Editorial by José H. Cortés Sr., president of the New Jersey Conference
I remember when my family moved to the New Jersey Conference 30 years ago. My wife, Celita, two sons, Jose Jr. and Josue, and I came after ministering in the Euro-African Division. We carried four nearly empty pieces of luggage, but our hearts were lled with dreams. Now as we look back, we only have expressions of gratitude. The
Lord’s hands have been upon us! God took our dreams and multiplied them infinitely. Through our sons, He brought us daughters: Joanne and Joyce. He also blessed us with grandkids: Jose III, Nadia, Joel and Emma. God has given us much more than we deserve, and His blessings keep raining upon us.
By Debra McKinney Banks
Visit a Seventh-day Adventist church these days, and it is no longer guaranteed that the service will start at 11 a.m. No one really knows the history of when or where the 11 o’clock Sabbath worship time began. Plausible theories from pastors and historians posit that during more agrarian times, farming families needed to tend to the livestock and finish the chores before attending church. Whatever the reason, most people don’t maintain that farming lifestyle anymore. Today some pastors have discovered that holding Sabbath services at non-traditional times—either before or after 11—are becoming more of a necessity to meet the missional needs of their flocks.
Editorial by Celeste Ryan Blyden
You aren’t alone. A recent survey of executive committee members across the Columbia Union Conference identified lack of community among church members as an issue. “The greatest challenge is lack of social connectivity between the families and members within the churches,” noted one participant. “The large majority of members limit their relationship with one another to only Sabbath School, worship service and fellowship meal time—basically once a week.”
While Sabbath potluck remains high on the list of member favorites (Who would want to miss haystacks?), for many, the fellowship ends as soon as the last piece of dessert has been claimed.
Story by Columbia Union Visitor Staff
The Columbia Union Conference is creating a database of volunteers interested in traveling to Houston and other areas impacted by natural disasters to work as a crisis counselor or in the warehouse distribution centers. Experienced volunteers are preferred, however, anyone with a willing heart will be considered, says Minnie McNeil, Columbia Union ACS/ACSDR coordinator.
Story by Anna Bartlett
Growing up Adventist, Amy Newman experienced something different than Christian love from her Adventist community.
“I remember a lot of standards. [We would think] ‘is she dressed nice enough?’ ‘Was that music holy enough?’ ‘Were they quiet enough?’ [We were very] judgmental, worrying about what we thought of each other versus the emphasis being on going to church and doing ALL for Jesus.”
Sadly, Amy’s story is not unique. Many Adventists shared stories of feeling burned by the communities they grew up in. Some choose to leave. Some perpetuate the judgmental atmosphere. But some, like Amy, become part of a community that chooses to make a difference.
Amy Newman is now the relationship coordinator at Pennsylvania Conference’s Grace Outlet church, where she assists in coordinating the monthly socials there. The socials are a way all ages can come together in an environment that is non-threatening and relaxed and build a community based on sharing Jesus instead of upholding artificial standards.
“We do not have a standard [for how you should be]. You come as you are, whether you wear a suit or jeans, have purple hair or blond, we greet everyone and hug everyone and make sure everyone feels like family,” Amy says.
Amy says her involvement with this ministry has changed her personal perspective on what Adventist community is based on.
Story by Anna Bartlett
A group of Potomac Conference churches in the Richmond area have learned the key to building community in their churches is through a ready-made small group—families. Local leaders used the families within the church to create 25 home churches in order to reach families outside the church and adopt them into the church community.
“We established the method of ‘Families that Earn Families for Jesus,’” says Rafael Soto (pictured, pastor of the Hopewell Spanish, Richmond Evangelist Center, Blackstone Spanish and the West End Spanish churches that sponsor the home churches.
Story by Anna Bartlett
Collective is a student-led Friday evening worship service and fellowship meal held in homes where students and faculty of Kettering College in Dayton, Ohio, can share their stories and worship together.
As Kettering is not a residential campus, many of the students live in a very segmented world, says Steve Carlson (pictured), campus chaplain. They drive in for class and then go home, often only interacting with others within their own program.
Story by Betty Klinck
Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Md., has been ranked in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide by receiving a Three-Star rating – the highest possible quality rating – for coronary bypass graft surgery (CABG), the most common type of open-heart surgery in the U.S.
Blog by Rob Vandeman
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this psalm is its unusual length, 176 verses. The theme, generally speaking, is the Word of God. The primary emphasis of such lengthy praises of the Word must then be that the person of faith cannot weary in singing the merits of the Word of the Lord.