Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

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 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

Chesapeake   Conference

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
Polaris                                                               3rd

Ohio Conference
Nhyira Mma                           Lightings                    1st
Nhyira Mma                           New Age                    2nd

Pennsylvania Conference
Bethlehem Eastern Trumpets           Team 1         2nd
Bethlehem Eastern Trumpets           Team 2         1st  

Potomac Conference
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

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