The Grand Appearing

The Grand Appearing



Christ was looking into our days when he told His disciples: “People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” We can be among those who “faint from terror”, or we can “stand up and lift up our heads”. This Sabbath morning I invite you to learn more about the Grand Appearing of our King, Jesus Christ. 


Both services last week were well attended. I did see some of our church members who came for the first time after we closed in-person services in March. Practically all Sabbath school classes resumed their studies. I walked through almost every SS class last Sabbath morning and was very encouraged with the level of participation. I believe it was the first time since March that the Cradle Roll and the Kindergarten classes were opened. The men’s class was very active with about ten participants. The women’s class is also meeting in the OAKS library and they hope for more ladies to join them in the weeks to come.  I deeply appreciated the teachers cautious approach to in-person participation. We want everyone to be safe and healthy. Thank you, Connie Reynolds, for the guidance you provide to our Sabbath school program.

Virtual VBS. Online VBS starts this coming Monday at 7pm! Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notifications when new videos or livestreams are posted


Memorial Service for Howard Kennedy, Sr is planned for September 19, Sabbath afternoon. Visitation starts @ 3 P.M. and the service is @ 4 P.M. 

Here is a link to the Heritage Funeral Home tribute. Howard M. (Sr.) Kennedy

Pathfinder Club will be camping on our church campus this week. The weather looks just perfect for their event, which is rather unusual 😉 You’ll see their tents when you come to church on Sabbath morning. Thank you, David Reynolds, for your leadership.

Youth and their families are planning on a canoe trip. We’ll be praying for their safety. It is wonderful to see that the church youth is back to spending time together.

Women’s Ministry believes in sharing love. Here is a brief update from Sharon Harrell: “Dear Church Family. What a loving and giving church we have! I am always amazed at your willingness to give to others in their time of need. Thank you so much to all of you who helped out with the Gibson family and their little baby Zach. He is home with his family. You all have made a big difference in the lives of this family. They really appreciated what you did for them!” unnamed-3

Sharon also forwarded to me the following note from Sarita Staup, baby Zach’s grandmother: “Dear church family. I am amazed and deeply touched by the love and support you have given to me and my family.  The birthday bouquet is gorgeous and it really lifted my spirit when I needed it the most. I’m so glad to be part of our family of God. God bless each of you.” Sarita Staup

If you want to learn more about the Women’s Ministry follow this link. Thank you, Sharon, for updating your ministry’s webpage. It looks cool and professional! 


Barbara Kraner is feeling weak. She is missing her church and she’s sincerely grateful for your prayers.

Amy Goss is recovering after surgery on her knee. Prayers for Amy please.

Sharon Bremner’s job position was abruptly eliminated by her company. The family is seeking your prayer support.


Weekly church bulletin: link

Online Giving: tithe and offerings link

I don’t have any church photos this week, so I’ll share with you a couple of pictures from my phone 🙂 As I mentioned in my sermon last Sabbath our daughter Dasha and her one-year-old daughter Mila were forced to escape the Oregon fires. They flew to Flagstaff, AZ where they are staying with the family of our daughter Stacey. Dasha’s husband is still in Eugene, OR. His job requires him to stay there. Prayers for Kevin, please.

See you this Sabbath!

pastor Peter

Pray for Living Hope

MESSAGE. A “living hope” is my assurance that I’ll get through this day. My friends may turn away from me, people may judge me, stock markets may fall, my health may fail me, but I keep looking forward with confidence. Christ will not fail me. His presence is real; He is my “my present help in troubles (Ps. 46). I’ve seen His miracles in the past. My future is guaranteed by His promise: “I will come again”.

Tomorrow morning is my last sermon from the “7 Prayers” series. Let us learn to pray for the living hope!


We have some exciting news! Although we were not able to have our usual VBS program this summer, we have been hard at work on a virtual VBS. It will premiere on our church YouTube channel September 21-25 at 7pm each night. Join us on an adventure with Katie and Indy the archaeologists as they learn from David the shepherd how God is our Good Shepherd!


Our Outdoor Sabbath School under the trees was well attended. We had a Primary Zoom class at one table and Cradle Roll youngsters at another. We were happily surprised when Ava brought her 3 young chickens to class. 
Here are a few pictures from that Sabbath shared by Connie Reynolds, the SS Superintendent.

Sabbath School classes. Here is more from Connie: “After a two week hiatus we are back to “regular” Sabbath School classes tomorrow. That may be fully in person or a hybrid with some members on Zoom. As time goes by, we hope to reclaim more of our members. Let’s do our best to stay in touch with those not yet attending.  The secretaries should be bringing your materials for 4th quarter as well as the offering envelopes.  I will be around to keep track of our numbers as we discussed. Hopefully I won’t interrupt. Because of that two-week break, we will have SS Council in October. Date to be determined. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in any way. Thank you for your dedication and enthusiasm!


