Oregon Conference Revitalizes Ministry to Singles
For many single adults, finding a niche in their local congregations can be difficult. Churches are typically family-friendly, but what about those who aren’t part of a family unit? Even when involved with church programs, church can be a lonely experience for singles. Because of this, the Oregon Conference is making an effort to revitalize its outreach to single adults. This singles' ministry, led by volunteer coordinator Angelica Dull and her team, is working to create opportunities for singles to meet, fellowship and experience life together.
“The emphasis of the ministry is to provide a spiritual community, fellowship and support for single church members,” Dull explains. “Whether divorced, widowed or never married, singles are often overlooked in church. We aim to build friendships and encourage healthy relationships by working with the conference and local churches to reach singles.”
The Oregon Conference hosted a Singles’ Convocation in September 2019, which drew nearly 80 people from around the Northwest. James and Risë Rafferty from Light Bearers Ministry in Jasper, Ore., presented a series of messages titled “This Is Us,” stressing the importance of finding one’s identity in Christ.
“Jesus never married,” stated Risë Rafferty, “but He was never single because He lived in intimacy with His Father and the Holy Spirit.” She added that people will either embrace their God-given identity or embrace the identity that others put on them.
“There was far less emphasis on pairing up and more emphasis on being Christ-like,” says one attendee. “I loved that there was nothing that made me feel that being single meant I was broken, preventing me from being a growing Christian.”
As part of the event, Mindy Thygeson shared the story of Impact Hope, a ministry that supports education for refugee children in Rwanda. More than $6,000 was raised through donations and student sponsorships.
Not all events are sponsored by the Oregon Conference. The Beaverton (Ore.) Church hosts a monthly potluck for singles, and a Portland/Vancouver singles group meets the first Sabbath of every month for a day of worship, outdoor activities and an evening social. The Lincoln City (Ore.) Church hosted nearly 40 people for a beach weekend in November.
A long-term goal, according to Dull, is to create regional singles’ group in various parts of the conference. “Not everyone can travel long distances to join an event,” she explains, “but regional events would create opportunities for people to fellowship.”
Events aren’t limited to the Oregon area either. The group networks with the Washington and Upper Columbia conferences for larger gatherings. These have included a weekend retreat at Rosario Marine Station in Anacortes, Wash., and a campout near Mount Rainier. Both events have attracted people from several states. Events planned for the upcoming year include:
- March 13–15: Snow Weekend at Big Lake Youth Campout in Sisters, Ore.
- April 2–5: Weekend Retreat at Rosario Marine Station in Anacortes, Wash.
- July, dates TBA: Campout near in Naches, Wash.
- September 11–12: Singles’ Ministries Convocation in Gladstone, Ore.
To be added to the mailing list, or if you would like assistance in starting a singles’ ministry in your area, email ORAdventistSingles@yahoo.com. Information is also available at Oregon Conference Singles Facebook page.