News reports from Andrews University, Brazil, Jamaica, La Sierra University, North American Division, Philippines, Solomon Islands.

Goodbye to All That

Andrea Luxton, president of Andrews University has announced she will retire in June 2023. Under Luxton’s presidency, the University responded to the student-inspired #ItIsTime movement, which asked the University to effectively understand and respond to a challenging history of institutional racism. The movement led to the creation and hiring of the University’s first cabinet-level Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion (now titled University Culture & Inclusion) position.

Commencement with Color

A Lavender Graduation Ceremony will be held this Friday, June 3, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. PST, in the Sierra Vista Chapel at La Sierra University in California, U.S. A Lavender Graduation is an annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to their universities.

The Country that Prays Together

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black is focusing on unity in his first book for children, A Prayer for Our Country: Words to Unite and Inspire Hope, due from Zonderkidz on June 7. The picture book is for readers ages 4-8.

Black, whose 27-year career with the U.S. Navy included serving as Chief of Navy Chaplains, has served as chaplain to the Senate since 2003. He was the first military chaplain, the first Seventh-day Adventist, and the first African American to hold the office of chaplain to the U.S. Senate. In his new book, he aims to help children give thanks to God, while also encouraging all Americans to heal divisions and come together.

One Less Excuse to Miss School

Burnscreek Adventist Primary School (BAPS) in East Honiara, Solomon Islands, officially launched its Electronic Learning (e-learning) Program recently. Burnscreek Primary is the first locally operated school in the country to officially launch such an e-learning platform.

Dig It

The first Museum of Biblical Archeology in Latin America is under construction at the Brazil Adventist University (UNASP) Engenheiro Coelho campus in the state of São Paolo, Brazil. Leaders behind the initiative said that the collection of more than 2,000 artifacts will eventually be exhibited in a new and exclusive building, fully funded by its sponsors and supporters.

Getting Down to Business

The La Sierra University Enactus team placed third in the nation for their entrepreneurial outreach projects in education and high-tech agriculture during the USA Exposition in New York.

La Sierra University Enactus’s presentation focused on two main projects which involved nearly 2,000 hours of strategizing and hands-on activities over the past year – the ongoing technology-based eLibrary which launched in Jamaica in 2018, and the new Freight2Table hydroponics agriculture project which began in March 2021.

High Receivers

The Illinois Conference Education Department’s initial application for a Community Partnership Grant requested $100,000 to continue offering a school psychologist for the next two years. To their surprise, they were awarded $635,000.

Illinois Conference Associate Superintendent Katrina Baun says teachers are already planning how to utilize these funds, which could include: additional teaching staff, teacher aides, playground equipment, outdoor classrooms, STEAM labs, gardening/agricultural education, transportation for field trips, and even gym memberships for all the teachers. “As you can see, almost anything to reduce the stress for teachers and students can be obtained with this grant,” Baun says.

The Way to a Wo/Man’s Heart…

The Adventist church in Iloilo, Philippines, established its first Adventist restaurant: PiatoVerde, situated at the heart of Iloilo City. The restaurant aims not only to introduce various delectable healthy options but also to make the restaurant space for meetings, healthy conversations, and fellowship. Kerry Estrebilla, president of the West Visayan Conference in Central Philippines, said, “The center will become a relationship-building and evangelism hub open for everyone who seeks to feed their hunger and their longing for Jesus Christ.”

Mother Care

Mothers from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Gimmi-Me-Bit, Jamaica, enjoyed a treat, as well as received a token, from Lorna Outar Johnson, a resident from the community who saw the need to give back.

Johnson targeted the mostly single mothers from the church, as she said they were super-supportive to her own mother, Pearlita Outar, when her father died in late 2020. In gratitude, she treated them last year on Mother’s Day.

Johnson said her motivation to continue the Mother’s Day treat, widening the net to include even more mothers, was influenced by her memories of raising her now-four adult children as a single mother. She said she intends to continue the treat with the aim of inviting even more mothers to the table.

(Photo: U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black (left) has written his first book for children, “A Prayer for Our Country: Words to Unite and Inspire Hope.” The picture book will be available on June 7, 2022, and is for readers ages 4-8. Photo via screenshot.)

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