The first Seventh-day Adventist church in Decherd, Tenn. has been through a lot since 1856. It was burned down during the Civil War, and in 1909 it was destroyed by a tornado.
This rural church has once again come alive with $104,000 in debt-free structural and cosmetic renovations. Members and friends of the congregation have pooled their financial resources with gracious gifts from as far away as Washington State. But, an additional $50,000 was still needed to bring the old church to complete renovation.
It was decided to plan a December 5, 2015 rededication service, and the conference president was booked to be a part of the grand festivities. In April, the funding needed to complete the final projects had not been raised so the congregation began to explore the possibility of borrowing the necessary funds. With church members prayerfully seeking God’s guidance, it seemed the advice received was all pointing to a single solution. While reading the Bible, the church business administrator came across Romans 13:8 which admonishers, “owe no one anything”; an Adventist donor not part of the Decherd Church strongly suggested that taking on debt would be a mistake; and on a sticky note attached to a check from a non-Adventist donor were scrawled the words, “the debtor is slave to the lender.” The church board felt an answer had been received and unanimously voted to not take out a loan.
Prayer sessions continue, work on the interior of the church progresses as funds are available, and the future is marked by a holy expectancy. The December deadline remains penciled in on the church calendar; and, the visit by the conference president has not been rescheduled. But, the completion of the Decherd Church will happen when God moves His hand to supply all the needs of a small church family whose mission to their community is on center stage.
—BY JAY PRALL
After many weeks of reviewing a number of qualified candidates, the Conference Executive Committee, acting upon the recommendation of the Administrative Committee, has elected Stephen Bralley to be the new Superintendent of Education.
Bralley is presently the principal/7th-8th grade teacher at Shoal Creek SDA School in Peachtree City, Ga. where he has served for the past five years. Before serving in Georgia, he was the principal at Great Plains Academy in Enterprise, Kans. where he contributed as boys’ dean, teacher, and as the head administrator for 9 years.
He began his teaching career in the public school system of Putnam County, Tenn., and in addition to his expertise as both a teacher and an administrator, is fully endorsed in Elementary Education, and on the Secondary level in the areas of Social Studies, History, English, and Civics. His academic background includes graduating from Little Creek Academy, attending Southern Adventist University, and graduating from Tennessee Tech University with his undergraduate degree. Bralley grew up in Cookeville, Tenn. where his parents still live.
He met his wife, Tina, while they were both serving as camp staff at Cohutta Springs, and would eventually become the Youth Camp Associate Director there. His love for youth, teaching talent, expertise in technology, and his devotion to Jesus and God’s Church, combined with his demonstrated ability to work well with educators and students drew the attention of our search committee and we are pleased he is joining our team this summer.
He and his wife, Tina, an accountant, have two children; their son Xander is 9 years old, and their daughter Katherine is 6. We welcome the Bralleys to Kentucky-Tennessee!
Photo: Xander, Stephen, Katherine, and Tina Bralley
On Sabbath December 13, 2014 Trust Services Director Lin Powell presented a large check to Treasurer Jerry Wilkey, First Elder Ken Gould, and Pastor Dennis Altrogge. The check in the amount of $210,560.98 for evangelistic outreach in the Paducah area represented the largest known gift to a Kentucky-Tennessee Conference church designated for that purpose.
Pastor Altrogge and the Paducah members are excited about the many opportunities that they will have to grow the kingdom of God in their local territory through this generous gift. They are already discussing plans for using it wisely for the greatest benefit and blessing over an extended period of time.
The extraordinary gift was made possible through the proceeds of the last will and testament of long-time Paducah member Gertrud Schramm who contacted our Trust Services Department for assistance in preparing her estate plan. We invite you to contact us to see how we can assist you in carrying out your wishes concerning the settling of your estate at your death in regards to your family and for the Lord’s work as you desire.
Born in 1925 in lovely Moreland, Lincoln County, Kentucky, Myrtle Rucker Carroll was the youngest of seven siblings born to Saint Clair and Hattie Morgan Rucker. She and her family enjoyed the richness of rural living in a quieter time.
After graduation from Moreland High School and business school, Myrtle was employed in retail and banking businesses in several cities including Detroit, Nashville and Tampa where she retired.
She relocated to Middle Tennessee to help with the care of an ailing older sister and settled in Portland where she enjoyed the fellowship of the Adventist family of believers surrounding Highland Academy and the nearby Adventist churches. In no time this friendly lady was well connected with the community becoming known as “Miss Myrtle” by her many friends at businesses and organizations. The years she spent volunteering at the hospital were perhaps her greatest outreach to the public.
One of Myrtle’s greatest passions was the documentation of the history of the Rucker and Morgan families. She was widely known for her expertise in collecting pictures, dates and other valuable family information.
