5 Ways Columbia Union Members are Creating Community

The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have overtaken every facet of life. Five Columbia Union churches are attempting to ease the heavy load and stress we’ve been carrying by virtually meeting the needs of their community.

1. Chesapeake Conference’s Highland View church in Hagerstown, Md., is delivering communion items to members’ homes Friday to virtually take part in their livestreamed communion service on Sabbath

“We’re in survival mode right now and it was really sudden. There wasn’t a whole lot of preparation [before the Covid-19 hit the United States], said Marissa Leslie, M.D., chair of Psychiatry at Adventist HealthCare in the Columbia Union Visitor’s “Coping in the Time of Covid-19 conversation series.

“We heard the news stories and it seemed like it was far away. It seemed like as soon as the schools closed, that is when panic set in,” shared Leslie. “And every few days a new restriction would come for public safety, but we just lost the sense of control and when you lose the sense of control psychologically you try to control something. It may be the kids online school or it may be your husband making dinner. Your body starts to feel tenser.”

HVA STEM student Ian Voorhees (’22) does preliminary work on the High Altitude Balloon project.

Story by Andrew S. Lay

Under the auspices of the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE), affiliated with Rice University (Texas), Highland View Academy (HVA) was recently recognized for being a STEM-certified school. This is a first in the North American Division (NAD). Faculty also received the National Certificate for STEM Teaching, including Myrna Biswas-Nowrangi, Ophelia Barizo and Colleen Lay, and teachers Lisa Norton and Paty Serrano.

Story by V. Michelle Bernard

This Sabbath 12 of the 23 eligible teams from around the Columbia Union Conference will participate in a virtual union-level Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE), testing participants on the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Hosea, Amos, Jonah and Micah. The event, originally scheduled for March 21 at New Jersey Conference’s Tranquility Valley Retreat Center in Tranquility, was temporarily postponed due to safety concerns relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

The online event will now take place on Zoom. The results will be broadcast Sunday, April 12, (time to be announced) on the Columbia Union Visitor Facebook page:

Story by Adventist HealthCare

Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center has been working closely with the State of Maryland to coordinate surge capacity to care for COVID-19 patients. This plan includes expanding capacity at both the hospital in White Oak and at the Takoma Park campus of the former Washington Adventist Hospital.  The State of Maryland has approved the following interim plan for the Takoma Park facility:

Story by Alisi Potauaine / Originally Published by the Potomac Conference

Sifa Potauaine, associate pastor of Potomac Conference’s Beltsville (Md.) church, believes innovation is an essential key to life. “We have to adjust to circumstances that are outside of our control—like this pandemic,” he says. “When we cannot actively participate in an act of service, we have to think differently. The Beltsville church is committed to help people in whatever way we can can in whatever circumstances we face.”

By Heidi Shoemaker

Despite several delays due to travel and social distancing restrictions amidst the Covid-19 crisis, members of the Ohio Conference Presidential Selection Committee voted overwhelmingly to extend a call to Bob Cundiff to be president of the Ohio Conference.

“I’m excited for Ohio in calling Bob Cundiff. He brings a deep passion for soul-winning and engaging young adults in the mission of the church,” says Dave Weigley, Columbia Union president and chairman of the Selection Committee.