March 20, 2012

Affirming Women Clergy Tops Union Agenda

On Sunday the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee voted two items that will propel the subject of women in ministry to the top of its agenda this year. They are as follows:

“Whereas the North American Division (NAD) leadership has encouraged each union to be intentional in affirming women in ministry,

we vote to establish an ad hoc committee to study the issue of women in ministry and recommend to the Columbia Union Executive Committee how we can be intentional in affirming women in ministry. In addition,

we vote to affirm our previous action requesting the NAD to grant us permission to ordain women in ministry.”

To ensure that these topics remain a priority on its agenda, the executive committee also requested that the ad hoc committee present its report at the next union executive committee meeting, May 17.—Story by Celeste Ryan Blyden


Union Committee Adopts Values, Priorities

Sunday at the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee in Hershey, Pa., members voted to adopt the following values for the 2011-2016 term: Christlikeness, unity, respect, excellence, equality, integrity and service.

The committee also voted to adopt six priorities: youth/young adults, evangelism, local church revitalization, innovation in church ministry and leadership development.

“These parameters will guide our work, and we will dedicate our time, talents and monetary resources toward implementing them,” said Dave Weigley (pictured), union president. “They are broad enough for varied adaptation at each level of the church, but will feed into our overall vision to see members across the Columbia Union become more engaged in the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”—Story by Taashi Rowe


Meet Your 2011-16 Executive Committee Members

Meet the 2011-16 Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee members. Pictured in front are Robert Vandeman, executive secretary; Dave Weigley, president; and Seth Bardu, treasurer.

Mountain View, New Jersey Ramp Up Evangelism

In Sunday’s report to the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee, Larry Boggess (pictured), Mountain View Conference president, said that since receiving $100,000 from the North American Division and Columbia Union, the conference has been ramping up evangelism and spiritual development in its territory. They have established a Monday morning prayer line, gone on a mission trip and, as a result of hosting three evangelism meetings a year, seen a 500 percent membership growth at the Charleston (W.Va.) church.

The New Jersey Conference also received $100,000 from the union to invest in their Mission Caleb evangelism initiative. Churches throughout the conference have made it their mission to plant churches in 80 cities throughout their territory where there is no Adventist presence. José H. Cortés, conference president, reported that they are on their way to organizing several companies this year. “God is blessing New Jersey in a way that we do not deserve,” Cortés said.—Story by Taashi Rowe

Visitor to Survey Readers

The Visitor magazine has commissioned Barna Research to conduct a study of readers in the Columbia Union Conference territory. The telephone survey, which will be conducted in April, will only take about 10 minutes. “It will help us learn more about how members prefer to get church news and information and the Visitor’s role in keeping our members connected and informed,” says Celeste Ryan Blyden, Visitor editor and publisher. A representative sample of Columbia Union members will be randomly selected to participate in the study.

300 Attend Pennsylvania Conference’s Hispanic Lay Festival

Sixty-six people from 12 churches graduated from the Escuela de Teología Para Discípulos (School of Discipleship) at a special service during the Festival de Evangelismo Hispano (Hispanic Evangelism Festival) in Harrisburg. The Pennsylvania Conference in conjunction with Andrews University (Mich.) sponsored the eight-month course, with classes one Sunday a month, reading and homework assignments plus hands-on projects. This year’s emphasis was on serving as a pastoral administrative assistant with graduates receiving a Church Leadership Professional Certificate.

Graduate Nicholas Martinez, a member of the Allentown Hispanic church, has attended all four years of the program and is putting what he has learned to use as he leads a team planting a church in northern Bethlehem. Pastor Alejandro Bullón challenged the nearly 300 people attending the weekend festival to see their communities as opportunities for sharing Christ and the gospel.—Story by Daisy Lopez


Trescientas personas participaron en el festival laico hispano de la Asociación de Pensilvania

Sesenta y seis personas provenientes de doce iglesias, graduaron de la Escuela de Teología para Discípulos (School of Discipleship), en un servicio especial durante el festival de evangelismo hispano en Harrisburg. La Asociación de Pensilvania, en colaboración con la Universidad de Andrews (Mich.), patrocinó un curso de duración de ocho meses, en el que impartieron clases un domingo al mes, y dieron asignaturas de lectura y tareas escolares, además de proyectos prácticos. El énfasis de este año fue servir en función de asistente administrativo pastoral, cuyos egresados obtuvieron el Certificado Profesional de Liderazgo Eclesiástico.

Juana Rosa, de la segunda iglesia hispana en Filadelfia, pensó que no podría terminar el curso, mas lo logró. Se levantó cada mañana a las cinco para terminar su asignatura de lectura. Rosa sirve como directora del ministerio personal en la compañía hispana del sur de Filadelfia, asistiendo al pastor Gabriel Montalvo, en alcanzar a la comunidad. Recientemente, Rosa y Montalvo tocaron las puertas de docenas de interesados en estudiar la Biblia, y les llevaron, además, despensas de alimento en la víspera del año nuevo. Todos están comenzando los estudios bíblicos, y varios ya están asistiendo a la iglesia.—Historia por Daisy López


Spring Valley’s Board of Trustees Honors Long Serving Member

The Spring Valley Board of Trustees recently honored Warren Muth, MD, with the presentation of a special plaque noting his many years of dedication and service to Spring Valley Academy (SVA). He served on the board for an impressive 17 years, nine of which he was the board chairman. Muth was also one of the founding directors of the Spring Valley Fund established in 1991, and still serves as president of that corporation.

