Last weekend during the North American Division Reconnecting Ministries (RM) training event, Carmelo Mercado, vice president for Hispanic Ministries in the Lake Union, presented compelling presentations in Spanish and English on Hispanic Reconnecting Ministries. The South Bend First Adventist Church hosted the event and plans to offer the Learning to Care visitation program training beginning Friday, May 13, at 7 pm. The additional training segments will take place May 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28 (with Friday evening sessions running 7-9 pm and Sabbath afternoon sessions from 1:30-4). The training will be led by Sheldon Seltzer, associate pastor and certified trainer. During a five-year pilot program, the 17 congregations that consistently implemented all elements of the program reported a return rate of 10-53% of the inactive and former members. To register and receive more details, call the church office 9am-noon Monday-Friday at 574-234-3044.
During his seven years of leadership as senior pastor, John Riggs reports that membership has grown from 344 to more than 500. With a history dating back to 1900, the congregation participates in a number of ministries, including educational programs for kindergarten and grades 1-8. On May 1, the "Great Kids Day Care Academy" will open with an academic curriculum for preschoolers. Prison ministries, women's ministries, family life activities, and men's fellowship are just some of the active groups. Dr. Michael Adeniyi is leading a health ministries program that has offered a variety of health seminars and cooking classes, with plans to launch a Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) in the near future. Connie Strang leads a Discover Bible School that has 30-40 students at any given time. Brenda Francis serves as office manager, while Jimmy Arnett coordinates the music ministry and leads the worship team. The congregation's Centennial Celebration and Homecoming in 2000 attracted a standing room only crowd, with nearly that many present for the opening night of evangelistic meetings led last year by Russell Burrill from Andrews University.