teaching ministry would hold these views, right?  This link will provide you with a questionnaire that I have created using the same questions that LifeWay research used.  I would encourage you to print this out and give it to your congregation and see what the results are.  This could provide for an excellent teaching series for you this winter!  

 Grace,  Greg

Report on 2014 Annual Convention

The 2014 Eastern Regional Convention was held on October 18th in a one day format at the State Street Church in Portsmouth, NH.  A one-day Convention was held to encourage leaders to attend the Triennial Convention held in June in Charlotte by ACGC.  We anticipated reduced numbers due to the change but had basically the same turnout as we have had for the past several years.  

State Street Church Worship Team and attendees!

Our business session was led by President Rice, and all the reports and business were conducted in a timely manner.  Reports were given by BICS, Vernon Homes, Berkshire, Director of Nurture Sam Warren, Director of Outreach Jeff Walsh, and Superintendent Twitchell, as well as the Regional Officers.  

ERA President, Rev. Dr. Glenn Rice

Our music was led by Ms. Jean Eisenstatt with several hymns on the keyboard and by the State Street Church worship team.  

Ms. Jean Eisenstaff leading in worship

The Keynote address was brought by Rev. Steve Brown of BICS.  His message was on Paradigm Shifts and a copy of it can be downloaded here.  A series of specific Paradigm Shifts will be looked at by our leaders in the coming months.


The Keynote address was brought by Rev. Steve Brown of BICS.  His message was on Paradigm Shifts and a copy of it can be downloaded here.  A series of specific Paradigm Shifts will be looked at by our leaders in the coming months.  Also, below

is the link for the video of Rev. Brown's presentation.

ERA Convention 2014 SteveBrown
ERA Convention 2014 SteveBrown

Prayer of blessing over Superintendent Greg Twitchell
and his wife Missy


Praise God for a good time of gathering, business, and preparation for future ministry!


Convention Reports are available for printing from our website.




Black logoThe Annual Eastern Regional Convention Date has been set!


Mark your calendars for October 23-24, 2015.  Held at Emmanual Advent Christian Church, Rochester, NH.  Featuring worship, workshops, fellowship, and convention business!


ERA Regional Residence

Shingle Project 2015



GOAL: 70 gifts @ $100 each

GOAL:  $7000 for materials

GOAL:  Volunteer Manpower                  Spring 2015

Attention Church Clerks

1.  When preparing your annual church reports, please don't forget to send a copy to the Eastern  Regional Office either by mail or email!  Thanks!


2.  Beginning January 1, 2015 we will officially be cancelling our Post Office Box.  Please send all mail to the physical address of 32 Four Rod Road, Rochester, NH  03867

In This Issue

Paradigm Shifts

From the Super

Report of the 2014 Annual Convention


2015 Shingle Project

Attention Church Clerks!

Musing -by Rev. Clayton Blackstone

Is Your Church Reaching Out to Orphans this Christmas?

Book Review by Dr. Sam Warren

Winter 2015 Antioch Course Offerings

2015 Financial Parnters Needed

A Lesson in Power-Looking

Clayton BlackstoneMusing - Rev. Clayton Blackstone


"If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."  - Woody Allen


After the fiasco that was our last wedding anniversary celebration, God and Hazel are now amused by similar things.


Sometimes these commemorations border on the predictable - dinner out, sometimes even on the actual wedding date. But on occasion I outdo myself and God and Hazel laugh.


I planned for our thirty-ninth year of marriage to begin at a Bed and Breakfast a few miles up the road from Acadia National Park. I paid a premium for a room from which we could hear, see and smell the ocean. The prospect of walking through the advertised English gardens hand in hand with my bride added a romantic touch to an evening that included a spare-no-expense dinner over leisured conversation. On Saturday we would explore a section of the Maine coast we had never visited.


"But Mousie, you are not alone / In proving that foresight may be vain" wrote 18th century poet, Robert Burns. "The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go oft astray / And leave us nothing but grief and pain / Instead of promised joy." [1]


On Friday it rained - not just a little shower but a downpour that scuttled walking in the English gardens. The fog rolled in so thick we could not make out the ocean on the other side of the highway. The B&B turned out to be a somewhat restored old farmhouse with a postage stamp bathroom and a mattress better suited for Motel 6. And our dinner entertainment  - a party of twelve whose voices, loosed by multiple beverages of choice, made dinner conversation impossible.


