Educating Children for Eternity

April 01, 2010 | Tom Maher

The first-annual Alaska Conference Education Summit, held Feb. 12–13 at Anchorage (Alaska) Junior Academy brought pastors and teachers together from around the conference to address two important questions: 1) What are some of the most serious issues facing students today? and 2) To what extent are students in their schools being prepared to address such concerns?

Tom Maher, Alaska Conference education superintendent, and Ken Crawford, Alaska Conference president, planned for the summit to provide pastors and teachers with power-sharing encounters to help realign their collective approach in promoting Adventist education.

The Summit's theme, Spiritual Values — "Will Our Children Carry the Torch?" kicked off Friday evening Feb. 12 with a keynote address from main presenter, Mark Witas, North Cascade Adventist Church pastor from Burlington, Wash. Music was provided by praise singers from the Second Mile Adventist Church in Anchorage, and Janice Renck, special guest musician from Spokane, Wash. Witas, who also has an extensive background in Adventist education, centered his message on his own journey of coming to Jesus. He said, "God has a unique plan to turn around unexpected situations that imprisoned our youth to achieve more and make a difference." Witas shared how his own experience helped him rediscover the value of Christian education.

On Sabbath morning, Witas led the pastors, teachers and parents in a group dynamic activity on the value formation for Christian education. In the afternoon, after a haystack lunch, Crawford and his wife, Colleen, and Ed Dunn, Alaska Conference executive secretary, and his wife Cheryl, held breakout sessions on "Shepherding the Heart of the Child" and "What About Homeschooling?" respectively. Keith Waters and Patti Revolinski, both from the NPUC Education department, shared issues discovered through the Cognitive Genesis process. These meetings also became a forum for exchange between pastors and teachers about improving methods of mentoring youth in our schools and churches.