Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Columbia Union

Photo by James Ferry

Ministry is often a family affair. These dynamic, dedicated family duos—father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife and siblings—have dedicated their lives to working for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. How are they alike? Different? What blessings and challenges have they experienced? And what have they learned along the way?

Photo by Frank Mitman

Serving others is an inherent way of life for brothers Franklin and Lee Stahl (pictured). “Our parents created a Christian home that was active in service from the get-go,” says Franklin. As early as age 6, Lee and Franklin started Ingathering with the family and often spent Sabbath afternoons visiting nursing homes in Pennsylvania, where they were raised and still serve today. 

Photo by Steven Mastoianni

The idea for the Allegheny West Conference (AWC) Young Adult Retreat was birthed in the backseat of Jerome and Carolyn Hurst’s car. During a two-and-a-half-hour ride home from the conference constituency meeting, Charde (Hurst) Hollins, a recent college graduate, and her parents bounced ideas back and forth, as she wrote them down on a stray piece of paper and pen from the bottom of her mother’s purse.

Photograph by Erica Haller

At age 15, Jose Cortes Jr., the North American Division’s associate ministerial director for evangelism, wanted to be a doctor—not a pastor. Being a wise father, José H. Cortés, Sr., who serves as president of the New Jersey Conference, encouraged his son to pursue his dream. But early one morning in Madrid, Spain, Cortes Jr. heard his heavenly Father’s call to become a pastor. “I believe that [my father’s] wonderful and exemplary ministry during his early years influenced and silently encouraged my call,” says Cortes Jr. 

Photo from Pixabay

Mortified. That’s how my mom, Vicki (Curtiss) Bernard, recalls feeling as she sat in Chemistry class at Mount Vernon Academy where her dad, Leon Curtiss, was the teacher. “If we got what we deserve, we’d all be grease spots,” he’d say, trying to lighten the mood while navigating tough subjects like science and math. A fixture at Ohio Conference’s longtime school (now closed), my grandfather was known for his corny jokes and one-liners.