Community service. Sincere words of appreciation to all those who came to help at the Samaritan Center last Sabbath night. There were very few who showed up. I am especially thankful to those ladies who volunteered to help and worked hard until late. You, ladies, know who you are. I hope next time we’ll get better participation from our church.


Worship Services. The last two Sabbaths we were blessed with great weather which was a blessing for our outdoor worship services. Tomorrow, September 12, we’ll resume our regular worship service schedule. The 9 AM service will be held in the Sanctuary and the 11:30 AM service in the Fellowship Hall. Sabbath School program starts at 10:20. Out of love to others, please follow the Guidelines voted by the church board.

Last Sabbath a group of your SAU students beautified our service with special music. Let me encourage you to get to know these young people personally and help them feel welcomed to our congregation.


Many of you attended the Memorial Service for Bettie Chastain last Sabbath afternoon. Over 250 people watched online throughout the week. The burial service took place on Sunday morning. I am very grateful to the Bradford family for uplifting our spirit that morning with beautiful music.


It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the sad news about Howard Kennedy‘s passing. Howard was one of the pillars of the Ooltewah Seventh-day Adventist Church. He served as a school principle for many years, and provided an Adventist education for hundreds of children. Howard was a loved and a respected elder of our church until he stepped down from the leadership position due to his weakening health. A memorial service for Howard is being planned for Sabbath afternoon on September 19. The specific details of the service are still being worked out by the family. Please, continue to pray for June and the whole Kennedy family.


PRAYERS. Julia Easter, health concerns. Darlene Turner, chemo treatment.


Weekly church bulletin: access here

Online giving: tithe and offerings

Last weeks Worship service and SS recording: watch here

September 12 Worship service streaming link is here. The link will go live @ 9 AM on Sabbath morning.

Pray for your church

MESSAGE. The church is the body of Christ. Paul makes a strong emphasis on the concept of church members needing one another. In 1 Corinthians 12:27 he states: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Church without you is not complete; you without the church are just a torn away and dying member. Staying together through rough times is the only way we can demonstrate to the world the power of God’s Church. Working together – is the only way we can fulfill the mission of Christ’s church. This mission is to become “friends of tax collectors and sinners” and to lead them to Jesus. Pray for your church today; pray about your essential function in the body of Christ.

MINISTRY. Last Sabbath morning about fifty five brave souls gathered at 9 AM under the car port of our church for the worship service. Many of us expected rough weather that day, but the Lord gave us peaceful skies with partial sunshine. The Bradford family uplifted our spirit with beautiful music. However, there were hundreds who joined our service online. To watch last week’s worship you can simply click on the following link

The weather forecast for September 5 looks very promising; cooler weather and no storms. There will be only one outdoor service at 9 AM. You can join that service from your home by clicking the following link The link will go live at 9 AM on Sabbath morning. Of course you are most welcome to join the outdoor service in person. Our Pathfinder Club, the Timberwolves, worked till late on Wednesday night setting up an additional seating space in a tent next to the car port. Thank you for your hard work! I hope to see many of you this Sabbath morning.

It’s been a good week at OAKS. On Wednesday the students enjoyed their annual “water fun day.” Shelly Caswell shared a video with me below. I have to say that the day before I offered to help Shelly and Margo with testing the “water bottle shooting.” It did not end that well: while I was pumping air the water poured out all over my white shirt. I am glad it worked fine for the OAKS kids. See for yourself 🙂

This morning OAKS had their weekly Chapel. Here is a fresh photo from our school.

Men’s Ministry update. Here is what I saw on Edymar Penagos’ Facebook page: “

Ooltewah men’s group demonstrating love in action. 💪😃Congratulations on the new home! @srivera1129. God’s finger prints are all over this blessing. 🙏Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.Philippians 2:3‭-‬4 NIV

Community Service. Once again this Sabbath night we can demonstrate where our heart is. The Samaritan Center needs our help. Last time we had close to 40 volunteers; young and not so young. We were finished in just over an hour. Will you consider joining this awesome group of people this Sabbath @ 8:30?



We are saddened to share the news that Bettie Chastain has passed away. Bettie was one of the charter members of our church and was dearly loved. Her funeral will be held at the Ooltewah Adventist Church on Saturday, September 5 at 4pm; the service will be livestreamed at the link below. Viewing will precede the funeral at 3pm. A graveside service will take place at Collegedale Memorial Park on Sunday, September 6 at 11 am. We ask for your prayers for Bettie’s family and loved ones during this time. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ooltewah Adventist Church’s student aid fund.


Fred Turner is soliciting your prayers for his wife Darlene. Darlene is going through a rough time with chemo therapy.

Julia Easter is needs our prayer support as she is preparing for a knee surgery.