We went to bed hoping the fog would go out with the tide, but Saturday dawned a carbon copy of Friday. We drove the shoreline with our windows down to smell the ocean we couldn't see.

Maybe God was enjoying a good laugh, but I'd spent too much money to see the humor. We stopped for coffee at a shop promising great pastries and gifts in abundance. Just to the left of the men's room door, a collection of stunning photos of moose, deer, coastal scenes and spectacular New England fall colors caught Hazel's eye.


I feigned interest until three pictures taken in the fog drew my attention: a bull moose obscured by vapor and underbrush, two young calf moose staring into the camera, and waves crashing against the rock, the spray melting into the mist.


The hours past flashed before me as I mused about what I might have missed because I allowed frustration with failed plans to sour my soul.


The world looks different to a photographer than it does to me. I see an image that may freeze the moment in a way that screams "Boring!" while the eye of a photographer apprehends light, details, shadows, highlights, shapes and how they interact with each other.


But I don't just miss beauty in the fog; I miss it in the sunlight. I miss it as I try to keep pace with a world harried by the notion that the more we know the better we will be. I interact with others through blogs, emails, texts and tweets that promote haste instead of patient attentiveness and leisured conversation.


As a result, "I don't see things clearly. I'm squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! I'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees me, knowing him directly just as he knows me!" [2]


Like Robert Waldron, I love the idea of leisured walks "...quiet enough for me to be attentive to spring's first beauty... Few of the joggers and walkers take notice of what is around them, intent only on their physical regime. I say the hell with flat stomach and rock-hard calves. I'd rather be a sponge absorbing spring's loveliness, which whispers, 'look now.' Instead of power-walking, I power-look." [3]


I wish I loved the practice of power-looking as much as I love the idea. Maybe then I'd see more of what the Master Photographer sees in the fog.


[1] Robert Burns. "To a Mouse On Turning Up Her Nest with the Plough"

[2] a personalization of 1 Corinthians 13.12 The Message

[3] Robert Waldron. Walking with Kathleen Norris. (New York; Paulist Press, 2007), 13.

Is Your Church Reaching Out to Orphans this Christmas?

Merry Christmas!  What a joyous, wonderful season!  Yet every year, the Christmas season also reminds us of those less-fortunate around us.  People are at their finest when they are supporting one another incharity and compassion.

The Christmas season can also bring a great deal of stress.  In some families, stress can build up to dangerous levels.  Homes that have been on the verge of abuse may cross that line.  Many times, Christmas is the season when children come into foster care.  Imagine what should be a joyful occasion, suddenly turning into a time when you're homeless, without familiar belongings, powerless, confused, angry, and alone.  Although children are in foster care through no fault of their own, they often take the blame upon themselves, adding to their emotional burden.


Why do we give gifts at Christmas?  We emulate the first Christmas in two ways.  First, God recognized the hopeless and helpless condition of mankind, and provided the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.  In the same way, we give gifts to those who are in need; we bless because we are blessed.  Secondly, the Wise Men brought gifts to the Christ-child as an act of worship.  Likewise, we give gifts to those we love. 


Is your church reaching out to orphans this Christmas?  Children in the foster care system are often overlooked.  State budgets rarely have money available for gifts for children in foster care.  Reach out to your local Child Protective Agency and ask how you can help a child with Christmas gifts.  In this way, you can be demonstrating God's love, both for us and through us. 


On another note, how did you observe Orphan Sunday?  Christian Alliance for Orphans is the international organization that coordinates Orphan Sunday.  In their December blog post, they profiled the successes in Maine!  Read the blog here:


Merry Christmas to all!

Book Review by Dr. Sam Warren

Recently, I had the opportunity and privilege to visit the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City.  It was an incredible blessing.  Not only did I get a chance the hear their famous choir but I was there on the day that Pastor Jim Cymbala's new book, "The Storm" was released.  I have now read the book and found it to be very good.  In fact, the Lead Team SE is now reading as our book of choice.  Below you find a description of this new book. Enjoy


Storm: What Jesus Is Saying to His Church is a book for every Christian who is concerned about the challenges that face believers today. Using powerful stories of people who have been transformed by Christ, it will strike a note of encouragement and hope, helping Christians to remember that a life surrendered to Christ in the midst of a church transformed by his presence cannot be defeated. No amount of spiritual darkness or cultural pressure can drown out the life-giving power of the gospel.


