August 31, 2011

New Chesapeake President Announced

The Chesapeake Conference Executive Committee elected Rick Remmers, DMin, conference president yesterday. He replaces Robert T. Vandeman who recently accepted a call to serve as executive secretary of the Columbia Union Conference.

“Rick is well qualified to lead the Chesapeake Conference, having served admirably as secretary in two conferences,” said Dave Weigley (pictured right, shaking Remmer’s hand), Columbia Union Conference president. “He has a grasp of administration and has the respect of many of his constituents.”

Remmers has been the Chesapeake Conference executive secretary since early 2010. In this role, he is an active strategic planner for conference events and initiatives. He also directs the Prayer and Health ministries of the conference. A graduate of Andrews University (Mich.) and an ordained minister, Remmers has spent more than 20 years in pastoral, evangelistic and administrative ministry in Ohio, Illinois and Maryland.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord and His church in this way,” said Remmers following the meeting.—Samantha Young


Iconic Washington Adventist University Music Director Dies

Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, DMA, professor and director of the New England Youth Ensemble (NEYE) at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md., passed away yesterday morning in Massachusetts.

“The Washington Adventist University family is deeply saddened at the passing of a true pioneer in Seventh-day Adventist education. She was a driving, innovative force with the orchestra and the programs she began,” says Weymouth Spence, EdD, university president.

She founded the New England Youth Ensemble in 1969 with a group of five students at Atlantic Union College in Massachusetts. In 1994 the NEYE became the resident orchestra of Washington Adventist University and has since continued to enjoy widespread critical acclaim. Under her direction, the NEYE has performed both nationally and internationally for numerous world leaders.

As details about the funeral arrangements become available, they will be posted at Inquiries may be sent to—William Jackson


Union’s Disaster Response Team Assesses Hurricane Damage   

While residents up and down the East Coast are recovering from the varying impact of Hurricane Irene, the Columbia Union’s Adventist Community Services (ACS) Disaster Response (DR) team continues to assess the damage and respond accordingly. Though Seventh-day Adventist institutions and members appear to have escaped major damage, the union’s disaster response leaders are concerned about how power outages and flooding in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, to a lesser extent, is impacting their neighbors. So far Pennsylvania team members have a mobile feeding unit in Goshen and are looking to store goods at a central location to assist survivors. New Jersey’s ACS DR team is getting personal care kits and flood buckets out to survivors.

“The good news is that many areas were not affected as severely as predicted,” said Minnie McNeil, Allegheny East Conference’s ACS director. However, “I hasten to add that the families of the 23 persons that lost their lives know this to be a monstrous and deadly storm.”


Ohio Food Bank Named Innovative Program of 2011

The Cleveland Food Bank, a network of nearly 600 partnering agencies within six counties in northern Ohio, recently named the Ohio Conference’s Walk of Faith Community Center (WOFCC) “Innovative Program of the Year 2011.” WOFCC, a Cleveland affiliate of Adventist Community Services, partnered with the Cleveland Food Bank in September 2009 to serve neighborhoods in Cleveland’s West Park community.

WOFCC’s food pantry is only open one day a week for two hours, yet serves an average of 400 individuals monthly. Volunteers assist clients with selections and then help transport the groceries to their car or bus stop. Impressed by their unique system, the United State Department of Agriculture selected WOFCC this summer as one of two food pantries to tour.

“By building relationships with the community, we build trust,” expresses Lisa Falkenstein (pictured, right with Karli Kuehmichel, pantry manager) director of WOFCC. “Some even feel safe enough to come back and join us for a Sabbath!”—Heidi Shoemaker


Courthouse Road Members Donate School Supplies  

For the past several years, Potomac Conference’s Courthouse Road church in Richmond, Va., has partnered with their county’s Social Services Department to provide backpacks for underprivileged children. They hoped to distribute 26 backpacks this year, but members of the church sponsored 35 instead!
One out of every three active members volunteered to buy a backpack for a particular child and fill it with school supplies required by the child’s teacher. The supply lists were long and total cost hovered around $65 per pack, but that didn’t deter those who wanted to make a difference in a child’s life. One member had so much fun preparing the first backpack, she wanted to do a second. Another said her 3-year-old son made sure she picked the “coolest” stuff for the kids. Other members summed up the experience by saying they “had a blast.” Many members also included caring and inspiring notes, sure to encourage the young people who received them.—Joanna Whitaker

Beacon of Hope Conducts Parking Lot Baptisms

As a witness to the community, Allegheny West Conference’s Beacon of Hope Church in Columbus, Ohio, decided to do something a little unusual: they conducted two baptisms in their parking lot. “We decided to go to where the people were to share the beauty of giving your life to Christ,” explains Pastor Bryant Taylor, DMin, who came up with the idea.

While Shawanda Don and Heather Hughes publically dedicated their lives to the Lord in a portable baptismal tank, neighbors watched from their windows or while passing on the sidewalk. “A baptism is always good. It does not matter where you have it,” commented member Sula Whitely. “It was an awesome experience.”—Beth Michaels


Inmates Enjoy Eighth Annual Weekend Revival
Members of the Little Flock congregation at the Western Correctional Institution (WCI) in Cumberland, Md., recently enjoyed their eighth annual weekend revival. Hosted by the Greater Washington Chapter of Prison Ministries, the three-day revival, themed “Caught up in the Spirit,” yielded four baptisms.

