August 15, 2012

9 Things I Learned at the Columbia Union Camporee

1. Rain Comes With The Territory. Thursday it rained, Friday it rained and Sabbath it rained, though not as much. Though I cringed at driving and walking through the mud and ran for cover during intermittent showers, most of the Pathfinders shrugged off the bad weather. Rain comes with the territory, they said while donning ponchos, umbrellas and other raingear. According to Harriett Ponder, a member of Potomac Conference’s Seabrook Seahawks in Lanham, Md., Pathfinders learn to “stick it out in the rain, snow and cold!”

And stick it out they did. Some 1,600 Pathfinders braved the weather at the Columbia Union Conference “Choose Without Compromise” Camporee held last week at Camp Mohaven in Danville, Ohio.—Story by Taashi Rowe


Donovan Ross Blogs About the Teachers’ Convention in Nashville

As I huddle in our registration booth with the staff from the Columbia Union Conference Office of Education, I am somewhat apprehensive. Of the 6,500 educators expected to arrive from all across the North American Division, some 500 are from the Columbia Union. We pray and prepare to greet and register them (there’s already one waiting patiently). With that many people trying to get registered, I expect our team of six will encounter our fair share of challenges.

It’s mid-afternoon and my job has changed from greeting and directing our educators to running back and forth from one end of the convention center to the other, trying to ensure that they have appropriate lodging. At 6:30 p.m. we move into the main auditorium for the opening session, one of nine such general sessions that will be presented over the next four days. One attendee shares with me that she was blessed after hearing Carlton Byrd, DMin (pictured), speaker and director for Breath of Life Ministries, and could not wait to see and hear what was in store for the remainder of the convention.—Blog by Donovan Ross, photo by Dan Weber


NAD’s “Changed” Initiative to Target Young Latinos

Through an evangelistic initiative called “Changed: Real Lives in a Real World,” the North American Division (NAD) will target more than 30 million second- and third-generation Hispanic youth with the three angels’ messages. Through the yearlong initiative, which launches this fall, NAD leaders hope to challenge the youth to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

As part of the yearlong initiative, the 2012 Latino Youth NET includes several weekend training events and a live satellite broadcast in Spanish, October 13–20, from Orlando via Esperanza TV and in English, November 3–10, via the Hope Channel. Find out more at, and Resources are available through Pictured below is Sandra Juarez, who along with Manny Cruz, NAD’s Youth Ministries associate director, will host the program.—Story by Laura Sámano


Programa "Changed" [‘Cambiado’] de la DNA, enfocado en la juventud latina

A través del programa evangelístico llamado: "Changed: Real Lives in a Real World" [‘cambiado: vidas reales en un mundo real’], la División Norteamericana (DNA) tiene como objetivo alcanzar a los más de treinta millones de jóvenes hispanos de tercera generación con los mensajes de los tres ángeles. A través del programa de un año de duración y que dará inicio en el otoño, los líderes de la DNA esperan desafiar a los jóvenes a aceptar a Jesús como su Señor y Salvador.

Como parte de este programa, Latino Youth NET del 2012, incluye varias semanas de actividades de capacitación y la transmisión en español, en vivo y vía satélite, del 13 al 20 de octubre desde Orlando a través del canal Esperanza TV y en inglés del 3 al 10 de noviembre, a través del canal Hope Channel. Obtenga más información en, y Hay recursos disponibles en En la foto, esta Manny Cruz, el Director Asociado de Ministerios de Jóvenes, y Sandra Juárez, quienes serán los presentadores del Latino Youth NET 2012 este otoño.—Historia por Laura Sámano

Columbus Korean Church Celebrates Financial Freedom

Members of Allegheny West Conference’s (AWC) Korean church in Columbus, Ohio, are thankful to have satisfied their mortgage after 10 years of diligent sacrifice. During their recent mortgage-burning ceremony, Pastor Choong Lee joyfully welcomed friends from Korean churches in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to their sanctuary. Carl Rogers (center), assistant to the AWC president, delivered the keynote address, exhorting parishioners to keep God at the center of God’s house. The high Sabbath celebration also featured celestial harmonies from the church choir and orchestra and ended with a fellowship meal.—Story by Cynthia Moore

Ohio Members Develop Ministerial Skills at ACS Symposium

More than 50 men and women (some pictured) from across Ohio and neighboring states spent a weekend at Ohio Conference’s Worthington church developing their skills for ministry, hoping to learn how to better meet the needs in their local communities. Each participant could select to attend one of the following three seminars: “Tutoring Underprivileged Children,” taught by Sandra Brown, specialist for the North American Division (NAD) Adventist Community Services; “Community Development” led by Gaspar Colón, PhD, dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.; and “Disaster Response Projects,” taught by Joe Watts, NAD Disaster Response coordinator.

