September 28, 2011

Metropolitan Church Baptizes 113

The pastors at Allegheny East Conference’s Metropolitan church in Hyattsville, Md., weren’t planning on performing a baptism on Sabbath, September 17. Members were in the midst of “Lifted,” a two-week evangelism campaign that attracted some 300 people each night, and the only baptism scheduled was for the second Sabbath. However, the Holy Spirit had been working on Christopher Robinson those first few days, and he couldn’t wait another week to publicly commit his life to Christ.

“He pleaded for us to do the baptism the next day. The seriousness in his eyes was the reason we filled the pool that first weekend,” said Brenda Billingy, Metropolitan’s senior pastor. “When he took his stand, that opened the flood gates.”

At the end of that Sabbath, 61 additional people joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The next Sabbath, an additional 51 people took a stand for the Lord, bringing the total baptized over the two weekends to 113.—Taashi Rowe


Let’s Move Day! Garners White House, Media Attention    

On Sunday Seventh-day Adventists from all around the North American Division (NAD) joined 50 other faith and community organizations in responding to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! national health and fitness campaign. In the Columbia Union, Vibrant Life, the church’s health magazine, organized a fun run and walk on the grounds of the Review and Herald Publishing Association in Hagerstown, Md., to which Obama sent two representatives: Joanne Grossi, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Judy Palfrey, MD, executive director of the first lady’s Let’s Move initiative. Both walked the three-mile course.—Kim Peckham


Hispanic Pastors Work on Graduate Degrees Close to Home

Luis Estrada (right), pastor of Allegheny East Conference’s Emanuel Spanish church in Mount Ranier, Md., is one of 29 Spanish-speaking pastors and lay leaders working on a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Andrews University (Mich.) He is earning the degree through three, one-week intensive classes he takes annually at the Columbia Union Conference’s headquarters in Columbia, Md.

Estrada (pictured with Ricardo Norton, DMin, the program’s coordinator) says, “This is one of the most important things I can do to serve God, and that is to update my education.”

The Columbia Union is one of four unions sponsoring the program. The 48-credit-hours program covers theology, history of the Adventist Church, mission, prophecy and practical theology. It also has two added benefits: it is offered in Spanish and it allows pastors to learn while they continue to actively minister at their home churches.—Taashi Rowe


Los pastores hispanohablantes estudian cerca de casa para obtener sus licenciaturas  

“Bautizamos cuarenta y dos mil hispanos el año pasado, lo que representa alrededor de un tercio de todos los bautismos en la División Norteamericana”, comunica Ricardo Norton, D.Min., director del Instituto de Ministerio Hispano de la Universidad de Andrews (Mich.). Norton se encuentra sentado frente a una clase en la sede de la Unión de Columbia en Columbia, Md., la cual acaba de tratar los detalles del desarrollo y la implementación de los ministerios de los grupos pequeños.

Ante él están veintinueve estudiantes hispanohablantes—la mayoría pastores de iglesias en la Unión, quienes concluyen una clase para obtener su maestría en el ministerio pastoral.

“Este programa prepara a nuestros pastores para ser mejores profesionales”, explica Norton señalando hacia la clase. Él coordina este programa por medio del seminario teológico adventista del séptimo día en la Universidad de Andrews. “El cristianismo está enfrentando nuevos desafíos, nuevos problemas sociales, y nuevas cosmovisiones que militan contra el cristianismo. Estos cursos los preparan para enfrentar esos desafíos”.—Taashi Rowe


Morija French Baptizes Four

Winning souls for the Lord this summer was a challenge for members of the New Jersey Conference’s Morija French church in New Brunswick. However, Pastor Bledir Larivaux (pictured with Martine Lima) initiated the effort and persevered to the end. The few Haitian families who live in the area showed no interest in the three angels’ messages, so the pastor utilized the Bible study on prophecies as a strategy to enter their homes. At the end of the crusade, four people gave their hearts to Jesus Christ and entered the church through baptism. Out of the four baptized, three of them are between the ages of 14 and 21.

Worthington Church Welcomes New Senior Pastor

After a yearlong search across the North American Division for a new senior pastor, Ohio Conference's Worthington church found one in its backyard—Yuliyan Filipov, former pastor for the Bowling Green, Findlay and Northwood churches. Filipov now shepherds the Worthington congregation along with his wife, Milenka, and their daughter, Lora.

