Members Debate, Pray About Upcoming Constituency Meeting
People from all across the Columbia Union Conference, outside the union and even from around the world are talking about and praying for the special constituency meeting slated for Sunday. At this meeting, delegates will consider a request from the union executive committee to approve ministerial ordination without regard to gender.
After the July issue of the Visitor magazine reached members with the cover story “Weighing the Issues: Why We’re Advocating for Women’s Ordination,” there have been a flood of comments on the union’s website, on Facebook and even via telephone. So far there are 161 comments on the union’s website and comments have poured in from as far away as South Africa, France and India. Pastor Daniel KalapalaIa, who labeled himself as “a friend and well wisher from Vijayawada, India” wrote: “Trust the Spirit of God will prevail and guide the church in the right direction.”
Here in the Columbia Union, discussion has been plentiful and passionate in some conferences and decidedly less so in others. Click here for snapshots of what is happening in each conference around the union.—Story by Taashi Rowe
Columbia Union Leaders Call for Day of Prayer
On Sunday, July 29, the Columbia Union Conference will convene a special constituency meeting to consider a request from the union executive committee to approve ministerial ordination without regard to gender.
In anticipation of that meeting, union president Dave Weigley asks church members unionwide to set aside Sabbath, July 28, as a day of prayer.
“Since our announcement about the session, many people have been talking and praying about it, emailing me, commenting on our website and calling our office,” Weigley says. “The officers and I have been praying throughout this process, and before we convene this special meeting, we want to solicit the prayers of our unionwide family. Please pray with us for God's Spirit to guide, His will to prevail and that we, as His people, will heed His voice.”
Click here to read this statement in Spanish or here to read it in French.
Líderes de la Unión de Columbia convocan un día de oración
El domingo 29 de julio, la Unión de Columbia se reunirá en una sesión especial de congreso para considerar el pedido de su junta ejecutiva de aprobar la ordenación ministerial sin distinción de género
En anticipación a la convocatoria, el presidente de la unión, Pastor Dave Weigley, solicita a toda la feligresía de la unión a dedicar el sábado 28 de julio como un día de oración.
“Desde nuestro anuncio de la sesión, mucha gente ha estado hablando, orando, enviando correos electrónicos, comentando en nuestro sitio de la internet y llamando a nuestra oficina,” declara el pastor Weigley. “Los administradores hemos estado orando durante todo este proceso, y antes de esta reunión especial queremos solicitar las oraciones de toda la familia de nuestra unión. Por favor ora con nosotros por la dirección del Espíritu de Dios, que su voluntad prevalezca, y que nosotros como su pueblo escuchemos su voz.”
How to Get Session Results
The Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting July 29 is only open to registered delegates, but Columbia Union leaders are considering streaming presentations from the meeting. During the meeting, Visitor staff will share updates via Facebook and Twitter. Following the meeting, we will release a statement and full report via email, website and in the August Visitor.
Special Webpage – www.columbiaunion.org/2012SpecialConstituency
Facebook – www.facebook.com/ColumbiaUnionVisitor
Twitter – www.twitter.com/VisitorNews
Email News – Sign up at www.columbiaunion.org/emailnews
Questions – Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Potomac Invites Professor to Present Research on Ordination
Potomac Conference leaders have invited Darius Jankiewicz, PhD, a professor of New Testament History at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University (Mich.), to present his research on the history of ordination, ecclesiastical authority and the fundamentalist influence upon Adventism.
“Dr. Jankiewicz’s research provides a fresh, historical window through which we can observe ordination,” says Bill Miller, conference president. “I believe the past is foundational to all future decisions. If new information is available about our history, then we all owe it to ourselves to avail ourselves of that information. Our invitation to Dr. Jankiewicz is simply that—to help get his information out to all our people in the Columbia Union and beyond.”
Jankiewicz will present at 3:30 p.m., July 28, at the Sligo church, which is located at 7700 Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park, Md. All are welcome to attend. The event will also be streamed live on both the Potomac Conference website and the Sligo church website.—Story by Tiffany Doss
Ebenezer Member, First Black Marine, Receives Medal of Honor
Until 1942 the United States Marine Corps refused to recruit people of color. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s creation of the Fair Employment Practices Commission in 1941 forced the Corps to begin recruiting black Marines. The Marines’ first black recruits received basic training at the segregated Montford Point Base adjacent to Camp Lejeune (N.C.), and would continue to do so until 1949. More than 20,000 blacks trained in segregated facilities and became the first blacks to serve in the United States Marine Corps.
Last month at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., Philip Herout, 85, a member of Allegheny East Conference’s Ebenezer church in Philadelphia, was among 400 men who received Congressional Medals of Honor for their service to the United States with the Montford Point Marines.
“I never would have imagined this,” Herout said his voice trembling with emotion. “I always remember what my mom told me, ‘One of these days, it would be so nice if you can smell your roses.’ The sweetest rose I ever got was when they gave me that Congressional Medal of Honor.”
Spring Valley Academy Selects Interim Principal
When Vern Biloff decided to retire in June 2010, as vice president of education for the Central California Conference, little did he know that the Lord had a plan for his continued service in Seventh-day Adventist education. He has agreed to serve as interim principal at Spring Valley Academy (SVA) in Centerville, Ohio, for the 2012-13 school year.
