Breath of Life SDA


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By Tillman M. Peck

On November 18, 1978 some 200 persons were baptized on the last day of a four-week Evangelistic Crusade. That Crusade, held at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC, had begun on October 22, 1978. It represented the combined efforts of all the Allegheny-East Conference Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Washington, D. C., suburban Virginia, suburban Maryland, and some of the many churches in Baltimore, Maryland. The featured evangelist was Elder Charles D. Brooks, speaker/director of the Breath-Of-Life Telecast.

To nurture the many newly baptized members, the Conference officials established the Breath-Of-Life Seventh-day Adventist Church. The new church was officially inducted into the Allegheny-East sisterhood of churches on December 9, 1978.

Ours may be described as a “mountain top” experience. We were placed under the leadership of veteran church members who knew how to lead new people. Some of our unique experiences follow:
  • The Conference and Crusade leaders handpicked our first set of church leaders. They selected persons they knew to be able to lead church departments.
  • The leaders taught us as the new people we were – people who did not know much yet. Thus we learned many “new” terms such as “ingathering,” “13th Sabbath,” “meatless,” “vegetarian,” “diet and foods,” “day of preparation,” “potluck,” “season of prayer,” “camp meeting,” “church school,” “crusade,” “Bible instructor,” “Spirit of Prophecy,” “sanctuary,” “state of the dead,” “pathfinders,” “Sabbath School,” “Ellen G. White,” “ordinance of humility,” etc.
  • The leaders arranged for an education professional, Dr. Mamie Lindo, to teach us, through weekly classes, how to prepare and deliver Bible lessons. From her we learned how to prepare lesson plans, how to present lessons, and how to study the Bible meaningfully.
  • For the first year of the new church’s existence, the Conference did not allow established SDA church members to transfer their membership into the new church. Thus, during that first year, the only way to gain membership in the new church was by baptism or by special selection by Conference leaders.
  • The church leaders announced that every member must participate in some ministry. No member would be allowed to just sit idle. Therefore, we all selected a ministry (or two or more) in which we wanted to serve. Some chose to be ushers, others chose to be deacons, deaconesses, Sabbath School teachers, Lay Activities (Personal Ministries) members, etc. But everybody chose something.