Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists
- Pennsylvania Conference
Mortified. That’s how my mom, Vicki (Curtiss) Bernard, recalls feeling as she sat in Chemistry class at Mount Vernon Academy where her dad, Leon Curtiss, was the teacher. “If we got what we deserve, we’d all be grease spots,” he’d say, trying to lighten the mood while navigating tough subjects like science and math. A fixture at Ohio Conference’s longtime school (now closed), my grandfather was known for his corny jokes and one-liners.
Bob Williams pastored more than a dozen churches, helped start a school and served on numerous conference committees and boards in his 40-year career with the Pennsylvania Conference.
With broomsticks and a small inflatable ball, members from Pennsylvania Conference’s Hershey and Reading Hampton Heights churches, and their invited friends and co-workers, are regularly getting together to play a twist on an old favorite—Broomstick Hockey.
At the end of this year, Seventh-day Adventists in the Pennsylvania and Ohio conferences will see two Adventist Book Centers (ABC) close—one in Mount Vernon, Ohio—the other in Hamburg, Pa. The closures come as a result of the Idaho-based Pacific Press Publishing Association’s (PPPA) decision early this fall to end a management agreement of some 17 ABCs across the North American Division.
The Pennsylvania Conference is among several Columbia Union entities using video conferencing to reduce travel, costs and conflicting schedules. Some 30 pastors “attended” their recent fall meeting, which marked their one-year anniversary of holding these meetings online. We recently talked with Tim Madding, the conference’s director of Leadership and Spiritual Growth, to find out exactly how it all works.
If you’re not actively engaged in telling others about God’s love and sharing His Word, then you really can’t call yourself a Seventh-day Adventist,” warns Lillian Torres, the Pennsylvania Conference and Columbia Union Bible worker who has dedicated her life to drawing people to Christ and training others to do the same. “Our goal as Christians should be to tell every person we interact with each day about God’s love.” She further explains, “If I’m not intentionally engaged in personal evangelism, I can’t claim to be an Adventist because we believe in the second coming of Christ and proclaiming it. And, being a Christian means to believe in Christ’s teachings and gospel, and showing it in character and practice. If I’m neither, then what am I?”
In Reading, Pa., one church nourishes hungry neighborhood children—physically and spiritually.
As thirteen-year-old Makaela Smith begins eighth grade at Garden Spot Middle School in New Holland, Pa., this fall she has more than just academics and cheerleading on her mind. Smith, who became a baptized member of Pennsylvania Conference’s Lancaster church in February, is determined to make a difference in the world around her.
Minutes away from the main convention hall where hundreds of pastors are attending iAbide, the Columbia Union pastors convention in Baltimore, some 20 women sit down for a simple dinner at a restaurant. A green salad graces their plates, followed by vegetable kabobs set on a bed of quinoa and finished off with a dessert of ice cream, berries or a combination of the two. The women chat and laugh, tease each other and share sage advice. These women are not just pastoral spouses (although some are). They are pastors, pastoral interns, chaplains, conference administrators and Bible workers who minister throughout the Columbia Union.
Jacob had never attended summer camp before. Being visually impaired made it difficult for him to participate in typical summer camp activities. But that changed this summer as Jacob attended a camp specifically designed for the blind and visually impaired at Pennsylvania Conference’s Laurel Lake Camp and Retreat Center in Rossiter, Pa.