August 24, 2011

Union Disaster Response Point Man Urges Preparation

“When the shaking started, we were all reading,” reports Ann Trout, principal and teacher at the Central Penn Christian School in Lancaster, Pa. “The students just looked at me. I told them all to get down, and they got on the floor and under desks. After it was over, one student said, ‘It was scary and awesome.’ Then we prayed for the people who may have been hurt … [and] we thanked God for keeping us safe.”

Yesterday’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake (some news outlets are reporting 5.9-magnitude) left many in the Columbia Union Conference territory, and beyond, quite shaken. Would you know what to do in the event of a disaster? Bob Mitchell, the union’s Adventist Community Services Disaster Response coordinator, says having disaster response training will give you the tools and knowledge to not only save your own life but also to help others. He notes that with “tornadoes in April, Hurricane Irene coming and a 5.9 earthquake,” preparation is key.

While he has so far received no news of any of our entities or members sustaining any significant damage or injuries, he asks, “Are you ready? Do you have your personal evacuation kit ready to go? Have you had basic training in disaster preparedness?” Mitchell runs several disaster response workshops each year. To learn more about disaster response, contact him at or visit—Taashi Rowe 

Allegheny East Youth Collect Shoes, T-shirts, Bibles

Inspired by time spent at the service-oriented United Youth Congress in April, the Youth Ministries department of the Allegheny East Conference (AEC) held a T-shirt, shoe and Bible drive at camp meeting. Receptacles were placed in each of the youth tents for individuals to drop off their items.

“We wanted this drive to serve as an introductory program that will put in the minds of our youth what it means to serve,” explains Pastor Gary Banks, AEC’s assistant Youth Ministries director.

The youth donated 400 pairs of shoes and more than 100 T-shirts, which were then donated to nonprofit organizations. The Bibles will be donated to Advent Hope Ministries’ Bibles for Africa, which gives the books to individuals who may not be able to afford them. In addition to the drive, AEC also sponsored a street clean-up in a neighboring town for teen tent participants, where they collected 10 bags of trash.—LaTasha Hewitt

Hispanic Camp Meeting Hosts Home Church Graduation   

During Sabbath services at Potomac Conference’s Hispanic Camp Meeting, more than 1,200 brothers and sisters, 300 youth and 300 children gave glory to God in their various worship areas. They worshiped under the event theme “Divine Rest for the Remnant.

During Sabbath’s morning hours, there was a home church festival where more than 300 small group leaders went on stage wearing shirts printed with the Bible verse Exodus 28:12. Every home church leader assumed the responsibility of praying daily for their home church members; every pastor was asked to pray for all of their home church leaders; and conference administrators were asked to pray daily for their pastors. That afternoon 22 people gave their lives to Christ through baptism, some of which took place in the Shenandoah River and others in the huge baptistery set up in front of the boys dorm.

The graduation ceremony for the School of Theology for Discipleship took place in the evening. Fifty-seven students graduated as assistants to the pastor, seven as evangelists, 21 as Bible instructors and eight as home church leaders. The day ended with a concert by Kelly Marchena of Orlando, Fla., and the group Emmanuel from Montemorelos, Mexico.—Jacqueline Sanchez

To read Spanish-language stories, visit

El campestre hispano de Potomac anfitriona una graduación de iglesias

Más de mil doscientos hermanos y hermanas, trescientos jóvenes, y trescientos niños dieron gloria a Dios en sus respectivas áreas de cultos durante el campestre hispano de la Asociación de Potomac. Se adoró bajo el lema “Descanso divino para el remanente. En las horas del sábado de mañana se celebró un festival de iglesias. Más de trescientos líderes de grupos pequeños pasaron adelante vistiendo camisas impresas con el versículo Éxodo 28:12. Cada líder de su iglesia asumió la responsabilidad de orar diariamente por los miembros de su iglesia. Se le pidió a cada pastor que orarse por todos los líderes de sus iglesias, y a los administradores de la asociación que orasen diariamente por sus pastores.

