News Briefs for June 9, 2017
Stories from Newbold College, New Jersey, Haiti, California, Kenya, Washington DC, Germany, Arkansas, Malawi, Oregon, Switzerland …….
Newbold College outperformed some much larger institutions in the first review by the United Kingdom’s Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in which it was measured against the same criteria that apply to large, well-known universities funded by the government. The QAA review comes every four years, but the last time (2012) there were different criteria for small colleges that are not funded by the government. The review included a three-day visit by a panel of four evaluators. The full report can be downloaded from the government web site here.
Albert Kelly, a member of the Bethany Adventist Church in Bridgeton, New Jersey, was recently elected president of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, which represents the 565 towns and cities in the state along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Kelly is a member of the league because he is major of Bridgeton, first elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. His commitment to civic involvement began in 1986 when he was baptized into the Adventist faith, he told the Visitor, the monthly news magazine published by the denomination’s Columbia Union Conference. He is currently focusing on the issues of youth employment, reducing hunger, affordable housing and improving health.
A new orphanage for earthquake victims has been opened by the Adventist denomination in Haiti. It is caring for children who lost their parents in the 2010 earthquake in the suburbs of the Caribbean nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Adventist volunteers from Puerto Rico and the denomination’s North American Division raised funds for the project and gave their time to construction a facility for 12 children, including four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen and dining room. These are the remaining 12 of a total of 84 in the Diquini community who lost their parents and have not been adopted, reported APD, the Adventist News Service in Europe. Haiti has a half million Adventists in a total population of 11 million with 573 congregations.
A total of 34 people graduated in the first commencement at San Manuel Gateway College, operated by Loma Linda University in downtown San Bernardino, California. On Wednesday evening (June 7), 22 graduates were awarded a Community Health Worker certificate and 12 received certificates as Medical Assistants to work in physician offices, community health centers, etc. The community-based college is designed to provide high school graduates with viable career training and a pathway to further higher education. It was founded with a $10 million grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, an indigenous people group in California.
Governor Evans Kidero of Nairobi County in Kenya told the Nairobi News the plans of the political party he heads in the metropolitan area after attending worship on Sabbath at the Shauri Moyo Seventh-day Adventist Church. “We are determined to deliver 13 Members of Parliament seats, 53 Members of County Assembly seats and a majority of the 2.3 million votes” in the area for the National Super Alliance (NASA),” he is quoted. This is the opposition party in Kenya. He blasted the current government for playing politics with the lives of people and soaring prices if basic household commodities.
The annual Religious Liberty Summit last week trained 30 people in current religious freedom issues under the direction of the Adventist denomination’s North American Religious Liberty Association. On the first evening (June 1) more than 150 diplomats, religious leaders and others gathered for the 15th annual Religious Liberty Dinner at the Newseum in Washington DC, including the Summit participants. The speaker for the dinner was Dr. Ben Carson, the Adventist who currently serves in the United States Cabinet as head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
On June 1 last week Waldfriede Hospital, the Adventist institution in Berlin, Germany, opened a psychiatric day care center for adult patients. The Waldfriede Health Network already includes the Nikolassee Clinic also for psychiatric patients and located in another section of Berlin. The psychiatrist in charge of both clinics is Dr. Herald Hopf. (From APD.)
Adventist Community Services (ACS) has set up a number of distribution centers for basic necessities in response to the flooding along the Black River in Arkansas. This includes cleaning supplies, grocery items and other household items distributed in collaboration with the American Red Cross and other religious groups. At the end of last month there were about 15 volunteers working in the project, reported Derrick Lea, ACS national disaster response coordinator. ACS is the domestic relief and community action agency sponsored by the Adventist denomination in the United States and works under written agreements with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state governments.
Concerns about access to medical care at Blantyre Adventist Hospital in the largest city in Malawi have been discussed on news broadcasts on the Capital FM radio station. The concerns are actually the result of four health insurance organizations that are 1 billion kwacha (1.4 million US dollars) behind on payments to the hospital. The massive amount owed to the hospital has led to the layoff of 53 employees and a decision by management to require cash payments from patients. Once patients pay cash for care, they can seek reimbursement from the health insurance organizations, but many are concerned about their ability to do this and the potential delay involved in reimbursements.
The Portland (Oregon) Adventist Medical Center has opened a new psychiatric service, the Emotional Wellness Center, reports Oregon Public Broadcasting. It is a facility that police have been requesting for years because emergency rooms are not a good fit in many cases. It is designed for people who go to an emergency mental health center for a few days who can then enter a program for the next four to six weeks, Dr. Pritham Raj, the director, told OPB. The idea is to give people in the middle of an emotional crisis somewhere to get help.
Adventist Youth Scouts is one of 200 Christian youth organizations that the government of Switzerland has informed can no longer partner with the Federal Office of Sports. The termination came because the Christian organizations are restrictive in who they will allow to join instead of being open to all children and young people. The Swiss Evangelical Alliance has protested the decision, pointing out that a recent poll shows that the majority of the Swiss population prefers to send their children to a Christian summer camp. (Reported by APD, the Adventist news service in Europe.)