Health Ministries update: Human Lungs

Online church bulletin: click here

Online giving: tithe and offerings

September 5 Worship service live stream link


See you tomorrow! Happy Sabbath.

pastor Peter

Praising God in Difficult Times


I will praise the Lord at all times; his praise is always on my lips.” (Ps. 34:1) When dark clouds cover the sky we pray for help; we cry for safety. Prayers of praise seem to be more appropriate when we get a pay raise, when our children are well and safe, when surgery went well. This was not David’s perspective. He was attacked by his family; surrounded by enemies, betrayed by friends, but he was determined to praise the Lord “at all times”! Praising God through pain and in moments of darkness requires strong faith and an intimate relationship with Christ. Don’t allow your mind to be sucked into the sewers of the media propaganda. Open the Word of God and allow praise to be always on your lips.


Worship Service on August 29 will be held outside @ 9 AM. There will be no 11:30 AM service. The weather forecast is not very supportive of our outdoor service plans, but per the Church Board vote there will be no indoor service on August 29 or September 5. If you are brave enough to join the outdoor 9 AM service tomorrow morning you may want to bring an umbrella. Chairs will be set under the carport by the sanctuary entrance. Possible COVID19 exposure may keep us outside for two weeks, but no weather will keep us from worshiping the Lord this Sabbath morning. Thank you for your understanding. Clouds will pass, Coronavirus will die, but we’ll stay together united by the Blessed Hope! If you haven’t received my email sent on Tuesday here is a link to that communication: Tuesday Letter from pastor Peter

Sabbath school classes are available on ZOOM and YouTube. Please contact your Sabbath school class leader to receive a ZOOM meeting ID and password. YouTube Sabbath school class can be accessed via church website or on the church YouTube channel. Here is the link


No natural disasters or political battles can keep men of our church from serving people in the community. Here is the latest update with pictures from Edymar Penagos:

Love in Action:
Thank you John, Edwin, Rick, Lucas, Aaron, Edwin, Kevin and David for your help. Your love in action made a big difference at the house but more importantly demonstrated God’s love to our brother. With all the growing self interest in the world, your selflessness helped mend a hurting heart. (see attached photos)
Also, if you or anyone you know have been impacted by COVID19, PLEASE let me know what we can do to help. IF one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26
Request for assistance: Our brother Luis Rivera needs ourt help! They are moving out of their friends basement and into their new home in Cleveland! If you would like to help, we are planning to meet this Sunday in the morning. Please call, email or text me for the details.  
Mens SS Class tomorrow: Due to possible COVID exposure, we will not be meeting in our normal class this sabbath or the next. And because of the weather predictions for this Saturday, we will not have class outside. This means that the official mens class is cancelled. With that said, some of the guys from our class are gathering at Kevin Hicks house to watch the video and talk . If you would like to join, please reach out to me, my cell number is below. 
We will be finishing up the 2nd volume of the 33 series called “A Man and His Story”. We are on session #6 titled, Heart. This is the last session of this volume. (available to watch beforehand on RightNow media) Continued prayers for you all, your brother in Christ, Edymar Penagos 813-541-2184″



Betty Chastain fell again this week. She is at Erlanger hospital downtown. Prayers are needed and appreciated.

Prayers for a church family overcoming COVID19.



STEWARDSHIP – “Every good thing of earth was placed here by the bountiful hand of God as an expression of His love to man. The poor are His, and the cause of religion is His. The gold and the silver are the Lord’s; and He could rain them from heaven if He chose. But instead of this He has made man His steward, entrusting him with means, not to be hoarded, but to be used in benefiting others. He thus makes man the medium through which to distribute His blessings on earth. God planned the system of beneficence, in order that man might become like his Creator, benevolent and unselfish in character, and finally be a partaker with Christ of the eternal, glorious reward.” (CS 15.2)

~ Steve Bremner

Weekly church bulletin: bulletin

Online Giving: tithe and offerings


Have a blessed Sabbath day. See you tomorrow.

Pastor Peter

Pray to Withstand Evil



We are in a daily battle with evil. Some of that evil is an actual enemy, while some is simply a phantom we created. Don’t waste your time and energy on battles with enemies you have imagined. Start wars against the only real evil, “your enemy the devil [who] is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey.” Learn to pray to withstand evil. This Sabbath I continue my “Seven Prayers” sermon series.


Sharon Harrell has been asked by the church board to serve in the position of the Women’s Ministry director. This nomination is being presented to the church body for the final vote of approval. I am glad that Sharon is already actively engaged in this important ministry. She has asked me to include in my blog the following invitation: Join Women’s Ministries for a dynamic online presentation, August 22, from 3:00-5:00 pm. For more details click on the picture below:


Thursday was the first day of school at OAKS. The path to this day has not been easy for the school administration and teachers. I am sincerely grateful to our awesome OAKS team for putting together a great plan for this school year in the new reality of COVID19. School principle, Shelly Caswell sent me lots of great pictures for the blog post. Enjoy the photos below and keep our OAKS teachers and students in your prayers daily. Please.

