News reports from the Alliance of Prison Ministry Organizations and Affiliates; Berrien Springs, Michigan; the Versacare Foundation and the Czech-Slovak Union Conference.

From Daniel McManus with the Alliance of Prison Ministry Organizations and Affiliates: This is a reminder that the Alliance of Prison Ministry Organizations and Affiliates (APMOA) 27th Prison Ministry Convention will be held July 24-27, 2019, in Buffalo, New York, at the Millennium Hotel (2440 Walden Ave., Buffalo, NY. 14225). Please reserve your room today, since you will not have to pay until you check out. The phone number is (716) 681-2400. If you like, you can also register TODAY for the Convention on at the “Super Early Bird” Rate of $169.00 and save $20.00, as the registration rate after May 22, 2019, is $189.00.

An Adventist high school senior at Berrien Springs Virtual Academy has been named a National Merit Scholarship finalist. Samuel Clough is one of only 15,000 students nationwide to be named as a finalist. Clough scored in the top 1 percent when he took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test in October 2017 as a junior. The Herald Palladium reports that Clough’s mother was also a National Merit finalist. She teaches science at Berrien Springs High School, while Clough’s father is an accountant at Andrews.

Versacare Foundation has awarded $1,159,000 in grant funding to Adventist schools in North America , including $920,000 to 118 primary and secondary schools in support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education.

The STEM grant program is open to every conference- or church-sponsored primary or secondary school in the North American Division and provides funding in three categories: $5,000 for smaller schools of three or fewer classrooms; $10,000 for larger schools of four or more classrooms and 12-year schools; and $10,000 for senior academies.

In the United States, a total of $835,000 was given to 108 schools in 38 conferences. In Canada, the foundation awarded a total of $85,000 to ten schools in four conferences.

STEM grant funds can be used to purchase classroom smart boards, provide tablets or Chromebooks for students, equip or update student computer labs, install 3-D printers and related software, initiate or fund robotics programs, teach software coding, and equip chemistry, physics, and biology labs.

This is Versacare’s fourth successive year funding STEM grants. To date, Versacare has provided 228 schools with a total of $1,825,000.

The Versacare Foundation is the largest independent private foundation supporting the varied ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with grant funding.

The Adventist denomination’s Czech-Slovak Union Conference voted during a constituency meeting held March 21-24 that women pastors should be ordained to pastoral ministry. They also voted to reject the compliance document voted by the General Conference Executive Committee in October last year. The 214 delegates had dozens of agenda items, including a decision to file a petition with the General Conference for annulment of the document “Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions” and replace it with some process that would lead to real unity among Adventists. The union conference does not see the enforcement of unity by a “higher organizational body” as biblical or legitimate because they believe unity comes from the Holy Spirit.

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