Pastor Daniel B. Martella has a number of goals for himself and his congregation - the most important being to make a difference in the community.
Pastor Martella, his wife, Linda, and their two children, Heidi and Jeff, have been called by the Nevada-Utah Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to preside over the Provo and Vernal congregations."The church can make a great contribution. Our goal is to not just survive but to thrive in the community," he said.
Pastor Martella's first goal is to meet the 106 members of his congregation and to become acquainted with local civic, educational and ecclesiastical leaders.
From the beginning, Pastor Martella has looked forward to his new assignment. He has served various congregations in California and was a missionary to Korea, but said Utah is an entirely new experience.
While checking out the area, one of his conference leaders gave him a word of encouragement about the Provo area.
"He said it was a university community. He didn't say what university."
Despite the predominance of the LDS Church, Pastor Martella believes he and his congregation can still have an impact on the area.
"Right now I'm in a listening mode," he said. "By summer we will have evaluated our past goals and have interfaced them with new ones. This will give us a good package."
In that package Pastor Martella hopes to include some health education programs, vegetarian cooking classes and a community "stop smoking" program. Other areas of interest include a possible community center.
Pastor Martella also feels a need for increased Bible study. "I want to make the Sabbath morning worship service as rich as it can be. I want it to be balanced and stimulating." He also feels strongly about having small Bible study classes.
All of this is important according to Pastor Martella because many people are seeking a better way of life. However, there are those who don't quite know where to find the help.
"World events are serving as a catalyst for people getting it together with the Lord - but some are just washing out," he said. "It's time to get more intense with God."
Pastor Martella believes people don't invest enough time getting to know their maker through prayer. His question to his congregation and the community is, "Are you willing to pay the price and spend more time on your knees?"
Other areas of concern include what he calls "Baby-Boomer issues," including the relevance of religion, stress management, career development and the family.
Besides serving the Provo congregation, Pastor Martella meets every month with a small congregation in Vernal. Most programs are taken to members in that area via satellite, but once a month Pastor Martella and a lay speaker visit.
The Provo Seventh-day Adventist Church was first established in 1897, and the congregation has been at its present location, 255 S. 700 East, for almost 25 years.
Saturday services include Sabbath School at 9:30 a.m. and an 11 a.m. worship service. Fellowship dinner is provided for all guests each week following the worship service. A prayer meeting or midweek service is held Wednesdays at 7 p.m. For information, call Pastor Martella at 374-2978.