Vienna SDA Newsletter Boldly reaching out in love together to make disciples for Jesus Christ

November 2020

In This Issue ...

  • Pastor’s Message: The Healing Power of Worship
  • Church Calendar:
  • Announcements:
  • Virtual Memorial Service for Gary Wilson
  • Angel Tree
  • Ignite Worship Experience -- Fridays at 7pm
  • Opportunities to Get Together via Zoom (Sabbath Schools, Church Service, and Prayer Meeting)
  • Grow Groups Start Fall Sessions - Get Engaged, Feel Connected!
  • Online Giving
  • 911 - Is God listening?
  • Featured Link: Help VAA with the Potomac Conference Education Foundation and the VIRGINIA TAX CREDITS SCHOLARSHIPS PROGRAM
  • Photos and Articles:
  • Thank You for a Successful Food and Medical Supplies Drive!
  • Reopened Church at Reduced Capacity
  • Remembering Brother Gary Wilson

Pastor's Message: "The Spiritual Ramifications of Partially Reopening"

Pastor Garry Genser

Because of the pandemic, I just paid $18.50 to have a sandwich delivered to my house; paid a couple hundred dollars to reregister a car I hardly drive; decided not to fly to CA to see my daughters, and watched more news than I thought possible; but I am so glad to be worshipping again with my church family on Sabbath!

I wonder just how much more I might have to pay for my meager groceries next week compared to the already exorbitant amount I paid this week; I am tired of the often unreasonable and sometimes outright venomous rants of some of my more political Facebook friends; I miss hugging and touching people and wonder how long we will all be physically estranged from one another; but I look forward each week to worshipping in such a beautiful spirit with my church family.

I feel angry about how so many white people don’t get “black lives matter” thinking that racism no longer exists; I question how much more divided and lonely this COVID-plagued world can get before Jesus comes to take us home; but I absolutely adore that I can worship together in church with my family in the beauty of truth.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20 ESV.

Come worship if in your judgement it is safe to do so; join us on livestream (viennasda.org) if you need to stay home. We need to worship together more than ever in these challenging times!




Sabbath/November 7th

10:40am: In Person Worship Reopening at 50% capacity at Church in the Sanctuary

Online Worship Service:

6:31pm Sunset


Virtual Memorial Service for Brother Gary Wilson

The Memorial Service for Brother Gary Wilson is via Zoom on Wednesday, November 11, at 2:00pm. The link is:


May God continue to bless the family and friends of Gary as they mourn their loss and begin to heal from their grief.


Pastor Garry

Remembering Brother Gary Wilson: Gary Meredith Wilson was born in Eugene, Oregon, on November 14, 1946, to Meredith and Mildred Wilson. He passed away at his home in Vienna, Virginia, on October 21, 2020, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. (For the full obituary, please scroll down to the end of the newsletter.)

Angel Tree

Angel Tree shares the love of Christ in a tangible way and helps strengthens family bonds by delivering gifts and spreading the Gospel to children on behalf of their parents at Christmas. Every family is also given access to a free bible in English or Spanish as well. The request come with the child’s age and size, along with a gifts wish. Those interested, please contact Mark & Locrecia Pelham 703-859-1373 or email: pelhammark@yahoo.com. God bless!

You are invited to the Ignite worship experience, 1st and 3rd Fridays at 7pm. Ignite is a weekly evening worship experience led, shaped and created by our youth and young adults, yet everyone is invited! The purpose of Ignite is to spark a movement of young disciple makers.

Ignite is NOT merely for spectating, but has been designed for active engagement and interaction. You are strongly encouraged to chat with our chat hosts and each other throughout the Ignite experience. We are fostering loving online community.

Click the link below to participate:

Each week's Ignite will usually feature...

  • Younger Generation Praise Team.
  • Ignite Stories, a Bible Game or Special Media Presentation.
  • A message from a guest speaker or Pr. CJ Cousins
  • Live one-on-one prayer.
  • Group chat and conversation.
  • Direct chat with Hosts.
  • And much more!

See you there and remember to invite a friend!

