News BriefsA tornado hit an Adventist church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during prayer meeting Wednesday evening (March 30), reported television station KJRH, an NBC affiliate. Despite extensive damage to the building, none of the group in attendance “has a scratch on us,” Pastor Malcolm Phipps told the television reporter. Bethel Seventh-day Adventist Church is located at 46th and Peoria streets, and has a membership of 151. It is affiliated with the denomination’s Southwest Region Conference.

Two elected members of Parliament in Kenya spoke up in defense of Adventists when a bill was proposed setting aside one Saturday a month for community volunteers to work on environmental projects. MP Millie Odhiambo and MP Ababu Namwamba said that having the cleanup day on a Saturday would infringe the religious rights of Adventists, reported The Star. They have proposed an amendment to change the day.

A female student from China was killed in an auto accident near Pacific Union College in California on Monday (March 29). Seven students were in a vehicle that rolled off the winding mountain road that leads up to the hilltop campus. Six were hospitalized with injuries and Fen Pan who grew up in Beijing and was studying music and preparing for dental school did not survive. “Her love for life was contagious,” wrote Lisa Bissell Paulson, vice president for student services on Facebook. “Her beautiful smile [and] her genuine commitment to loved ones will always be a cherished memory.” The college is operated by the denomination’s Pacific Union Conference in the North American Division and has an enrollment of about 1,800.

Officials in Indonesia have made arrangements for Adventists to be able to take the bar exam and become attorneys without the test being scheduled on Sabbaths. After 12 years of petitioning and negotiations by several Adventists who had completed law school, on Sunday (January 24) a group of 20 were administered the exam in a room at the denomination’s West Indonesian Union Conference office in Jakarta, the national capital. The event was reported by Joice Manurung, one of the Adventist lawyers who completed the requirements for licensure by passing the exam that day, in the Adventist Review online edition dated March 18.

Mount Vernon Academy, which closed last summer, has provided much-needed equipment to schools across the Ohio Conference, as well as several small churches, reported the Columbia Union Visitor on March 24. An auction was held in December with 215 registered bidders and it resulted in $48,306 that will go toward the school’s debts. The 70-acre campus will be put up for auction later this month and conference representatives have met with civic officials, local residents and businesses to discuss future uses of the land and buildings. When it is clear how much money will result from the sale, conference leaders will make decisions about the future investment of those funds to advance the mission of the Adventist faith in the state, including Christian education. Three of the elementary schools in Ohio are not using the denomination’s APLE program to offer secondary classes and Spring Valley Academy in Dayton continues to increase its enrollment.

A church building constructed in 1849 in Troy (New York) and belonging to the Adventist denomination has been nominated for the state and National Register of Historic Places, reports the Times-Union local newspaper. Originally the First Methodist Church, it was later sold to the Adventist congregation now known as the Joy of Troy Seventh-day Adventist Church. Located at 600 3rd Avenue, it had additions in 1875 and 1903. Currently there are 77 members led by Pastor Claudio Gomez. It is an English-language congregation affiliated with the denomination’s New York Conference.

Even pre-school children learn to grow their own vegetables at Carmel Adventist school in the suburbs of Perth, Australia, according to the Hills Gazette. Katy Facer is pictured with her three- and four-year-olds and the giant pumpkin the children grew. They were given seeds by the school and “so far Emily and Cameron have grown celery, basil, carrots, snow peas and sugar snap peas” as well as the pumpkins. They grow seedlings at home to get plants started and “spend a lot of time outside at school,” their mother told the reporter. The school promotes healthy living and also has cooking classes so the children can prepare and eat what they grow. The school has a complete secondary boarding program and is operated by the denomination’s Western Australia Conference.

An Adventist group in Libby, Montana, has begun to operate a new FM radio station, “carrying the Christian Broadcasting Network on a newly-installed local tower,” according to The Western News local newspaper. The group has been working since 2013 and still has a lot to do. “We’re trying to reach out to the local community to help bring people closer to God,” the newspaper quoted the group’s chairman.