Carolyn Sowards, local church committee chair, reports that she finds Filipov to be “a pastor with Christ-centered qualities and aspirations.” She adds, “Pastor Filipov’s ministry focuses on encouraging and strengthening each individual on their journey to a greater relationship with Christ. He desires that each member recognize his or her spiritual strengths and serve within his or her own giftedness for the glory of the Savior.”—Heidi Shoemaker

Capital Memorial Members Create Vegetarian Cookbook

Potomac Conference’s Capital Memorial church is known in Northwest Washington, D.C., for its annual International Vegetarian Food Fair. After 20 years of members sharing their favorite dishes, they can now give a collective response to attendees’ regular demand for the recipes. Members Lisa Carreno, Esther Harter, Florence Williams, Virginia Harter and Jacquie Bokow (pictured clockwise) helped put together this three-ringed binder, which includes 524 vegetarian and vegan recipes from 40 countries. Also, the extensive glossary provides a description on a variety of ethnic and vegetarian ingredients. Order at—Beth Michaels

Brinklow Member Records Obama Speech, Makes History

Before President Barack Obama delivered his jobs speech to a joint session of the United States Congress, he shook hands with Christina Anderson Smith. The official reporter for the U.S. House of Representatives, Smith is also a member of Allegheny East Conference’s Emmanuel-Brinklow church in Ashton, Md. She was present in the capitol to dictate the president’s remarks. History was made that night, as it was the first time an African-American reporter for the House recorded a speech by the first African-American president. Smith is also an alumna of Pine Forge Academy in Pine Forge, Pa., and of Oakwood University (Ala.)—Freda James

Parkersburg Church Member Named Volunteer of the Year  

Clifford Leeson (pictured, second from the left) was recently named Volunteer of the Year for his work at the Newstart Thrift Mart in Parkersburg, W.Va.  Mountain View Conference's Parkersburg church, which has operated the store for the past four years, sells clothes, furniture, some appliances, books and knickknacks. Leeson was recognized for his work as a jack-of-all-trades. He sorts articles for display, picks up and delivers furniture, moves merchandise and does other handy work at the store.

The Parkersburg church sees the store as a ministry. They show religious programming on the store’s television, offer religious literature and offer financial help to those in need.—Valerie Morikone

End Quote: Katie Cotton, Mount Vernon Academy Senior

"Deciding to attend Mount Vernon Academy [in Mount Vernon, Ohio] was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only have I grown character-wise in the two years I have been here, but I have grown spiritually as well. The connection I feel with the students and the staff is not one that I was able to get in public school. Even though I have been anticipating my senior year for quite some time, I [know that I] will miss this amazing environment and the people who helped mold me into who I am. I will always remember how attending MVA made me the strong, spiritual and independent woman that I will need to be to survive in this world."


October 1: Maryland Men of Faith will hold their annual conference at the Mount Aetna Camp and Retreat Center in Hagerstown, Md. Pastor Fredrick Russell, Allegheny West Conference president, will be the keynote speaker. Register online at

October 1: “Men of Honor” Awards The Washington Metro Area Women’s Ministries presents the 2011 “Men of Honor” awards ceremony at 5 p.m. at the Breath of Life church in Fort Washington, Md. They will recognize men who have exhibited an extraordinary dedication to their churches and communities.

October 1-2: Columbia Union Attorney Weekend The Adventist Lawyers Association of Greater Washington will host the Annual Columbia Union Attorney Weekend for all Adventist attorneys, pre-law and law students, and other legal professionals in the Columbia Union. The weekend will begin with worship at Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md., and culminate with the annual attorney dinner. For more information and registration, visit or email

October 7: Christian recording artist Shawn McDonald will perform at the Kettering church (3939 Stonebridge Rd., Kettering) at 7:30 p.m. McDonald also will perform at Kettering College’s monthly Spiritual Emphasis session earlier that day at 9:30 a.m. at the Kettering church. Admission is free, and everyone is welcome. A freewill offering will be collected. To find out more details about the concert, contact the Kettering church at (937) 298-2167 or go to

October 7-9: The Chesapeake Conference’s Adventist Singles Retreat will be held at the Mount Aetna Retreat and Conference Center in Hagerstown, Md. Kim Logan-Nowlin and Arthur Nowlin will be the main speakers. Learn more at or call (410) 992-9731.

October 16: Highland View Academy’s First 5K Run/Walk will benefit the school’s athletic program. Runners and walkers of all ages are encouraged to get out and move and enjoy a day of fun. Area churches will also provide a vegetarian buffet for attendees, complete with recipes. Register at Applications will be accepted up to the event date. For more information, contact John Henline at or (301) 331-1016.

October 22: ACTS 2011 Adventists in Ohio will come together to honor our past, celebrate the present and learn how to shape the future for the glory of God. This daylong convocation, held at the Roberts Center at the Holiday Inn, Wilmington, will bring together Adventists from across Ohio and neighboring states for a day of worship, study and fellowship. Speakers include Rebekah Liu, a pastor from Southwest China; Ted Wilson (pictured), president of the General Conference; and Ganoune Diop, the Adventist Church’s newly-appointed liaison to the United Nations. A free lunch is available for those who pre-register online at Deadline to register for your lunch is Friday, October 14. Groups need to register with Heidi Shoemaker at the Ohio Conference, (740)-397-4665, ext. 165, or email

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

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Taashi Rowe, Visitor News Bulletin Editor 
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