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PA Conference Newsletter- 05/26/2020

Updated: May 26, 2020








United Together

We Fulfill the Mission

January/February 2019

God Knew


In 2020, coronavirus changed everything—including how our churches function. While no one anticipated this pandemic, God did. As I look at how things have transpired, I see many ways God prepared our Conference for this crisis.


Last year, we announced the bold initiative to hold 120 evangelistic meetings during the fall of 2020. Members across our wonderful Conference immediately embraced the 120 in 2020 mission and volunteered to host evangelistic meetings, preach, give Bible studies, and financially support it. Consequently, this fall, we are prepared to help anxious multitudes find hope in Bible prophecies about our world!


In January 2020, nearly 100 members plus pastors trained to prepare for the 120 in 2020 meetings. Over the next several months we held numerous other Bible study and evangelism training seminars. This is how we found ourselves ready to participate in the Hope Awakens online evangelistic series with It Is Written.


Virtually all our English language churches hosted meetings. They were supported by 158 of our very own online Bible workers and 40 pastors and volunteer lay pastors. God knew this pandemic was coming and we were prepared to share Bible hope!


We also discovered that our strategic initiative for online outreach, also launched in 2019, is especially relevant in this age of coronavirus. Not only did we host online English evangelistic meetings, but our Spanish churches did an amazing online evangelistic series during Easter week. Subsequently, 500 Hispanic members have trained to be digital missionaries for witnessing online! In addition, nearly half of all Conference churches are now participating in streaming worship services.


Then there is our prayer initiative, By My Spirit. During this pandemic, members are praying like never before in daily and weekly prayer meetings. God knew our need before we did when He inspired By My Spirit. It is exciting to see how He is calling His people to prayer and is answering our petitions!


While this pandemic was a surprise, God knew it was coming and prepared our Conference to be ready with relevant ministries! In this issue you will discover other inspiring ways God is using our churches and schools during this pandemic.

-- Gary Gibbs, President


Pennsylvania Ministry During Pandemic


  • Food pantries provided thousands of meals to families who lost their jobs


  • 158 English online Bible workers participated in the Hope Awakens evangelistic meetings


  • Hundreds watched the Spanish Easter week online evangelistic series


  • More than 300 Hispanic church members registered to be digital missionaries, using their social media pages to share the gospel


  • Blue Mountain Academy students called for prayer during the pandemic, leading an online devotional and prayer time each evening for several weeks 


  • All Conference schools continued teaching through distance learning. Teachers also hosted the Conference’s live-stream of Sabbath School classes for kids across Pennsylvania


  • The Conference provided live-streams each Sabbath for adult Sabbath School and worship services


  • 90% of our churches continued to meet through Zoom, audio calls or Facebook/YouTube services

BMA Students Lead Revival

“God is real.”


Those three words changed lives as God moved powerfully on the campus of Blue Mountain Academy (BMA) and in the lives of students. Young people and staff gathered for a Friday evening bonfire at the end of a week of prayer. They had just learned that the school would be closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As they prayed and sang together, senior Esteban Grajales suddenly felt the need to go and talk to six friends. He knew he needed to go immediately. 


Esteban asked others to pray and invited Henrique da Silva to go with him as he went from room-to-room in the dorm. “God is real,” he told each student. “And if He’s real, He wants your heart and your commitment.” 

The next morning, six young men were baptized as a result of the Friday evening invitation. The spiritual revival taking place on campus did not end as students left campus and headed home. An “army of youth rightly trained” called people to pray.


Even as the school transitioned to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, students initiated their own video and teleconference prayer meetings each night at 9:00 pm. They took their invitation to the community outside of BMA through their Facebook page, at first sharing an encouraging scripture, thought, and invitation to pray. Then began sharing videos of students offering a short devotional and scripture thought. 


“I am so proud of our BMA students and staff!” says Elder Gary Gibbs, president of the Pennsylvania Conference. “Throughout this school year we have witnessed the Holy Spirit powerfully at work on campus. Principal Burney Culpepper and his staff are dedicated to BMA being a safe place where students not only excel academically, but where they prosper spiritually. Every parent interested in their child’s spiritual welfare is being greatly blessed by BMA.”


For more information on student enrollment opportunities at Blue Mountain Academy contact Ruben Olm at rolm@bma.us or 914-216-1609.



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Ways to Give

  1. Online through your church website or at paconference.org.
  2. Mail your tithe envelope to your local treasurer. 
  3. Ask your pastor to pick up your tithe envelope at your home.
  4. Tutorials for AdventistGiving are at paconference.org/how-to-give-online/

Spirit of Gratitude and Faithfulness

God gives us so many blessings that we don’t deserve and could never earn, like grace and forgiveness. The greatest blessing being the Ultimate Gift, His Son, for our sins. And God gives us the ability to respond to His gifts with a generous spirit. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, and with the best part of everything you produce.” Proverbs 3:9 NLT.


While we praise God for all His blessings, we also thank every Pennsylvania Conference member for their faithful stewardship. Giving to God shows we trust Him and believe He is working through His remnant church to prepare for Jesus’ soon coming. 


These are economically challenging times and we appreciate your continued support of God’s work through returning your tithe and giving to your local church. Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order and its shutting of businesses as had a negative impact on the economy. Consequently, April 2020’s year-to-date tithe is slightly down compared to the previous year. We anticipate this trend will begin reversing as people return to work. 


