Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Seventh-day Adventist

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.

It’s a Sabbath morning and the small chapel at 5203 Manchester Drive in Temple Hills, Md., is packed. This is the inaugural meeting of the Arise church, the first Hispanic American church in the Potomac Conference and people have come from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., to see what it is all about.

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.

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.

Phil Balisciano was brought up in a nominal Protestant home where he was not grounded in the Word of God. So he set off early to pursue what he thought was his real purpose of life—“having a good time.” That was his philosophy, but God had His own deep and wonderful purposes for this party-lover.

Delegates to Allegheny East Conference’s (AEC) Fourth Quadrennial Constituency Session elected two new officers, four new departmental directors, extended terms of office to five years and spent considerable time discussing their constitution and bylaws Sunday at their daylong meeting in the northeast corner of Maryland.

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.