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COPE, RCNO, Faith Based Organizations Show Unity

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Solano County Sheriff Gary Stanton best described the challenge facing counties throughout the state as California prison officials make plans to release an estimated 44,000 non-violent prisoners in fall 2010.

“Faith based organizations, county social services departments and law enforcement officials throughout the state will be treading water when the state prisons release such a large number of prisoners at one time,” Stanton said.

“Instead of throwing us life jackets, it seems the state is throwing us anchors instead.”

An estimated 400 people affiliated with faith based organizations, county social services departments and law enforcement agencies met with members of the State Assembly “Select Committee on Re-Entry” on March 18 to share concerns about prisoners who once released will not be able to rely on state prison services as they transition back into society.

It is projected, by Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) Executive Director Rev. Samuel Casey that San Bernardino and Riverside Counties will have to shoulder the responsibility of providing services for ten percent (10%) or 4,400 of the prisoners soon to be released.

Services that either doesn’t exist or that are already overburdened, the special challenge being the need to provide health care services.

COPE sponsored to fly Rev. Casey and 12 delegates from the Inland Empire to join similar organization from Los Angeles, San Diego, Alameda, Solano, and Orange counties to tell the Assembly Select, that while faith based organizations are willing to accept the state’s call to help prisoners re-integrate into society, the state will have to do its part in releasing funds to help generate re-entry programs.

“Today (March 18) was a monumental step in seeing that the health care needs of one of the most vulnerable populations in the State of California, and more specifically the Inland Empire Communities, are being met.

This is an important issue for COPE since its congregations represent two California counties that are going to be greatly affected by this issue,” Casey said.

According to Rev. Casey, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties will be the benefactor of large numbers of formally incarcerated persons.

And while faith based organizations throughout the state are beginning to prepare, the work has only begun.

“We need to remain focused, persistent, and most importantly prayerful as we continue to advocate for change. Our next steps are to follow up with our local congregations to insure that they share in today's (March 18) success, encourage our pastor's and leaders to get others engaged in the process, and prepare to follow up with our local elected officials,” Rev. Casey said. “I am excited by the level of commitment and dedication of our leaders who have continued over time to remain engaged in the process of building power that creates change like we saw today.”

COPE and other faith based organizations throughout the state serve as county liaisons at the direction of Regional Congregations and Neighborhood Organizations (RCNO) Training Center CEO Rev. Eugene Williams.

Williams initiated the ‘HIV Health Re-entry Policy” campaign in 2004 after a young woman shared her story that she contracted HIV/AIDS after having sex with a recently released prisoner. The prison system does not release medical records of inmates released into free society. One of the initiative’s main goals is to make those health records public.

“The choice is ours. We can falsely assume that residents returning from prison are not our responsibility. We can act as if our state government has the foresight and the will to protect the long-term health, public safety and well-being of our communities. Some of us might even falsely assume that we can escape the consequences of ignoring the comprehensive needs of the residents returning from prison,” Williams said.

“Or we can roll up our sleeves and work with our counties and cities to prepare ourselves for the inevitable. The financial costs, the public safety costs and the public health costs will show up on our doorsteps anyway. The truth is that no one is coming to save us but us.”

For more information, contact COPE Executive Director Rev. Samuel Casey at (909) 88-7881 x 252, by his cell phone number (909) 717- 3952 or via email at scasey@copechurches.org.

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you"
(Psalm 55:22 NKJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
When worry comes knocking on your door, stop it on the doorstep or it will move in and take up residence. 'Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you' (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). God cares about the things that worry you and prey upon your thoughts. He cares about them more than you do. Not one nagging, aching, worrisome, gut-wrenching, bloodpressure- raising thought escapes His notice. Because 'you are his personal concern', He watches over you day and night.

What qualifies as a worry?

Anything that robs you of joy, anything you can't change, anything you're not responsible for, anything you're unable to control, anything that torments you, anything that keeps you awake when you should be asleep. All of that 'stuff' needs to be transferred from your worry list to your prayer list. The Bible says, 'Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace. '
(Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

Give each worry, one by one, to God. The more you practice doing this, the more exciting your walk with Him will become. You'll be amazed at how easily He handles things that overwhelm you. Remind yourself that He's able to handle it, willing to handle it, and waiting for you to give it to Him. 'Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.' Those who live worry free are those who keep casting their burdens on the Lord until it becomes as natural to them as breathing! It's time to STOP worrying about it and let Jesus work it out!

Community Gathers for New Pastor

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This month, Kansas Avenue SDA welcomed its new pastor Bron Vincent Jacobs. Jacobs was born on January 26, 1977 in Rochester, New York to Ennis and Ruth Jacobs. While New York was his place of birth, Tallahassee, Florida would be his place of permanent abode, growing and learning amongst the hospitable environment of the South. He completed his high school years at Forest Lake Academy in Apopka, Florida and graduated in May of 1995.

Upon graduation he enrolled at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama where he planned to major in political science with hopes of following his father’s footsteps into the realm of political law.

