Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

The newly elected Columbia Union ASI leadership team is comprised of members (left to right) Norbert Restrepo Jr., Pierre Monice, Fran Gourdet, Daniel A. Reed, Mark Brown, Lawrence Rykard, Jr., and Celeste Ryan Blyden.

Columbia Union ASI Hosts Spring Meeting, Elects Officers

Story by V. Michelle Bernard

“We think a good church member is someone who goes to church most of the time, pays tithe. But that isn’t spirituality; [it] isn’t being a biblical Christian. A biblical Christian is on a mission, and it better be connected to [our] 40-plus hours a week work life. … Or else, what are we doing with our lives? Just making money?” said Jesse Zwiker, founder and president of Hyve International, at the recent three-day Columbia Union ASI Spring Meeting event.

Small business owners from as close as Maryland to as far as Guatemala gathered at the union headquarters in Columbia, Md., to network and listen to seminars crafted to share best business practices, with the goal to build better companies to serve as mission outposts.

Daniel A. Reed, newly elected Columbia Union ASI president, believes that, “ASI helps everyone to see what mission work can be. It encourages everyone to be active in their churches by hearing the live testimonies from around the world. Once a person attends an ASI meeting, they cannot help themselves but to be active in the work of God.”

Speakers included Mark Finley, pastor and evangelist who talked about the power of influence; Rick Remmers, assistant to the president at the North American Division; and Celeste Ryan Blyden, executive secretary of the Columbia Union who serves as the Columbia Union ASI sponsor. Throughout the weekend, attendees learned about other local Seventh-day Adventist businesses, networked with other Adventist business owners, and elected a new leadership team, who will serve for the next two years:

President: Daniel A. Reed
General Vice President: Mark Brown
Vice President of Evangelism: Norbert Restrepo Jr.
Vice President of Communication: Pierre Monice
Vice President of Logistics: Fran Gourdet
Vice President of Membership: Lawrence Rykard, Jr.
Columbia Union ASI Sponsor: Celeste Ryan Blyden 
Reed says the chapter’s goals are: 1. To provide members with more training on how to bring ministry to everyday business, so that every business and lay person is a worker for God in the marketplace; 2. To bring extensive awareness about ASI and its mission to all the churches; and 3. To double its current membership.

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