Columbia Union Officers Discuss a Better Future With Liberian President
Dave Weigley (pictured second), Columbia Union Conference president, and Seth Bardu (pictured fourth), the union’s chief financial officer, just returned from Liberia where they met Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was recently re-elected as president. Sirleaf is Africa’s first and only female president and was named as a joint winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Weigley talked with Celeste Ryan Blyden, Visitor editor and publisher, about his impressions of the visit.
Celeste Ryan Blyden: What did the president of Liberia say to you about Seventh-day Adventists?
Dave Weigley: She thanked us for our initiatives in healthcare and education. She stated how appreciative she (and Liberia) is to foreign humanitarian efforts. She said, “We as a government do not have the capability to do it all. We need your assistance.” She especially thanked us for the assistance we are giving at Cooper Adventist Hospital there in Monrovia, the capital city.
Allegheny West President Accepts New Post in Atlanta
Fredrick A. Russell, president of the Allegheny West Conference (AWC), announced yesterday that he has accepted a call to the South Atlantic Conference where he will serve as the senior pastor of the Berean church in Atlanta, Ga. He is replacing Carlton Byrd, DMin, speaker/director of Breath of Life Ministries, who accepted a call to serve as senior pastor at the Oakwood University church in Huntsville, Ala.
During his three-and-a-half-year tenure, Russell led pastors and members to focus on experiencing daily the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the power and primacy of prayer. David Weigley, Columbia Union Conference president, will be working with Robert Moore, executive secretary, to establish a date to meet with the conference’s executive committee, which will establish the time and process for electing the new AWC president. Pastor Russell will assume his new duties next month.—Story by Bryant Taylor
Waldorf Church Breaks Ground on Long-Held Dream
On Sunday, December 5, eight shovels broke ground signifying forward movement on a long-cherished dream for members of the Waldorf (Md.) church. Located at 11245 Berry Road, this church was the fastest growing congregation in all of the Chesapeake Conference for 2010.
Though this bustling, warm and diverse community continues to grow, their current sanctuary only seats 100. To accommodate all comfortably, church leaders added a second worship service. But that may not even be enough. Now they are considering adding a third worship service. The groundbreaking was the beginning of a four-phase plan to expand seating capacity.
The first phase involves building a new sanctuary, which will seat 400. They anticipate moving in by next fall. Pictured is Volodymyr Grinchenko, the church’s pastor, who is flanked by Kleyton Feitosa, Chesapeake secretary, and John Appel, Chesapeake’s Ministerial secretary.—Story by Taashi Rowe
Ohio Members Offer 40 Mornings of Intercessory Prayer
What happens when 170 Spanish-speaking members across the Ohio Conference commit to spending one hour with Christ first thing every morning, for 40 mornings? The experience becomes a wonderful blessing for the entire conference, says Pastor Oswaldo Magaña (pictured), the conference’s Hispanic Ministries coordinator and Ministerial secretary.
Participants in this 40 Days of Prayer underwent an eight-hour training course, then went on to daily read and meditate on Bible promises, favorite passages of Scripture, other devotional material and then pray for 10 people inside and outside of the church. Members also informed their friends that they were interceding on their behalf.
After 40 days in the program, participants came together for a special Sabbath service to which they invited those on their prayer list. “We have heard many, many wonderful experiences of the way that the Lord has been working in the lives of the people that our members have been praying for,” Magaña says.
La feligresía de Ohio eleva cuarenta días de oración intercesora
¿Que ocurre cuando ciento setenta feligreses hispanohablantes de toda la Asociación de Ohio se comprometen pasar la primera hora de cada mañana con Cristo durante cuarenta días? La experiencia se convierte en una bendición maravillosa para toda la Asociación, dice el Pastor Oswaldo Magaña (fotografiados), coordinador hispano y secretario ministerial de la Asociación.
Los participantes de este plan de oración de cuarenta días, recibieron preparación durante ocho horas, y luego leyeron y meditaron diariamente en las promesas bíblicas y sus pasajes favoritos de la Escritura, y en otros materiales de meditación, y después oraron por diez personas de fuera y dentro de la iglesia. Los feligreses también les informaron a sus amistades que se intercedía por ellos.
New Jersey Conference Church Donates $1,500 to Meals on Wheels
The Robbinsville (N.J.) church has chosen the Robbinsville Township’s Meals on Wheels program as the recipient of this year’s charity offering of $1,537.14. This donation is courtesy of the Christian Community Choir Christmas Concert held at the church Sunday, December 4.
Art Randall (pictured with his wife), pastor of the Robbinsville church, says, the township’s Meals on Wheels program helps seniors remain independent, maintain their nutritional health, serve as a referral source and allow them to better live with dignity. Meals on Wheels volunteers not only deliver vital nutrition but, more importantly provide a healthy helping of friendship and social connection.
Harrisonburg Members Host Homeless
During the week of December 5-12, more than 30 homeless men and women lined up to receive the meals that Potomac Conference's Harrisonburg (Va.) church members prepared and served. Cherith Cox (pictured with Roger, an aid recipient), director of the Homeless Outreach ministry, plans the meals and coordinates with church members and local businesses to provide food.
