Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Columbia Union News

Today at the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee meeting, the presidents of the union’s two healthcare systems made a donation that will make a dramatic difference in the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands of visually impaired people in India.

Members from all across the Columbia Union Conference are among the thousands of people converging on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Their participation started on Saturday at a joint rally for jobs and freedom and commemoration of the original march.

On Wednesday, June 19, the administrations of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and its North American Division (NAD) forwarded, to the boards of Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, a request for the two organizations to consider a merger in the near future. The proposal comes in response to church administrators’ analysis of the current publishing mission setting along with related distribution systems. It builds upon the work of several commissions/groups that, over the past several years, have studied the challenges and opportunities arising from rapid technology changes in publishing, as well as changes in how society accesses information.

A. Allan Martin, PhD, didn’t mince words. A former professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University (Mich.) and a current young adult pastor at a thriving church in Texas, Martin hit the members of the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee with stark numbers: some 60 to 70 percent of young people leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Minutes away from the main convention hall where hundreds of pastors are attending iAbide, the Columbia Union pastors convention in Baltimore, some 20 women sit down for a simple dinner at a restaurant. A green salad graces their plates, followed by vegetable kabobs set on a bed of quinoa and finished off with a dessert of ice cream, berries or a combination of the two. The women chat and laugh, tease each other and share sage advice. These women are not just pastoral spouses (although some are). They are pastors, pastoral interns, chaplains, conference administrators and Bible workers who minister throughout the Columbia Union.

During the 11 o’clock service on Sabbath, January 5, Brenda Billingy, senior pastor of Allegheny East Conference’s (AEC) Metropolitan church in Hyattsville, Md., looked from her chair on the podium to the back of her church and wondered, “Why is the [Columbia] Union president here?” She soon found out. Her associate pastor, Marquis D. Johns, had planned a surprise ceremony, that included Columbia Union president Dave Weigley, executive secretary Rob Vandeman and treasurer Seth Bardu, to celebrate her ministerial credentials that had been recently revised to indicate that she is an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister.

Seventh-day Adventists employ a number of creative ways to share their faith and minister to others. As you look for ways to reach your community this holiday season, and in the year ahead, you may want to pick up your December Visitor as it includes imaginative examples of ministry in motion. Below is one story of creative evangelism:

During year end meetings last week, Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee members voted to give $40,000 to the Allegheny East and New Jersey conferences to aid them in their super storm Sandy relief efforts. The three union officers then prayed over José H. Cortés, New Jersey Conference president; and Henry J. Fordham, Allegheny East Conference president; as well as for the efforts of volunteers throughout New Jersey.