Editor’s note: Stan and Gloria Beerman announced their retirements earlier this year, to the dismay of so many of us who work with them! Stan retired on April 30 (watch for an article about him coming May 13), with Gloria choosing to stay on until August to help wrap up several projects. This is the first article, the shorter of two you will find here in the Newsroom about Gloria, because frankly, we couldn’t fit it all into one piece! Make sure you wish her well when you see her and Stan in the coming weeks.
See the large round badge in the picture above? The one with the white heart and the words, “KIDS IN ACTION.” That badge pretty well sums up Gloria Beerman’s life as a schoolteacher and children’s ministry leader in the Oregon Conference. In her Conference role she has focused on the personal spiritual growth of young children and their families.
“I would hope,” she says, “that I've helped young people develop a relationship with Jesus, the kind of relationship where they know He's there for them and that they are loved.”
“When I look back at my life, the things that seem most meaningful to me have been primarily with the children. It’s amazing, but almost every child who I've ever taught has reconnected with me or asked to be friends on Facebook.”
Gloria, and her husband Stan, have worked in three Seventh-day Adventist Conferences - Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Most of that time, Gloria taught school while Stan pastored a local congregation. However, that changed when Stan accepted the job of Ministerial Director for the Oregon Conference.
“I love working with kids,” Gloria says, “and one of the biggest sacrifices I have ever made was to leave my church family and the students in my classroom. It was very hard to move from ministering with a group who knew me well, to become part of the conference team. Rather than having a strong, stable church family, I was now walking into a new church every week, meeting with people I didn’t know, and then moving on to another church full of strangers the next week. That change was really difficult for the introvert in me.”
Though most of her 18 years in the Conference office have been spent working with the adults who are leading Adventurers, she has always stayed closely connected to the kids, helping them make every day a “Fun Day.”
You can see that in the rest of the badges, several of which were designed by the kids themselves! Gloria has helped make Oregon Adventurer Family Fun Days happen on the “Oregon Trail”, in forest campsites, while studying snowflakes, building Lego towers, identifying plants, starting a lifetime bird list, or following the wind.
The change was tough, but it didn’t take long before Gloria found a whole new family - the church members who were leading kids in the conference.
“I love the connectedness I have with the directors. They are people I can shepherd, you know, a group that I have developed meaningful relationships with. I get to encourage and support them, help them explore new ideas, and hopefully have a spiritual impact on them, and then on the kids through them. They are very special to me.”
Gloria’s husband Stan retired on April 30. Gloria is staying on until August 1, to help with several special projects for her kids and their leaders. When she retires, her work record will show 27 years as a teacher and more than 14 as leader of the Adventurers for the Oregon Conference. We are all better off – closer to Jesus – because she has been here.
“God started this journey for me.” Gloria smiles as she looks at the patches, seeing faces of kids and leaders and remembering special moments with her Adventurers. “He told me that this was the path He wanted me to walk on. Well, it's been a good path, one the Lord knew from the beginning to the end. One He has led me on, carefully, lovingly, wisely. Yeah. Thank you for the journey. And, have fun. All of you!”
Read more about Gloria's life and her time teaching in our second retirement article for Gloria...
Click on any of the photos below to see a larger version in the gallery.