“When I look at these people, I see Jesus,” Cox says as she explains her passion for this ministry, which she has led for three and a half years. “Reading Matthew 25:31-40 changed my life. I realized that when I serve a meal, I’m feeding Jesus. When I’m washing their dirty clothes, I’m washing Jesus’ clothes. When I give them a hug, I’m hugging Jesus.”
The Harrisonburg church is one of several churches that partners with the Harrisonburg and Rockingham Thermal Shelter to provide hot meals and warm beds during the coldest months of the year.—Story by Mary Long
Pennsylvania Conference Church Signs Oil and Gas Lease
On behalf of the Pennsylvania Conference, Floyd Dare, Trust Services director, signed an oil and gas lease with Carrizo (Marcellus) LLC for the Tunkhannock church on their 30 acres of property. In exchange, the church received checks totaling $176,740.06.
The leases, 18 pages in length, provided $5,750 per acre to the church with 20 percent royalty on the net income from production of oil and gas. Additionally, Carrizo and its assignees are prohibited from conducting any surface operations on the church’s 30 acres during the lifetime of the lease, except for minor seismic testing; all acreage is to be permanently included in the drilling unit(s); existing water quality is to be maintained; and Carrizo is obligated to act as a prudent operator while taking into consideration the church’s property interests. Helen Clayton, who died in 1990, contributed the 30 acres ideally located on Route 6 to the Tunkhannock church.—Story by Gerald Grimaud
Adventist Hospitals Host First “Huddle Up for Prostate Health”
Shady Grove Adventist and Washington Adventist hospitals teamed up with two former Washington Redskins Pro Bowlers, Charles Mann and Dexter Manley, to offer two free prostate education and screening events for the community. The sports icons attracted crowds at both Washington, D.C., metropolitan area hospitals.
Both events included expert medical panel participants who engaged audiences and answered questions about prostate cancer risk factors, possible prevention and the range of treatments available for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The physicians also shared vital information about screenings and overall prostate health, encouraging men 40 years and older to begin the discussion with their doctors. The hospitals also offered attendees a free prostate-specific antigen screening and photo ops and autographs with Mann and Manley. Jane Peck, Adventist HealthCare executive director of Cancer Care Services, served as the panel moderator for both events.—Story by Laura Cook
Chesapeake Conference Member Bakes for Charity
Blogger Jackie Gonzalez-Feezer, a member of Chesapeake Conference’s Baltimore First church in Ellicott City, Md., enjoys baking. But what she enjoys more than the sweet taste of her favorite desserts is baking for a good cause and writing about it on her blog La Casa de Sweets.
Gonzalez-Feezer recently held a virtual bake sale to raise money for the victims of famine in East Africa. She offered chocolate chip, peanut butter, double chocolate and oatmeal spice cookies. “I opened up the bake sale to a few people, thinking I would sell a few dozen cookies throughout the week,” she recalls. But, “by the end of the week, I had orders for 44 dozen cookies!”
It took about 13 hours to bake 528 cookies, but Gonzalez-Feezer said, “I was so happy doing it.” She raised $400, all of which went to ADRA’s Emergency Relief Fund for East Africa.
Spotted: Shenandoah Valley Academy Student Doing Good
Raissa Delgado, a senior at Shenandoah Valley Academy in New Market, Va., picks apples for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. She and other students gleaned and bagged more than 3,000 pounds of apples in an orchard near Strasburg, Va. This was part of an annual campus-wide Community Service Blitz, which including helping disabled neighbors with landscaping and painting and volunteering at the Shenandoah County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Potomac Pastor Ministers at the Airport
Every Thursday morning, Jose A. Barrientos Jr. leaves his home shortly after 5 a.m. and drives to Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va., to minister to his flock for several hours. Instead of church members in pews, his congregants are scurrying commuters and employees in one of the nation's largest international airports. His full-time job is the Children’s Ministries/Youth pastor at Potomac’s Community Praise Center in nearby Alexandria, but he volunteers several hours each week outside the church at Dulles.
He assists Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking passengers with practical support and sometimes prays with those who may need spiritual comfort. Barrientos is a Seventh-day Adventist minister and one of 18 assistant chaplains at the busy hub.—Story and photos by Ansel Oliver/ANN
READ MORE at Adventist News Network
2012 Visitor Calendar Chock-Full of Healthy Recipes
In two weeks a new year starts again and so do resolutions for better health. Want to enjoy your meals and be healthy? Then pick up the 2012 issue of the Visitor Calendar. Each month features a vegetarian or vegan recipe that will get you off to a healthy start and keep you eating well throughout the year. Can’t wait for your calendar? Watch Clara Iuliano, the principal contributor of the calendar, cook yummy peanut noodles. For extra copies to share, email email@example.com or call (888) 4-VISITOR, ext. 4.