Here is a message from Shelly: “OAKS started a new school year this week amid many changes and safety procedures. We were blessed with a crowd during the work bee so the building sparkled with many updates. New air purification systems were installed Tuesday, outdoor picnic tables assembled, hand washing stations primed and the front of the building was decorated with cheerful bible verses to greet the returning students. OAKS was granted a set of Nathan Green’s creation paintings. These 7 portraits now hang in the front hallway as a visual reminder of each step God took as He created this wonderful world for us. Our spiritual theme for the year is HOPE, based on Jeremiah 29:11. The students will sport sharp looking new t-shirts with this theme pointing them to plan for Jesus to come again. Thank you for your prayers for the safety of our students and staff as we dive into a new year of learning.”

Men’s Ministry is always on a mission of sharing Christ’s love. Here is an update from Edymar:

Love in Action:
We are getting close to finishing the love in action project and need a little more help to cross the finish line. A big THANK YOU to Edwin, John, Aaron, Rick and Lucas for your help. We will be heading back this coming Monday and Wednesday evening to hopefully wrap up the job, God willing. Please text or email me if you would like to help. No special skills are needed.
The world is hurting right now, the evidence of this can be seen by the violence and hurtful words all around us. As Christ followers, our mission is simple. We must love our brothers, sisters, love our neighbor and love our enemies.
Men’s ministry is not in the business of fixing things, we are in the business of demonstrating love, as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:34-35.
THIS is why we do what we do, it’s always been more about the people than the project. To God be the glory!
Mens SS Class tomorrow: 
We’ll continue our SS class discussion based on “33 The Series.” We are in the 2nd volume called “A Man and His Story”, session #4, titled Healing (available to watch beforehand on RightNow media).
We will meet at the school in our old classroom at 10:15 am. If you have never been, it’s the 2nd class room on the left when you walk into the school building.
Join us, we will watch the video in class! Please text or email me with questions.
Edymar 813-541-2184″

Connie Reynolds is now officially serving as our Sabbath School Superintendent. She scheduled the first SS Council meeting for this Sabbath afternoon. The meeting will be in-person with a ZOOM option. Meeting Time: Aug 15, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)  Meeting ID: 878 1060 6990 Passcode: 1pz8b3

We hope for great participation. Meanwhile, many Lower Divisions teachers are going the extra mile to help our kids feel loved and connected with the church. Here is a text message I received on Thursday from Natalia Joshephs: “Hello Pastor.  This is Natalia Josephs a member of Ooltewah Church. I just wanted to say how thankful I am for the wonderful Ministry Ms. Patricia Young has done at church with the kids, and in particular with our son Kaleb Josephs. He has a learning and cognitive disability and they have accommodated for him in Sabbath school class when we were in session. Recently during quarantine and the past months she has sent him weekly letters with notes and stickers, activities. They even left a gift bag at our door step with wonderful trinkets and his lesson. Even though we have not been able to attend church due to health concerns for his safety we have truly been blessed by all the materials we have received . Please pass that message on to her. And once again we are grateful for the time and evidence of Gods love through her work!” 

Thank you, Natalia, for this kind message. Thank you, teacher Pat, for your dedication to the Kindergarten class ministry and for your love to the kids.

Many of our church members would like to attend church, but cannot due to COVID19 health concerns. I want them to know that they are being terribly missed by the pastoral staff. We are glad that they can participate in our virtual services. Here is a copy of an email message I received earlier this week:

“Hi Pastors Peter and Matt,
I have been meaning to write both of you to thank you for the blessings of the streamed Sabbath services.  It means a lot to those of us who are still at home.  Every Friday I pray for the Lord to help me make the Sabbath special.  The Lord answers my prayers through the work of both of you and many others.  I am really missing my church family and hope I can be back soon.  I appreciate the wonderful sermons, the music, etc.  It is so good to see familiar faces on Sabbath even though I can’t see everybody!  I know it has to be difficult for you in your work right now.  I am blessed with a number of sermons on Sabbath, but my church service comes first!  I can’t imagine what it would be like right now not to have streaming.  I am also enjoying Prayer Meeting on YouTube.  It is a blessing I look forward to every week.  Nothing is normal right now, but I believe that it is all a sign that Jesus is coming very soon and I am excited about that. 

I have watched parts of the Sanctuary Sabbath School, but sometimes it is hard to hear the comments of people.  I can’t help but note that a lot of people are not wearing masks, and some are not social distancing.  I just pray that everybody will stay well.  I don’t get sick very often, but when I do I get really sick and it goes to my chest.  For those reasons I feel it is best for me to stay home until the Covid starts letting up a bit.  But I do hope that I can come back soon.

