Delegates Have Their Say, Vote Historic Motion
“I am so proud to be part of an historical day in the Columbia Union,” said Deborah Hill, a member of the Allegheny West Conference. “We voted on the right side of history. God was part of this decision and this has been a wonderful day for women to move forward in faith and in the Word of the Lord.”
Hill was one of nearly 270 delegates who attended the Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting on Sunday and approved a motion "that the Columbia Union Conference authorize ordination to the gospel ministry without regard to gender.”
Nearly 80 percent of the delegates voted in favor of the motion, but not before they discussed the major issues involved, such as unity, authority, the role of the union, the role of men and women, biblical and Spirit of Prophecy counsel and more. "I want to make a call for unity … [but] I would like some reassurance that [the world church] hears our pain and our embarrassment that we are treating our people differentially. We are deeply upset and ashamed, and we want to be also given equal say," said Bonnie Heath (pictured), a member of the Allegheny East Conference.—Story by Taashi Rowe
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Constituency Live Stream Expands Audience, Social Media Reach
When the officers of the Columbia Union Conference decided to convene an historic constituency meeting, where they asked representatives from the eight states that comprise our union to authorize ordination without regard to gender, it occurred to communication staff that the world would want to witness this event and wouldn’t want to wait to read about it a month later in the September Visitor.
Sunday’s event called for unprecedented handling and garnered unprecedented attention. Over 100 new people started following @VisitorNews on Twitter; and though we only gained about 100 new fans on Facebook, our weekly Facebook report shows that our postings reached nearly 17,000 people. Our union website, which typically attracts some 200 people daily, saw visits from 4,426 unique visitors in one day. For example, people watched in Canada, Russia, China, Bermuda, Brazil, Sweden, South Africa, Mexico and all across the United States. And not only did they watch, they commented—on each and every photo, quote, comment, question and reply. Pictured is our team, from left to right: Taashi Rowe, Beth Michaels, Celeste Ryan Blyden, Kelly Butler Coe and Michelle Bernard. Click here for a snapshot of our day.—Story By Celeste Ryan Blyden, Photo by Al Peasley
Chesapeake’s Korean Congregation Ministers, Grows Churches in Africa
Members of Chesapeake Conference’s Washington-Spencerville Korean (WSK) church are spreading the gospel and making a measurable difference in the quality of life for people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo), a country in central Africa plagued by hunger and malnutrition.
The church funds a project based at Rafiki Mission in Butembo City, which has helped educate students of all ages—including 26 theology students—as well as purchase amplifiers for public evangelistic meetings, build churches and schools, and operate an orphanage, a bakery and a poultry program. Recently, the church partnered with Adventist World Radio and donated more than 100 audio recorders to lay missionaries for personal evangelism.
“The impact on our WSK congregation is immeasurable,” says senior pastor Jonathan Hong. “It has given members a focus and an evangelistic mindset.”
Pictured is Seon Wook Yang, a WSK member, visiting with a local woman and her infant on a recent trip to the Congo.—Story by Samantha Young
Washington Adventist University’s Accreditation Reaffirmed
The evaluation of Washington Adventist University (WAU) by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which culminated with a site visit March 25-28, ended with a final report affirming that the university has met the standards for all of the criteria that it was evaluated against.
With the accreditation reaffirmed for another 10 years, WAU’s next self-study evaluation will be from 2021 to 2022. A periodic review is due 2017.
“I feel the outcomes are reflective of a board, faculty and staff that are committed to the task of engaging minds and transforming the lives of our students,” said Weymouth Spence, EdD, WAU president. “Congratulations to the entire university community, and my deep appreciation to all who contributed to such an outstanding outcome.”—Story by Grace Virtue
Columbus Ghanaian Church Reaches Another Milestone
The Columbus Ghanaian congregation started looking for a place to worship in 2001. The Lord rewarded the members beyond expectation for their prayers and patience with a desirable plot of land and started constructing their new facility in April 2002. By God’s grace, they finished the building and opened it for service in October 2002.
Through the help of the Ohio Conference, they contracted a loan from the Columbia Union Revolving Fund for the balance of funds needed. The following year, the church saw the need to expand the property and contracted another loan of $160,000, making their total debt $449,000. By members’ faith and faithfulness, they never defaulted in their loan payments.
By 2011 the members paid more than $100,000 toward the balance, and earlier this year raised more than $70,000 to satisfy the loans. Pictured is Raj Attiken, Ohio Conference president, joining Isaac Boateng, pastor of the Columbus Ghanaian church in Columbus, Ohio, in dedicating their church building.—Story by Ohio Conference Staff, Photo by Robert Okyere
2,000 Learn About Sanctuary Thru Ephesus Church Events
Just after reaching the milestone of burning their mortgage, Allegheny West Conference’s Ephesus church in Columbus, Ohio, set out to accomplish new and unprecedented events. They achieved their goal by simultaneously hosting the Messiah’s Mansion tour and the “Salvation in the Sanctuary” seminar. Never before have both ministries appeared in the same place at the same time.
Donald L. Burden, Ephesus senior pastor, and Christopher C. Thompson, associate pastor, along with more than 120 members and the tour staff built the life-sized replica sanctuary based on the same blueprint given to Moses in the wilderness. According to Clayton Leinneweber, Messiah's Mansion president, the Ephesus congregants set another record: erecting the replica in just one day.—Story by Angela V. Baker
Corrections: In the July 18 issue of the Visitor News Bulletin story titled “Pennsylvania Conference Elder Turns 103,” we incorrectly identified Margaret Kitchen as an elder. She was very active with the church’s community service center and ingathering.
In the July 25 issue, a story titled “Ebenezer Member, First Black Marine, Receives Medal of Honor” incorrectly listed Phillip Herout’s medal as a Congressional Medal of Honor. He received a Congressional Gold Medal. We apologize for these errors.
End Quote: Fishing in Deep Waters
“When we talk about opening new churches, are we committed to opening real cities of refuge for the people who suffer out there—people who live without Jesus? When I am talking about planting churches, I don’t mean snatching members from already established churches. Please do not go fishing in pre-stocked pools, but rather head out into deep waters in search of souls who do not know God. I’m talking about going after the unchurched, those who perhaps have never worshiped in a church. I’m talking about reaching out to the thousands who have abandoned the faith for one reason or another and wandered away. Are we willing to work for these kinds of folks?”—Jose H. Cortes is president of the New Jersey Conference
Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events around the Columbia Union Conference.
July 21-August 11: Miracle Temple’s 2012 Prophecy Campaign will be moving from Glen Burnie to Miracle Temple beginning this Sabbath, August 4th at 7 p.m. and will continue until August 11. In addition, there will be a baptism celebration on August 11, during the 11 a.m. service and an additional worship service on August 12 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit miracletemple.net.
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. 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. 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.
August 3: Metro Area Adventist Young Adults (MAAYA) invites you to First (1st) Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Pastor Gary Adams will share the Word and Kali Wilder will share music. First Fridays will be held at the Pennsylvania Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church located at 4010 Belt Road in Capitol Heights, Md.
August 8 – 12: The Columbia Union’s Pathfinder Camporee will take place at Camp Mohaven in Danville, Ohio. The camporee, which occurs every five years, will bring together Pathfinders from all eight conferences and will feature drill teams, honors, music, a pinewood derby and other fun activities. For more information, contact your Pathfinder leader or visit columbiaunion.org/camporee2012.
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