Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists
- Taashi Rowe
Over the course of three days, some 700 Columbia Union pastors and their spouses gathered in Baltimore for the union’s first pastors convention in nine years. Themed “iAbide” with the tagline “Strengthen, Renew, Replenish,” convention organizers set out to do just that.
It’s a Sabbath morning and the small chapel at 5203 Manchester Drive in Temple Hills, Md., is packed. This is the inaugural meeting of the Arise church, the first Hispanic American church in the Potomac Conference and people have come from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., to see what it is all about.
Looking back, Josephine Benton, now 87, knows exactly where her desire to minister came from. Her father was a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist who frequently moved their family around the country. “I would sit and listen to my dad’s sermons, and I always knew that if I had been born a boy, I would have been a preacher,” she said. “But that path didn’t seem open to me.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Claudia Ramirez, whose colleagues had just dropped her at home. They spent the day delivering 300 personal care kits to a shelter in Northern Burlington County, New Jersey. “I’ve seen a family lose a house or a few families lose their homes to fires, but nothing like this. This is very different. These were hundreds of people who just lost everything because of Sandy.”
And 8 Other Things I Learned at the Columbia Union Camporee
Each year for the past seven years, Allegheny East’s Emmanuel Brinklow church in Ashton, Md., has hosted a special program that celebrates three people who have made a positive impact on the world. Last Sabbath under the theme “Am I My Brother’s Keeper,” the church again honored three more at its Living Legends Awards for Service to Humanity program. Bob Zellner, whose parents were once members of the Klu Klux Klan, became a civil rights activist after interviewing Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks for a sociology paper. Zellner, then a college student, was struck by something Parks told him: “When you see something wrong, you have to make a stand for it. You can’t study it forever.” Zellner went on to become the first white field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee—a notable civil rights group.
A veritable list of who’s who gathered on November 15 to celebrate and recognize Erwin Mack, a member of Potomac Conference’s Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md. Some guests attended 80-year-old Mack’s retirement party held at Washington Adventist University also in Takoma Park. This marked the second time that Mack retired from the Takoma Langley Crossroads Development Authority, a business association, which he founded and chaired for more than 20 years. Through that organization Mack lobbied for increased police surveillance, combined advertising, utility improvements, and street and pedestrian safety enhancements.
If you walked or drove by the parking lot of the Takoma Park Spanish church in Takoma Park, Md., yesterday you would have heard a live Christian praise team; seen kids and kids-at-heart getting their faces painted, taking photos with the Guide magazine dog and singing interactive songs; while their parents selected free clothing and food and got free immigration and health counseling. As people chatted happily with the young people who staffed the giveaway stations and with each other the atmosphere was certainly festive. Located at the corner of University Boulevard and Caroll Avenue, the church is just blocks away from Langley Park, one of the largest Spanish-speaking communities in the Washington, D.C.-area.
Hailing from southwest China, where she pastors a 400-church district, Rebekah Liu shared her testimony today with members of the Columbia Union Conference’s Executive Committee in Columbia, Md. Titling her presentation “He Dwells Among Us,” Liu dispelled the myth of the atheistic Chinese by comparing writings from ancient Chinese text with the Bible. She noted that both sets of texts include Messianic prophecies. She also charted China’s once deeply spiritual history to its decline with the advent of Communism.
Pop quiz. When you think of how your school or church treasurer adds value to the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, what phrase comes to mind? (Pick one answer from below).
B. Providing timely information
C. Being a spiritual leader
D. Providing creative strategies
E. All of the above