Ontario Conference News


Ontario Conference News (OCN) 

Friday, June 30, 2023

Happy Canada Day Weekend!

Canada Day is just around the corner! On July 1st, we come together as a nation to celebrate our country and all the reasons we are proud to call it home.

One of the incredible blessings of living in Canada is the freedom of religion we enjoy. We have the privilege to worship and express our faith without fear or hindrance. This is something we must never take for granted. As we celebrate Canada Day, let's take a moment to reflect on this incredible gift and be grateful for the opportunity to practice our beliefs openly.

With the freedom we have been given, let us also remember the call of Jesus to carry out the Great Commission. Consider how this weekend, you can share His love and teachings with others, spreading hope and kindness wherever you go. Whether it's through acts of service, sharing our faith, or simply being a positive influence in our communities, let us make the most of the freedom we have been granted.

As you celebrate this long weekend, whether you're watching fireworks light up the night sky, embarking on a fun-filled adventure, or simply spending quality time with your loved ones, I want to wish everyone a safe and joyful time. Let's cherish the freedoms we have in this beautiful country and continue to work towards a nation filled with Jesus' love, unity, and compassion. Happy Canada Day!

Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director Communications and Media

"United We Stand" Reflections on a Successful Ontario Camp Meeting

On June 23 to the 24th, in the heart of Simcoe, Ontario, at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds, an eagerly awaited event unfolded—the Southern Ontario Camp Meeting. After three long years since the lifting of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, members of the Southern Ontario region, which consists of 26 congregations and over 4000 members, came together under the theme "United We Stand." This gathering was a celebration of unity, fellowship, and spiritual growth. Greetings and comments from Pastor Jakov Bibulovic, president of the Ontario Conference, and the presence of esteemed guests, such as the President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada, added to the significance of the event.

Worship and Sermons:

From the outset, the atmosphere was filled with anticipation and joy. The worship experience was vibrant, with heartfelt singing and melodious hymns being played on the mandolin and the bells by the "Victorian Lady."

During the Friday night message titled "United in Prayer," participants were encouraged to join together in seeking God's guidance and blessings.

For morning worship, Pastor Mansfield Edwards, Vice President of Evangelism & Outreach, delivered a stirring message titled "United in Commitment." He focused on the books of Haggai and Zechariah, and used the theme of “rebuilding the temple”.  Dr. Edwards emphasized the importance of recommitting ourselves to rebuilding areas of our spiritual lives that may have been neglected. He urged everyone to prioritize family worship and selfless service in our communities in the name of Jesus. He passionately preached showing from the Bible that God's work must come first before personal or professional pursuits. His powerful words resonated deeply with the attendees. Sister Rita, a first-time participant, mentioned how she thoroughly enjoyed camp meeting and stated that “the Holy Spirit worked powerfully through Dr. Edwards.”

Youth and Children's Programs:

The youth section of the camp meeting was equally Spirit-filled and engaging. The theme, "Love Thy Neighbor," inspired a strong turnout of teens and young adults, surpassing previous years. They actively participated in interactive worship sessions, which included small group prayers and soul-stirring singing led by both the praise team and the Bronte Youth Choir. Pastor Daniel Innocent delivered a powerful message that touched the hearts of the youth, resulting in many responding to his altar call.

The youth were not only encouraged to commit their lives to Jesus but to follow Him in showing compassion and care to the community. Young people prepared care packages to be given to a community centre supporting the homeless. Each package included a personal message of encouragement and inspiration from each youth. The activity was successful at fostering a sense of compassion and service.

In a delightful twist, the children's program demonstrated innovative interaction. Embracing the idea of "the children shall lead them," the young ones took on the role of teachers, imparting Bible lessons to the adult instructors. This creative approach not only captivated the children but also gave them a unique learning experience.

The Southern Ontario Camp Meeting was a resounding success. The enthusiastic turnout, uplifting messages, and joyous atmosphere left a lasting impression on all who attended. Participants expressed their anticipation for the next camp meeting in 2024, eagerly looking forward to further spiritual growth, fellowship, and re-committing their lives to Jesus.

Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director Communications and Media

Ontario Wildfires Represent
Health Risk to all Ontarians

"I can smell the burnt wood in the air." a church member in the Southern Ontario region said. Smoke from forest fires in northeastern Ontario and Quebec has moved into the area, causing air quality to worsen. As a result, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday at 9pm emphasizing that low concentrations of wildfire smoke are harmful to everyone's health.

The statement goes on to say "People with lung or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant individuals, and outdoor workers are at a higher risk of experiencing health effects from the smoke. It is advised to consult with a healthcare provider to... ensure an ample supply of necessary medications at home and always carry these medications with you during wildfire season.

"If going outdoors is unavoidable, it is recommended to wear a well-fitted respirator mask like a NIOSH certified N95 or an equivalent type. These masks can help reduce exposure to the fine particles in the smoke. However, it's important to remember...[they] do not protect against the gases in wildfire smoke. Paying attention to your body and reducing or stopping activities if symptoms arise is vital.

As a church community, let's show Christ-like compassion and check on our vulnerable church members and others in our communities that may be at risk. 

Let's stay informed, take necessary precautions, and support one another during these challenging times.

For the latest information about smoke and severe weather events, click the following link:  Environment Canada 

Edith Habaradas
Director Health/Prayer Ministries

From Pulpit to Lecture Hall:
Pastor Zivkovic Embarks on a New Journey as a Professor

After 12 years serving in the Ontario Conference, we bid farewell to Pastor Goran Zivkovic, as he accepts his new position as Associate Professor of Old Testament at Friedensau University in Germany.

Born in Croatia, Pastor Zivkovic completed his Bachelor of Arts in Theology Degree from the Belgrade Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Serbia, and a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages from Lampeter University.

Before his arrival in Canada in 2011, Pastor Zivkovic dedicated seven years to pastoral work and also served as a professor of Biblical languages. Upon joining the Ontario Conference, he served as a pastor of various churches, including the Toronto Yugoslavian Church, Harmony Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Lindsay company. Throughout his time here, Pastor Zivkovic and his wife, Branka, created a loving home for their two beautiful children, Sarah and Nathan.

In 2022, Pastor Zivkovic earned his Ph.D. degree from McMaster Divinity College in the field of Old Testament studies under the mentorship of the renowned scholar, Dr. Mark J. Boda. Soon after obtaining his degree he was called by and accepted the position of Associate Professor at Friedensau University.

Reflecting on his time in Ontario, Pastor Zivkovic expressed his deep appreciation for the people he served. He stated that he "Cherished the connection and considered the church community as his second family". He also shared that "It is a bittersweet experience leaving Ontario Conference. I loved being part of this great team, and I look forward to staying in touch with everyone."

As Pastor Zivkovic and his family, embark on a new chapter in ministry, the Ontario Conference wishes them well and that their future endeavors be filled with joy, growth, and blessings. 

Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director Communications and Media

Adventist Christian Education:
Nurturing Character and Excellence:

In a world where moral values are declining, and focus on self is increasing, now more than ever there is a need for Adventist Christian education; which not only teaches students to develop a life of faith in God but also empowers them to use their knowledge and skills to serve God and humanity.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates a network of schools, consisting of seven elementary schools (K-6) and one high school (9-12). These schools are dedicated to promoting academic excellence and instilling Biblically-based values that transcend the challenges of our time, preparing our children for eternity.

At the heart of Adventist education lies a set of core values that shape the learning environment. These values serve as guiding principles, nurturing students' spiritual, intellectual, and personal growth. They include:

  1. Christ-centeredness: Our schools are committed to ensuring that the life and teachings of Jesus Christ permeate the curriculum, providing a foundation for faith and wisdom.

  2. Character building: Educators and students work together to reflect a Christ-like character, fostering qualities such as kindness, integrity, and respect.

  3. Commitment: We strive to foster personal commitments to Jesus Christ, the church, and fellow human beings, encouraging a sense of purpose and responsibility.

  4. Excellence: Adventist education emphasizes the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the school's program, empowering students to reach their highest potential.