Opportunities to Get Together Via Zoom

Prayer Meeting Wednesday Nights at 7:30pm

Young Adults: Meeting 2nd and 4th Sabbaths ((Meeting ID: 821 683 638 Password: 069278))

Church Worship Service Sabbath at 10:40am

Stay connected, Stay blessed! - Garry

Grow Groups: Experience Authentic Community

Grow Groups’ Fall Session is already underway and will run through November 21. Here at Vienna we do life together by joining or starting a Grow Group. Gather together weekly or twice a month with people from your church, neighborhood, school, work, etc. Being a part of a Grow Group is life changing, enriching and you’ll never be the same again. In light of the COVID-19 stay-at-home executive order, our Grow Groups will be conducted this semester online via Zoom.

Online Giving

If we would faithfully bring God our tithes and offerings, His treasury would be filled.

Jesus taught that the value of the gift is estimated not by the amount, but by the proportion that is given and the motive that actuates the giver.

“He which soweth sparingly, he shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6,7.

Here is an interesting video on tithing

Tithe and offerings may be submitted on the church’s secure website, Togethernet at https://viennasda.ccbchurch.com/index.php login, and click on “Give”! You may choose from several giving designations.


911 – Is God Listening?

“Call to me and I will answer you” Jer. 33:3

“Call to me and I will answer you” Jer. 33:3 If you would like to request special prayer, please email office@viennasda.org and Vienna’s Prayer Team will pray for your needs. Each request will be treated with confidentiality. Or use the Prayer Text Line – Send your prayer requests to (703) 801-2316.

Vienna’s Prayer Ministry

This year, 2020, we are intentionally praying for our church families. Specifically, we are praying for our families to have a stronger walk with Christ, as this will also impact their bond with each other. Each week, we will include a new list of families in the Prayer Praises & Requests section of the church bulletin. We ask We ask that our entire church body pray for these families each week.

#prayerchallenge #Push #PrayUntilSomethingHappens

Featured Link: Help VAA through the Potomac Conference Education Foundation and the VIRGINIA TAX CREDITS SCHOLARSHIPS PROGRAM

A good education is the foundation for a successful, fulfilling life. Yet, many of Virginia’s children aren’t getting that opportunity…and they can’t afford private Christian schools that offer a holistic education in a nurturing environment.

Why is private Christian education so much more expensive than public school? Actually, it’s not. But public school costs are subsidized by your taxes. Private Christian schools, on the other hand, generally depend on tuition, donations, and church sponsorship. They have the same costs, but they don’t receive any of that tax revenue.

But now there’s a new way you can help—a way that puts your donations to work for kids and for you—the Virginia Tax Credits Scholarships Program. With the people like you supporting Christian education, a new world opens up to these kids through scholarships.



The Virginia Tax Credits Scholarships Program provides state tax credits for persons or businesses making monetary or marketable securities donations to approved scholarship foundations that provide scholarships to eligible students for qualified educational expenses incurred in attending eligible nonpublic schools.


The Potomac Conference Education Foundation is a scholarship foundation approved to participate in the Virginia Tax Credits Scholarships Program. The Foundation’s emphasis is on using funds donated through the Virginia Tax Credits Scholarships Program to provide scholarships to financially eligible students so they can attend Adventist schools.


Find out how your generosity can help more kids while also benefiting you financially.



  • Let’s say you’re in the 25% federal and 5% state tax bracket, you itemize deductions, and donate $1,000 to the Foundation…
  • You receive a Virginia tax credit of $650
  • Your savings from federal and state deductions are $105



The Virginia Tax Credits Scholarships Program is a great way to put your donations to work for Virginia’s kids in need—while giving you an exceptional tax incentive. Your actual cost to participate in the Program—after receiving tax benefits—is minimal. You receive a tax credit against your Virginia taxes equal to 65% of the amount of your donation. In addition, if you itemize deductions, 35% of your donation is generally deductible as a charitable donation on both federal and state income taxes.


The minimum donation amount is $500; the maximum for individuals and married couples is $125,000. There is no maximum limit for any business entity.

Businesses can claim the Education Improvement Scholarships tax credits against Virginia Corporate Income taxes, Bank Franchise Tax, Insurance Premiums License Tax, and Public Service Corporations Tax, as well as personal income taxes via pass-through entities such as S-Corporations, LLCs and Partnerships.

The amount of the tax credits may not exceed your tax liability for the year in which the credit is claimed, but tax credits may be carried over for up to five succeeding years.

Credit is non-transferable.

You can earmark your contributions to support scholarships at specific schools, but not for a specific student. If you have questions or would like more details about the Program, contact Potomac Conference Education Foundation (PCEF) at (540) 886-0771 or APPLY NOW!