Jim Cymbala believes that the church in America is in the middle of a powerful storm, the intensity of which is likely to increase in coming months and years. Many Christians are bewildered, disheartened, and concerned by what they see-a culture that's become increasingly hostile to biblical Christianity and a church whose vital signs are quickly waning. Like the storm surge that overtook lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy, powerful forces have come together to create a surge that's threatening the health of the church.


 Storm will talk about the tendency on the right and on the left to conflate the kingdom of God with a particular political party. Many conservative Christians have made the mistake of substituting America for the Israel of the Old Testament, failing to realize the danger of adopting Old Testament principles that were never affirmed in the New Testament. Their message has sometimes been harsh and legalistic, making it difficult for them to proclaim a gospel of grace. Even though there is a great deal of emphasis on the Bible in such churches, it can often be the wrong emphasis.


Jim Cymbala will explore the importance of preaching a gospel of grace rather than a gospel of mixed messages, so common in the church today. He will speak of our need to understand spiritual battles and for total dependence on the Holy Spirit, and he will discuss the importance of prayer. He will also explore the motivational atmosphere of the early church which flourished despite far worse conditions than those we face today. We don't need more church growth programs to turn the church around. What's needed is a transformation at the heart of the church so that the gospel is preached, the Holy Spirit is allowed to lead, and lives are transformed.



Winter 2015 Antioch Course Offerings

Antioch Banner


Leadership Development 

For Everyone In Your Church


We would like to encourage all of our churches to take a group of current or potential leaders through one of these classes.


Classes begin the 3rd week of January and run for about 16 weeks for 1.5 hours weekly.


Internet connection and computer with web-cam required.

UpComing Courses:
1.  Acts

2.  Pauline Epistles

3.  Leaders in the Early Church

4.  Preaching/Teaching & Worship in the Early Church

5.  Interpreting the Word 2


$30 cost of course (after $60 scholarship which is available to the first 100 people who register)

Registration Deadline - January 9

To Register - Click here


2015 Financial Partners Needed


New ERA VisionMonthly Ministry Partners

Monthly Ministry Partners are people who share our passion to reach a lost world with the message of a soon returning Savior.  As a result, they have committed to join with us by giving to the work of the ERA on a monthly basis.  You can join this group of highly motivated, dedicated workers who are committed to helping us underwrite our various regional ministries listed above by giving a set gift each month.


Why is it important?

Everything we do at the Eastern Regional Association is possible because of your financial support.  ERA isn't built on huge gifts; it's the collective power of many gifts that drives us.  Please know that any amount is appreciated and will make an eternal impact and will help us to plan for and sustain future ministry.  We are so appreciative of the many people who are dedicated to God's Word and to faithfully partnering with this ministry. 


Everything we do at the ERA is possible because of your partnership.  United with us to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Why invest in the ERA?

¨ Providing resources and services that equip, empower, and encourage our churches and those they serve to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

¨ Pastors and their families throughout the Region are spiritually and emotionally healthier because of the resources and services made available through the Regional Ministries.

¨ New church leaders and pastors are being cultivated around the Region through educational partnerships and ERA training events .

¨ The future of our Association of churches/ministries in the Eastern Region is dependent upon the decisions and investments that we make today.


Click here for a 2015 Eastern Regional Ministries Brochure

ERA Board of Directors
Rev. Dr. Glenn Rice, President
Rev. Paul Carter, Vice  President
Rev. Allen Latimore, Clerk
Mrs. Karen Emerson,   Treasurer
Rev. Doug Tourgee, Heritage Conference Representative
Rev. Nick Foss, President, Maine State Conference
Rev. Dr. David Alves, President, Maranatha Conference
Rev. George Karl, President, New Life Conference
Rev. George Middleton, President, New York Conference
Rev. Ken Perkins, President, Nova Scotia Conference
Mr. Charlie Merrill, ERA Representative to ACGC

The Eastern Regional Association Newsletter is published as a ministry of the Eastern Regional Association of the Advent Christian General Conference.


Rev. Gregory Twitchell, Superintendent


Miss Carolyn Schaeffner, Administrative Secretary



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