Visitor Publishes Special Issue on Ordination
This month the Columbia Union Conference published a special issue of the Visitor magazine themed “Weighing the Issues: Why We’re Advocating for Women’s Ordination.” According to Visitor editor and publisher Celeste Ryan Blyden, the objective with this special issue is threefold:
1. To help members know why the union’s leadership is advocating for women’s ordination,
2. To educate readers on the history surrounding women’s involvement as ministers and our church's actions around this issue to date, and
3. To answer the most common questions received in response to the union’s announcement last month that a special constituency session is planned for July 29 to seek approval to ordain proven ministers without regard to gender.
To facilitate the wider conversation, the union communication staff also set up special Web pages in English, Spanish and French so interested members can review the special issue, access additional resources, link to related documents and share comments. Read more at www.columbiaunion.org/2012specialconstituency.
Members Weigh in on Ordination Discussion
People across the Columbia Union are talking about the special July Visitor on ordination and the union’s announcement that it will hold a special constituency session July 29. “The July issue of the Visitor reminds me of the best days of [Seventh-day] Adventist communication. It deals with an issue that many a church member is talking about and wondering what actually is at play, but doing [so] in the spirit of openness,” wrote Potomac Conference member Rajmund Dabrowski on the union’s website.
Comments are coming via email, Facebook and the union’s website where, to date, more than 75 have been posted on a comments page designed to facilitate a wider conversation on the matter.
Overall, nearly 1,500 new visitors logged onto the union’s website during the last 10 days, most to read the articles related to this subject. To join the conversation, visit www.columbiaunion.org/2012specialconstituency.—Story by Celeste Ryan Blyden
Former WGTS Radio Host Dies at 83
Long time radio host Gerry Fuller, DDS, died Sunday, July 1, at the age of 83. A member of Potomac Conference’s Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md., he was best known as host of the Saturday morning broadcast, Breakaway, at Washington Adventist University’s WGTS 91.9 FM radio station in Takoma Park, Md. For 45 years people tuned in to the station to listen to Fuller’s familiar voice and hear fascinating interviews with well-known guests such as Ben Carson, Charles Stanley, Philip Yancey and many other public figures.
A licensed dentist, Fuller retired from WGTS in the fall of 2011, just before his 82nd birthday. Following his retirement, the Gerry Fuller Mission Outreach Fund was established to mentor Christian radio stations throughout the world and teach them how to better spread the Word of God.
Fuller’s wife, Joy, his three children, Gerri Ann, Jon and Jay, as well as his two grandchildren survive him. The radio station will air a special tribute to Dr. Fuller on WGTS at 9 a.m., Saturday, July 14, and Sligo church will host a memorial service at 4 p.m.—Story by Barby Kulakov
Allegheny East’s 24-Hour Prayer Line Provides Comfort
“Does anyone on the line have something on their heart they’d like to pray for?” asks a prayer facilitator for a 24-hour prayer line in the Allegheny East Conference (AEC).
“My mother just passed away this morning,” a caller responds. “I want to ask God to be with me.”
As prayer is requested, so it is received. On the telephone, prayer facilitators, who volunteer to be on the 24-hour prayer line, provide a listening ear for callers who desire prayer or who want to voice their testimonies of praise. Facilitators also share Bible texts to provide encouragement and inspiration for those in need of God’s Word.
In a two-week period, the prayer line, which is run by eight AEC churches, receives phone calls from more than 5,000 people worldwide, with calls coming from Jamaica, Africa and Australia. Members are pictured praying at a recent prayer summit at Miracle Temple in Baltimore. Click here to learn how the line got started.—Story by Samantha Blake
Potomac Relaunches Conference-Level Women’s Ministries
Potomac Conference leaders announced plans to relaunch a conference-level Women’s Ministries department during two camp meeting prayer breakfasts with almost 200 women in attendance.
The vision is to encourage and train women to be involved with community entities like abuse and domestic violence shelters, aiding unemployed women, teenaged mothers and young girls. “We want this to be an opportunity for women to mentor within their community,” said Cress. “Everything we do ought to involve the public. I don’t want to see us plan events just for entertainment within our Adventist groups. I want to see us inviting others and fellowshipping.”
Cress (pictured right with Carla Baker, North American Division Women’s Ministries director), is planning a 2013 women’s convention to prepare for the North American Division’s convention in 2014.—Story by Tiffany Doss
First Hispanic Church of Columbus Celebrates New Building
Under the title “Buildings do not Last, Builders Do,” Raj Atikken, president of the Ohio Conference, spoke at the inaugural service for the First Hispanic church of Columbus in their new building. Doug Falle, conference secretary/treasurer, and Oswaldo Magaña, conference Clergy Care/Leadership Development director, led the inauguration service. The church’s pioneers (pictured), which included Felix Kelmes, Carmen Santos, Daniel Mason and Pastor Orlando Newball, also attended.
Church members spent the weekend reminiscing about their humble origins in August 1994. Roberto Rivera, the church’s current pastor, reminded members through an Ellen White quote, “We have nothing to fear from the future, unless we forget how the Lord has led us, and what we have learned in our past history” (Life Sketches, p. 216).
Pine Forge Graduates 40
Pine Forge Academy’s “Inimitable Class of 2012” recently walked across the stage in the Luther Palmer Pavilion in Pine Forge, Pa., for the last time as academy students. All 40 graduates have received at least one letter of acceptance to college while 76 percent graduated with honors and more than $1 million in scholarships.
The traditions of the academy’s graduation exercises are like no other. During the Commencement service, the honor guards salute each student, faculty and staff member, platform guests, and a returning member of the Class of 1962, with equal parts precision and pomp. The Commencement speaker, David Ralph, gave the students free “legal advice” as they begin their lives as adults. He said, “Choose your battles well and fight the good fight of faith!”—Story by Norman Niles
New Video Features Russian Bible Translation Project
Twenty years ago, Russian native Mikhail Petrovich Kulakov Sr. had a dream. He wanted to translate the full Bible into modern Russian because the current translation is over 100 years old. Before his death in 2010, he completed the Pentateuch, Psalms and the New Testament. Now his son, Mikhail Kulakov Jr., a professor at Washington Adventist University (WAU) in Takoma Park, Md., is working with a team of scholars to complete the translation by 2015. But already it’s garnering acclaim as early readers react. “They’re saying, ‘Now I can understand the Word of God,’” reports Guillermo Biaggi, president of the Euro-Asia Division, which is shepherding the project through the Russia-based Bible Translation Institute. The Columbia Union Conference and its Washington Adventist University (WAU) are also supporting the project.
Union communication director Celeste Ryan Blyden recently traveled to Russia to attend a board meeting of the Bible Translation Institute, learn more about the project and report on it. Click here to watch the video.
Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events around the Columbia Union Conference.
July 14-August 8: New Beginnings evangelism training seminars will take place all over the Columbia Union Conference. This DVD has brought hundreds of thousands of individuals to the Lord over the past decade. Each person who attends the training will receive a free copy of the DVD, if he or she promises to use it within the next 12 months. The DVD contains 25 evangelistic presentations, each with its own outline guide, and it's very easy to use! The trainings will be held: July 14 at the Dover First church in Delaware, July 28 at the Cherry Hill church in New Jersey, August 11 at the Laurelwood church in New Jersey and September 8 at the White Marsh church in Maryland. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 13-15: The Middletown Valley church invites you to attend their Revival and Renewal Weekend with speaker Ron Halvorsen. An evangelist and prayer revivalist, he will speak for a “Prayer Warrior Seminar,” which consists of three lectures: July 13 at 7 p.m. and July 14 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The church is located at 1811 Arnold Road in Jefferson, Md. To register, call (240) 415-8268 or email email@example.com.
July 14-15:What kind of impact does your church have in the local community? The Ohio Conference’s Adventist Community Services Symposium will provide leadership training to share new approaches to impacting your community. The training will be held at the Worthington church at 385 East Dublin-Granville Road (State Route 161) in Worthington. The classes will be Sabbath, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 15, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To reserve seats or ask questions, leave a message for Monte Sahlin, the event coordinator, at (800) 272-4664 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 25-29: The Allegheny East and New Jersey conferences will be sponsoring the Alliance of Prison Ministry Organizations and Affiliates (APMOA) 22nd annual convention in East Rutherford, N.J. Themed “Compassion in Action: Building Bridges of Hope,” there will more than 25 Prison Ministries and community services workshops. Speakers will include C.D. Brooks, former speaker/director for the Breath of Life broadcast; José H. Cortés, New Jersey Conference president; J. Alfred Johnson II, director of Adult Ministries for the North American Division; and Charles Cheatham, Allegheny East Conference president. For more information or to register, click here or call (201) 896-0500.
July 13-15: Allegheny East Conference’s Spanish Council of Churches will host a Pathfinder Camporee themed “Only Be Strong and Very Courageous.” It will be held in Pine Forge, Pa. For more information, contact your Pathfinder leader.
June 28 – August 2: Responding to Climate Change in Our Congregations is a summer class that Interfaith Power & Light is offering to all. People of any faith tradition who are part of a local congregation are warmly welcome to participate and learn what is happening to our world due to climate change. The class will cover both the scientific basics and the moral implications. The class takes place Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Servant Leadership School, The Festival Center in Adams Morgan, at 1640 Columbia Road NW, in Washington, D.C. Click here to register.
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