Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Ohio Conference

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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. 

Photo by Simon Tao

While Roy Simpson was growing up, his dad, Peter, always cut his hair, except for a few years when “I wanted to do things my way,” says Roy, who used to think he was very different from his dad. That changed after working with him as a volunteer at the conference office where they shared many conversations. Those talks “made me realize that we have so much in common, especially our passion for ministry,” says Roy, assistant treasurer for Ohio Conference. 

At the end of this year, Seventh-day Adventists in the Pennsylvania and Ohio conferences will see two Adventist Book Centers (ABC) close—one in Mount Vernon, Ohio—the other in Hamburg, Pa. The closures come as a result of the Idaho-based Pacific Press Publishing Association’s (PPPA) decision early this fall to end a management agreement of some 17 ABCs across the North American Division.

This week presidents of the Columbia Union’s eight conferences, two healthcare networks and university met in Columbia, Md., for executive-level board meetings. The week started with Presidents’ Council where each president shared praises and challenges from their field. On Tuesday each conference’s top-three officers met for Administrator’s Council where they handled the business of the union. They also heard a presentation on crisis communication from Celeste Ryan Blyden, Visitor publisher and editor, and author of the new book, Crisis Boot Camp, published by the North American Division. 
 

“Today we are revisiting the days of pioneers of the [Seventh-day] Adventist movement when there were women evangelists who raised up churches, who preached and baptized,” said Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference, during an ordination service for Hazel Burns (81) and Margaret Turner (90) at Ohio Conference’s Kettering church last Sabbath.

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.