North American Division Building

Story by Debra Anderson

On March 14, 2021, the Potomac Conference Corporation will be the first conference in the Columbia Union Conference to virtually host a full constituency meeting. Like many organizations that have had to adjust their official meeting protocols, after much prayer and deliberation, Potomac made the decision to proceed with the virtual option. The conference’s executive committee later approved the request from the conference administration.

Connor O’Geare

Story by Vicki Swetnam

This year, Spring Valley Academy (SVA) introduced a new high school course exploring the world of entrepreneurship. Students learned how to hire, fire, sell, explore the market, read financial statements, create a business plan, give an elevator pitch and ask for funding. The capstone project was a Shark Tank contest in which each student presented their own business plan to a group of local business leaders requesting an “investment” in their company. The students delivered and staged their presentations using props such as cupcakes, prepared meals, lawn mowers, clothing and other items.

Historia de Anthony Baffi

“Nada es demasiado pequeño para Dios”, dice Gabriela Martínez, de 22 años, miembro de la iglesia española de Trenton de la Conferencia de Nueva Jersey. Ella se dice a sí misma esto siempre que se encuentra con dificultades. "¡Es un recordatorio de cuán grandes son las bendiciones de Dios y cómo Sus planes son más grandes que los nuestros!"

Martínez, una receptora de DACA, ha enfrentado constantes batallas toda su vida. Desde terminar la escuela secundaria y qué pasos tomar, a qué universidad elegir y si tendría fondos para el estudio, luchó con obstáculos previsibles. Había límites para lo que los beneficiarios de DACA podían calificar y ella no sabía qué les esperaba el futuro.

Historia de Anthony Baffi

Jonathan Carrillo se une a la Conferencia de Nueva Jersey como el nuevo pastor de las iglesias de Camden, Pine Hill, Gibbsboro company y Mt. Holly españolas.

Carrillo recibió su licenciatura en teología de la Universidad de Montemorelos (México). Se desempeñó como capellán en la Universidad de Navojoa y pastor asociado en la iglesia de Alamos y la Iglesia Central de Navojoa, antes de pasar a pastor en la Conferencia de las Montañas Rocosas.

Recientemente completó su M. Div. en el Seminario Teológico Adventista del Séptimo Día de la Universidad Andrews (Michigan). Le encanta dedicar su tiempo libre a la escritura. También ama la naturaleza e intenta escapar al aire libre siempre que sea posible.

Story by LaTasha Hewitt

Zina Johnson, choir director at Allegheny East Conference's Capitol Hill church in Washington, D.C., recently participated in the gospel musical Netflix docuseries, Voices of Fire. The series, produced by recording artist Pharrell Williams, follows his uncle, Ezekiel Williams, and a team of gospel leaders as they travel to Hampton Roads, Va., in search of talented singers to build a world class gospel choir.

Blue Mountain Academy runs an organic farm

Story by Jenevieve Lettsome & V. Michelle Bernard

Schools around the Columbia Union Conference are also striving to teach students about caring for the earth, using various activities such as installing solar panels and planting gardens.

Mountain View Conference’s Highland Adventist School in Elkins, W.Va., recently received a rain barrel from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) Division of Water and Waste Management to help provide water for their greenhouse growing program.

Image from iStock

“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14, NIV).

In the days when I was young and bold, or as my mother would objectively say, “careless,” I ventured out from my hotel room at 2:00 a.m. I thought to myself, Niagara Falls is a completely safe place. Especially in July! So, why not? Needless to say, I went on a solo adventure, uninhibited of any possible danger.

Ninety minutes into my city voyage, I realized I may be lost. I reached for the hotel map I had in my pocket, and it was gone! Trying not to panic, I mentally retraced my steps and headed back cautiously. Maybe, in my rush to leave my room, I had left the map on the tabletop.

As I was orienting myself, my thoughts went back to my mother. I remembered her expressing, “We are going to Niagara Falls to have a mother and son time together.” She wanted us to have a closer relationship. Shame unexpectedly swept over me. While my mother was sleeping, I was selfishly doing “my own thing.” I stopped and asked God for forgiveness.

Image from iStock

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28, KJV).

Jesus’ invitation helps me to understand my own story of restlessness. The verse speaks life to me because of the steps I took to experience rest personally, and the rest I invite others in crises to experience in my clinical ministry practice.

When my mother gave birth to me, she abandoned me to my grandmother because she was ashamed to hold a child with a withered left hand in a culture of honor and shame. I grew up not knowing my biological parents until I was about 14 years old. I recall how I was moved around to live with uncles, brothers and church members in my village. When I was around 16 or 17 years old, I met an American Baptist missionary couple who taught me to speak and write English.

Jennifer Ditscheit, Pixaby

Editorial by Jenevieve “Jenna” Lettsome

In what can be seen by many as a faith-destroying time, stories of answered prayer and God’s love continue to shield me, protect my faith and remind me that God still exists and is bigger than life itself.

Like many grateful believers before me—in the Bible and beyond Scripture—I am impressed to tangibly give back and praise God, not just for my life, but the lives and world around me.

For the Beauty of the Earth

Story by Jenevieve Lettsome & V. Michelle Bernard / Cover photos by Brad Barnwell

Going on Sabbath walks and appreciating nature—God’s second book—are longstanding elements of Seventh-day Adventist culture. Should this appreciation impact the way members care for the environment? And can it bring them closer to God?

Adventism, [in its early years], was more outdoorsy because the culture back then was more connected with the [nature] around them,” says John Henri Rorabeck, a naturalist and educator. “[But] Ellen White and her contemporaries were [also] really pushing the boundaries and really leading.”