Stories from New York City and Ecuador, Ghana, Andrews University, Loma Linda University, Walla Walla University and Massachusetts

An Adventist Community Services (ACS) center in New York City has collected and shipped 9.5 tons of relief supplies to Ecuador in the aftermath of the earthquake there. The 40 volunteers of the ACS unit at the Queens Borough Spanish Adventist church have packed six tons of food, a ton of dry pet food, over 600 cases of bottled water, as well as non-prescription medicines and first aid supplies donated by many local residents, reported the NBC Television News affiliate on Wednesday. Aurora Morales Gil, the center director told an interviewer that the supplies were packed in 50-pound boxes and students who were on spring break from local schools came out to help with the project. NBC reported that the death toll from the earthquake had risen to 654 and tens of thousands of families were homeless.

Christians should be extra careful in what they say and avoid passing on suspicions, misunderstandings and prejudices during the election season in Ghana, Pastor Abankwa Amoakohene, president of the Adventist denomination’s Mountain View Conference, told the crowd at the Singing Band Convention in Beposo last Sabbath (April 23). The Ghana News Association carried the statement that was published in newspapers and on radio stations across the African nation, just as it had carried a similar statement by Pastor Samuel B. Arloo, president of the denomination’s Eastern Ghana Conference a few weeks earlier. Arloo spoke for an inter-denominational event on Bible Sunday at Calvary Methodist Church in Adweso where the Bible Society of Ghana was raising funds for translating the scriptures into a number of Ghanaian languages. Violence during parliamentary and presidential elections has been a problem in past years.

Three candidates for provost are being interviewed at Andrews University (AU) this week and next, Dr. Andrea Luxton, the institution’s president, told the faculty in an Email on Monday. A final decision about the university’s chief academic officer will be made by the board on June 2. The candidates are Christon Arthur, associate provost and dean of the graduate school at AU; Hector Diaz, director of the School of Social Work at Western Michigan University; and Keith Mattingly, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at AU.

Volunteers will search for the grand staircase from the old train station up the hill to the original sanitarium on Sunday (May 1) at Loma Linda University in southern California. Built in 1888, it is remembered by long-time residents into the 1950s. When Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the university and the Adventist denomination, visited the site around the turn of the 20th century, she described it as “the most desirable place I have ever seen for a sanitarium.” Loma Linda is Spanish for the beautiful hill. The first patients were admitted on October 13, 1905, and the first nursing students started training two months later. It has become a world class health sciences university with a medical school, dental school and six other fully-accredited professional schools and significant research grants from the United States government and other entities. Anyone who is interested in welcome to participate, said Dr. Richard Hart, the university president, who will personally lead the effort. It begins at 7 am with a free pancake breakfast in a hilltop gazebo above Lindsay Hall. Volunteers will work through the morning to clear the area between the palm trees, looking for remnants of the stone staircase.

The Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Culture was inaugurated last Sunday (April 24) on the campus of Walla Walla University, the Adventist institution in Washington State. It is named after Dr. Donald Blake who was the first African American to be hired as a full member of the faculty in 1962 when the campus was almost entirely white. It “led to the integration of higher education in the Adventist system,” the 84-year-old biologist remembers. He went on to a stellar academic career with faculty appointments at Oakwood University, the University of Rhode Island, Ohio State University, Southern Illinois University, the University of Kentucky and the University Hartford. He also served as dean at Mississippi Valley State University and academic vice president at Kentucky State University. The new center will promote research, host an annual scholarly conference, provide resources and involve students in volunteer programs giving them experience in inner city and ethnic minority communities.

Godencounters, a spiritual retreat for young adults, began last night (April 28) in South Lancaster (Massachusetts) with participants volunteering at the Bread of Life Food Pantry and then gathering at the Village Church, an Adventist congregation. It continues at the church through a closing session on Saturday night. It is hosted by Remix, a contemporary worship event organized by Adventist young adults the second Sabbath of each month at the Strand Theatre in Clinton, Massachusetts. It includes a light meal and communion service on Friday evening and a full day of activities on Saturday, with breakout sessions on Sabbath afternoon focusing on requesting God’s presence in your life, health issues in young adults and is God present in politics? It includes speakers, time for worship and times for reflection and prayer. The Godencounters program has been one of the most successful young adult ministries in the Adventist denomination in North America as reported by Adventist Today in the past. Additional information about this particular gathering can be obtained by an Email request to weremixchurch@gmail.com.