The Campion Academy Orchestra and select choir, Koinonia, traveled to the Fort Collins Seventh-day Adventist Church last Sabbath to lead out in their worship service. Several Campion students and staff are members at this church, just 30 minutes from Campion.
This last Sabbath, all of the residence hall students traveled to five different churches in the surrounding areas to lead out in their services, in a school-wide SWAT (Students With a Testimony) event.
The Campion students were divided into groups of 10-15 people, going to churches in Aurora, Brighton, Greeley, and Fort Collins. They could share their testimonies and musical gifts by leading worship and sharing special music that inspired people in those churches.
Carlos Santana, Campion Chaplain, came up with the idea of having a SWAT trip on a bigger scale. He shared, “I feel God inspired me to plan this event. One day over the summer I was talking to Molly, my wife about it, and I asked her, ‘What if the whole school did a SWAT trip?’ We thought that if everyone would be a part of SWAT, they would each touch different hearts. I was scared because it was a major undertaking to plan, but it ended up going well.”
After the service, over potluck, the students got to talk to the church members and share a little bit more about their life at Campion and also hear some feedback about the service.
Damaris Lopez-Morquecho, junior, reflected, “I enjoyed sharing my testimony and seeing how my group and I worked together. It was also awesome how the church members at Adventure church accepted us. They are all so welcoming.”
Maxwell Bicknell, a sophomore commented, “When I went on SWAT, my favorite thing was talking to the church members and hearing some of their thoughts. I also really enjoyed being able to give my testimony and felt like I was doing something that God wanted me to do.”
After the success of this event, Chaplain Carlos plans to continue more individual SWAT trips to different churches throughout the year, and potentially make a school-wide trip an annual event.
Pedro Vieira, Student News Team
This past Sabbath, a Campion Academy SWAT (Students with a Testimony) team traveled to Sidney, Nebraska to put on the church service for the local Seventh-day Adventist congregation.
The students shared testimonies, prayers, music, poetry, and scripture. The members of the church commented that they were blessed by hearing the students' testimonies as they participated in praise and worship together.
Elizabeth Shannon, senior, reflects, “It's fun getting to know other church members and seeing how God works through you to impact their lives. A lot of people told us - ‘I loved how you guys came and I want you guys to come again,’ which I really appreciated.”
The students and church members bonded over delicious food in a potluck following the service. Mabel Cabandon, senior, shared, “This was my first time going on SWAT and the church members made me feel so welcomed. I loved eating potluck and getting to know the church members. The root beer floats and mashed potatoes were so good; definitely the best part!”
Teresa Johansen, Campion Church Administrative Assistant, helped organize the trip and accompanied the students. She reflected, “My favorite part of SWAT was learning more about the kids when they told their testimonies and their stories. They did a really good job and the people at the church really appreciated it. It was really fun!”
Campion Academy has a tradition of sending students to various churches in the Rocky Mountain Conference. This year, Chaplain Carlos Santana has placed sophomore student, Izuchi Nwankwo, in charge of finding students to participate in SWAT events. Nwankwo explains, “Being in charge of finding students for the SWAT trips makes me think outside of the box. I try to find different people for the trips, which also helps me make new friends and understand more people. SWAT has helped my leadership.”
This year, Chaplain Carlos Santana plans to take students to different churches about once a month.
Eva Resz, Student News Team
Photos by Eva Resz
Campion students united in prayer and praise for a Sabbath youth service in the chapel led by Chaplain Carlos and Student Chaplains Eva Resz and Jovanna Maldonado, after Mountain Church at GVR had been canceled due to weather.
The Youth Church was centered around this school year’s theme: God’s Will. It included worship music, prayer, activities, a sermon, and time to discuss. “It was awesome to hear all the different takeaways and reflections across the group about how each person viewed the story and how it impacted each individual’s walk with Christ,” said Ekenna Nwankwo, senior.
The students also enjoyed center campus by hanging out with each other, laughing, and playing games in the afternoon. “Youth Sabbath was filled with spiritual happiness. Not only did I feel connected with God but with all the students as well. Hanging out with friends, singing songs, and having Bible studies. Such an amazing sabbath!” shared Mabel Cabandon, senior.
Pedro Vieira, Student News Team
Campion Church and Campion Academy students worshiped together on Sabbath for the first time this school year. On this dedication Sabbath, Pastor Rodlie Ortiz had his first sermon at Campion Church’s lead pastor.
In his sermon, he encouraged the audience to let go of their personal burdens and go to God for rest. Ariel Patterson, senior, commented. “I really like the new pastor. His sermon spoke to so many students. He explained how we must go under God’s yolk and He will help us.”