A group of young adults from the Ebenezer Haitian church in Columbus took the tutoring seminar. Click here to find out why.—Story by Monte Sahlin

Renovations Update Takoma Academy Campus

When students at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Md., walk into the building on their first day of school, they will notice that extensive renovations took place over the summer. The John Jay Williams Chapel, completed in 1970, is now outfitted with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. Workers stripped the stage area of carpet (pictured) and returned it to a hardwood finish. They also restained the side paneling that envelops the room, improved the lighting and raised the floor so that the entire audience can have a good view of the stage.

By the end of the summer, the entire campus will have undergone asbestos removal treatment. Additionally, classrooms will be fully tiled and lighting adjustments made in areas of concern throughout the campus. Another computer lab was added, and there are improvements to the school’s computer network. These facility renovations will be ongoing to ensure that the TA campus continues to be a functional environment.—Story by David Turner

Spencerville Student Musicians Perform, Do Outreach in South Africa

Earlier this summer, two Spencerville Adventist Academy seniors, Vanessa Baioni and Sydney Portela (pictured), had the privilege of traveling and performing in South Africa with the New England Youth Ensemble (NEYE) and Columbia Collegiate Chorale of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md. Baioni is a violinist in the NEYE and Portela sings in the chorale.

One place the tour group visited of special interest to Baioni was the Maluti Adventist Hospital in the Kingdom of Lesotho. Baioni and her sister, Juliana, who is also an NEYE member, delivered baby blankets made for the hospital by participants of Keep in Stitches, a ministry of the Spencerville church. Baioni, her sister and their mother founded the ministry. “Making baby blankets to send to Maluti was one of many projects we have completed. It was a privilege for my sister and me to deliver the blankets into such deserving hands,” commented Baioni.—Story by Heidi Wetmore

30 Allegheny East Teens Make Baptism Decisions at Camp Meeting

During the Allegheny East Conference (AEC) Camp Meeting held in Pine Forge, Pa., 30 teens accepted the invitation to be baptized. While some chose to be baptized at their home churches, 11 decided to seal their commitment at the culmination of camp meeting. Pastor Gary Banks, assistant Youth Ministries director, baptized the teens at the Pine Forge Academy pool following Sabbath service.

“It is amazing to be a part of something as special as when young people decide to follow Jesus. I pray that the Lord will continue to inspire youth leaders to develop relevant ministries that change the lives of our young men and women,” said Banks.

The AEC Youth Ministries department’s theme for the year is “My Gifts for My God.” Throughout the week, various presenters incorporated that theme into their presentations on topics such as dating, sex, bullying, self-esteem and ministry.—Story by LaTasha Hewitt; photo by Richard Gordon

Former Sligo Pastor Challenges Members at Homecoming

You would be right on target for thinking that Sligo church’s Homecoming service on Friday evening, was a family sing-along with several trips down memory lane. Led by Steve Chavez, Sligo’s Board chair, those present indulged in singing old favorites. The next morning, Peter Bath (pictured), who served as the senior pastor of this Takoma Park, Md., church from 2000 to 2005 and Homecoming special guest speaker, recalled some of his memorable ministry experiences at Sligo.

He also lamented the tendency of Americans to turn away from that which challenges and encouraged congregants not to turn away from presenting Christ to the community in a practical and constructive manner. “We have not been saved to wait for the kingdom. The kingdom of God is already here,” Bath stressed.—Story by Don W. McFarlane


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

August 11-19: Mitchellville church’s Family Life Week of Prayer is themed, “Make Us One.” Tonight the service, which starts at 7:30 p.m., will be titled “Marriage Maintanence,” Friday, August 17, the service will be a breakout session on sexuality, also starting at 7:30 p.m. and continues all day Sabbath from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The series ends on Sunday by addressing “Preventing Childhood Sexual Molestation” at 1 p.m. The church is located at 122 Old Largo Road in Largo, Md. For more information, visit
August 19: The Metropolitan church is hosting a Voters Registration Drive in conjunction with a clothing give-away that begins at 10 a.m. They’ll be giving away free cups of Rita’s ices to everyone who registers (if you're already a registered voter, you can buy your ice at a discounted price). Encourage your friends and neighbors to come out. For more information, call (301) 853-2224. The church is located at 6307 Riggs Road in Hyattsville, Md.
New Jersey
September 16: The Wayne (N.J.) church’s second annual "Let's Move!" Day 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for September 16 beginning at 8 a.m. Early registration ends September 1 with a fee of $15. Regular and race day registration is $20. Click here to register. If you register with two other people who are not Wayne church members, you are eligible to receive a technical shirt. The church is located at 218 Ratzer Road.

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Taashi Rowe, Visitor News Bulletin Editor 
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