Stories from the British Isles, Texas, Zimbabwe, Bavaria (Germany), Peru, Takoma Park (Maryland) and Sacramento (California)

The nominating committee for the British Union Conference will meet Sunday (April 17) in preparation for the constituency meeting held every five years at which officers, department heads and members of the governing body are up for vote. Five years ago at the last session, changes were made in the constitution spreading out the review and election process so that it will no longer be crammed into a few days. The nominating committee was elected by the 350 delegates who will go to the constituency session through caucuses in their local conferences and by a secure online ballot process. It will meet again on April 24 and May 15, by which time the delegates will be told its recommendations. The final vote will be taken at the session on June 30 through July 2 meeting at Newbold College. The British Union Conference includes England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales with over 300 congregations totaling more than 35,000 members.

Pastor Gayle Tucker, associate director of the Faith for Today television ministry, died Sunday (April 10) from pancreatic cancer at age 60. She had been diagnosed less than a month ago. She was perhaps the Adventist movement’s “best-known female television personality,” stated the Adventist Review, co-host with her husband, Pastor Mike Tucker, of Lifestyle Magazine, the most widely viewed Adventist television program, and co-leader of the Mad About Marriage seminars and broadcasts. For 16 years they led the pastoral staff of the 2,300-member Arlington Adventist Church in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. In 2004, they took on the leadership of Faith for Today, the only Adventist television ministry that reaches beyond religious broadcasting to the far larger secular audience. The funeral is scheduled for 3 pm tomorrow (April 16) at the Arlington church.

April 7 through 9 the Adventist denomination in Zimbabwe held the first ever event to educate women to start small enterprises, empowering women to create wealth, combat poverty and improve the lives of the families and local communities. The nation’s vice president, Phelekezela Mphoko provided the keynote address. The event was organized by the Women’s Ministries Department based on a needs assessment which showed that the problems facing women include illiteracy, poverty, health risks, abuse, long work days and poor working conditions. Owning a small business allows women to increase family income and have greater control over their lives. On Sabbath, the participants listened to gospel preaching and prayed together for women and families in Africa.

The first Social Issue Forum convened by the Adventist Church in Bavaria (Germany) met Sunday (April 10) in Munich to discuss ministry with refugees, according to the APD news service. It was open to volunteers and interested individuals, cosponsored by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the Adventist Welfare Work (AWW) organization in Germany and Friedensau Adventist University. The current refugee crisis in Europe presents an opportunity for Adventist outreach and mission and the discussion was about how best to relate to this situation.

Membership in the Alabama High School Athletic Association for Oakwood Adventist Academy was approved this week despite the fact that the Adventist sports teams will not play any games from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. The board of the association approved only associate membership for Oakwood because it would miss the championship events at the end of the season which almost always are scheduled on Friday nights.

Japora, Peru, a village that sits at 13,300 feet in the Andes Mountains, will have electric power for the first time as a result of a project by the Engineers Without Borders student group at Walla  Walla University (WWU) in the state of Washington in the United States. The community wants power for their school so that their children can learn today’s technology as well as lights in their homes, pointed out Curt Nelson, faculty sponsor for the project and an engineering professor at WWU. The students are raising funds for the project and a team will travel to Peru to work on it. This is the same region where legendary Adventist missionary Fernando Stahl did pioneering work a century earlier.

Two of the largest elementary schools operated by Adventists in the United States will merge under a plan developed over the past year. Sligo Adventist School and J. N. Andrews School are located two miles from each other in Takoma Park near the campus of Washington Adventist University. Constituents have voted to merge faculty and operations during the summer of 2017. Takoma Park is a suburb of Washington DC where the denomination’s General Conference and a number of institutions and agencies were located from 1903 through the 1980s. With organizations moving out of Takoma Park and the aging of the Adventist membership, there are fewer school-age children in the neighborhood. The new school will use the facilities of Sligo School next door to the campus of Takoma Academy, the secondary school operated by the denomination’s Potomac Conference for the area.

The Adventist health care organization that operates hospitals for the denomination on the west coast of the United States has bought more land in Roseville, California, adding to the 12 acres that it purchased last year. The land at 1429 and 1445 Eureka Road in the suburb of Sacramento will be developed into a new headquarters campus for the Adventist Health nonprofit, reported the Sacramento Business Journal. The latest purchase cost $9.7 million.