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A Unique Church of Understanding People

June 2013

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Eastern Regional Association

A Growing Network of Healthy Churches                                                       June, 2013

In This Issue

Women's Ministries Fall Retreat

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Women's Ministries Fall Retreat
September 20-22, 2013

Rebecca NicollPlease mark your calendars for September 20-22, 2013.  Brochures are being prepared.  We hope to see you ladies in Alton Bay!


Pastor's Oasis Cottage

Alton Bay Christian Conference Center is offering to our active pastors a one week stay at a cottage on the Conference Center grounds.  This is on a first-come, first-reserved basis, beginning in May through Labor Day.  The week stay begins at noon on Saturday through the following Saturday morning.  For more information, please contact the Eastern Regional Office first either by phone (603) 332-1412 or email. 

2013 ERA Convention
2013 Eastern Regional Convention
October 25-27
at the Wyndham
Boston/Andover Hotel
Andover, MA
"The Way of Christ
& The Apostles" 
REFRESH Conference

Gordon Conwell Header

Greetings from the Ockenga Institute at Gordon-Conwell!

We're teaming up with The Gospel Coalition New England to host REFRESH, a two-day conference designed to encourage, challenge and refresh lay leaders, ministry leaders and the pastors who care for them. Join us!

What: REFRESH Conference

When: 7 p.m. on Friday, August 9 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 10

Location: Kaiser Chapel at Gordon-Conwell's Hamilton Campus

Who: Paul David Tripp, author of Dangerous Calling and Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, and Gordon-Conwell alumni Stephen Um and Jeramie Rinne

Cost (includes lunch on Saturday): $50 per individual; $25 for spouse with regular registration

There is limited space for this event, so  register today!

We hope to see you there,

David Horn, Director of the Harold John Ockenga Institute

(978) 468-7111 | EMAIL: |

Congratulations to the Graduate

Randall ThissellCongratulations to Pastor Randall Thissell of the Port Clyde Advent Christian Church graduating from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary with his Masters in Divinity.


Welcome to the June edition of the Eastern Regional Newsletter.  If you have an event or news article about your church or pastor that you would like included, please contact Carolyn Schaeffner at the Regional Office at (603) 332-1412 or by email

Happy Reading!

ERA Green logo

Planting Convergance - September 6-7, Rochester, NH

Planting ConverganceI

From the "Super"

Super HeaderI have an 85-year-old Uncle who regularly responds when asked about his age that he is "39 and holding".  Turning 40 recently wasn't a hugely emotional time for me.  No decade crisis or longing to hold onto my 30's.  But I did take a moment to evaluate what have been the things that were truly significant in my life over that amount of time.  I always come back to relationships.  Not the work I've done, shows I've watched, places I've visited, or buffets I've enjoyed, but the people who have blessed me and that I have been some small blessing to.  These are the things that really seem to matter. 


In my ministry, I have been blessed by many great relationships.  The ones that are especially significant to me are the ones where I was able to invest in someone and see them go on to serve God in ministry.  Some of the students in my youth ministry who are serving God in missions, churches, or homes.  Some of the interns I've had who are now using what they have learned in other ministry settings.  People like Ben Murray who is now a church planter, Matt Larking who is working in Charlotte in the Department of Nurture at ACGC, and Daniel, Heath, Merle, and others who are serving God in Pastoral Ministry, or Jen, Derek, and Nathan who are working in Youth Ministry.  The greatest impact I may ever have for the Kingdom is to have invested myself in others by mentoring or Discipling them in ministry. 


Bob Buford has said, that "my fruit grows on other peoples trees."  His life was spent investing in others.  He has written books on Discipleship and Mentoring and has modeled it himself.  He said that he has always carried a card with seven names on it.  That was his mission statement, to invest in those people who he was mentoring.  Over the years he has had names like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels on his card as he poured his life into them for the Kingdom.  What a great example of someone who saw the potential of investing in others and praying for them to be great for the Glory of God!  His prayer was always that they would have a greater ministry than his.


Can we say that about our young people and disciples?   Can you dedicate your life to have that kind of purpose so that the Kingdom may be expanded?  I believe that Leadership Development begins with Church Leaders investing in young people who may have some potential.  Encouraging them, building their character, teaching them the word and pointing them in the right direction.  Leadership development doesn't' start at Christian colleges and Seminaries.  It starts when the pimples are fresh, and the awkwardness and uncertainty of adolescence is staring you in the face.  It begins when someone invests in a kid who won't always make the best choices, or say the right things.  It comes when we think less of ourselves and more about who God would have us invest ourselves in. 


Who is in your Spiritual Family Tree?  Who are the Spiritual Ancestors  who played a part in your salvation, growth, discipleship, and ministry preparation?  Think of the significant people who impacted you, and consider, how can I be that person for someone else?  Who are your Spiritual descendants?  This may or may not include your biological children.  But do you have some who you have led to Christ or discipled and nourished along the way?  Where are they at today and what part could or should you still be playing in their lives?  Remember, when it is all said and done, relationships matter.  We won't take anything from this world with us into eternity except relationships!


