Columbia Union People
by Celeste Ryan Blyden

The Columbia Union is blessed to have nearly 125,000 baptized members worshiping in 700 churches across eight states.  As Visitor editor, Celeste Ryan Blyden travels to churches, schools, hospitals, camp meetings, and other places in our union to attend and cover events, etc.  Through this blog, she introduces you to the "Columbia Union People" she meets along the way.  Take a look; you might see someone you know!

Archives 2008
Columbia Union People

Visit to Trinity Temple, Newark, New Jersey


 

Jackie Williams, youth Sabbath School superintendent, saw me taking photos and introduced herself. She showed me around to her classrooms where everyone was busy learning. She says there are about 80 young people in her division and a number of wonderful teachers.

One of the dedicated teachers is Helen Hughes. She leads a group of 25 energetic Little Lambs, the youngest members of the Newark Pioneers Pathfinder Club. Two of these little ones, clad in their pretty blue uniforms, are her children. I wonder if there’s a little lambs song?

 

Andrew Hawkins, 14, is studying for baptism with Deborah Spearman. On this day, he was learning what happens to people when they die. He will be baptized in April.

 

Margery Morgan enjoys singing in the Trinity Temple Mass Choir, but I knew there had to be more to her than just a beautiful alto voice and a bashful smile. Turns out she just retired last year after serving 25 years as principal of Trinity Temple Academy, the church’s K-8 school. Who knew we have a school in Newark? Glad to meet you Mrs. Morgan and to know about your dedicated service to Adventist education.

Trinity Temple Mass Choir added beautiful music to the service.
 
This young man enjoyed collecting dollars for children’s ministry.
These three young ladies enjoyed listening to a special story about valuing ourselves. Indeed Jesus values us so we should value ourselves and each other.
It was such a blessing to see Pastor Norman Miles and to know where he’s ministering these days. Austin and I appreciated his hospitality and enjoyed his sermon titled “The Path to Freedom,” which reminded members of the importance of maintaining a connection with God. “Some of us, as our prosperity goes up, our prayer life goes down,” he noted. “But, above all, God wants us to be in connection with Him.” He talked about the 30-day fast that members had just completed and encouraged them to continue to fast from another area they needed to address spiritually.


Visit to Beltsville (Md.) Church - www.beltsvillesda.org

 

Carolyn Forrest, associate secretary and director of Human Relations at the North American Division, was the first person to greet Austin and me. Thanks for welcoming us to your church Carolyn.

Members took time to greet one another during the service. That’s one way to make sure no one is overlooked. They also invited all guests to stay for a vegan potluck after church. “That means no cheese,” said one member wrinkling his nose. I wanted to tell him that vegan food is healthier and it has come a long way in terms of taste. Give it a try! The good news is that next week’s potluck will be Hawaiian food. Think pineapple!

 

Last fall, Lisa Brown-McNeil invited her co-worker Ronnie Harrell to Beltsville. She hadn’t been coming regularly for like 10 years. But when she received the church’s Revelation Seminar flyer, she invited him to come along. He did and he’s been coming every week since October and studying with Pastor Kermit Netteburg. He’s getting baptized March 1. Awesome!

 

Nancy Mack “hammered” her points across with a great story that kept the kids wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Good job!

The praise team included 17-year-old Sunena Bathini on guitar.
Rather than one prayer from the front, members were invited to pray together in groups of two or three. “Were two or three are gathered in My name…”
Beltsville Adventist School’s 5th Grade Bells and Chimes provided special music. There were many proud parents and members cheering them on. 
PA facilitator Russ Moulder makes sure the sound is working right. We often don’t think about it, but that’s one job we should never take for granted because without sound all our churches and events would be in trouble. Thanks Russ and all our volunteer sound engineers for making church sound good Sabbath after Sabbath.