Who We Are, How We Serve

The Columbia Union Conference coordinates the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s work in the Mid-Atlantic United States, where 149,000 members worship in 800 congregations. We provide administrative support to eight conferences, two healthcare networks, 81 elementary and secondary schools, a liberal arts university, a health sciences college, a dozen community services centers, six book and health food stores and a radio station.

Mission Values Priorities

We Believe

God is love, power, and splendor—and God is a mystery. His ways are far beyond us, but He still reaches out to us. God is infinite yet intimate, three yet one,
all-knowing yet all-forgiving.

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Columbia Union Executive Committee member Sanjay Thomas discusses the Columbia Union's statement.

Statement Voted Nov 17, 2019

Due to the official “warning” that was given to the Columbia Union Conference at the 2019 General Conference Annual Council as a result of following the action voted by the 2012 Columbia Union constituency to allow for “inclusive ministerial ordination” in the Columbia Union, and in light of the discussions on this issue that continue to take place in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, VOTED:

Story by Carina O. Prestes

In the ninth century, one of Rome’s churches was St. Prassede, a basilica built over a former house church site. Pope Paschal I restored the church and added the chapel of St. Zeno, which he decorated with beautiful mosaics. These mosaics portray a number of people, some of whom are identified. The name of Pope Paschal I’s mother, Theodora, was written in the mosaics in this chapel by her portrait, followed by the title, episcopa. While an exact meaning cannot be determined, this title typically referred to the office of bishop.

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Story by Carina O. Prestes

In the Roman town of Centuripae, located on the east side of the island of Sicily, archaeologists found a tombstone of a woman named Kale who lived in the fourth to fifth century. The tombstone, translated from its Greek inscription, says, “Here lies the presbyter Kale who lived 50 years without reproach (amemptos). Her life ended on 14 September.” At present, this tombstone (left) is part of an exhibition at the Antonino Salinas Archaeological Museum in Palermo, Sicily. Her title, presbyter, means elder or minister, indicating she was a church leader. The Greek word, amemptos, which means blameless or without reproach, was frequently used in connection with church officers in Sicilian literature.

In the northern part of Naples, Italy, the Catacomb of San Gennaro started as a pagan burial place in the second century, and Christians began to use it around the third century. Over a 300-year period, as the church grew, they placed the remains of many local bishops and believers there. Like other early Christian catacombs, San Gennaro was decorated with frescoes and mosaics, some of which still remain visible on its walls and ceilings. In 2009 researchers found frescos portraying Bitalia and Cerula.

 

Story by Carina O. Prestes

In the fifth century, the priest Peter Illyria built the Santa Sabina Basilica in Rome over a former house church. Above the door of the main entrance there is a mosaic portraying two women: one is identified as representing the church of the circumcised and the other as representing the church of the Gentiles. Both are portrayed with the familiar hand gestures displayed by religious teachers of that era and hold a large open book (likely the Bible). Such iconography was typically used to identify bishops. In addition, the woman representing the church of the Gentiles holds a cloth over her left arm, which only priests used when serving the eucharist.