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Adventists Befriend Community Leaders

By Celeste Ryan Blyden

Last Friday a dozen leaders from Seventh-day Adventist organizations in and around Takoma Park, Md., had breakfast with Valerie Ervin, a local county councilmember. They introduced themselves and the schools, hospitals, ministries and churches they lead and asked how Adventists can be of help in the community. Ervin told them about some of the projects she’s working on and some of the challenges she faces in her role as their community representative. “We’re facing a major budget deficit,” she said. “But with high unemployment and the recession, we don’t want to raise taxes.”

While they didn’t solve her budget crisis in their hourlong meeting, they accomplished what meeting chair Erwin Mack was hoping for—they made a connection. “For far too many years, the abundance of Seventh-day Adventist professional services have been unrecognized by the political persons who may be looking for the very professional services that we have,” he says. “It's sort of like hiding your light under a bushel basket. People can't be guided by a light they can't see.”

That’s why five years ago, Mack, head elder at Potomac’s Sligo church, started the Adventist Community Action Council (ACAC). Each month members gather at Washington Adventist Hospital to talk about ways to impact and be of service to their community. For example, each year they organize or help with an Earth Day service project.
They also host community leaders, introduce them to the church and its ministries and seek out ways to be of service. Recent guests have included the mayor of Takoma Park; city council members; city and county police chiefs (pictured) and fire chiefs, and various organizational leaders. Next month’s guest is Nancy Floreen, president of the county council.

To learn more about the group, email Mack.