May God raise up an army of young soldiers who are ready to take the world for Christ.  And may he prepare them and call them through you and I.  When we look back on our lives in another 10 years, may we all recall more names of people who are now better Kingdom builders because of our investment in them!   


Twitchell vacation2Grace,  Greg


Look Out Eastern Region - your 2013 Summer Ministry Team is on the move.

2013 Summer Ministry TeamFrom left to right - Lauren Purdy, Taylor Poli, Devin Weems, and Forrest Grant completed a week of training at Camp Dixie, a week of community service at the CrossRoads Church in Ossipee and are currently on staff at Sports and Music Camp in Alton Bay.  They will then travel to Westfield Advent Christian Church in Westfield, MA helping with VBS, then to Maine at Mechanic Falls Advent Christian Campground for three weeks to be counselors for camp, then up to Camp Washington in Washington, Maine for two weeks.  We are so blessed to have these college students, who have heart for the Lord to dedicate their summer in travelling ministry.  We ask for your prayers for them to keep them healthy, safe, and protected from the evil one while they travel and minister the Gospel.


Mentoring Antioch Style

Antioch Mentoring 

Everybody likes it in theory, but many of us struggle to do mentoring well!  The Antioch School offers great tools for anyone who is serious about helping people grow.  Here are a few quick thoughts about mentoring:


"Who should be the mentors of our Antioch School students?" 

Essentially you should think of mentors as the people that God has already put in place for the development of your students.  This includes pastoral staff, elders, other church leaders, students themselves, as well as family and friends of students.  A mentor does not necessarily have to be someone in a formal position of authority over the student.  The main idea in mentoring is to let those whom God has already put in place in your life to speak into your development.


"What are the qualifications of a mentor?" 

There are no official Antioch School requirements to be a mentor.  We begin with the theological assumption that God has already put people in churches (and church networks) to help with the development of students.  Church leaders certainly have a special responsibility to be involved in assessment of character, ministry skills, and biblical understanding.  However, others may be particularly well-qualified to help because of their special knowledge of the student or an area of ministry. Often, the best mentoring comes from overlapping assessment as mentors provide insight from different perspectives.


"What exactly are mentors supposed to do?"

Mentoring of Antioch School students is intended to support mentoring that already exists and/or help provide a framework and tools for new mentoring that needs to be put in place. 


There is only one aspect of mentoring that is "required" by the Antioch School.  Students are expected to meet with mentors at least quarterly to use the Personal Development Assessments (PDA) as points of reference in mentoring.  The six PDA tools are:  Becoming Established, Life and Ministry Assessment, Giftedness, Current Ministry, Ministry Team, and Journal of Mentor). 


Additional aspects of mentoring are extremely valuable and recommended, but not required. 

  • *   Mentors can help coach students through the SIMA MAP process (and the annual MAP responses).  Having a mentor involved in this process will greatly help students to understand themselves, their ministries, and how they fit on ministry teams.
  • *   Mentors can help coach students through the Personal Development Plan process (and annual updates).  Having a mentor involved will greatly help students to connect their development process with their life and ministry goals.
  • *   Mentors can guide in the identification of ministry experiences to be used for Ministry Practicum, particularly if the mentor has experience and expertise in ministry areas.  Having a mentor involved helps students set learning goals, prepare for the experience, evaluate the experience, and report on what has been learned.  Similarly, mentors can help greatly in Teaching Practicum to help students learn from their teaching experiences.
  • *   Mentors can check on progress being made in Leadership Series courses.  It is particularly helpful for mentors to review the culminating work from Unit 5 projects and work being submitted in e-Portfolio as evidence of competencies.

Mentoring should not necessarily be thought of as merely an isolated one-on-one relationship.  Mentors may meet with multiple students at one time, such as for the Becoming Established assessment or Ministry Practicums.  This may add efficiency, but also effectiveness because it creates a dimension of mutuality in development. 


In conclusion, we hope that you don't view the mentoring dimension of the Antioch School as a "hoop to jump through."  Rather, we hope that you view it as the means by which you are able to accomplish the mentoring that you say is important, but may not be doing very well on your own.


We are planning to offer 4 Courses this Fall beginning in September:

-       Acts

-       Leaders in the Early Church

-       Habits of the Heart

-       Interpreting Scripture 1

Please contact the Regional Office to register!

2013 Pennsylvania Bus Trip

noah bus trip   We are so excited to present the 2013 Pennsylvania Bus Trip! Each year our group falls in love with the beauty of the Amish farmland, and the powerful re-enactment of the Bible at Sight and Sound Theater. This year we have added an extra day to the trip.  Instead of having just one day to tour the countryside, we will have two full days of sightseeing. We have added some great activities including a full hot breakfast each morning, a ride on the Strasburg Train, and some new restaurants. We think you will find this trip well worth the expense!

    Downloadable brochures and reservation forms are available on this page. Pastors, we have also included a downloadable bulletin insert. It is in full color, but if you set your printer to grayscale, you can make copies for your congregation and save on ink.  Thanks for passing on the word about this great trip. 