Esa tarde, veintidós personas entregaron su vida a Cristo por medio del bautismo—unos en el Río Shenandoah y otros en un bautisterio grande ubicado frente al dormitorio de los varones. Esa tarde se realizó la ceremonia de graduación de la escuela de teología para el discipulado. Cincuenta y cinco estudiantes graduaron como asistentes de pastor, siete como evangelistas, veintiuno como obreros bíblicos, y ocho como líderes de iglesia. El día culminó con un concierto presentado por Kelly Marchena de Orlando, Fla., y el grupo Emmanuel de Montemorelos, México.—Jacqueline Sánchez

Para leer mas historias en Espanol, visite Tambien puede mandar historias o noticias a

Highland Teacher Receives “Distinction”  

When a teacher goes out of his way to set up an “archeological dig” in the school’s backyard, complete with broken bits of pottery and pieces of plastic skeleton, you don’t have to wonder if his students love learning. This is why Brittney L. Robinson, a senior at Highland Adventist School (HAS) in Elkins, W.Va., nominated Jeremy Jacko, ninth- through 12th-grade Bible, history and math teacher at HAS, for the National Society of High School Scholars’ Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction.

According to the organization, educators selected for this honor must be “an outstanding role model and positive influence, someone who has made a lasting difference in the student's life by encouraging them to strive for excellence.” Jacko, who has been teaching for the past five years, has clearly made a lasting impact on Robinson, who is not a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “It’s always encouraging to be recognized, especially when it’s by one of your students,” he said. “It’s already inspiring me to do better.”—Taashi Rowe

Spring Valley Academy Music Director Ministers Abroad

Kimberly Bulgin, Spring Valley Academy’s new music choral director, recently ministered abroad in song and the spoken word as the teen morning devotional speaker for this year’s Northern England and South England conferences camp meetings in the United Kingdom. The Holy Spirit used her mightily throughout the week, to speak to more than 200 young people about “Revived Dry Bones.” In addition to conducting a teen mass choir for the Sabbath evening concert, she also ran workshops on songwriting, music ministry and leading worship.

“I was really blessed by her ministry and the way she led worship,” shared Shadrach Stone, a member of the Teen Advisory for the South England Conference. Bulgin says she looks forward to continuing a rewarding “vocal” ministry at the Centerville, Ohio, school.—Vicki Swetnam

Highland View Student Participates in Leadership Conference
This summer Jazzmin Pride, a senior at Highland View Academy in Hagerstown, Md., and a member of Allegheny East Conference’s New Joy Fellowship church, also in Hagerstown, participated in the National Young Leaders Conference in Tysons Corner, Va. There she met other high school students from around the country and participated in several educational simulations, which focused on executive decision-making and the impact world leaders have on global events.

Holding to her convictions, Pride (pictured, right with a congresswoman) took a break from the continuing events on Friday afternoon and kept the Sabbath with a local family—returning on Saturday night without a hitch to join in the model congress.

In attending this conference, Pride says she gained a great understanding of how to lead in her West Virginia hometown and at her school. She plans to start a grassroots project called ChristMitts Tree where she will collect mittens for the homeless.—Ron Pride

Documentary on Adventists Attracts 40,000 “Hits”  

The trailer for the award-winning documentary film The Adventists has attracted more than 40,000 viewers to date on YouTube. The film, which continues to air nationwide on PBS stations, tells the story of Seventh-day Adventists and their commitment to medical advancement and a healthy lifestyle.

“When people have a chance to view clips of a film and get even a brief sampling of the themes and style, hopefully something is sparked, word spreads and more people become connected to the film’s potential,” says director Martin Doblmeier.

The film also has a Facebook page with more than 8,000 “likes.” The site offers fans of the film a chance to share their own ideas about themes and topics—experiences of Adventism or reflections on the role of religion and health. Doblmeier plans to do a second film about the church’s involvement in medical mission work.