Thank You for a Successful Food and Medical Supplies Drive!

Over 400 pounds of food, medical supplies and toiletries/personal items were collected on October 10. Women’s Ministries Co-Leaders, Lisa Hamilton and Heather Pederson helped organize the collection. The food is being donated to “Food For Others’ in Fairfax, the toiletries/personal items are being donated to “”Doorways” women’s shelter in Arlington, and medical supplies being donated to Venezuela through the efforts of Ruth and David Hittle.

Reopened Church at Reduced Capacity

Vienna SDA Church re-opened on Sabbath, October 3, 2020 at half capacity!! Here’s what church looks like…A big thank you to the volunteers, mainly the Deacons and Safety/Security Teams and others—who made sure the church was sanitized and safe for worship!

Remembering Brother Gary Wilson

Gary Meredith Wilson was born in Eugene, Oregon, on November 14, 1946, to Meredith and Mildred Wilson. He passed away at his home in Vienna, Virginia, on October 21, 2020, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

Gary grew up and attended schools in Roseburg, Oregon, and then went on to attend Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) in College Place, Washington, where he graduated with a history major and political science minor. After graduation, Gary was awarded a Scottish Rite Fellowship by the Masonic Lodge in Roseburg, Oregon, to attend The George Washington University.

While attending graduate school he worked for Oregon Senator Mark O. Hatfield as a staff assistant.

He transferred to the Forest Service in 1974. His first assignment was in Roseburg at the Umpqua National Forest as assistant personnel officer. Two years later, Gary transferred to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Vancouver, Washington. It was during Gary's service as personnel officer that Mt. St. Helens erupted. Among many other duties, he was responsible for facilitating the transfer of all forest service employees in the immediate blast area to safe housing.

He then worked as a classification and pay specialist at Region 6 offices in Portland, Oregon. In 1984 Gary transferred to the Washington Office (WO) of the Forest Service.

The winter of 1995-96 brought repeated major snow storms to the Washington, D.C. area. In January, the area was hit by yet another major snow storm, which paralyzed the area. Gary became the "essential employee" to make sure that the employees were paid in a timely and accurate manner, even those who were unable to get in to the office to file their time sheets – of course this was prior to the widespread use of electronic mail, etc. In January of 1996 he was given the Chief's Award signed by Jack Ward Thomas, Chief of the Forest Service. Gary was recognized for being "The man who got the Forest Service folks paid."

Retirement came in 2007. Now Gary had the time to read and continue collecting a wide variety of books, especially leather bound editions.

The Forest Service was a huge part of Gary's life so it was natural for him to become a member of the Forest Service retirees, eventually serving as its treasurer.

About a year after officially retiring from the Forest Service, Gary's second career began with the arrival of his first grandchild, Ray Wilson. Gary became his caregiver. This presented new challenges for Gary. Ray and Papa traveled all over the neighborhoods, walking and playing. Then when little brother Yassin joined the family, Gary's caregiving skills got an additional challenge -- a new baby and a very active toddler. Once again he rose to the challenge and gave them excellent love and care. Another grandson joined the family shortly before Yassin's birth, Mark Wilbur. Gary's heart was full -- three precious, extremely bright grandsons. Gary had great fun on school trips (he even tolerated the loud voices of excited children on the bus rides!), field days, and awards ceremonies for his grandsons.

Gary served in various positions in the Vienna SDA Church where he was a member. His interest in Adventist Christian education was evident by his service as a board member and chairman of Vienna Adventist Academy for a number of years. He was currently serving on the Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Board of Education as well as the Columbia Union Board of Education.

Gary loved history, particularly civil war history. He had a deep concern for the preservation of historic sites. He loved to discuss history, politics and just about anything. His cheerful, happy attitude, and detailed stories will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his wife Beverly; daughter Kimberly Wilbur (Warren); son Christopher Wilson (Afifa); three grandsons Ray Wilson, Yassin Wilson, Mark Wilbur; a sister Linda Bethea (Dennis) and several cousins and nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to ColonialWilliamsburg.org; plant a tree; Vienna Adventist Academy Scholarship Fund, 340 Courthouse Rd SW, Vienna, VA 22180 or a charity of your choice.

Send Us Your Comments/Suggestions

The goal of the Vienna SDA Church Newsletter is to inform members of upcoming events, provide encouragement, and share information. We welcome your comments and suggestions.