25 Union Pathfinder Bible Experience Teams Progress to Division-Level
Story by V. Michelle Bernard
This year, 39 teams from across the Columbia Union Conference participated in the union-level Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE), held online for the second year in a row.
On Sabbath afternoon, the teams gathered virtually to test their knowledge of Hebrews, James, and 1 and 2 Peter, and the introductions from the correlating sections of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. Then on Sunday, team representatives again gathered virtually to celebrate their accomplishments and discover who placed first and would be moving on to the North American Division (NAD) level event. (Watch Columbia Union President Dave Weigley’s special message to them here.)
Out of the 39 teams, 25 will continue to the division-level event, which will be held April 16–17.
Participation at the union-level was up by 12 teams than last year. Sherilyn O’Ffill, Columbia Union PBE coordinator, says that last year about 36 teams progressed to the union-level, but because of the newness of social distancing due to the pandemic, many decided not to participate.
‘Serious to Start With’
O’Ffill, also the associate director for the Potomac Conference Youth Department, says this year there is a very high number of teams going on to the division level—25 out of 39. Typically, the number is closer to 50 percent.
She also notes that this year’s union-level test had a lot more specific questions that are often harder to answer correctly. Despite the harder questions, the scores were very, very high, she says. “Our high scorer was only three points away from a perfect score. There were multiple teams in that category,” she adds. “Out of the 25 teams that placed first, five teams had more than 100 percent score. … Typically, that number is only reached by one team.”
What might be the reason? “The kids who decided to do PBE were serious to start with, and it has made a difference all the way through,” she says.
“I am very proud of you all; that was a hard test yesterday,” O’Ffill said on Sunday. “So well done. Again, thank you to all of our monitors, all of our coaches, all of our technical people. You all did a fabulous job yesterday—and the Pathfinders. I am impressed and amazed by both your resilience and your ability to remember God's Word.”
Small in Number
Placing first is an accomplishment in and of itself, but this year it means even more for Potomac Conference’s Leesburg (Va.) group, comprised of just three members—in contrast to most other teams who have six members.
Leesburg started the season out with five members. “At first when I found out two teammates left, I was worried,” says Aiden Moreno, who moved to Maryland partway during the training season, but continued with the team. “But after we passed [our] area level, my confidence was renewed.”
A Permanent Change?
More than a year into the pandemic, the way PBE participants study and meet has also changed, maybe permanently.
Many of the groups’ coaches or directors reported enjoying having the extra flexibility in scheduling practice sessions online, saving driving time and allowing for some extra sessions.
Donna Vargas, director of the Leesburg club, says they used to have to depend on parents’ schedules to drive them to practice sessions. “It’s so much easier to meet. “Going forward, we’ll probably have our practice sessions virtually,” she adds.
Visit columbiaunionvisitor.com after April 17 to see the placements from the NAD-level PBE.
2021 Columbia Union Pathfinder Bible Experience Results
Allegheny East Conference
Breath of Life Buccaneers 1st
Community Falcons Blue 2nd
Community Falcons Gold 1st
Genesis Jaguars Team A 1st
Genesis Jaguars Team 1 1st
Glassboro Braves Apostles 1st
Glassboro Braves Disciples 3rd
Maranatha Warriors Diamond 1st
Maranatha Warriors Sapphire 1st
New Maranatha Karibu Team A 1st
Truth Tabernacle Alpha 1st
Atholton Faithblazers 1st
Adom Pathfinders Washington Ghanaian 3rd
Baltimore White Marsh Jacob 3rd
Frederick Firefoxes Team 1 3rd
Highland View Highflyers HVC Teens 3rd
Spencerville Team 1 1st
Triadelphia Sparks 2nd
New Jersey Confrence
Hackensack Hawks 2nd
Nhyira Mma Lightings 1st
Nhyira Mma New Age 2nd
Bethlehem Eastern Trumpets Team 1 2nd
Bethlehem Eastern Trumpets Team 2 1st
Beltsville Broncos Glory 1st
Beltsville Broncos Honor 1st
Beltsville Broncos Praise 1st
Burnt Mills Blue Jays 1st
Community Praise Church Heirs of Salvation 1st
Community Praise Church Loyal Witness 1st
Community Praise Church Warrior 1st
Fredericksburg Heirs of Promise 1st
Leesburg Preachers 1st
New Market Shenandoah 2nd
Seabrook Team 1 3rd
Seabrook Team 2 1st
Sligo Team 1 2nd
Sligo Team 2 1st
Vienna Faith on Fire 1st