  5. Knowledge: Our educators are dedicated to infusing spiritual development with academic knowledge, equipping students with the tools they need to thrive intellectually and spiritually.

  6. Service: Following Jesus' example, the Adventist school community embraces a culture of lifelong service to God and humanity, promoting a spirit of compassion and selflessness.

  7. Relationships: Adventist educators prioritize developing positive relationships with students and their families, fostering a caring and supportive community.

By offering a holistic education that nurtures physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, Adventist schools prepare students to live fulfilling lives on Earth while focusing on eternity.

As members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, let us wholeheartedly support our schools and actively promote them within our communities. Our schools play a vital role in teaching future leaders the Biblical principles of life, which are crucial in shaping a world that yearns for guidance.

Pastor Reynold Hazelwood
Superintendent of Schools

What's it Like to Recieve
1.5 Million Dollars? Ask Them!

The graduating class of 2023 at Crawford Adventist Academy has achieved an outstanding accomplishment, receiving an impressive total of 1.5 million dollars in scholarship offers. This remarkable achievement continues a trend of excellence for Crawford graduates, with 90% of them being accepted into their first-choice universities.

Jayden Cassimy, who received over one hundred thousand dollars in offers said "I've always wanted to reach certain goals and Crawford sets up ways for me to be succeful. I'm very thankful for the schoalrships I have received."

The Ontario Conference congratulates the graduating class of 2023 at Crawford Adventist Academy on their outstanding achievements and wishes them continued success in all their future endeavors.

Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director Communications and Media

Remembering Joseph Bulgin

The passing of Pastor Joseph Bulgin on June 23 has left a profound impact on those who knew and loved him. As his family prepares for his funeral on Monday, July 10, tributes continue to pour in, testifying to the legacy he left behind.

Paulette Massey, a former member who had known Pastor Bulgin for 21 years, describes him in one word: "Godly." She recalls "He exuded the character of a man who knew Jesus. He was always available and very humble. He taught me how to give Bible studies, and to this day, I'm still active in sharing the Word."

Sis Hutchenson, the communication director for Ajax Church, which was Pastor Bulgin's last placement, echoes similar sentiments. She shares, "[Pastor Bulgin] made his home available to present witnessing seminars to the membership and even used his pool for baptisms. He was always available by phone and was a great listener. He had an uncanny ability to see the good in everyone."

Reflecting on his father's extensive ministry, Jason Bulgin, himself a pastor at Capitol City SDA Church in Sacramento California, emphasizes his father's heart for evangelism. "Even before he became a pastor while he studied at Northern Caribbean University, he was actively preaching in revival series and doing Bible work."

Since joining the Ontario Conference in 1990, Pastor Bulgin served in various churches. He played a pivotal role in starting Mount Olive Church and also served as an associate at Kingsview Village, Mississauga, Meadowvale, Hamilton East, and Lincoln Pioneer churches. Later, he took on senior pastor roles at Philadelphia, Shiloh, Ruth, and finally, Ajax. Pastor Bulgin was a church builder both in church structure and growing church memberships through baptisms.

In an interview on discipleship and church growth by Pastor Jakov Bibulovic, President of the Ontario Conference, Pastor he noted that Bulgin humbly attributed the success of his church to the Lord and expressed his gratitude to his church leadership team, members, and especially the elders.

Jason reflects on his father's role as a dad, saying, "He always made time for us. For example, even after a busy Sabbath, he would be present at my basketball games, cheering me on. He was there for all of us." Pastor Bulgin leaves behind three children, Jason and Kimberly, both pastors and Lauri-Ann, along with cherished grandchildren.

As we celebrate the life of Pastor Joseph Bulgin, his legacy of faith, humility, and dedication to building God's kingdom continues to inspire us all. Details regarding the viewing, funeral, and internment can be found in the"What's Happening Around the Conference" section of this issue of the OCN.

Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director Communications and Media

What's Happening Around the Conference

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Ontario Conference
of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Mission
To Reach Ontario and the world
with the distinctive, Christ-centered,
Seventh-day Adventist message
of hope and wholenessThe Vision
Connecting like Jesus

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