Over 50 years ago, the Highland County (Va.) members celebrated their first Sabbath together. The church constructed for $30,000 dollars back in 1964, was to stand as a “memorial for the cause of God in another ‘dark county’” (Columbia Union Visitor, 1964). Elder Neal Wilson, who was then the Union Conference President, and Elder C.H. Lauda, Potomac’s President at the time, participated in the dedication service.
While Highland County’s first year in service brought 30 baptized members and an average attendance of 45 people, the church later struggled to maintain its membership and eventually shut its doors in 1983. However, the tenacity of the remaining Adventists stayed strong and 10 years later they were able to open the church doors once again.
Today, the church’s 13 members continue the fight for the Kingdom with unique community Bible outreach programs, including an interdenominational Bible study, where sometimes non-Adventist attendees outnumber the members. They also have fought for their status to, once again, change from a mission group to a company, which allows them to be recognized by the North American Division and gives them a vote in constituency sessions.
Though the church has faced hardships, the members will not be deterred from doing the work of God. “We believe God has sustained us and trust that He will continue doing so,” said Joe Pappalardo, member. “There are souls nearby that will respond to God’s truth and God’s banner must be flown in all places, large and small.”