Yet, God’s will for ministry prevailed and Pastor Jacobs later enrolled in the ministerial theology program with the humble aspiration of joining those faithful few privileged to give the trumpet of the third angel’s message a “certain sound.” While attending Oakwood College Pastor Bron Jacobs was involved with various ministerial organizations such as the Scottsborough, Alabama Outreach program which ministered to the physical and spiritual needs of rural Alabama communities. He also served as the lead student chaplain at Oakwood College under the tutelage of Elder T. Marshall Kelly and Elder Anthony Medley. In this position Pastor Jacobs served as the student pastor to the constituents of Oakwood College in the various worship programs and spiritual endeavors on campus. In 1999 the student body voted Pastor Jacobs as the Oakwood College Man of the Year for his distinguished ministerial service while on campus. On May of 2000 Pastor Jacobs graduated from Oakwood College with a Bachelor of Arts in Ministerial Theology.

In the spring of 2000 Pastor Jacobs was extended a call to serve in the South Atlantic vineyard by Elder V.J. Mendinghal and the South Atlantic Executive committee.

Upon accepting this call Pastor Jacobs was assigned to serve as the assistant pastor of the Berean Seventh day Adventist Church in Atlanta, GA under the senior leadership of Elder William L. Winston. While at Berean Pastor Jacobs was called upon to serve as the speaker for a three-week city wide youth evangelistic meeting in conjunction with the Southern Union Conference of Seventh day Adventists. As a result of this meeting 28 precious souls were baptized into the remnant body of believers church.

This evangelistic series sparked an unknown “evangelistic fervor” in the soul of Pastor Jacobs that continues to fuel all present ministerial endeavors.

Pastor Jacobs served as the assistant pastor of the Berean Seventh day Adventist Church until August of 2002 when he left to attend the Seventh day Andrews Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs Michigan. While attending the seminary Pastor Jacobs served as the administrative student pastor of the New Life Seventh day Adventist campus church. He was also actively involved in many of the student vocal organizations such as the New Life Praise Team and the Divinity Ensemble.

Pastor Jacobs completed his Masters of Divinity degree in December of 2004 after which he was assigned to serve as the pastor of the Bethel Seventh day Adventist Church in Asheville, North Carolina.

Pastor T. Ellsworth Gantt, II, Celebrates 20 Years of Service

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The year 2010 will become a milestone in Riverside, California History. Second Baptist Church of Riverside, California will honor Pastor T. Ellsworth Gantt, II for 20 years of pastoral leadership.

“It is with great pleasure that we the members of Second Baptist Church honor and esteem our great Leader, T. Ellsworth Gantt, II, an outstanding Pastor, Preacher, and Teacher,” said Chair Berna Crumer. “Pastor has been ministering for 41 years.

“Our Pastor is deserving of double honor. He is an anointed teacher & preacher whom God called at the age of 17 and remains on the battle field disciplining the unsaved and strengthening the saved,” she continued.

He continues to share the vision that God has given him, by giving hope to those in despair, strengthening the weak and restoring joy through the Word of God.

“We the members want to celebrate the man of God for his labor,” said Trustee Jerald Moore.

The public is invited to come celebrate on Sunday, March 21, 2010 and Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 4 p.m.

Guest churches will be Second Baptist Church of Indio, Pastor Ricky Williams; Victory Temple of Moreno Valley, Bishop Randy Triplett, Pastor; Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, Dr. Melvin V. Wade, Sr. Pastor, the Second Baptist Church of Monrovia, Bishop William LaRue Dillard, Pastor; Faith Fellowship Bible Church, Pastor Mark Williams; Crown of Life Ministries, Pastor Dwight Jones. These two days of celebration promises a soul stirring, foot stomping, hand clapping event.

Second Baptist Church of Riverside is located at 2911 Ninth Street in Riverside, California. For more information, call (951) 684-7532 or visit us at www.secondbaptistriverside.org.

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you"
(Psalm 55:22 NKJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
When worry comes knocking on your door, stop it on the doorstep or it will move in and take up residence.

'Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you' (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). God cares about the things that worry you and prey upon your thoughts. He cares about them more than you do. Not one nagging, aching, worrisome, gut-wrenching, bloodpressure- raising thought escapes His notice. Because 'you are his personal concern', He watches over you day and night.

What qualifies as a worry?

Anything that robs you of joy, anything you can't change, anything you're not responsible for, anything you're unable to control, anything that torments you, anything that keeps you awake when you should be asleep. All of that 'stuff' needs to be transferred from your worry list to your prayer list. The Bible says, 'Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace. '
(Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

Give each worry, one by one, to God. The more you practice doing this, the more exciting your walk with Him will become. You'll be amazed at how easily He handles things that overwhelm you. Remind yourself that He's able to handle it, willing to handle it, and waiting for you to give it to Him.

'Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.' Those who live worry free are those who keep casting their burdens on the Lord until it becomes as natural to them as breathing! It's time to STOP worrying about it and let Jesus work it out!

Jesus can work it out (repeat)

That problem that I had (I had)

I just couldn't seem to solve (to solve)

I tried and I tried (I tried) Kept gettin' deeper involved (involved)

I turned it over to Jesus (Jesus)

And I stopped worryin' about it (about it) I turned it over to the Lord and He worked it out (oh yeah)

Jesus can work it out!

Pastor Campbell can reached at larrycampbell14@ca.rr.com

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