After moving to Tennessee, Myrtle sought the assistance of the Conference Trust Services Department to prepare her last will and testament, a trust and other important documents. She carefully planned a way for her earthly possessions to be passed on for the benefit of her beloved Highland Church, the ministries of the Kentucky- Tennessee Conference, the family burial place in her hometown in Kentucky and for family heirlooms, including the family history she had compiled, to be passed on to hands that would protect them for future generations. As carefully as Myrtle, during her life, chronicled her family’s history, she did her utmost to support the future of the Lord’s after her death.
We invite you to contact us for an opportunity to assist you in developing your estate plan.
Kentucky-Tennessee Conference Trust Services Department
“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
Sharon Sandefur was born in 1956 in Lincoln, Nebraska into a family of two boys. Her parents loved the Lord and wanted to be sure their kids were raised in a Christian school and so she went to Adventist schools all the way through High School: Mile High Academy and two years at Campion Boarding Academy. She also attended Union College after graduating from academy.
Sharon started working for a company that leased and rented apartments and during that time, she drifted away from attending church and didn’t have a strong walk with the Lord. During those times her dad recalls that in his talks he would gently ask her: “Is there anything I can do to encourage your walk with Christ?” but was always mindful not to push her in any way. Sharon’s answers to these talks were: “I won’t come back until I give my whole heart to God” and “I’ll probably go to an evangelistic meeting if Mark Finley ever comes to town.”
After several years she moved to Orlando to work in the accounting department of an orthopedic clinic and she met a young man named Ted Williams that she fell in love with. As their courtship progressed she mentioned that she wanted to be married in the Adventist church. Her father told her that if she wanted to be married in an Adventist church to a non-believer she couldn’t do it and so Ted came to Sharon’s father and wanted to do whatever was necessary to marry Sharon. He took Bible studies from the local pastor there in Orlando and accepted Christ into his heart and was baptized at the church. Three weeks later, Sharon and Ted were married at the Adventist church. After they were married though, they discontinued attending church much and from what Sharon had shared with me, lived a very worldly life.
15 years into their marriage, Ted had a motorcycle accident and wasn’t able to work in his job as the head of the bakery department in the Florida Hospital anymore. Sharon stepped into the care-giver role and attended to his needs for several years until his death in 2011. During that time, Mark Finley came to Orlando to hold evangelistic meetings and Sharon’s father reminded her of the somewhat empty promise she had made to him some time ago about attending meetings held by Mark Finley. Sharon and Ted both made the decision to follow her father’s invitation and during the meetings they gave their “whole heart” to the Lord and were later re-baptized at Highland Academy during the 2010 Kentucky-Tennessee Conference camp meeting where they had moved to be closer to family.
The Highland SDA Church was a nurturing and kind church whose attention and love towards Ted and Sharon compelled them to grow in their faith and also become involved in the church. Sharon volunteered to teach music and choir at the Highland Elementary School and sang in the choir at church and played the piano and organ.
In 2002, Sharon had fought off breast cancer successfully but when it returned in 2013 it had invaded her whole system and she couldn’t recover.
Her last words to her dad, who was by her side when she passed away, were: “I really love Jesus.”
When I met with Sharon during camp meeting of 2013 to work on her estate planning documents, she told me that she was going to die. I was impressed by her peace and strength that she exuded. She wanted to be sure that a trusted family member would handle her estate and that her family and local church at Highland was going to be remembered in her Last Will and Testament.
Just like Sharon Williams took advantage of our services, we invite you to contact us for an opportunity to assist you in developing your own personal estate plan here at the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference Trust Services Department.
February was a challenging, but memorable month for the Lawrenceburg, Tennessee Lions. In spite of inclement weather of ice and blustery rain, all but three members of the club were present for an unusual pathfinder Sabbath on February 21. One of the cherished staff members, Nancy Raymond who was terminally ill with CLL (a form of Leukemia), made a last request. She wanted to be able to pin and present her very own Master Guide scarf to one of the teen pathfinders with whom she had been studying for his Master Guide for the past year and a half. Each pathfinder and staff took this opportunity to express love and gratitude to Nancy with cards, mementos, hugs, and a single red rose. It was a very emotional, but an uplifting time for the club as well as hospice personnel, Nancy’s doctor, and other family members and friends. Nancy will be sorely missed by so many and long remembered for her many years of devotion to pathfinders.
Nancy died on Tuesday morning, February 24. She was the club director for the Waynesboro Survivors and the Parsons Peacemakers, and worked with the Lawrenceburg Lions since 1997. She attended the Forever Faithful International Camporee in August 2014 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with the Lions. Nancy lived and loved Pathfinders! She will be greatly missed….