Image Credit: Richie Brower

UCC Pathfinders 'Go On God's Errands' Despite the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created multiple unprecedented circumstances. While some are unable to serve the surrounding areas during this time, Pathfinders in the Upper Columbia Conference have been hard at work assisting in their communities. 

Richie Brower, UCC associate director of club ministries, says the pandemic has come with ups and downs for the Pathfinder ministry. “The Pandemic has been the best and worst of times for our Club Ministries program,” said Brower. With ever-changing safety protocols during the past year, many clubs chose to shut down. This decreased participation in conference events by 66%.

While some clubs were deterred, others felt God calling them to minister during these changing times. They began asking the question, “What can we do to serve our community in meaningful ways?”

The Walla Walla University Church Torchbearer Pathfinders asked that very question. They found ways to remain active, working to meet the needs of others. Even through the Christmas season, the Torchbearers worked to help package a large number of meals for holiday distribution at the Walla Walla University Church. 

During this time, collaboration between club ministries and Adventist Community Services blossomed into a partnership, earning the name HopeBuilders. Whether it be in response to natural disasters or impacting housing instability, HopeBuilders connects organizations with young people and adult volunteers to their community’s needs. 

Their website,, highlights the mission and collaborative projects in progress, including their Malden projects, which have been spearheaded by the Spangle Wheatland Coyotes Pathfinders.

HopeBuilders responded when the small town of Malden, Washington was hit by the Pine Creek fire in September 2020. Only 20 of the 120 structures in the town were standing when the smoke cleared. HopeBuilders worked with the Pathfinders to help the town get back on its feet. The projects they worked on included designing a new park, presenting the new park design to the Malden Town Council, building clothing racks for their donation center, refurbishing lawn mowers for the community members and leading multiple beautification projects around the small town.

In addition to this, the Pathfinders made pre-cut, pre-drilled garden boxes which have been shared in Malden and Deary, Idaho. They also launched the Blazing Grains Granola line by implementing an online store on the HopeBuilders website. The nine flavors of granola raise funds for Malden and other communities in need. 

To learn more about the HopeBuilders collaboration or about the projects currently being taken on by the Pathfinders, visit That's also where you can shop the Blazing Grains Granola line. 

While pandemic disruptions limited club involvement, these young leaders persevered and continued to honor their collective promise to "go on God's errands." 

Featured in: July/August 2021


Makena Horton

North Pacific Union assistant communication director and Gleaner managing editor