Campion Academy is blessed to be connected to a vibrant and dynamic church community. Campion Church has three pastoral positions, and each pastor has a unique impact on our students and families. While Pastor Micheal Goetz continues as lead pastor, both associate pastor positions have recently changed.
Welcome Pastor Mike Taylor
In May, Campion Church welcomed Pastor Mike Taylor to the staff as the Associate Pastor for Family and Discipleship Ministries. Taylor was chosen to fill the position after Pastor Michael Morse took a call to the Washington Conference this past February.
Taylor plans to continue to develop Grow Groups, and connect with students through Pathfinders, Sabbath School, and other family ministries. With a love for math, science, and technology, Taylor is a self-proclaimed nerd, and plans to incorporate his tech skills to strengthen Campion’s ministry.
The Taylor family comes to us from Paw Paw, Michigan, where he was serving as the local church pastor. This is the latest chapter in what has already been a whirlwind of a journey for them; when they first met, Michael was a devout atheist who was enamored with a devout Adventist, Anndrea. She faithfully and lovingly witnessed to him, revealing a loving God who was working in and through her. (He still jokingly refers to himself as a "victim of prayer.")
Almost two decades later, they have been blessed with several incredible opportunities to see the reality of God working in their lives. When they loaded up a tiny U-Haul and went to Andrews University for their bachelor's degrees (Michael's degree is in theology, and Anndrea's is elementary education), they trusted in The God Who Provides.Through their calling into ministry, and their chance to continue their education (Michael at the seminary for his Master’s of Divinity, and Anndrea at Western Michigan U. for Educational Leadership), God continued preparing and equipping them for the challenges ahead. The biggest project He was preparing them for (thus far), however, was in their own family: they are coming to us blessed with 6-year-old Hannah, a set of 4.5- year--old twins, Hayley and Heidi, and ANOTHER set of twins, the almost 2-year-old duo of Hudson and Holly.
Farewell to Pastor Nestor Soriano
Church members came together over breakfast on Sunday to say goodbye and show appreciation for Pastor Nestor Soriano and his family after serving as Associate Pastor of Worship and Evangelism at the Campion Church for six years. Pastor Nestor has accepted a call to serve as the lead pastor at the Hinsdale Seventh-day Adventist Church, in his hometown near Chicago.
Most often seen each Sabbath with a guitar in-hand or at the piano, Pastor Nestor was well-known for leading the worship service through his talents in music. His wife Katherine joined him as a frequent vocalist during the worship service as well. Pastor Nestor also coordinated and led evangelistic series each year at the church.
Campion students were deeply impacted over the years by Pastor Nestor as he served as a mentor in music and discipleship.
Madi Jordan, Class of 2020, accompanied the praise team at church on violin throughout her high school years. “Pastor Nestor has been an amazing mentor in my musical journey, and it is because of his patience, kindness and encouragement that I am the musician I am today”, Jordan shared. “Not only did he teach me how to effectively lead a praise team, he also taught me how to lead people to Jesus through music. He challenges me constantly to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, pushing me to learn new things. I am very lucky to call him a mentor and a friend. He will be greatly missed.”
Andy Obregon, Class of 2021, commented, “Pastor Nestor was someone who had that charismatic charm upon encountering him. His friendly and sensible personality would make you automatically comfortable around him. Playing with him was a blast all the way through my time at Campion. He is a very talented pianist who is very influenced by jazz and is very passionate on how he does worship. I found inspiration for how I would play the guitar by watching him, and I can’t thank him enough for what he taught me. He is a gentleman, an excellent advisor, and a great example of Jesus.”
Campion Academy students and staff wish Pastor Nestor and his family all the best as they follow God’s lead. Campion Church is currently beginning the search process for applicants to fill the associate pastor position in the upcoming months.
At a three-day event, Campion Academy’s graduating class of 2021 celebrated their accomplishment of thriving through it all after more than a year of masking, social distancing, and switching between in-person and online classes. While attendance was limited and by-invitation only, the 29 graduates were able to continue Campion’s traditions of Parent Tribute, Baccalaureate, Class Night, and Commencement in the gymnasium with a crowd of family and friends.
In a speech addressed to her classmates, Class President and Student Chaplain Milka Mendonza-Sanchez stated, “We have all had rough patches in our personal lives, and this year may not have been our ideal senior year, but I know that on this campus we’ve been able to grow spiritually, and together we’ve learned how to keep going through the difficulties of life.”
Principal Donavan Reeder commended the class as well, remarking, “I’m so proud of our students this year at Campion Academy. We threw them curve-balls left and right, and they were able to handle every pitch.”
A historically small class throughout their four years at Campion, the class of 2021 was known for their closeness, diversity, and spirituality. Mendoza-Sanchez explained, “Our class is small, but I know that I can take any one of you aside and say ‘Hey, I’d like to pray with you,’ or ‘I need prayer today’ and it will happen.”
With more than half the class able to speak a language other than English, it was unique to hear five different languages during the Friday evening Parent Tribute. The class includes six international students from Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and many others from Spanish, Indonesian, and Tagalog-speaking families.
Carlos Santana, husband to Head Dean of Women Molly Santana and current Theology student at Southwestern, was the chosen speaker for Sunday’s Commencement. “This class is special; it really is,” he emphasized to the students. “No matter what field you are going into, the class of 2021 is a class full of ministers; you are going to do beautiful, wonderful things for the Glory of God.”
During Commencement, representatives from Union College presented the graduates with a total of $576,000 in scholarships. The highest award, the Presidential Scholarship, valued at $46,000, was awarded to both Tiffany Dien and Samantha Hodges.
While it poured rain outside, the ceremony was capped-off with an indoor reception filled with joyous tears, celebratory hugs, and many photos.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Parent Tribute and Baccalaureate