As soon as stay-at-home orders were issued, we created a contingency budget to cut expenses in anticipation of lost tithe. Our goal is to operate within a balanced budget so that our Conference can continue its mission in a financially sound manner. You and I have a big challenge in front of us—to share the hope of Jesus in uncertain times. According to Isaiah 43:2-3, God will see us through this crisis and lead us to victory. As we are faithful and trust God, His people will come back stronger than ever to Reach Everyone, Everywhere with the good news of Jesus.

-- Carlos Charnichart, Treasurer

Education Doesn't Stop During Pandemic

No one would have ever thought that a worldwide pandemic would completely transform how Adventist schools reach kids for Jesus while maintaining high educational standards. Pennsylvania Conference officially transitioned to distance learning on March 16, 2020, due to a mandate from Governor Wolf. 


Schools immediately needed to change everything—from how teachers connect with students and lesson material delivery, to teaching children how to rely on Jesus during this crisis. This was a mammoth task to launch with such short notice. While some public schools were unable to accomplish it, educators across Pennsylvania Conference rose to the occasion, to satisfy academic requirements and to follow the call God gave them to teach and share the gospel. 


Educators used a variety of means including Zoom, Google Classroom, Google Hangout, phone calls, and text messaging to personally connect with their students. Materials were delivered by emails, scanned documents, text messages, and information packets mailed or dropped off at homes. Teachers spent countless hours online, phone calling, messaging, and emailing to make sure material was understood by the student as well as by parents. 


Beyond academics, teachers intentionally connected students to Jesus. It looked different in each school. Students wrote Bible verses on sidewalks and driveways to encourage neighbors. They shared Scripture, notes, letters, and pictures with area medical professionals, as well as with patients and residents, paramedics, grocery store workers, truck drivers, mail carriers, and family members. They prepared new foods for their family or completed art projects to help loved ones know Jesus better. They even made masks to send to those on the front lines fighting the pandemic. “I’m proud of our educational team,” shares Jeremy Garlock, education superintendent. “Education and the gospel did not stop because of the pandemic. Each day teachers, their students, and families drew closer to Jesus. They learned to adapt, change, and learn in spite of this sudden crisis. More importantly, God blessed all of us to draw closer to Him during this storm.”

-- Jennifer Miller, Mountain View Christian School Principal

Evangelism Doesn't Stop


The COVID-19 pandemic may have closed the doors to church buildings, but it did not stop evangelism or mission. Hispanic churches had planned a week-long evangelistic series for April 4-11, 2020. They were no longer able to invite people to their churches, but they did not give up. Instead, they committed to being digital missionaries, using their personal social media pages to promote and invite people to attend meetings offered live on Facebook. 


Their series received more than 19,000 views and was shared 678 times, with an average attendance of 191 people during the live sessions. One woman watching faithfully online was from a Pentecostal church. The messages and truths moved on her heart and she decided to start returning her tithe to the Seventh-day Adventist Church as she continues to study.  


Pastor Saud Elias, Pennsylvania Conference Hispanic Ministries Coordinator, left his hometown in La Concepción, Junín, Peru thirty-five years ago. During the Holy Week meetings, people in La Concepción joined the live stream and listened to the service. As Pastor Elias preached on Sabbath, the Holy Spirit moved on the heart of his uncle who made the decision to be baptized. 


As the week-long meetings came to a close, Hispanic pastors discussed how to follow up and continue Bible studies in person during the pandemic and stay-at-home orders. They posted the phone number of Braulio Jimenez during the meetings and invited those interested in a free Bible or free Bible studies to contact Jimenez who would drop them off at their doorstep. Twenty-six requests for Bible studies and thirteen requests for Bibles were received. Jimenez dropped them at each door, making connections and encouraging people to share the Bibles and studies with a friend or neighbor. 


“Reaching everyone, everywhere takes all of us united together to fulfill the mission,” states Gary Gibbs, Pennsylvania Conference president. “Our Hispanic pastors showed us what that looks like lived out. They didn’t let the pandemic interrupt their plans to share the gospel. They united together as a team and reached their communities—and communities in other parts of the world. This is what it will take to finish the work.”

Evangelism Goes Digital


“Wouldn’t it be amazing to have baptisms our first Sabbath back in our churches?” asks Brandon Senior, pastor of the East Suburban, Greensburg, Mon Valley, Uniontown Hilltop, and Washington church district. While churches have been closed during the pandemic, pastors across Pennsylvania have been busy connecting with more than 2000 people watching the It Is Written Hope Awakens online series. In addition, both Senior and Dustin Hall, Conference church planting director, have held evangelistic meetings online as most of our state stayed home. 


“It was a very strange experience to preach to people I’ve never met and who couldn’t see me,” Hall, who included his wife and children in his presentations, shared. “But as the meetings progressed, we found ways to connect with each other and build community. It ended up being a lot of fun.” Two people are continuing to study and connect with a church in their community as a result. 


“God is certainly blessing,” says Senior. “We have six people preparing for baptism when our church doors open again. This is largely due to the work of local church members working to get friends and contacts participating.”


Senior is considering adding an online series to his churches’ schedule each spring with in-person series held in the fall. “It has been a great learning experience. We didn’t invest a dime into this series, which is exciting as well. I can only imagine if we had more time to prepare and invested into online advertising. Next time around we will do even better.”  

Learn more about how you can join us in

reaching everyone everywhere for Jesus!



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