First Church Pathfinder Pioneer Passes Away

When Laertes Gillis (pictured with his wife, Betty) started a Pathfinder club at Allegheny East Conference’s Dupont Park and First churches in Washington, D.C., and the Alexandria (Va.) church decades ago, he became the first Pathfinder coordinator in the United States. Impressed that something needed to be done for young people, he served as the Pathfinder director of those three churches and served the organization for 45 years. A member of the First church, he recently passed away with full Pathfinder and military honors.

A World War II veteran who served as a medic, Gillis was the oldest of five brothers and sisters. He was also a leader of the Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Society, now known as the Adventist Youth Society. Gillis loved to sing and was a member of the Dynamic Four Quartet. He played the violin and loved photography.

Silver Spring Church Brings Hope to the Deaf

The Potomac Conference organized the Spring of Hope church in Silver Spring, Md., in 2006 with 29 charter members. Today, as members of the national Deaf Evangelistic Adventist Fellowship, this church continues to minister to fellow hearing-impaired people in the community. Most Sabbaths they meet at the Silver Spring church, and on the fourth Sabbath, they fellowship with other deaf members at the Vienna (Va.) church, where an interpreter is often provided. The church does not have a pastor, but members gladly pitch in to preach the sermon or lead Sabbath School classes.

No matter what your hearing ability is, church clerk Cathy Ingram (pictured) encourages you to join them for Sabbath worship at 8900 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md. They meet on the lower level of the annex behind the church.—Taashi Rowe


Attend Mountain View’s Bible Training This Weekend   

Justin Howard, pastor of Mountain View Conference’s East Pea Ridge and Point Pleasant churches in West Virginia as well as director of the conference’s COMPEL evangelism center, is leading the Missionary Bible Worker Training this weekend. The program runs August 26-28, with supper beginning at 6 p.m., at the Valley Vista Adventist Center in Huttonsville, W.Va. Attendees will learn how to obtain Bible study interests, enhance their Bible work ministry, be equipped for proclaiming the gospel and hear inspiring stories of God’s miracle-working powers.

To register, call the conference office at (304) 422-4581, no later than close of business on Thursday, August 25. Ask for Jane Browning.

Adventists Encouraged to Get Moving on September 25

Vibrant Life’s annual 5K Fun Run/Walk is scheduled for September 25 on Let’s Move Day. Let’s Move Day is a national event of the Adventists InStep
for Life initiative sponsored by the North American Division, which is a partner with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program combating childhood obesity.

Vibrant Life magazine plans the fun run each fall as an outreach to the community of Hagerstown, Md., as well as to area Seventh-day Adventists. A portion of the race fee goes to charity. Registration runs from 7:30-8:30 a.m., and the race starts at 9 a.m.

Vibrant Life is the church’s health journal, which has been sharing the advantages of the Adventist lifestyle for 126 years. Get more information online at, or call (800) 876-7313.


In the August 17 issue of the Visitor News Bulletin, the correct name of the Delaware (Ohio) church pastor in the “2012 Union Camporee Dates Set” story is Ron Vozar. We regret the error.—Taashi Rowe

For more news and up-to-date information from the Columbia Union Conference, visit

Forward to a Friend or Subscribe

To share the Visitor News Bulletin with friends and church members across the Columbia Union, click the “Forward to a Friend” link below so all the photos and copy will appear correctly. Also, encourage them to sign up for the email at Thank you!  

Stay Connected:

Visitor News Bulletin Staff:
Celeste Ryan Blyden, Communication director; Taashi Rowe, news editor
5427 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia, MD 21045

Email:    Website:
Visitor News Bulletin is an electronic newsletter published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Columbia Union Conference. You are free to reprint any portion of the bulletin, however, please identify Visitor News Bulletin as the source.

Visitornews mailing list
To unsubscribe send your request to

This message was sent to from Columbia Union, 5427 Twin Knolls Road,, Columbia, MD 21045.
Edit profile / unsubscribe