News reports from Australia, Michigan, Massachusetts, Loma Linda University Health and Newbold College:

Australia’s ABC News ran a story this week titled “Generosity or exploitation? Why some Australians give 10 per cent of their income to a church.

Narelle Smith, a former Adventist, was interviewed for the piece. She said tithing was framed by the denomination as “a test to see if we are loyal to God.”

She said many blessings were promised in return for tithe. Smith admitted struggling with tithing as a member.

“I was a single mum and I just couldn’t afford to do it … [But] they sell it to you, saying God will bless you,” she said..

“The church would cherry-pick Bible verses … [And say] if you give to God, then he’ll give back to you.”

Smith said that, while tithing, she “couldn’t make ends meet.”

“Then they blame you [for not giving]. They don’t blame the system or God. There’s something wrong with you,” she says.

“There was a lot of guilt around it, if you can’t do it … It was really tough.”

The article goes on to frame the ancient understanding of tithe as something done from the heart, without obligation. The piece says tithing provides for institutions that perpetuate faith and also cements loyalty to a faith community.

Adventist teens and other volunteers in the Michigan Conference are working with the Sleep in Heavenly Peace organization to help make wooden bunk beds for children in Cedar Lake and Edmore, Michigan.

The goal this week is to make 20 beds a day for five days, totaling 100 beds, reported 9&10 News. The volunteers will hand-deliver the beds when they are completed.

From NAD News:

On May 16, four community baby showers took place across Massachusetts in Attleboro, Clinton, Springfield, and Worcester. Each location provided physically distant access to free baby supplies and maternal wellness resources. With the help of community partners, a total of 30 families received essential baby supplies, clothes, diapers, toys, and more, as well as information on sleeping, lactation, and birthing techniques. The community baby shower also reached more than 330 families via Unity Radio (97.9 FM) as listeners heard presentations on all things related to infant care and pre- and post-delivery self-care for mothers.

This latest endeavor is the ninth community baby shower coordinated by Glō Mom, a maternal health advocacy organization. Three Adventist churches participated in this first simultaneous statewide endeavor: Attleboro church, Springfield First church, and Redemption Community Group in Clinton. The Vegan Nest Café hosted the site in Worcester.

From a Loma Linda University Health news story:

Loma Linda University recently received over $4.8 million in grant funding from the United States Department of Education. About half of the funds will support student financial aid, and the remaining half will support institutional needs.

More than $159 million in American Rescue Plan Act emergency funding for colleges, universities, and students was recently approved by Congress. The funding will allow these institutions to offset losses from the COVID-19 crisis and continue providing high-quality education while ensuring student safety.

At least half of the funding each institution receives will be distributed in the form of emergency financial assistance grants to students who are facing hunger, homelessness, and other hardship.

From Newbold College – Important Update: Newbold is to open in full, effective from the start of the academic year in September. We look forward to welcoming students to our campus, safely.

Full details on the varied program delivery, COVID-19 testing and our September Intake plan can be found here.

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