News Briefs for January 22, 2016
Reports from Flint (Michigan), Ghana, Orlando (Florida), Malawi, Keene (Texas), Indonesia, Silver Spring (Maryland), Trinidad
Adventist Community Services (ACS) volunteers are distributing bottled water, filters and testing kits in Flint, Michigan, the city of 100,000 north of Detroit hit with toxic drinking water from high levels of lead. The domestic relief agency of the Adventist denomination in the United States, ACS has been distributing 10 pallets of water a week and will continue to do so for at least five months, stated a news release. The American Red Cross has given ACS 80,000 water-testing kits which need to be assembled and leaders from the denomination’s Lake Region Conference and the Michigan Conference have appealed for Pathfinder Clubs and youth groups to help assemble the kits.
Adventists should do more to fight poverty in Ghana said David H. Yeboah, a member of the nation’s parliament, at an event marking the 70th anniversary of the denomination in the African country. He praised the Adventist investment in education, agriculture, health care and job training programs, reported Ghana Vibe newspaper. The goal of the denomination is to promote not only the spiritual growth of members, but also the health of society, stated Pastor Abankwa Amoakohene, president of the Mountain View Conference, in a response to the lawmaker’s speech.
A megachurch made famous by Charismatic televangelist Benny Hinn was recently purchased by an Adventist congregation. The Forest City Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in the suburbs of Orlando has bought the 44-acre lakefront campus and stadium-style worship space, according to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. The Adventist group has 1,373 members and three pastors on staff. It will use the facilities for its church school as well as Sabbath activities. It is affiliated with the denomination’s Florida Conference.
An Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) staff member in Malawi criticized the government for failing to put before parliament an Access to Information bill, saying the action creates “a breeding ground for corruption.” The proposed law is equivalent to Freedom of Information or “sunshine” laws in the United States. Michael Usi, deputy director of ADRA Malawi, told the Nyasa Times, “This is childish. People are suffering.” Nonprofit organizations and the news media have pushed for the law to make open who is profiting from various government operations, sometimes illegally and due to political connections.
A new tower will add 300,000 people to the coverage area of radio station KJRN on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas. Approval was given by the Federal Communications Commission in December and installation of the 350-foot broadcasting facility will begin soon, reported the Cleburne Times-Review newspaper. Since 2010 the station’s listening audience has grown from 11,000 to 80,000, Mike Agee, station manager, told the newspaper. It began to broadcast in 1974 and currently has a Christian radio format.
The 50th anniversary of Mount Klabat University in Manado, Indonesia, attracted more than 7,000 people, report Gay Deles and Joppi Rondonuwu. Begun with 29 students in the fall of 1965, the university has 3,244 college and graduate students this year. There are another 1,339 students in the elementary, middle and secondary schools that share the campus. Overall, 52 percent of the students are Adventists. The university faculty numbers 112 with 55 adjunct instructors. Thousands of alumni work as pastors, teachers, office staff, entrepreneurs, bankers, IT specialists, nurses, engineers and in other professions in Indonesia and around the world. (Thanks to Dennis D. Tidwell for sharing this report.)
Dr. Angeline David is the new health ministries director for the Adventist denomination’s North American Division (NAD). She has been director of the Wellness Center at the Guam Adventist Clinic. The NAD has also announced that a new position of director of social media has been added to its staff with Paul Hopkins transferring from the Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI) to this job; that Bonita Joyner Shields is a new associate director in the stewardship department; and Orna Garnett has been promoted from associate director to director of human resources.
Dr. Clinton Valley has resigned as president of the University of the Southern Caribbean, the Adventist institution based in Maracas, St. Joseph, Trinidad, according to the Adventist Review. Dr. Sylvan Lashley, retired former president of the university, will serve as interim CEO as a search committee looks for a new leader. Founded in 1927, the university has grown to 3,200 students with six branch campuses on the Caribbean islands of San Fernando, Tobago, Barbados, Saint Lucia and Antigua, as well as the Latin American nation of Guyana.