Stories from England, Germany, Nigeria, Flint (Michigan), Oakwood University and the suburbs of Chicago

Newbold College celebrates 70 years on its campus in Binfield, Berkshire, England this Sabbath. The school actually traces it beginnings to 1901 when it was named Duncombe Hall College and was located in the Holloway neighborhood of north London. An offering is being taken in Adventist congregations throughout the British Union Conference in support of the institution’s iconic Moor Close building and gardens.

Also tomorrow (Sabbath, February 6), Dr. Desmond Ford will be speaking and answering questions about the events of 1980 when he was fired by the Adventist denomination because of his critique of the doctrine of the investigative judgment, according to a report published in the Web edition of Spectrum, the journal of the largest organization of Adventist academics. The event will be hosted by an independent Adventist congregation called NOW which values “inclusiveness, gender equality, creativity, a calm environment, meaningful congregational singing, stimulating spoken word, good food and conversation.” The gathering will be held in Morisset, New South Wales, Australia, at the Uniting Church in the Trees. Ford recently published a book entitled Seventh-day Adventism: The Investigative Judgment and the Everlasting Gospel which is billed as “a retrospective on October 27, 1979,” the date of a presentation he made to the Adventist Forum at Pacific Union College in California which led to a major consultation of Adventist theologians and Bible scholars the following year. The venerable scholar is now 87 and again living in Australia. The book can be downloaded free of charge in PDF here.

Voice of Hope Adventist Media Center in Germany has added two magazines to the audio publications it provides for the blind. Breathe and Lebenslust (“joy of life”) are now being read and recorded on Daisy CDs for distribution free of charge to people who cannot read the print versions due to visual impairment. The Daisy technology was developed specifically for the blind and has the capacity to include a number of publications on a CD, allow the person to scroll to particular items and find the place where they left off listening, according to the announcement from APD.

The mother of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia State in Nigeria, was laid to rest in services this past weekend at the Adventist church in Umuobiakwa. Bessie Ikpeazu was a deaconess in the congregation, reported The Guardian newspaper. Pastor Joel Ubani, president of the denomination’s Aba East Conference, was the preacher for a memorial service on Sunday (January 31). Pastor Bassey Udoh, union conference president in Eastern Nigeria, told the Vanguard newspaper that the deaconess “lived for the less privileged and touched many lives.” The Nation called her “our Mother Theresa.” Elected officials in attendance included the governors from Imo State and Ebonyi State, as well as Senator Theodore Orji, Senator Enyi Abaribe and Senator Ike Ekweremadu. Governor Ikpeazu thanked the church for its support.

Adventist Community Services (ACS), the charity operated by the Adventist Church in the United States, has appealed for 200 volunteers to go to Flint, Michigan, to help distribute bottled water and assemble testing kits in response to the toxic drinking water crisis in the city of 100,000 residents north of Detroit. The American Red Cross has supplied ACS with 80,000 water testing kits and many donor organizations are trucking in large quantities of bottled water, but help is needed to take supplies directly to homes. If you or your group wants to volunteer, contact Debra Davis-Moody, the ACS disaster response project coordinator in Flint.  She can be contacted by Email at dmoody@lakeregionsda.org or by phone at (612) 229-1676, according to a new release from the denomination’s North American Division.

The Adventist television ministry Breath of Life taped an Easter show at the church on the campus of Oakwood University last Sabbath (January 30). Entitled “The Rising,” producers are working with the ABC television network and the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission for broadcast on Easter weekend. Dr. Carleton Byrd, director of the ministry, has appealed for Adventists to contact their local ABC stations and request that “The Rising” be carried.

Ed Gutierrez was buried Sunday (January 31) after a funeral at the North Aurora Seventh-day Adventist Church in the suburbs of Chicago. His wife, Julia was arrested the same day and has been charged with first-degree murder, according to CBS Television news. Police said she poisoned her husband by mixing sleeping pills into his smoothie. A pharmacist was quoted saying that it would take a very large quantity of Temazepam, the alleged medication, to cause death, implying that it could not have been an accident. “My heart is broken, many of our hearts are broken because we lost a dear friend,” Pastor Dan Vis told a journalist. He was an active member of the congregation and “passionate about the gospel,” the pastor said. It is unclear if Julia Gutierrez was a church member or not.