Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

This Month's Issue

Photo of Tony Liriano by Jorge Pilco

For years Tony Liriano wanted to start and lead a new church. When he finally got that chance more than a year ago, he aimed to help nurture a family atmosphere where members felt welcome. He didn’t know that New Jersey Conference’s Garfield church plant, the church he would help start and lead as a lay pastor, would be instrumental in helping his son, Sammy, return to the Seventh-day Adventist faith.

Ty Wright photographed Elliot Smith in Dayton, Ohio. Credit Ty Wright AP Images

Elliot Smith remembers his academy teacher pulling him aside after class one day. The teacher noticed he wasn’t enjoying singing anymore—something he loved doing since elementary school. The “darkness” continued until he realized it wasn’t something he could just “pray away.”