Story by Ricardo Bacchus / Photos by San Suvankham
“Today was a dream come true for me,” says Kanchana Sukachevin (pictured below), one of the 54 founding-members of Potomac Conference’s Capital Chinese church in Silver Spring, Md. More than 150 people, including early church leaders, guests and state officials attended the celebration this past Sabbath.
In 1987, 10 Chinese families from Potomac Conference’s Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md., started a Chinese Sabbath School class in their own language—Mandarin. This group developed into a company, and, in 1994, officially organized as a church. Its divine service is in English and an interpreter translates it into Mandarin.
“Twenty-five years is a milestone. It is an occasion to celebrate and an opportunity to look back and reflect on God’s leading,” said Ebenezer Samuel, current pastor, during the service.
The church, recognized by church leaders for its outreach in the surrounding community, conducts annual evangelistic meetings and health seminars. “For 25 years you have been doing a work of upmost importance—helping people to know Jesus,” preached guest speaker Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “Thank you for being loving and caring for people—that is probably one of the greatest missionary characteristics you can have.”
The church is also known for its weekly Sabbath potlucks. With a membership that includes more than 20 nationalities, some joke they should receive the “Best Potluck” award. Other visitors note it is a warm and welcoming church.
“I started attending the church because my cousins were members there. Sadly, they moved away, but I felt like I was already integrated and part of the [church] family, so I decided to stay,” shares 23-year-old Wright Makambi, originally from Kenya.
“Today we have come to celebrate, to honor, to remember, to reflect, to reconnect and to fellowship,” says Samuel. “Most importantly, we have come to worship God and give Him glory for the things He has done.”