By AT News Team, September 19, 2014
A health charity has achieved worldwide fame on television and social media. The foundation that funds research to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been challenging well-known figures to be seen having a bucket of ice water dumped over their heads and that pop phenomena has now reached into the Adventist movement.
Pastor Dave Weigley, president of the denomination’s Columbia Union Conference in the eastern United States, recently took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in honor of a classmate from Blue Mountain Academy in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, and a former colleague, who both died from ALS, reports Michelle Bernard in The Visitor. Weigley is known for bold leadership, one of the first union conference presidents in the denomination to take steps to extend clergy ordination to women serving as Adventist ministers.
Pastor Rob Vandeman, executive secretary of the union conference, started the event with remembrances of friends who died after battling the disease. Seth Bardu, union conference treasurer, led the crowd of conference presidents and union conference employees in prayer, asking God to remember the many people impacted by the disease and to help researchers find a cure.
Weigley encouraged others to also donate to ALS research and challenged Dr. Weymouth Spence, president of Washington Adventist University, and Pastor Charles Tapp, senior pastor of Sligo Church, the largest congregation in the Columbia Union Conference, to take the challenge. Set an example for Adventist leaders, he told his two colleagues. Both institutions are located in Takoma Park, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC where the denomination’s world headquarters was located until 1989.
Adventists have a strong heritage of concern for the suffering of humanity and the promotion of health, so it is not surprising that this wave of action on behalf of ALS sufferers would gain the attention of Adventist leaders. It could become a major expression of the Adventist message and mission.
Video of the event can be seen at: