Stories from Washington DC, Nigeria, Southern California, Germany, HBO Television, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Union College, Andrews University, Northern California  ……….    

A new regime takes over the United States government today and the new Congress includes two Adventists among the re-elected lawmakers in the lower house. Sheila Jackson Lee has been a representative from Houston (Texas) since 1995 and Dr. Raul Ruiz from southern California since 2013. Both were elected to the House of Representatives as members of the Democratic Party. The first Adventist to serve in the U.S. national legislature was Pastor Jerry Pettis who was first elected from the Loma Linda area in 1966 as member of the Republican Party and served until his death in 1975.

The new regime will also very likely include the first Adventist to have a position at the cabinet level in the history of the American government. Dr. Ben Carson, the retired Adventist physician from Florida, has been announced as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. His first hearing before a congressional committee went more smoothly than some other hearings for cabinet nominees and it is generally believed in Washington that he will face no problems with confirmation, probably next week.

The Adventist denomination in Nigeria has taken a stand in support of government regulations intended to assure transparency in the affairs of nonprofit organizations, including religious organizations, according to reports by the Nigeria Today television news and Saturday Sun newspaper. “We believe the church should be a role model,” Pastor Dayo Alao told the journalists, announcing that the denomination is “fully supportive” of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). There has been much public controversy recently about the FRC because it resulted in the resignation of Pastor Enoch Adeboye as the General Overseer of Redeemer Christian Church of God and the firing of Jim Obazee, the government official who ran the FRC. There are allegations of unconstitutional actions on both sides.

La Sierra University has received a second $25,000 grant for the Edison Scholars program. The grant from Edison International, one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, will provide scholarships in the spring semester for 12 students in math, chemistry, physics, environmental science and computer science. The Adventist university in Riverside (California) was recently ranked the top school in the United States for campus diversity by The Wall Street Journal top colleges guide. It was also ranked among the ten top colleges for the best value in the western United States by the U.S. News & World Report 2017 Best Colleges lists.

A television series for children on the history of the Protestant Reformation will begin on the Hope Channel German service on February 3, APD announced today. Entitled “Fribo Reformation” and based on the children’s series “Fribo’s Attic,” which is very well known in Europe, the series will include stories about Martin Luther, the Waldensians, Jan Hus and Huldrych Zwingli. In addition to the Hope Channel, the series will be released on Swisscom TV and the ASTRA satellite. All 15 of the segments in the series are available on line at www.fribos-dachboden.de,

Adventists in the United States are likely to take a careful look at a new HBO cable television series entitled “The Young Pope” which began to be released on Sunday (January 15), The fictional drama focuses on a new world leader for the Roman Catholic Church who is both very traditional and quite authoritarian and power-hungry. “Why does [this character] want power so badly?” asked Daniel D’Addario in Time magazine. “This show has some ideas ,,, but the show’s central puzzle remains what [he] will do with the power he’s amassing,” Many Adventists have possibilities in mind for the real world as well as a fictional portrayal. Adventist Today would appreciate reviews and letters as our readers watch this series.

The Adventist and Catholic universities must be included in the national budget in Papua New Guinea, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops Conference told EMTV in the island nation yesterday (January 19). Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised funding for Pacific Adventist University and Divine Word University in a public statement in 2013, but so far none has been appropriated. The two church-sponsored schools make a major contribution to developing skilled human resources for the country, stated Father Victor Roche, secretary of the Bishops Conference, stated. Adventist denominational leaders made no immediate comment.

Dr. Eric Anderson began an interim appointment last week as president of Pacific Union College, the Adventist institution of higher education in northern California, reported North Bay Business Journal. The board appointed the senior history professor who served from 2005 to 2014 as president of Southwestern Adventist University in Texas to replace Dr. Healther Knight who resigned recently. By June 30 a new president will be found by a search committee. He has taught at PUC for a total of three decades. He told the newspaper that he “is particularly interested in promoting collaboration between the college and the wider Napa Valley community.”

Several key staff changes were announced at Andrews University, the leading Adventist institution of higher education. Dr. Alayne Thorpe is the new dean of the graduate school and will continue to be dean of the School of Distance Education, combining the two roles. Dr. Wagner Kuhn, who has been the interim dean, will be chair of the department of world mission in the seminary. The same memo to faculty from Dr. Christon Arthur, who recently became provost, announced that Dr. Ralph Trecartin will join the faculty as dean of the business school and associate provost focusing on innovation and collaboration within the institution which is located in the small town of Berrien Springs (Michigan) near South Bend, Indiana. Trecartin has been a missionary in the Middle East and North Africa and part of the global mission staff at the Adventist denomination’s world headquarters.

This coming Sunday (January 22) residents of Lakeport, California, are invited to experience the homeless shelter at the Adventist Church, 1111 Park Way. A walk-through simulation of the process by which homeless people get “a warm and dry safe space, a hot meal, a shower or a bed” will be provided at 6 pm, announced the Lake County News local newspaper. The service is provided each week night by a coalition of local churches that collaborate with the Adventist congregation; four United Methodist churches, a Lutheran church, an Episcopal church, the United Christian Parish and the local unit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of the churches provide assistance to the homeless at their facilities on the weekends, The purpose of the event is to help the congregations and their neighbors to understand and support the ministry to the homeless in this northern California town.