    PASTORS - for the first time, we are offering a 10% discount for each Pastor who registers! This discount is only for the Pastor and not for groups or family members.

    To register, fill out the registration form and send it along with your check made out to: Greg Twitchell, 32 Four Rod Rd. Rochester, NH 03867. Please contact us if you have any questions:603-332-0220, 

Download the brochure by clicking here.

Download the registration form by clicking here. 

Download the bulletin insert by clicking here. 


Musings by Clayton Blackstone - "Even Though He Knows We Are Dust"

Clayton Blackstone"What moved in you to do such things for us?

Love alone, love unreturned, You have poured out

Your love without my unanswering love."

Scott Cairns in Love's Immensity


My grandmother died during my junior year at Bible College. My grandfather, a seasoned pastor and officiant at hundreds of funerals, spent an hour alone with her body the morning of her burial. On the way home, he stopped to visit a family who would, in a few hours, bury their child.


"I always thought I understood people's grief," he told me later that day, "but I didn't know nothin'."

If he didn't know nothin', I knew even less in those days when visions of grandeur danced in my head. Today, my brain has forgotten the bump and grind of such dreams of greatness. With decades of pastoral work behind me, I too understand the difference between donning my funeral suit to visit a grieving family and entering into their grief.


As I looked into the eyes of a father preparing to bury his son recently, the moment awakened something in me. I wondered what I would do and how I would feel if I were he.


A grieving father once told me that "a man prepares himself for the possibility he may bury his wife, but he never considers the possibility he may bury his son."


I wished I could have found words sufficient to serve as salve for my friend's pain. Wished my presence could quell the flow of tears. Wished I possessed sufficient insight to provide answers for the "why" questions certain to haunt when the lights go out and night silence settles in.


But no genie in a bottle appeared to grant my three wishes.


The "God understands" line almost slipped from my lips. Almost because flippant use has robbed it of meaning. But this time the thought took my breath away - He does.


The realization told hold in my soul. The realization of the Father's grief. The realization of what he might have felt when Jesus asked why he had been abandoned. The realization of emotion He might have experienced as he turned His face away from his suffering son.


How does a father forsake a son, leaving him defenseless?[1] How does a father allow such brutality after promising "to give the nations as his inheritance, the ends of the earth as his possession."[2]

I wondered at the restraint exercised by the One who knew a single heaven-spoken word could halt the tragic scene unfolding on a hill outside Jerusalem, a word to which he would not given voice.


What would it have been like, I mused, to watch a blood thirsty crowd clamor for my son's death? I wondered if I could have trusted the care of the body to others when I would have wished to hold the lifeless form I had refused to save. What would it have felt like to know I could have saved my beloved but didn't?


I thought about how I would feel towards those who killed my boy. I wondered what forgiveness would cost me. I wondered if I would want to forgive at all.


I don't know if this was a Holy Spirit moment - I am never certain - but for a flash my theological mind and my father's heart raised their voices in a duet of praise. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"[3] How great the lavished love though, according to Martin Luther, "we carry in our pockets the nails that killed Jesus."


The rush of emotion took my breath away

God turned his face away from Jesus so He could turn it towards me.  

Me and thee.

"He knows we are dust.  And he loves this dust - this sweet, contrary, beautiful dust for which his heart longs - these earthen vessels which can be broken that the glory may be of God and not of us."[4] 

 "Amazing love! How can it be?"[5]


[1] Mark 15.34
[2] Psalm 2.8
[3] 1 John 3.1

[4] Dr. James Haddix in an unpublished funeral eulogy.

[5] "And Can It Be That I Should Gain." Charles Wesley.

Deep Preaching Conference - November 12-14, 2013

Deep Preaching

We are thrilled to annouce the 2nd Pastoral Leadership Conference, "DEEP PREACHING" on Tue, November 12 through Thursday November 14, 2013 to be held at the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center.


Using his book, Dr. J. Kent Edwards  will be sharing topics like, "What is the 'Big Idea'? - how to find the main point of a biblical passage", "How to sleep Saturday night - how you can know if Sunday's sermon is going to work", "Understanding  God's Stories - how to interpret the stories of Scripture","

Deep Preaching - Why Preachers Need the Holy Spirit", and more.


Mark your calendars, and look for registration information to come soon!


Email Change


Effective June 1, 2013 we will no longer use our AOL emails for Greg Twitchell and Carolyn Schaeffner.


We will use the emails associated with the ERA website.


Please make this change in your contact list.


Thanks for your help in getting the word out!


ERA Board of Directors

Rev. Steve Ludwick, President

Rev. Paul Carter, Vice President

Rev. Allen Latimore, Clerk

Mrs. Karen Emerson, Treasurer

Rev. Robert Fabian, President Heritage Conference

Rev. Nick Foss, President Maine State Conference

Mr. Mark Bickford, 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


Eastern Regional Association | 32 Four Rod Road | Rochester | NH | 03867



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