North Pacific Union Adventist Community Services hosted training seminars in College Place, Washington, Feb. 23–26, 2023.
The event was available to all and included three main tracks: a Community Emergency Response Team certification, emotional and spiritual care certification and Adventist Thrift Ministries summit.
The CERT certification class was held at Walla Walla University’s College Place campus and taught the basics of rescue, first aid, CPR, cribbing, disaster preparedness and fire control.
Patty Marsh, Upper Columbia Conference Adventist Community Services director, enrolled in the CERT course. “Our final exercise included two teams searching a fully dark, in-use warehouse looking for injured individuals,” said Marsh. “With only flashlights in hand and shouldering our CERT backpack, the exercise was quite intense: searching for and treating — to the level trained — 'injured' actors from a devastating earthquake.”
Marsh also shared that while college students were heavily represented in the CERT class, community members of all ages took part in the training, including an 81-year-old nurse. “Multi-generational ages working side-by-side brings a great synergy in serving,” Marsh reflected.
SonBridge Center for Better Living hosted the certification on emotional and spiritual care. The training attracted pastors, chaplains, educators and more, and highlighted things like psychological crisis intervention, critical incident stress management, suicide intervention and basic crisis communication techniques.
The ATM Summit was also held at SonBridge. Those who attended discussed how to create an Adventist thrift ministry in their community and discussed the topics of donation acceptance, volunteer management, online selling and retail sales overview.
Actively engaging in community outreach in new ways is important to ACS, and the trainings, in the words of Byron Dulan, NPUC vice president for regional affairs and ACS director, “expand and diversify the skills of ACS volunteers so they can better serve the needs of hurting people and communities.”
Dulan’s motto for ACS is Mobilizing People to Transform Communities. “ACS is the new beachhead for transformative and evangelistic ministry to unchurched and hurting people and communities today,” he shared. “ACS centers and urban ministry initiatives scratch the itch of felt needs. We meet people where they are and not where we would want them to be.”
To learn more about ACS and find out how you can get involved, visit npuc.org/ministries/community.