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Year-end Meetings Reveal Tithe Increase

By Celeste Ryan Blyden

At the year-end meeting of the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee, attendees learned that despite the economic downturn, tithe is up 1.7 percent in the Columbia Union. “In every other union in North America, tithe declined,” said union treasurer Seth Bardu. “But we are thanking God for His blessings and for sustaining His church during this difficult time.”

Membership is also up, reported Neville Harcombe, union executive secretary. There are now 130,277 baptized members in the union’s eight-state territory, and, as each conference president reported during the meeting, thousands more were added during the Year of Evangelism, but there’s still work to do. “A lot of our congregations haven’t brought anyone to Jesus in a long time, but we want to see everyone bring someone to Jesus,” said Potomac Conference president Bill Miller who saw 1,100 baptisms in his territory this year and welcomed two Virginia congregations that accepted the Adventist message.

Ohio Conference Youth Ministries director Mike Stevenson, who also serves as union coordinator, gave the morning’s devotional and then shared a recap of the “Courage to Stand” International Camporee in Oshkosh, Wis. He also announced plans for a unionwide Pathfinder camporee to be held in West Virginia in 2012.

Committee members also addressed several issues—women’s ordination, delegate selection for the upcoming General Conference Session, and how to engage young adults. “We need to involve young adults in the work of the church, and communicate with them in the way they communicate—with technology,” suggested New Jersey Conference president José Cortes. Next meeting: March 18.