Students in the Music Department helped lead worship, which included a performance from Koinonia, Campion’s select choir, after just two days of rehearsal. Abby Waworoendeng, one of the soloists in Koinonia, expressed, “I was nervous, at first, to sing because we didn’t have a ton of time to prepare, but once I was up there singing, I felt better. I knew God was there with me.”
During the service, the teachers and staff were invited to come forward and were prayed over for their ministry this academic year.
After church, all of the students and church members enjoyed food and games together on Center Campus. Students from Campion and kids from the church played friendly games of football and soccer together. The new pastor joined in, getting to know students and families. Ortiz shared, “I love being around young people! The students have a buzzing energy. I’m so excited to be here and get to know all the students.”
Vashty Segovia Santos, Student News Team
This past Sabbath, Campion’s church service was filled with colorful flags, greetings, and songs in different languages. Students and church members paraded in a variety of flags from countries all around the world, with many wearing traditional cultural clothing.
The congregation sang in six different languages and students read Bible verses in other languages, too. Airi Nomura, an international student from Japan, said, “It was very hard but fun to sing in many different languages. I really liked when everyone was trying to say “Jesus loves you” in Japanese.”
A group of Indonesian students performed for special music. “I loved how I could speak to God in another language and sing for Him. I was able to express my culture in a way people could remember,” commented Blessing Simamora. “This International Sabbath was definitely worth performing for and it’s something I will cherish for a long time.”
Continuing on the global theme, the academy’s international club created a special evening activity for the dorm students. Students rotated to four stations representing the home countries of the international students. In the gym, the Brazilian students organized a game of taco, which is a Brazilian form of cricket, and Carnival mask painting. Also, the students from the Democratic Republic of Congo held soccer games and hosted a drum circle.
In the Student Center, the Chinese students offered games of ping pong as well as learning to write the Chinese character ‘love’ for Valentine’s Day. In the chapel, Airi hosted Japanese karaoke and origami. Throughout the stations, students could win traditional Chinese red packets with a raffle number for their participation. Five winners received a free take-out meal. The night ended with sparklers and fireworks in celebration of Chinese New Year.
Sophie Baez said, “I really enjoyed how we could all come together and share our cultures even though we are from different countries. I liked the evening games because we learned new things and games from other countries.”
Tiffany Dien, Student News Team
After preparing throughout the first semester, the instrumental groups of Campion Academy serenaded the Campion Church last Sabbath.
Allegro Vivace Ringers performed first and played Let the Bells Peal. For children’s story Music Ring Supreme played I’ve Got Peace Like a River. The groups also accompanied the congregational worship music. To end the Sabbath celebration, Caritas Chamber Strings played Brandenburg Concerto for postlude.
It was a highlight to hear live music performances during the COVID pandemic.
When I was young, I lived in El Salvador, where there were massive rain storms. Every once in a while, it would get so bad that church would be canceled, and we would have church at home. My family would put on our own mini church service with a sermon, offering call, and everything. Of course, that was before there was such a thing as online-church. Now, it’s a lot more convenient to have church at home. However, it still takes a lot of work to make it happen, and there are many dedicated individuals who have put in the work.
Many churches already have a media team and a live streaming system in place, but there have been other obstacles they have had to work together to overcome. Since outreach is such a huge part of the Adventist church's mission, it has become a major goal for pastors all over the world to make sure that they can still reach out and connect to their church families and the community. The church staff and members have been doing things like driveway visitations (while still respecting the parameters of social distancing), calling to pray with people, spirit weeks, and Instagram take-overs to name a few. Church leadership is encouraging people to get creative and find even more new ways to stay connected.
There are many volunteers who have also contributed and are making an impact. Sabbath School teachers record sabbath school lessons for kids. Whole families have joined together to provide music for Sabbath Schools and for the main service. Pastor Micheal Goetz of Campion church says, “We have seen an increase in individuals and families who are coming up with their own way to care and show ministry to other people. And that's really what the church has dreamed of being about.”
Many Campion Academy students have stepped up to help in their home churches. Ben Maxson, a junior at Campion Academy, says, “I run the video camera and help with sound and slides. I also help the associate pastor with the church’s social media presence. I also go with my parents when we visit people’s houses and just stand outside and talk. I love that I can stay active and help out my community.”
Many other students including musicians, Andy Obregón and Kylie Wehling, and speakers, including Robyn Quillin and Erick Maldonado, have all been involved in Campion Academy Friday night vespers. Campion Academy is also planning to have an online week of prayer the first week of May, hosted by the senior class.
Social distancing may have physically separated the church members, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still gain a blessing by worshipping together at a distance.
Ashley Reyes, Guest Contributor