News Reports from Germany, the Australian Outback, Greater New York and Canberra, Australia

From APD – The Synod (Representative Assembly) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, has chosen a new president at a special meeting on December 9 in Heilbronn. Pastor Eugen Hartwich (35) was elected with 113 “yes” votes and 30 “no” votes. Hartwich has studied theology in Freiburg, Germany; Austria, England and Romania. He is married, has a son and served as a pastor from 2010 to 2014 in Mannheim, Weinheim, Tübingen and Albstadt. In recent years he has served as secretary and vice president in the region.

From APD: The Australian denominational magazine Adventist Record (AR) reported on November 27 that broadcasts of Adventist radio station “Faith FM” have begun in the Australian Outback. The broadcasts are transmitted via “Viewer Access Satellite Television” (VAST), an initiative of the Australian Government. VAST provides freely accessible radio and television services for Australians living in remote areas outside the normal transmitter range.

The Showers of Blessings van, an outreach ministry of the Greater New York Conference’s (GNYC) Adventist Community Services (ACS), was dedicated on Sept. 15, 2018. Officials from the conference, Atlantic Union Conference, and the North American Division (NAD) gathered at United Camp Meeting for the dedication. The mobile showers will serve the homeless in New York City, providing clean towels, washcloths, and new undergarments. The ministry, partly funded by the NAD, is a result of many years of planning and is their first mobile shower unit for the homeless.

Luis Biazotto, GNYC’s ACS director, said the van is a response to the city’s growing homelessness problem — at its highest levels since the Great Depression. “This humanitarian relief is not optional for our church; it’s mandatory. We need to provide services to alleviate their suffering.” According to Biazotto, ACS will partner with churches in the five boroughs to have the van serve local homeless communities weekly. The holistic approach also provides clothing, food, and spiritual and psychological care.

Four representatives and supporters of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Australia raised their voices for Australian aid as part of Micah Australia’s “Voices for Justice” gathering in Canberra, December 1–4. They joined more than 200 Christians, with representatives of Christian justice and development agencies, from across Australia for two days of worship, advocacy training and policy briefing, followed by two days in Australia’s Parliament House.

“Micah lobby groups met with more than 90 of Australia’s elected leaders during this year’s ‘Voices for Justice’,” said Matt Darvas, campaign director for Micah Australia. “This represents a powerful—and faithful—collective voice for the world’s poor, oppressed and displaced.” Amid the political uncertainty in the parliament’s last week of sittings for the year, Micah participants were alert to the challenges and opportunities of the moment. “This is a monumental time to raise our voice on behalf of the poorest and most marginalized people in the world,” commented Natalie Nawaikalou, ADRA Connections coordinator for ADRA Australia.

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