Stories from Hollywood, Huntsville, Silver Spring, India, California, Ohio, Michigan, Adventist World Radio and La Sierra University …….       

The movie about Adventist conscientious objector and World War II medic Desmond Doss, “Hacksaw Ridge” was nominated for six Academy Awards on Tuesday (January 24), including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. This major Hollywood production may give more visibility to the Adventist faith than anything else in recent years, including an aspect of Adventist practice that has been largely lost; the refusal to use weapons in war rooted in a pacifist stance by one of the denomination’s first General Conference Sessions which informed the United States Congress that it taught the same position as that of the Quakers and Mennonites at the time. Doss was the only conscientious objector in American history to win the Congressional Medal of honor for rescuing 75 wounded soldiers while under enemy fire on Okinawa Island in the Pacific. Amazon.com is now selling a DVD of the movie as well as a number of books, some published by Adventists, here.

The noted civil rights leader Al Sharpton will participate in a community assembly in Huntsville (Alabama) at the Oakwood University Church on Sunday (January 29) at 6 pm. Sharpton is the founder of the National Action Network, a civil rights organization. He has been described by former United States President Barack Obama as “a voice for the voiceless” and “a champion for the downtrodden.”

The Adventurer Club program in North America will maintain its own logo it was decided this week by Adventurer Committee of the denomination’s North American Division (NAD). The General Conference recently expanded the program worldwide to Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten age groups based on an NAD pilot project, but adopted a different logo than the one created by the NAD in 2015. The two new age groups are known as Little Lambs and Eager Beavers. The Adventurer Club is a family-centered program for children too young to join the Pathfinder Club at age 10. Resource materials for the program can be obtained from AdventSource at www.adventsource.org or (800) 328-0525.

Construction will begin soon on the first Adventist multipurpose conference center in India. The Pioneer Memorial Discipleship Center will include a meeting room with 1,000 seats, several smaller seminar rooms, a cafeteria and guest rooms. Manzoor Massey, an Adventist in Loma Linda, California, who immigrated from India is providing the funding for the first two floors of the facility and the third floor will be funded from the 13th Sabbath Offering in October 2017. The 6,000-square-foot facility will be built on the 60-acre campus of the South Andhra Section (local conference) in Ibrahimpatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It will be used for many different kinds of training events and meetings of groups affiliated with the Adventist denomination, according to an article in the Mission Quarterly.

San Joaquin Community Hospital announced Wednesday (January 25) that it will change its name to Adventist Health Bakersfield, according to local Channel 23 television news, an ABC affiliate. The hospital began operation in the California city in 1910 under the management of two Catholic nursing sisters and in 1920 was bought by a group of local physicians. It was passed on to the Adventist health ministry organization in 1964. “It is time for an update,” Sharlet Briggs, hospital CEO, told the television station. The new mission statement is “Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.”

Six of the primary care practices affiliated with Kettering Health Network, the Adventist health ministry in Dayton, Ohio, achieved a milestone yesterday (January 26). They were awarded Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition for “using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships” from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The network is based at Kettering Medical Center and includes eight hospitals in the metropolitan area, as well as many free-standing local emergency centers, physician offices, etc. The six family doctor practices are located in Centerville, Xenia and Miamisburg; suburbs of Dayton.

Juanita Staten is the new manager for the 1888 Message Study Committee, an independent ministry based in Berrien Springs, Michigan, near the campus of Andrews University. The most recent issue of the organization’s newsletter explained that when Will Pergerson, who served as evangelist and manager, died more than a year ago, Lanette Sanford stepped in as manager, but more recently needed to step aside due to family responsibilities. In 2017 Staten “will begin reaching out in ministry to share the 1888 message in weekend seminars.” The 1888 Message refers to a conflict between a more legalistic and sectarian faction at the 1888 General Conference Session in Minneapolis and a younger, more evangelical faction which received the backing of Ellen White as the denomination’s prophetic voice. The organization publishes several books by Pastor Robert J. Wieland, a noted missionary and evangelist, including True Corporate Repentance in which he developed the idea that the leadership of the denomination had never formally and collectively repented of taking a wrong position in 1888. Also In Search of the Cross and Mary Magdalene: The Bible Story.

Pastor Duane McKey is replacing the retiring Pastor Dowell Chow as president of Adventist World Radio (AWR). McKey has been director of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries at the denomination’s General Conference. He was previously vice president of the denomination’s Southwestern Union Conference and president of the Arizona Conference, both in the United States. Chow retired after 50 years in denominational service as a pastor and church administrator. AWR manages a network of radio stations and production centers around the world, including shortwave radio, national radio networks, local FM stations and Internet-based programming and podcasts. The flagship station is a powerful shortwave transmitter on the island of Guam which broadcasts in 30 languages across the Pacific and Asia.

Dr. Dorothy Minchin-Comm, emeritus professor of English at La Sierra University, died at 87 on January 14. She was well known as a professor, writer, editor and historian. She grew up as a missionary kid in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England. She and her husband served as missionaries in the Philippines for many years. She edited the journal Adventist Heritage for 14 years and authored or co-authored 20 books. Minchin-Comm’s academic work specialized in 18th century British literature, Bible literature and creative writing. She was widely appreciated as a public speaker and story-teller. Memorial services are scheduled for Sunday (January 29) at 3 pm in the Calimesa Adventist Church near Loma Linda.