Members from Washington, D.C.-area churches, including First, Fourth Street-Friendship and Dupont Park; Metropolitan in Hyattsville, Md.; and Potomac Conference’s Seabrook church in Lanham, Md.; volunteered their time (and gas money) to travel two hours to the facility. Once there, they spent the weekend teaching, learning and praising God with the men of the Little Flock company.

“The walls of the prison seemed to melt away as our spirits were lifted in praise of the God of heaven,” said one inmate. “Our theme song said it best: ‘There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place, and I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord.’”—A WCI Inmate

Spencerville Celebrates 15 Years With Senior Pastor  

On Sabbath, August 27, members of the Spencerville church in Silver Spring, Md., celebrated 15 years under the leadership of Senior Pastor Jerry Lutz (at podium) and his wife, Janet. Present at the service were current and former pastors, including Rob Vandeman, former senior pastor and then president of the Chesapeake Conference.

“Jerry has guided this congregation through many a challenging situation and cast a vision for the future,” said Vandeman. “His keen analytical mind, his broad ecclesiastical perspective, his profound theological insight and his deep spiritual commitment have helped guide decisions being made at these and other church levels.”

Under Lutz’s leadership, Spencerville church has a long list of accomplishments involving mission, ministries, growth and expansion, not the least of which is the recent completion of the church’s new 14-grade academy. He was presented with a staff carved from a tree related to this project to serve as a spiritual reminder of his calling, commitment and congregation.—Merle Poirier

Noticias: La Asociación de Nueva Jersey traza planes para lanzarse por Cristo en ochenta ciudades y pueblos

“Reivindicamos el pueblo de Ledgewood”, anunció el anciano que estaba de pie junto al podio, al lado de su pastor.

“¿Les concedemos este pueblo para que lo ocupen por Jesús?”, preguntó el presidente de su Asociación.

“¡Sí! ¡Amén!”, se escuchó la respuesta entusiasta de la audiencia.

“Reivindicamos la ciudad de Hightstown”, declaró otro, y recibió la misma pregunta y respuesta positiva.

“Reivindicamos Kearny”, exclamó el dúo entusiasta de Harrison, N.J.

Las personas continuaban pasando hacia adelante. Y al terminar la mañana de marzo, en el retiro de la Asociación en Tranquil Valley Retreat Center (TVRC), en Tranquility, N.J., los pastores y los ancianos de la Asociación de Nueva Jersey se habían comprometido públicamente a evangelizar ochenta ciudades y pueblos para Cristo.

Esta iniciativa valerosa llamada “Misión Caleb” es idea original del presidente de la Asociación, José H. Cortés, la cual obtuvo durante un culto matinal. “Inicio cada día orando por mi pueblo”, dice él.—Celeste Ryan Blyden


Meet Winona Hudson, New HVA Vice Principal

Winona Hudson recently joined Highland View Academy (HVA) as vice principal of academic administration. She comes to HVA from Fresno, Calif. She graduated from Loma Linda University with an associate degree in nursing and spent 16 years as a registered nurse. Hudson went on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Multiple Subjects Teaching with a Cross Cultural Language Development Credential from California State University Fresno and a Master of Arts in Education with Administration and Supervision Credential. She taught for the Clovis Unified School District for five years, spent two years in Hanford as a learning director and five years as a vice principal/teacher at Fresno Adventist Academy.

“If I can touch the heart of a child so that they can see a glimpse of God, develop their gifts of service, then I know that His will for my life is complete,” she says. She is married to Gary. They are parents to three young adults and grandparents of one.


WAU Students to Host 9/11 Memorial Concert

The Student Association at Washington Adventist University will be presenting a September 11 memorial concert at the on-campus Sligo church. Committed, a group of Oakwood University (Ala.) students who won the The Sing-Off, NBC’s televised singing competition, will headline the concert. The concert will honor local firefighters and police who responded to the 9/11 attacks, and will feature families who lost loved ones that day. A portion of the proceeds will go to the 9/11 Worthy Student Fund.

The concert begins at 8 p.m., Sunday, September 11, at 7700 Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park, Md. Tickets can be purchased through

September 9-11: The Chesapeake Conference’s Youth Leaders Convention will be held at the Mount Aetna Camp and Retreat Center in Hagerstown, Md. Featured speaker: Randy Fishell, GUIDE Magazine editor. To register, call (410) 995-1910, ext. 2337

September 25: Vibrant Life’s annual 5K Fun Run/Walk in Hagterstown, Md., is scheduled for September 25 on Let’s Move Day. Registration runs from 7:30-8:30 a.m., and the race starts at 9 a.m. Get more information online at, or call (800) 876-7313.

September Visitor Highlights

This month we tell the story of how a biblical Israelite leader inspired and fueled a conference president and his members’ passion to reach others for Christ in the little-reached areas of the New Jersey Conference. 


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

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Taashi Rowe, news editor; Celeste Ryan Blyden, communication director 
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