Photo by Crissy Musick

Feature by Edwin Manuel Garcia / Photos by Crissy Musick

Chris Trent truly understands church members who are struggling with issues, big and small.

“My childhood was rough. ... My sister was abused, so I guess she passed some of that abuse to me,” says the pastor of Mountain View Conference’s aptly named Grace Outreach church in Logan, W.Va., and the Grace Community church in Williamson, W.Va. “I was taken to church quite often when I was a kid, so I thought there was a God, but, at the time, I didn’t have a need for God.”

Trent is a former Marine who owned a tattoo business for 13 years. “And in between,” he adds, “I was married and had three kids by a woman who was kind of wild. We were into drugs a little bit.”

Story by Ricardo Bacchus

“I don’t really consider myself an artist, but I do enjoy dabbling in what I call ‘art therapy,’” says Kandace Zollman, the pastor for nurture and visitation at Chesapeake Conference’s Spencerville church in Silver Spring, Md.

She recently took this “art therapy” to a whole new level. Each Sabbath since social distancing started due to the coronavirus, she has put her talents to work by “chalking” God’s love on her driveway.  

“I really wanted to send some kind of message of hope to the people around me. I decided that the message that I left would be the words of God Himself to people who are struggling,” she says.

Joanne Goodwin, treasurer for the Charlottesville (Va.) church, demonstrates the basic steps needed to bake homemade bread.

Story by Tiffany Doss

You don’t need to be enrolled in college to take a 101 class in the intricacies of gardening, maneuvering remote controlled helicopters, creating stained glass or baking bread. Members at Potomac Conference's Harrisonburg and Charlottesville churches in Virginia have been tuning in weekly via Zoom to discover what hidden talents fellow Potomac members have and are sharing with one another.

Sarah Porter and Swiffer

Story by V. Michelle Bernard

Swiffer, an approximately 5-year-old Great Pyrenees/Labrador/mix, and his owner, Sarah Porter, a member at Chesapeake Conference’s New Hope church in Fulton, Md., have provided pet therapy to medical staff with Pets on Wheels since 2018. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, their visits to local hospitals stopped.

Image by Stocksnap on Pixabay

Perspective by Pastor Will Johns

How do you make summer plans right now? It is very difficult to plan anything because so much is unknown about what restrictions will or will not still be in place. And so we must deal with the loss of future expectation. I don't know about you, but I like having things to look forward to. I love it when I have some family vacations scheduled on the calendar. I have had to cancel two trips for this summer already and that is disappointing. I'm sure most of you are in a similar situation. So how do we respond?

Adventist HealthCare workers pray during the Coronavirus pandemic

Story by V. Michelle Bernard

With all churches across the Columbia Union Conference physically closed due to the coronavirus, pastors and members changed—seemingly overnight— the way they minister. In addition to offering livestreamed or pre-recorded services, many churches and conferences moved planning meetings, Sabbath School classes and Bible studies to Zoom, Facebook Live or other digital video platforms.

Image by Sepph on Pixabay

Editorial by Dave Weigley

Recently our world has been overtaken by the coronavirus pandemic. Fear and uncertainty abound, people are suffering and many lives have been lost. Social distancing measures have left many people working from home or seeking unemployment benefits. Health care workers and frontline responders are risking their lives to save others. Many people are wondering if this is the beginning of the end. And, at the writing of this editorial, our churches are meeting virtually, students are distance learning, and camp meetings, summer camps, graduations and special events have been postponed or canceled.

Image by Mohamed_Hassan on Pixabay

1.The Columbia Union Conference partnered with the General Conference and North American Division to help fund $900,000 to support local conference outreach ministries, such as the community center at Pennsylvania Conference’s Grace Outlet church in Reading.

2.The Office of Ministries Development organized our first unionwide evangelism conference where we challenged pastors to employ the best methods for reaching today’s culture.

Gabriel Orellana, Stephanie Jaqua, Urna Uuganbayar, Angel Hernandez share week of prayer messages.

Story by Jacklyn Ruth

Last week, five Highland View Academy (HVA) students led out in a virtual Week of Prayer experience. With school buildings closed across the region due to the coronavirus pandemic, students were unable to meet together in person for this special week of spiritual emphasis. 

Story by Celeste Ryan Blyden

Members of the Columbia Union Conference’s Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) Chapter will host a virtual meet up Monday, April 27, 2020, from 8-9 p.m. via Zoom. “This event will provide an opportunity for small business owners and nonprofit ministry leaders to join us for prayer, encouragement, networking and support,” says Mark Brown, chapter president. “We believe that connection and interaction will spiritually uplift those who are struggling during this time of quarantine and social distancing.”

To register for the event, please click here.