I know it must be hard for both of you not to be able to run your programs as you normally do, but I just want you to know that the work you are able to do is greatly appreciated by those of us who are not back yet.  I don’t have a TV by choice, but every Sabbath I am in front of my computer before 9:00 knowing that I will be receiving a blessing.  And I always do!!!

So a big THANK YOU TO YOU BOTH from me and many others who appreciate what you are doing to hold the church together during these trying times. May God bless and give you the wisdom to know how to handle all the different situations that arise.  I pray for you every day as these are trying times for pastors. Sincerely, Shirley Bennett.

Thank you, Shirley, for your gracious message and your prayers. We hope we’ll see you back soon!

PRAYERS. This Wednesday the Davis family lost Richard Davis, Ricky’s father. The memorial service is planned for August 23 @ 2 pm at our church. Please, remember the family in your prayers. Richard was attending our church for a number of years.

Betty Jones, who lost her son a few weeks ago sent the following card to the church:



Church weekly bulletin: link

Online giving: link

August 8 Sabbath worship: link

August 8 Sanctuary SS class: link

From my heart: For the last several years my mom has been in our house under our care. Galina and I felt your prayers and your gracious support. It meant the world to both of us. Last week this arrangement changed. My oldest sister, Evangelina, moved to Greenville, TN. With this move and with the new housing arrangements she was able to take our mom into her care. We are glad that Mom is not that far from us, and we’ll be visiting her often.

This summer there have been lots of moves in our children’s families. Three weeks ago we helped one family with a move to Oregon. Now, our oldest daughter’s family is moving from Orlando, FL to Flagstaff, AZ. Guess who will be helping them move? 🙂 Yes, it will be me. I am taking several vacation days next week. Our daughter Stacey will fly to Ooltewah on Sunday with our two grandkids, and will stay with grandma Galina, while I fly that same Sunday morning to Orlando. There her husband Javan and I will load a U-haul truck, attach a trailer, load one of their cars onto that trailer, and the two of us will venture into the desert. He’ll be driving the second car, while I’ll drive the U-haul with the trailer. Lots of prayers are needed! Expect lots of road trip photos on Facebook and Instagram 🙂

Happy Sabbath, church. I’ll see you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Praying for the Mission



“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.”
― Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

This Sabbath morning I’ll continue my ‘Seven Prayers’ sermon series. We’ll study what ‘Praying for the Mission’ is all about.


Last Sabbath evening about forty volunteers from our church came to help at the Samaritan Center. Many of them were young people. Ice cream was a hot item 🙂 it was all gone in the first 15 minutes. Of course I have no doubts that the majority of those who came were not so much motivated by ice cream as by the willingness to help our community. A heartfelt Thank You to all who participated in this service to the Samaritan Center. We’ll do it again on September 5. I feel bad I did not take any pictures that night.


Great news! Our “Young Disciples” fund has already received $20,300! The goal is to raise $50,000. Every dollar from this fund will go to support students from our church who attend OAKS and other Adventist academies. So, as of today we need to raise $29,700. Let’s all get onboard and support our children. Thank you for your generous participation. The “Young Disciples” fund is added to the online giving site. If you use the paper tithe envelope just enter your contribution to this account in the blank line and mark accordingly.


Almost 600 people from the community visited the voting center at our church on Thursday. They were offered free drinks and cookies. They did not come to worship, but they could feel the love of Jesus in the friendly atmosphere of our church campus. Thank you, everyone who helped with the setup for this election day.


Carleen Zalabak, Pastor Matthew and their team completed the recording of the virtual VBS. As soon as the editing is finished these videos will be available for the children of our church. Thank you, all who worked on this wonderful project!

Teacher Becky regularly posts Sabbath school video lessons for the Cradle Roll class. They are available on the Cradle Roll Facebook page. God bless you, Becky!


This Sabbath we’ll have two Memorial services. One for the family members of Barbara Smith (Apison church @3pm) and the other one for Judson, Donna Jamieson’s husband, at our church at 4 PM. Visitation starts at 3:30 pm. Please, remember these two families in your prayers.


Online weekly bulletin: click here

Online giving: click here

August 1, Sabbath worship service recording: click here

August 1, Sanctuary Sabbath school class: click here

Praying for God’s Power

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I’ve seen communism collapse. I’ve seen thousands baptized in one day. I’ve seen alcoholics become evangelists … All by the power of God. Nothing can stand against that power; no virus, no political chaos, no social divide. Stop fighting with your own weapon. Everything will be different if we start praying for the power of God.

This Sabbath morning I continue the “Seven Prayers” series. Pray with me in person or online.


The last Sabbath of July was packed with wonderful events. Katie Rose got baptized during the first service. Many friends of the Rose family came to celebrate this exciting event in Katie’s life. It was great to have pastor Na’a, pastor Mike Pettingill, and pastor Matthew Shallenberger participate in the service.

