Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Pennsylvania Conference

As thirteen-year-old Makaela Smith begins eighth grade at Garden Spot Middle School in New Holland, Pa., this fall she has more than just academics and cheerleading on her mind. Smith, who became a baptized member of Pennsylvania Conference’s Lancaster church in February, is determined to make a difference in the world around her.

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.

Jacob had never attended summer camp before. Being visually impaired made it difficult for him to participate in typical summer camp activities. But that changed this summer as Jacob attended a camp specifically designed for the blind and visually impaired at Pennsylvania Conference’s Laurel Lake Camp and Retreat Center in Rossiter, Pa.

It’s a hot, sunny, summer afternoon in Philadelphia, perfect for lunching with friends or lounging by the pool. But that’s not where you’ll find Maile Hoffman. Clad in tan pants, a navy blue shirt and sneakers, this 18 year old is on a mission, and there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing. Donning a shoulder bag, a two-way radio and plenty of “bread” (sharing books), she makes her way down 68th Avenue, climbs the stairs of the house on the corner, rings the bell and waits. Moments later a woman emerges and Hoffman, a member of Pennsylvania Conference’s Harrisburg church and a recent graduate of Blue Mountain Academy (BMA) in Hamburg, Pa., flashes her signature smile and opens her bag. A short while later, the woman purchases a book, Hoffman prays with her and heads to the next home.  

Pennsylvania Conference’s Adventist WholeHealth Network (AWHN) leaders served an integral role in the yearlong planning and preparation for the recent Central Pennsylvania Parish Nursing Conference held in Landisville. More than 150 interfaith parish nurses and sponsors from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey attended. “Parish Nursing and Health Ministries: Looking to the Future” was the conference’s theme. It featured keynote speaker Verna B. Carson, PhD, and four breakout workshops. The Pennsylvania Conference and AWHN were two of the event sponsors, and the conference’s book and health food store and AWHN set up booths.

Seventh-day Adventist volunteers from churches throughout the Allegheny East and Pennsylvania conferences worked at five sites throughout Pennsylvania on Sunday to offer aid to their neighbors still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Just two weeks ago, the Adventist church in Paterson, N.J., partnered with Lowe’s Home Improvement stores to distribute items to a community reeling from flood damage As the home improvement store looked to aid flood victims in eastern Pennsylvania, they again worked with Adventist church members who, with little notice, were quick to volunteer their time, hugs and prayers.

Grace Outlet began with prayer. Jeanne Hartwell, Pennsylvania Conference Family Ministries director, and Pastor Kris Eckenroth began praying in June 2008, for a way to reach the more than 300 young adults living in the Berks County area who had at one time been connected to a Seventh-day Adventist church or school and were no longer regularly attending church.