Biloff dedicated more than 42 years to Adventist education and was one of five union educators to receive the distinguished Lifetime Service Award from the Pacific Union Conference. Biloff is optimistic and shares, “Our children’s future will be secure if they are encouraged to ask questions and, in turn, receive thoughtful, ethical and Christ-centered answers from their pastors and teachers.” He joins the SVA staff in August.—Story by Vicki Swetnam
WAU’s English Chair Gets Summer Seminar Award
Susan Comilang, chair of Washington Adventist University’s (WAU) Department of English and Modern Languages, is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) summer seminar award for college and university teachers. The NEH is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.
The seminar, part of the NEH’s division of education programs, is open to 16 participants to explore “Tudor Books and Readers, 1485-1603” in Antwerp, Belgium; London; and Oxford, England.
“The experience has been really wonderful so far,” says Comilang fresh off a trip examining books at Corpus Christi College and Magdalene College in England. “It is my plan to use the research I am able to do as a seed for a future book.”
Comilang (pictured left with a student), whose doctoral work is on the early modern period, has chaired the Department of English and Modern Languages since 2004.—Story by Grace Virtue
Highland View Graduates Speak for Commencement
“I realize that most schools believe their senior class is special and unique, and that might be true; however, I can tell you that Highland View Academy’s Class of 2012 truly is an exceptional group,” says Chaplain Brett Hadley.
Earlier this year, the seniors discovered that the keynote speaker for their Commencement, who they had scheduled three years in advance, needed to cancel. This left the class officers in a bit of a quandary, but one of the sponsors reminded the students of their motto “Leave a Trace,” and suggested their entire class speak for graduation.
On Commencement morning, 35 seniors took turns approaching the microphone, and for 30 seconds each, shared what made their time at Highland View Academy special. They also offered words of wisdom to the underclassmen.
The 2012 senior class’ greatest accomplishment did not happen by individual students but by the entire class working together to fulfill their motto.—Story by Renee Williams
AHS-2 Researchers Share Study Results, Health Tips at Camp Meetings
This summer Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) researchers visited several camp meetings around the Columbia Union Conference. Many of the 96,000 study members of AHS-2 are church members in the Columbia Union.
“Despite the fairly tight schedule, all of the presentations were warmly received,” said Terry Butler, DrPH, one of AHS senior researchers assigned to do the presentations at the Ohio and Potomac conference camp meetings.
Titled Are Adventists Living Longer and Healthier? Latest Findings from the Adventist Health Studies, his presentation underlined the preliminary findings from AHS-2 and its sub-study, the Adventist Religion and Health Study. “We now know that vegetarian Adventists have lower mortality rates, and lower rates of certain cancers compared to non-vegetarian study members,” said Butler, an epidemiologist and pastor who met several study members while at camp meeting. Pictured is Butler, flanked by two AHS-2 participants at the Ohio Conference Camp Meeting.
To learn more about the Adventist Health Study-2 and its findings, visit adventisthealthstudy.org.—Story by Barry Manembu
Newark English’s Little Lights Adventurers Shine
The 24 members of the Little Lights Adventurer Club at New Jersey Conference’s Newark English church have been very busy serving the Lord and having fun. Their director, Carol James, says the Little Lights is the number-two Adventurer club in the conference. This year they visited with their senior pastor, Andre Ascalon (pictured); cheered up residents of a nursing home; volunteered at a soup kitchen; made thank-you cards for their local firemen and policemen, and joined 1,000 other Adventurers from around the conference for Family Time Out.
“This is a club where the children and their parents learn about Jesus,” says James, who has worked with Adventurers since the 1980s. “The most important thing we do in this ministry is show the kids that the most fun they can have is not watching TV, it’s learning about God through nature, helping people around them and growing in Christ.”—Story by Taashi Rowe
Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events around the Columbia Union Conference.
July 28-August 4: The Metropolitan church is hosting “AirBorn,” an evangelistic series focused on the grand occasion of Christ’s second coming. Pastor Carlton P. Byrd, DMin, speaker and director of Breath of Life television ministries, will present the series, which starts each night at 7 p.m. It ends Saturday, August 4, with the divine service at 11 a.m. There is no meeting on Thursday, August 2.
On Sunday evening, July 29, Grammy-award winning gospel sensation Marvin Sapp will be the special musical guest. Admission is free, but you must reserve a seat in advance! Send an email to email@example.com to ensure you get a seat! There will be a Vacation Bible School during the series. The church is located at 6307 Riggs Road in Hyattsville, Md. For more information, visit metrosda.org.
July 29-August 5: Need to reconnect with God? Want your kids to grow spiritually? Join Wheaton church members at their Mega Week celebration. A revival service and Vacation Bible School will be held Sunday thru Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. On Saturday there will be adult and children’s church and gospel music on the lawn 6-9 p.m. On Sunday there will be a Fun Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church is located at 3132 Bel Pre Road in Silver Spring, Md. For more information, visit wheatonsda.org or email 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 28-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 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 email@example.com.
July 28: Capitol Hill Church Day of Community Service. Instead of regular worship service, the congregation will disperse across the Washington, D.C.-area in various community projects. The service opportunities are broad and include: a morning run with homeless in transition support groups; delivering groceries to seniors; tending to the trees and plantings along the Anacostia River; cleaning and organizing a children’s playroom; delivering meals to persons living with life-threatening illnesses; sorting donated clothing for a thrift store; and writing cards and letters to military personnel. The day will also include an onsite health fair and neighborhood prayer walk. For more information, visit chcsda.org.
July 29: Movimiento Joven Adventista, Potomac Conference’s Hispanic Youth Ministries, will be hosting a youth Olympics. Each church is invited to participate in playing soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming, running and chess. The event will be held at the Shenandoah Valley Academy, which is located at 234 W. Lee Highway in New Market, Va. There is a $10 entrance fee. Register at movimientoja.com.
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