ACS Seminar Teaches Nearly 100 to Understand Their Community

“Helping people in the community doesn’t always have to equal baptisms,” said one enthusiastic attendee.

Story by Debra McKinney Banks; Photo by Sean Robinson

Attendees chat during an Adventist Community Services seminar at the New Joy church in Hagerstown, Md.

Attendees chat during an Adventist Community Services seminar at the New Joy church in Hagerstown, Md. (Photograph by Sean Robinson)

Nearly 100 volunteers, leaders and pastors recently attended the free “Understanding Your Community” seminar at Allegheny East Conference’s New Joy Fellowship church in Hagerstown, Md., sponsored by the conference’s Adventist Community Services (ACS) department. Attendees came from as far away as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware.

“Adventist Community Services is not your grandmother’s Dorcas Society anymore,” said Sung Kwon, ACS executive director for the North American Division, as he illustrated how the ministry continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of today’s society.

John Gavin, director of the Social Work Department for Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md., also provided practical ways to ascertain the demographics and needs in the areas surrounding our Seventh-day Adventist churches.

Several attendees said they appreciated the information shared and were eager to take it back to their congregations. “I’m excited and motivated,” said Belinda Best, ACS federation president for southern New Jersey. “I took away a lot of great information and really want to get to know people in my own community.”

Marcel Alexandre, a member of the Glen Ridge church in District Heights, Md., said her takeaway was, “Helping people in the community doesn’t always have to equal baptisms.”

Gary Wimbush, pastor of the Columbia Community Center in Columbia, Md., added, “If we aren’t reaching people and providing for their needs, we just become proprietors of the gospel. Doing that is antithetical to the gospel commission.”