Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists
- Columbia Union News
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.
Over the course of three days, some 700 Columbia Union pastors and their spouses gathered in Baltimore for the union’s first pastors convention in nine years. Themed “iAbide” with the tagline “Strengthen, Renew, Replenish,” convention organizers set out to do just that.
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.
John Konrad, Vice President and General Manager of Washington’s contemporary Christian music station, WGTS 91.9, passed away this morning after a short illness.
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.
At year-end meetings last week, five Columbia Union Conference members were recognized for their contribution to the cause of Christ during a special luncheon held in their honor. This new award, called Notable Persons of Honor, spotlighted Joyce Newmyer, president of Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Md.; Larry Boggess, president of the Mountain View Conference; José H. Cortés, president of the New Jersey Conference; Josephine Benton, a retired pastor; and Weymouth Spence, president of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park.
Last month at the Society of Adventist Communicators (SAC) in Albuquerque, N.M., several members of the Columbia Union Conference walked away with awards recognizing their work in the communication field.