That same Sabbath afternoon the Young family came to celebrate Karina Young’s baptism. It was a very special moment in the circle of close friends and family.

Two hours after that there was another baptism at Harrison Bay. Joshua Harrison (Rita Roger’s grandson) celebrated his new beginning with the Lord.

Work Bee Sunday was busy with tons of wonderful workers cleaning windows and painting classrooms and mulching the playground. Thank you to all who sacrificed to help get OAKS off to a grand start!

At the Monday night Church Board meeting we acted on several big items.

First, an unprecedented number of adventist academy students from our church presented a serious financial challenge. We certainly want every student to be supported in their Christian education opportunity. The Board unanimously voted to start a Fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $50,000 asap. If you are passionate about Christian education please contribute to this emergency need. All contributions to this fund need to be marked as “Young Disciples Fund”.

Second, the Board voted on the new Sabbath School Superintendent candidate. Connie Reynolds is being asked to serve in this position. Her nomination will need to be approved by the church vote.

Third, Kevin Hicks was asked to serve as the OAKS Board chairman. This nomination also needs to be approved by the church vote.

This Sabbath night, right after sunset our church will be helping at the Samaritan Center. Last month we had a great number of volunteers who were over 55. I hope this time we’ll have a different group of helpers. I am appealing to the parents of high school age children. Let’s make this a community ministry opportunity for our kids. I’ll personally bring ice cream for all the kids and their parents who will come to help. Ice cream by the Samaritan Center deck will start at 8:45 pm. Our mission is to preach the gospel; often actions can preach louder than words. I pray I see many of our church youth there tomorrow night.



Pastor Matthew is working with Carleen Zalabak and a crew of other families on a virtual VBS program. They are recording a whole series of videos which will soon be available for the children of our church. On the photo are Thomas Turk, Luke Clubb, and Anaya Parker. They’re our cast for the drama scenes. Please pray about this project. We love our kids!


PRAYERS. Last Sabbath night Judson Jamieson rested in the Lord. Praise for his wife Donna Jamieson and the family. The Memorial service is scheduled for August 8 at 4 pm with visitation starting at 3:30 PM

Prayers for Barbara Smith, who lost her brother and sister in law. The service will take place at the Apison SDA church also on August 8 at 3 pm.

Prayers are requested for Betty Jones who unexpectedly lost her son Stacey (51 years old).

Prayers are needed for Bruce Vogt, Cynthia Weitzel’s dad who had a heart attack. Bruce is at Memorial hospital.


I hope you’ll not miss Dinner with the Doctor, an online event happening this Monday. You’ll need to register if you are interested in participating. All details are in the flyer below:


Online giving. Here is the link.

Church weekly bulletin. Here is the link.

Happy Sabbath! See you tomorrow.

pastor Peter

Praying for Healing



This Sabbath I am starting a new sermon series: “Seven Prayers”. The first sermon is about our need to pray for healing. Our nation is wounded and bleeding. Our churches are crippled by the Pandemic. Political and social tension pulls us apart.  It is time for us all to get united in prayers for healing. “Pray for one another, that you may be healed” James 5:16


On July 11 we celebrated a beautiful baptism at Harrison Bay. Kayla Coon joined our church after completing a full course of Bible studies. Cindy Young shared with me the following sweet story: “Back when Kayla was in kindergarten the pastor gave the name of each student to a church member who wanted to be a prayer partner for a student.
Sharon McKee was given Kayla’s name. She began praying for her then, and has never stopped. She has been there for each milestone in Kayla’s life … quietly being involved, and always praying. When Kayla texted her inviting her to come to her baptism, she wrote back that she had tears of joy. The power of unceasing prayer!”

Tomorrow, during the first worship service we’ll celebrate Katie Rose’s baptism. Karina Young will also be baptized tomorrow, but @ 2 pm. Praise God for every decision!

The Conference Pathfinder/Children’s Ministry Dept under the leadership of pastor Fernando Verduzco has been staying busy with their EPIC Summer online honors. These virtual events are being broadcasted from our church. Here are a few photos from the “Pin Trading” honor taught by Cory Goss and Mike Haughee.

We need your help to get OAKS ready to welcome back our students in August! Please plan to join us for the annual OAKS Work Bee on Sunday, July 26 from 8:00-12:00. Socially-distanced jobs are available for anyone who prefers it. Those who are working in close proximity to others should bring a mask.
If you are able to attend, please consider filling out this RSVP form so we know who to expect:


PRAYERS. Please continue to pray for the Pandemic to stop; for those who were diagnosed with COVID19, for those who are in the hospital and for our healthcare workers.

Howard Kennedy is facing health concerns. Currently at Parkridge hospital.

