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Spring Executive Committee Highlights
By Celeste Ryan Blyden
At the Spring meeting of the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee, administrators and attendees bid farewell to Monte Sahlin, vice president for Creative Ministries, with a standing ovation. As part of the tribute, president Dave Weigley thanked Sahlin for his service and presented him with an award. “We wish you God’s blessings as you explore the next chapter in your ministry journey,” he said.
After nearly 12 years at the North American Division headquarters and eight as a union officer, Sahlin and his wife, Norma (who once served as Women’s Ministries director for the Union and is currently communication director for the Center for Creative Ministry) will return to ministry in the Ohio Conference. “This is an opportunity for me to again work at the “front lines” of ministry,” Sahlin wrote in his final “Last Words” column, which will appear in the April edition of the Visitor. “A key focus of my new assignment will be to help pastors and congregations find ways to have a transforming, more Christ-like impact on their communities.”
During his tenure, Sahlin supported the growth of many ministries including the Secular Campus Ministries Retreat, the Lay Evangelism Training Program, the Generation X Taskforce, the Columbia Union Departmental Meetings, and Metro Ministries etc. Most important to him was the work of Metro Ministries in the large cities of the Columbia Union. In his final report to the committee, he outlined seven needs and called on the committee and union administrators to continue reaching cities in partnership with the “homeland missionaries” now working there.
The committee was also introduced to Ruben Ramos, who started serving as assistant to the president for Multilingual Ministries last month. “The 2000 Census indicated that there are 3 million Hispanics in the territory of the Columbia Union, but we know there are many more,” he said. He plans to work with local conference Hispanic Ministries leaders and other multilingual coordinators to cultivate and further evangelism work among immigrant populations. After Ramos was introduced, New Jersey Conference president LeRoy Finck offered a prayer of dedication for his new ministry.
Next meeting: May 3