In fact, the fund's support allowed SVA to maintain a much expanded mission program as well as technology upgrades for students and a very robust music program, which has been the trademark of education at SVA for so many years. Frank Perez, current board chair, told Muth, “None of this would have been possible without your extraordinary support! We are indebted to you and your foundation members for allowing us to perpetuate outstanding Adventist education in our community.”—Story by Vicki Swetnam

Spencerville Students Experience the Joy of Giving

Spencerville Adventist Academy’s (SAA) lower elementary teachers chose to focus on orphans during their first semester Week of Prayer. During one of the meetings, students in kindergarten through grade 4 learned about starving children in developing countries and how they could help feed those children. They were challenged to forgo the extra slice of pizza on Fridays for six weeks and, instead, give that money to help feed children through the Restore a Child foundation. Every Friday students brought money to put into a large water jug, hoping to fill it. After six weeks, $550 in change had been stuffed into the jug. And now, that amount will be doubled because of a donor's challenge to match the funds raised.

The students demonstrated a great willingness to share. First-grader Carrington Mattox (pictured) even approached Barbara Plubell, elementary vice principal, after the fundraiser ended to ask: “Is it too late to bring money for the hungry children? I have some more money I want to give.”

The Adventists Film Returns to PBS

The critically acclaimed documentary film The Adventists returns to PBS stations for an additional two years beginning in April. Originally released in April 2010, the film was widely broadcast on PBS stations, won the prestigious Gabriel Award as the best film on a topic of religion and become a national best-selling DVD.

“We are delighted the program has been invited to return to PBS stations for two more years,” says filmmaker Martin Doblmeier. “It will give millions of viewers another chance to see an inspiring story and explore the connections between religion and healthy living, faith and healing.” For more information about the film, visit

Rahway Spanish Pastor Passes Away

Just weeks after securing their new building, New Jersey Conference’s Rahway Spanish members were saddened by the passing of their pastor on February 5. Pastor Charles Gonzalez’s funeral service was held in the new church building. More than 500 people filled the newly refurbished sanctuary for the service. Although Pastor Gonzalez was able to attend the signing of the papers for the purchase of the building in December, his failing health prevented him from conducting the first worship service in the newly refurbished church home. Pastor Gonzalez leaves behind his wife, Tamara, daughter, Edith Crystal, and son, Carlos Daniel.

El pastor de Rahway hispana muere

Semanas después de haber comprado el nuevo edificio de la iglesia, los feligreses de la iglesia hispana de Rahway, en Rahway, N.J., se entristecieron por el fallecimiento de su pastor, Charles González, el 5 de febrero. Le sobreviven su esposa Tamara, su hija Edith Cristal, e hijo Carlos Daniel.

Generation of Youth for Christ Comes to Mountain View

Members of the group Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) are teaming up with the Mountain View Conference work in the Charleston, W.Va.-area this year. They are starting this weekend (March 23-24) with a youth rally. Valmy Karemera, the assistant to the GYC president, will be the main speaker. Youth and young adults in the area are invited to go door to door on Sabbath afternoon and secure Bible study interests. “We are praying that the Holy Spirit will be poured out this weekend in Charleston,” said Geoff Starr, the conference’s Youth Ministries director.

This weekend will be the first of several events and mission projects that will be held in Charleston this year, ending with an evangelistic series this fall. Register at The program can also be streamed live at (Live streaming will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Sabbath and 6:30 p.m. Sabbath).—Story by Monica Zill

Blue Mountain Academy Hosts Career Day

Blue Mountain Academy students recently participated in their yearly career day. A variety of 15 careers were highlighted ranging from ministry to sports medicine. Each student went to four sessions during the day. The guest speakers (pictured) presented information about their careers informally in a classroom setting to approximately 10-12 students in each session.

Each presenter shared an overview of his/her career, including preparation needed, normal types of activities a person would be required to do in the career, availability of positions in the future and potential monetary rewards.—Story by Mel Wade

End Quote: Do You Know How to be a True Friend?

True friendship engenders friends who exhibit the same qualities: a healthy camaraderie, unity of purpose and peace of mind that results in emotional stability and spiritual growth. True friendship and loving care impacts the entire congregation, bringing health to the mother church and reducing criticism; thus the members come to support each other as what they are—real brothers in Jesus. Please, no attacks on the fallen! Instead lift them up, encourage them and get to know them as a friend! This is what Jesus did.—José H. Cortés, New Jersey Conference president

No Visitor News Bulletin for Two Weeks

I will be away for the next two weeks. As a result, the next Visitor News Bulletin will be released April 11. Please continue to send your news stories to and I will happily share your stories when I return.—Taashi Rowe, Visitor News Bulletin editor

Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events around the Columbia Union Conference.

March 20: The Berkeley Springs (W.Va.) church will host its free monthly supper club tonight. Foods rich in antioxidants will be featured at the meal beginning at 6 p.m. Darlene Cyr, RN, will give a presentation emphasizing cancer prevention through nutrition and lifestyle. All are welcome! The church is located at 3606 Valley Road in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. For more information, call (304) 258-6620.

March 22: Dupont Park Adventist School Open House runs from 9-11 a.m. This school for pre-schoolers thru 10th-graders, is located at 3942 Alabama Avenue, SE, in Washington, D.C. They will have another open house on April 26. For more information about the school, call (202) 583-8500.

March 23: The Mount Vernon Spanish church in Alexandria, Va., invites youth to Awakening. The program allows young people to worship God in creative ways such as poetry, song or acting. The program is in English and starts at 7 p.m. Find out more at

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Taashi Rowe, Visitor News Bulletin Editor 
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