Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Columbia Union News

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.

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.

Approximately four dozen members from Columbia Union churches in the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area gathered at the union office in Columbia, Md., October 20 for the Liberty Festival 2012. Sponsored by the union’s Office of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL), the program provided an overview of the role of religious freedom in the development of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and also provided an opportunity for the church to consider religious freedom from the perspective of other faiths.

If the referendum on Maryland’s Civil Marriage Act passes, the state would join six others and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage. As they head to the polls this month, Seventh-day Adventist Christians are wondering what passage of this law and two others could mean for Bible-believers. In 1999 and again in 2004, the world church released statements upholding the biblical view and fundamental belief that marriage should involve one man and one woman.

We acknowledge the concerns and questions our recent special constituency vote raised among some of our church family and administrators and regret that some misunderstood our motives and intentions. We unwaveringly stand in solidarity with our worldwide church family in faith, belief, doctrine and mission and appeal for understanding.

“Washington Adventist Hospital will continue to grow where we are while we again seek to obtain approval for a new hospital campus. Though this is a challenge, we choose to embrace possibility,” said William G "Bill" Robertson, Adventist HealthCare (AHC) president, speaking to attendees at the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee who gathered today for their regular fall meeting.