Doors Closed at 40 Area Churches, Members Enjoy Collaborative Worship, Training, Outreach
For one special Sabbath, the doors of some 40 Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Northern Virginia area were closed. Their members instead gathered at the Hylton Memorial Chapel for a joint worship service, fellowship, training and a free concert.
Story by Tiffany Doss
Some 40 Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Potomac Conference agreed to close their doors on April 12 to participate in The One Event in Woodbridge, Va. The event, which drew 2,000 attendees, included a worship service, community project and training sessions, which covered topics like how to reach the Millennial generation, become a more involved as a member and give Bible studies.
“Each month, Potomac’s pastors in Northern Virginia get together for leadership development, encouragement, fellowship, accountability and dreaming,” said Rick Jordan, pastor of the Woodbridge (Va.) church. “One of our dreams was to come together, as one, for a joint worship service and fellowship. We don’t want language, culture or our buildings dividing us, so we planned the worship service to celebrate our diversity.”
To break down some of the barriers at the event, worship songs were sung in both English and Spanish. Kofi Antwi-Adarkwah, pastor of the First NOVA Ghanaian church, gave the Scripture reading in his native language. Pastor Jimmy Munoz from the Seabrook church in Lanham, Md., translated speaker Barry Black’s sermon into Spanish. Black is the chaplain for the U.S. Senate.
In the development stage, Jordan said outreach training for members became an element the pastors wants to highlight. However, they felt training wasn’t enough and an outreach program should be organized. They decided to use a free concert as their platform.
“We were able to bring in Josh Wilson, a popular Christian artist, and were able to partner with WGTS 91.9 FM, a local radio station which operates out of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md., and serves the Washington, D.C., area,” explained Jordan. “People were also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to give to a local food bank. We were able to collect more than 8,000 pounds of food.”
The history of the location added to the magnitude of the event. The structure, the Hylton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge, Va., has hosted thousands of events and contemporary Christian music artists, artists such as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Mercy Me, Casting Crowns and well-known speakers such as T.D. Jakes, John Bevere and Rick Warren.
“The event was a huge success. People have been asking when we will be doing another one and why haven’t we done this before!” exclaimed Jordan. “We had more than 2,000 people from all over Northern Virginia come together to worship, celebrate and train, and we were blessed to have over 1,500 people from the community attend the Josh Wilson concert. It goes to show how much we can accomplish when we all come together in the name of the Lord. We will see where the Lord leads us next!”
Correction April 24, 2014: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Allegheny East Conference churches closed their doors for the event and that WGTS 91.9 FM broadcasted the evening concert. We regret the errors.