End Quote: Make Christmas About Christ
“Will Christ be a significant part of my Christmas, or will He be a small ornament on the mantle of my fireplace? The wonderful thing about our Savior is that He ‘stands at the door and knocks.’ He never gives up on us. When we open the door of our lives, He comes in and sups with us. Let’s take Christ off of the mantle of our lives and let Him fully into our hearts.”—Brian Kittleson, Spencerville Adventist Academy Principal
Happy Holidays from the Visitor Staff
We at the Visitor magazine are wishing you, our dear readers, a happy, blessed Christmas season. Please note that this will be the last issue of the Visitor News Bulletin until January 4.—Celeste, Beth, Kelly, Sandra, Taashi, Cindy & Lisha
Adventists in the News
Columbus African Church : Church looking for space in Northland
ACTS 9: Motorcyclists help food, clothing bank stock up
Smith Mountain Lake church: Incubator project
C.F. Richards Junior Academy wins accreditation
December 15: Dupont Park Adventist School Christmas Program will include drama, music and special presentations. This year’s musical, titled “Christmas Starr,” will be held at the Dupont Park church located at 3985 Massachusetts Avenue, S.E., in Washington, D.C., at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 each.
December 15: G.E. Peters School’s Christmas musical production, “The Next Noel” will be held at 7 p.m. The play will take place in the Metropolitan church sanctuary, which is located at 6307 Riggs Road in Hyattsville, Md.
December 16: Frederick Adventist School invites you to their “Luke's Story” Christmas pageant at 7 p.m. at the Frederick church. Come be part of when God sent His precious Son to become a tiny baby in a stable in Bethlehem, in poverty and simplicity. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.frederickadventistschool.org.
December 16, 17: Shenandoah Valley Academy’s Annual Christmas Concert Weekend will feature the Shenandoans, handbell choir, orchestra and concert choir. The first performance will be the Christmas Candlelight Concert at New Market church on Friday, December 16, 7:30 p.m. The following evening, December 17, these same groups will perform a secular Christmas Concert at SVA’s gymnasium, 6:30 p.m. A freewill offering will be taken for the “Support the Arts” fund at SVA. All are invited to come and be blessed! For more information, visit shenandoahvalleyacademy.org.
December 17: Miracle Temple’s 17th Annual Christmas Cantata will be held during the divine worship service and will feature the sanctuary choir and symphony orchestra. For more information, visit miracletemple.net.
December 17: Capitol Hill Church Presents Handel’s Messiah during the 11 a.m. worship service at 914 Massachusetts Ave., NE, in Washington, D.C. The Capitol Hill Chorale and community, under the direction of Ramon Bryant Braxton, will present this powerful oratorio by Handel. Guest soloists include soprano Brandi Sutton; mezzo soprano Carole Dorlipo; tenor Issachah Savage; and basso Soloman Howard. Featured instrumentalists are Fred Mason, Jr. of the Immanuel Temple church in Durham, N.C., on organ; Tedde Gibson on harpsicord; and string orchestra.
December 17: Capitol Hill Church Presents their Christmas Adventist Youth Society Program, “The Boy Who Couldn't See His Many Blessings” at 4 p.m.
December 21: Join members of the Capital Hill Church for Caroling on Capitol Hill. Meet at the church at 7 p.m. Caroling books and strolling candles will be provided.
January 29: The Pennsylvania Conference Youth and Young Adult Ministries Family Ski Trip will be held at Jack Frost Big Boulder in White Haven, Pa. The price is $48 for the snow pass, lesson and rental. The lessons are for ages 8 and over. Helmet rentals are $10 additional. Tickets must be purchased by January 16, 2012. Pre-paid ticket pick-up will be at the Jack Frost Lodge, 8 a.m.-12 noon. For more information, contact the conference’s Youth Ministries Department at (607) 374-8331, ext. 212 or at email@example.com.
February 2: Spencerville Adventist Academy invites all eighth graders and other high school students to attend their Academy Day from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Visiting students will get the opportunity to meet teachers and students, hear and see the school’s touring groups perform, compete for scholarships, play against basketball teams and check out the new school. To RSVP, contact Heidi Wetmore at (301) 421-9101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 17-19: The “Love for a Lifetime” Marriage Enrichment Retreat will be held at the Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, Md. The registration fee of $299 per couple includes two nights at Dunes Manor Hotel, brunch, tea, dinner on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. For more information, e-mail MarriageEnrichment@comcast.net, or contact Mark and Peggy Lee at (301) 317-5428 or Jeff and Sandy Hartz at (443) 864-6328. The Triadelphia church and Maranatha Adventist Fellowship are among the churches sponsoring the retreat.
March 24-26, 2012: Pennsylvania Conference’s marriage retreat themed “Love on the Farm,” will feature Claudio and Pamela Consuegra, North American Division Family Ministries directors. It will be held at the the Best Western Premier Contral Hotel and Conference Center in Harrisburg, Pa. To register online visit, www.paconference.org, go to the Ministries page and click on Family Ministries. For more information, contact Jeanne Hartwell at email@example.com, or (610) 374-8331.
For more news and up-to-date information from the Columbia Union Conference, visit columbiaunion.org
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