Ellie Penagos is battling cancer. Currently at Erlanger East.

Darlene Turner is recovering after her surgery.

Judson Jamieson is in weak health.

Betty Chastain needs help with pain management.


Online giving: click here

Digital weekly bulletin: click here


Last week Galina and I flew to Oregon to help our daughter Dasha, her husband Kevin and their one-year-old baby Mila with their move from Atlanta to their new home in Eugene. Our week of vacation was full of diverse activities: helping a one-year-old with three flights and two long layovers, unloading and carrying boxes and furniture, replacing faucets, installing safety gates at the bottom and the top of the stairs, driving to the foggy, rocky but breathtakingly beautiful ocean shore, cooking perogies, sleeping on the floor next to an open sliding door and enjoying the cool 50F temperature outside at night (hoping nobody will accidentally roam in from the apartment complex). Overall, it was an absolutely wonderful experience. Here are a few photos from our trip:

Happy Sabbath! See you tomorrow morning.

Pastor Peter

The Aroma of Christ



If our good words are not proved and supported by our actions they discredit the message. Paul reminds us that we are expected to be the sweet aroma of Christ’s spirit. My life and my actions can bring life or death to those around me. Draw people to Life by your sincere Love. (2 Cor 2:15-16)


July 4th Sabbath was not limited to two worship services. At 8 PM about 35 people came back to sing and to play musical instruments. COVID 19 awareness kept the group outside. Chairs were spread apart on the church parking lot. Everyone felt safe and happy. Thank you, Ron, for your passion for Singspirations!

After the Singspiration a large group of our members came to help at the Samaritan Center. We started at 9:30 PM. Fireworks were lighting up the sky as volunteers were carrying heavy furniture items, bags with clothing and  massive fifty-year-old TV sets 😉 inside the warehouse. It was hot and humid but with that many hands the work was finished by 11 PM. Everyone felt tired, but happy that we could help our community. This is how we prove that July 4th is about love for those people who live next to us. I feel bad I did not take any photos. By the end of the project Galina spotted an old chest in the pile designated as “trash”. With the permission of the person-in-charge she pulled it out, loaded it into my tiny Z350 trunk and triumphantly brought it home! It may take a few years to clean it from all the rust and mold, but she believes it is worth it! Meanwhile, every time I open the garage door, the moldy smell of the old chest reminds me of the fun night at the Samaritan Center with our caring and hard working church. Thank you, volunteers!

Early Monday morning our church was not sleeping, but was engaged in making sack-lunches for the homeless in Chattanooga. Praise God for all who came. Here are a couple of photos from that morning. This ministry will continue for the next three months. I encourage you to speak to Lucas Patterson about participating in this wonderful service to our community.

It is hard to keep the Juniors SS class apart. Every week they come to the church parking lot and hang out with their friends. A parking lot is certainly not the ideal place for any socializing when it is 90 F outside. This week, however, they had a better idea. They came to the swimming pool in our neighborhood! With pizza and watermelon the day proved to be great.


Youth SS class will have two options tomorrow morning. Pastor Matthew will teach the class online via ZOOM. I’ll study with those who choose to come in person. The plan is to have as many of our youth participate as possible. Please, pray for our youth! It is hard for them to cope with life being “quarantined” from theor friends and classmates.

Also, Pastor Verduzco is having a live stream program for our young people called “Epic Summer” beginning tomorrow. These programs will be at 3:00 p.m. on the GCC Children/Junior Youth Ministries Facebook page for 3 Sabbaths. I hope our young people can take advantage of this special program designed just for them. However, the page is open for anyone who is young at heart!

Last Sabbath during the children’s story, paper was handed out so that our children could draw what they thought Heaven would be like and bring it back the following Sabbath. There is still plenty of paper left by the fellowship hall’s lobby and we would like to encourage anyone including adults to pick one up and let your imagination lose! We want to display these drawings all over church so we all can enjoy each other’s  creativity and think of God’s wonderful promises.  Jaime & Jaude Barboza

Prayer time for OAKS. On Wednesday July 15 at 6:15 pm please join us at the school for a special prayer time. All are welcome to come and pray for our students, teachers and staff. Masks and social distancing will be observed.

BAPTISM. There will be a baptism on the lake tomorrow at 2 pm. Kayla Coon (a former OAKS graduate) will be baptized at Harrison Bay. I am super glad that Kayla made this important decision after she completed her Bible studies. Many of Kayla’s family members will join this celebration.


Please continue to pray earnestly for the Lord to stop COVID 19 from spreading. We need a miracle! Please pray for one another as we continue to worship in person. We want everyone to feel safe coming to our church. Wearing a mask is a sign of our caring spirit.

Judson Jamieson was taken to Erlanger for heart failure. Prayers for Judson please.

Richard Johnson had to have an emergency surgery late last night. He is recovering well. Prayers for Richard.

