News Briefs for July 8, 2016
Stories from New York City, Peru, Yemen, the U.S. State of Georgia, the United Kingdom, Hollywood, Hereford (England) and Texas.
The beloved evangelist, Pastor C. D. Brooks is one of the few Adventists to have his obituary published by the New York Times, the leading newspaper in the United States. It was published Wednesday (July 6) and described Brooks as having “delivered the … Seventh-day Adventist … message to millions as the founding speaker of the Breath of Life media ministry.” Adventist Today published a full obituary in June soon after Brooks’ death.
Some 4,210 converts were baptized by the Adventist Church in southern Peru on Sabbath, June 25, reported the Fox News Latino television channel. This makes the denomination “the second-largest faith group” in the Latin American nation of 30 million, the news channel stated. The baptisms came at the end of a campaign called “Mil Veces Mas” (“A Thousand Times More”), a Bible quote from Deuteronomy 1:11. Community Bible study groups were organized earlier in the year at thousands of locations in 20 cities and then public preaching events June 18 through 25.
The German branch of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is operating two mobile medical units in Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula. Previously it ran a clinic in Mazraq Refugee Camp, but this became unsafe due to air raids, according to ADP, the Adventist news service in Europe. Lukas Driedger, ADRA country director in Yemen, also told the news service about a program to treat and prevent malnutrition among pregnant women, young mothers and their children.
Gordon Hospital, the Adventist health institution in Calhoun, Georgia, operates a farmers market each summer to provide healthy food to local residents and encourage better nutrition. It is an outlet for local farmers and includes organic produce, as well as flowers, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, canned goods, cheese, honey and eggs. It operates on Thursday evenings during July and August, reports the Calhoun Times.
Two new officers and three new conference presidents were elected in the British Union Conference at its every-five-year constituency meeting the first weekend in July. Pastor Ian Sweeney was re-elected president and the two new officers are Pastor John Surridge, executive secretary, coming from being president of the local conference in Wales, and Earl Ramharacksingh, treasurer, coming from being treasurer of the South England Conference for the last 15 years, as reported by the denomination’s Trans-European Division. Because the smaller conferences in this union conference have the status of “missions,” their three presidents are also voted at the union conference session: Pastor Dan Serb, a pastor in the Dublin area, was voted president of the Irish Mission. Pastor Paul Tompkins, senior pastor of the Newbold College Church was elected president of the Scottish Mission. Pastor Emanuel Bran from the North England Conference was appointed leader of the denomination in Wales.
The poster for Hacksaw Ridge, the Hollywood movie about Adventist conscientious objector Desmond Doss, was released July 1. It features the tagline, “When the order came to retreat, one man stayed.” Doss served as an unarmed medic in the U.S. Army during World War II and won the Congressional Medal of Honor for moving 75 wounded soldiers to safety while under heavy fire on the island of Okinawa. The noted actor Mel Gibson is producing the movie which will be distributed by Lionsgate. It stars Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn, among others, according to ReligiousLiberty.tv. The movie will open in theaters across America on November 4 this fall, just in time for consideration in the Academy Awards. Filming has been completed and the movie is currently in post-production. Terry Benedict, an Adventist who produce an award-winning documentary about Doss, has been included among the producers, along with Gibson and the well-known Hollywood executive Gregory Crosby.
The Hereford Adventist Church in England took a special offering on Refugee Sabbath in May. The small congregation raised more than $1,500 (220 British pounds) to buy food for refugee camps on the other side of the English Channel in Calais and Dunkirk, France. Volunteers from the church participate in Churches Together refugee ministry, sorting donated clothing, helping cook meals and in other tasks, reported the Hereford Times. The denomination’s General Conference had asked all congregations around the world to discuss what they can do to welcome and serve the millions of refugees fleeing for their lives globally.
The Brazosport Adventist Church in Texas is hosting an emergency distribution center for flooding victims, according to The Facts newspaper. Basic necessities such as cleaning supplies and household items are being given to those whose homes suffered damage and the caring attitude of the Adventist volunteers prompted some to tell a journalist “they received more than they bargained for.” The emergency distribution center is being operated under the agreement that the denomination’s Adventist Community Services (ACS) agency has with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).