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Historic Storms Close Churches, Schools, and Conferences
Compiled by Celeste Ryan Blyden
“Church is Finally Opened,” reads the announcement on the home page of Chesapeake’s New Hope church in Fulton, Md. Finally is right! Two blizzards, dubbed “Snowmageddon” and “Snowpocalypse,” hit the mid-Atlantic states, dumping over 50 inches of snow and shuttering Seventh-day Adventist churches, schools, conference offices, and the Adventist world headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., for days. People are digging out and things are finally getting back to normal. But how did Columbia Union members fare? Here are snippets of news and photos shared with the Visitor via Facebook, Twitter, and email:
Potomac’s Restoration Praise pastor Paul Graham streamed prayer meeting live to members.
Errol Stoddart, pastor of Allegheny East’s (AEC) Miracle Temple streamed his Sabbath sermon.
Kumar Dixit, pastor for Administration, Community Development and Worship at Chesapeake’s New Hope church sent an email titled “23 Things to do While You are Snowed In.”
Members of AEC’s Capitol Hill church in Washington, D.C., worshipped via teleconference, as did members of AEC’s New Joy Fellowship in Hagerstown, Md.
Raj Attiken, president of Ohio Conference, says that despite getting about 20 inches in Ohio and closing the office for a day and a half, Ohio Ministry University was a success. “Despite the fact that most of our churches were closed on Sabbath, and despite the fact that there were snow emergencies in many Ohio counties, close to 150 people braved their way to the event!” he shared via email.
Between 60 and 70 people weathered the winter storm to meet at Potomac’s Beltsville Church to celebrate the baptism of its newest member, Bonnie Anthony. What made this especially unique is that many of those in attendance were guests from other churches that were closed that day (Beltsville was one of the few churches in the Washington, D.C., area that held services). In addition, there were 55 sites watching online, with multiple people at many of those sites. Read more and see photos
In Mountain View, Jim and Elaine Buchanan, prayed for witnessing opportunities and got them! Jim, who pastors the Summersville, Webster Springs, Braxton, and Richwood district, shared his faith with a Hindu computer technician in India. “The snow was falling at a rate of one to three inches per hour. Everything was closed down and cancelled and here I sat staring at the window watching the snow fall. This is the worse nightmare for a soul winner, not having anyone to witness to, so I prayed and asked God to send me someone. I went to turn on my computer to catch up on some paper work and my computer decided to malfunction. I decided to call tech support to help me with the problem that had incurred. As expected, I was connected to a representative for Dell on the other side of the world. READ MORE
Charles Tapp, pastor of Potomac’s Sligo church, sent an email to his members. Here’s an excerpt:
“Being in a lockdown of sorts during the past several days has reminded me that we humans are not as in control of things as we think we are. Yes, we can make very detailed plans for certain things to take place, but the mere fact that we plan is no guarantee that they will ever come to fruition. I would love to know how many Super Bowl parties had to be canceled or at least downsized this past weekend as a result of the snowstorm that hit our area. We can plan all we want, but unless we understand that our plans are always subject to the mercy of God, we will always be disappointed. The apostle James put it this way:
‘Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.’
“Isn’t it amazing that God has a message for us even in the snow?”