News reports from the North American Division, Leominster, Massachusetts, Sydney Adventist Hospital, the Adventist University in Collonges-sous-Salève, France; Houston, Texas, and the Euro-Asia Division of the Adventist denomination.

Every two or three years the departmental staff from local and union conferences across the denomination’s North American Division gather for the NAD Ministries Convention, a time of in-service education, department advisory councils and a display of resource materials. It includes the departments of children’s ministries, youth ministry, adult ministries, family ministries, women’s ministries, stewardship, health, communication, and disabilities, as well as the Adventist Community Services agency, the Office of Strategy and Research, and the Philanthropic Service for Institutions. The event is scheduled for January 13 through 16 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with 600 or more participants, many of them part-time volunteers. The last NAD Ministries Convention was in 2017 and the first was held in 1988.

God Encounters, a spiritual retreat for Adventist young adults, will be held in Leominster, Massachusetts, the weekend of February 15-17. Featured speaker will be Dwight Nelson, senior pastor of Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University. For more information, visit: http://auyouth.com/am_events/godencounters-2019/

From APD (the official Adventist news agency for parts of Europe) – A December survey by the Health Department in the Australian state of New South Wales has rated the outpatient cancer treatment program at Sydney Adventist Hospital as one of the most powerful in the state. The December survey included over 11,000 patients in 50 public and private hospitals. It contained 80 questions on topics such as access to services, care planning and coordination, patient experience and complications.

From APD – Last month, three events related to religious liberty and human rights were held on the campus of the Adventist University of France-Collonges near Geneva, Switzerland. The International Center for Religious Freedom and Public Affairs convened a Human Rights Day on December 8. The next day the center organized the annual march of faith groups for human rights from Geneva to the university campus in cooperation with relevant United Nations agencies. The program on campus included an art exhibition and a seminar featuring experts on religious freedom. On December 13 and 14, a meeting was held with 36 experts from the UN. Government representatives and non-governmental organizations also joined this initiative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights which focused on educational resources for religious leaders.

The 2018 Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) national conference convened in Houston, Texas, December 28-January 1. This large, independent Adventist youth event is supported by the Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) group. Participants had the opportunity to engage in outreach in the community, as well as hear various sermons and music. Speakers this year included Moise Ratsara, Pastor Steven Conway from the Michigan Conference, GC youth director Gary Blanchard and Ron Kelly. Participants took part in community-based activities including traditional door-to-door outreach and visits to refugees and immigrants. A total of 1,664 volunteers knocked on a total of 11,044 doors and found 622 people interested in Bible study. In all, 19,643 tracts were given away. In addition, 3,276 refugees and immigrants were visited, with 151 interested in Bible studies.

The following statement was made by the Euro-Asia Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church after a gas explosion ripped through an apartment building in southern Russia on December 31. Thirty-one people have now been confirmed dead and 10 are still listed as missing:

With deep sorrow, the Seventh-day Adventist Christians, along with all the Russian people, received the news of the tragic events that took place on December 31, 2018 in Magnitogorsk.

On behalf of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the Eurasian Division, we express deep condolences to the relatives and relatives of those killed and injured in the gas explosion and the subsequent collapse of the entrance to a residential building in Magnitogorsk.

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