Please uplift in your prayers Howard Kennedy.

Prayers for Mike Haughee. He has several medical procedures scheduled in the next few days.

Praying for Darlene Turner. She is scheduled for surgery on Friday morning.

CHURCH BLUEBERRY GARDEN is absolutely beautiful. Connie Jones is doing a superb job in keeping that garden in perfect shape. The proceeds from the picked blueberries go to support the Student Aid Fund. How sweet 🙂 in all senses of this ministry. Our granddaughter Mila loved the blueberries and was happy to support OAKS 🙂



Online weekly bulletin: click here

Online giving: click here

Women’s Sabbath School class is meeting in the Early Teens classroom until the children return back to church.

Online Sabbath school classes: 

Leaders: Mike & Sharon Harrell

To be part of an exciting and energetic 1-hour discussion of the current Quarterly Sabbath School lesson, sign onto Zoom at 10:30 on Sabbath mornings. Mike Harrell facilitates the discussion. Everyone is given the opportunity to participate if you would like, or to listen silently if that is your preference.  Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419
To Join by Phone: 929 436 2866   
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419 Wait for prompt, then enter the # key (no password required) *6 to mute or unmute.

Friendship class

Leaders: Mike Haughee, Edwin Reynolds, Barry Tryon, David Hartman

Topic: Friendship class Sabbath School
Time: Jun 13, 2020 10:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Sat, until Jul 4, 2020, 4 occurrence(s)
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 764 9985 5133
Password: heidi0824


Living in Victory


It is easy to concentrate on the problems and on the dark side of our daily life. Our eyes see the faults, our ears tuned to harsh words. We lose sight of the blessings. Our hearts sink in despair. Let this weekend be the turning point in the way we live and relate to the reality around us. This is still God’s world. I see His goodness in kind smiles of people who I meet daily at church, at gas stations, or at grocery stores. I see God’s grace in the selfless acts of our young and elderly church members who help the needy, feed the hungry, pray with the discouraged. I see God’s power in providing us with the freedom to pray, to read the Bible and to share the Good News of salvation. This July 4th let’s speak of God’s love, share His grace, celebrate His faithfulness to all of His daughters and sons! Happy 4th of July!


This week the Cradle Roll class kids received a sweet gift from their teacher Becky Denton. Not being able to meet in person is not keeping Becky away from her precious students. She found a way to enter into their homes through recorded videos. These video lessons help the kids to sing, to study and to pray with their teacher. Parents can access these recordings through the church website. Here is the link.

Several of the Primary SS class students met with their teacher Cory Goss last Sabbath morning. Cory is experimenting with a hybrid class where “in-person” and Zoom options are being offered to the members of his class.

It was nice to see the Juniors SS class children working on the church landscaping (Sarah and Katherine). Thank you, young ladies! Later that same day several other kids from that class were playing together and enjoying ice cream 🙂

Samaritan Center needs our help this Sabbath after the sunset. Yes, I am aware of the fact that this will be the 4th of July 🙂 However, if we have good participation we can move everything inside the warehouse in less than an hour. If you plan of helping, please text or email me. We’ll count you in! Thank you in advance!

This Sabbath we’ll have a Special Patriotic feature with Larry Otto leading in singing a few of our favorite hymns. If you join the service online don’t hesitate to sing along :-). We’ll have two services, 9 AM and 11:30 AM. The early service will be streamed live. The recording of the service will be available on the church website and the YouTube channel.

Sabbath school study from the Fellowship Hall will be streamed at 10:20. The link will be updated as soon as the class meets after the first service.


Howard Kennedy is in the hospital after another fall. Prayers please.

Please, continue to pray for our community. The number of new COVID 19 cases in Tennessee is growing significantly. Follow the safety guidelines. Stay healthy; pray for one another.


Online weekly bulletin: click here

Online giving: click here

Women’s Sabbath School class has started meeting in the Early Teens classroom until the children return back to church.

Online Sabbath school classes: 

Leaders: Mike & Sharon Harrell

To be part of an exciting and energetic 1-hour discussion of the current Quarterly Sabbath School lesson, sign onto Zoom at 10:30 on Sabbath mornings. Mike Harrell facilitates the discussion. Everyone is given the opportunity to participate if you would like, or to listen silently if that is your preference.  Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419
To Join by Phone: 929 436 2866   
Meeting ID: 863 8150 6419 Wait for prompt, then enter the # key (no password required) *6 to mute or unmute.

Friendship class

Leaders: Mike Haughee, Edwin Reynolds, Barry Tryon, David Hartman

Topic: Friendship class Sabbath School
Time: Jun 13, 2020 10:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Sat, until Jul 4, 2020, 4 occurrence(s)
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 764 9985 5133
Password: heidi0824

Happy 4th of July! Happy Sabbath!