This Month's Issue

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.”

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.

Feature by Edwin Manuel Garcia

Therezinha Barbalho grew up in Brazil and wanted to be a pastor more than anything. But after graduating from the Adventist seminary, she faced difficulty finding pastoral employment beyond being a Bible worker, due to the region’s attitudes toward women in ministry.

She realized her dream career wasn’t going to happen, so she went back to school and became a lawyer.

Years later when Barbalho and her husband sought better medical care than Brazil could offer for their daughter who has autism, she sent her pastoral résumé to conferences in the United States. She was offered a job as a Bible worker at New Jersey Conference’s Luso-Brazilian church in Newark in 2004, then promptly became the associate pastor.