News reports from Atlanta, Georgia; the Northern California Conference of the Adventist Church; India; Asheville, North Carolina; Ogden, Utah; Stamford, Connecticut; Loma Linda, California; and Lincoln, Nebraska.
CNN is broadcasting a special on the history and current role of the Pope at 10 pm Eastern time on Sundays starting March 11. The series will look at how popes have influenced world events throughout history. The CNN Original Series is titled “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History.”
Pastor Jim Pedersen, president of the Adventist denomination’s Northern California Conference, is retiring on July 31 after 42 years as a denominational employee. The next regular Constituency Session is scheduled for September 30. Pastor Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference, will be working with the conference executive committee and the nominating committee to find a replacement.
From APD, an Adventist news service in Europe: Adventists in India have opened Vibrant Life Medical and Wellness Clinic, the first urban center of influence opened by the denomination in the country. The center occupies four floors of a five-story building in the city of Bangalore. It consists of medical consultation rooms, fitness facilities, a conference room, a pharmacy, and a lobby. A medical team of five full-time employees and ten specialists treats 10 to 15 patients a day. There is no other medical facility in the upscale residential area where the health center is located.
Fox Carolina reported that an Adventist 34-year-old firefighter passed away on February 27 after battling a rare form of cancer. Will Perry Willis was a career firefighter and engineer for the Asheville, North Carolina Fire Department. Prior to his death, Willis continued to run calls with the fire department despite his diagnosis of translocation renal cell carcinoma. He was an elder at the Burnsville Seventh-day Adventist Church. The father of four passed away on his 34th birthday.
A juice bar called Press Together is about to be opened by an Adventist pastor in Ogden, Utah. According to the Standard Examiner newspaper, the Press Together brand is owned by the Nevada-Utah Conference of the Adventist denomination. Ryan Hablitzel, pastor of the Ogden Seventh-day Adventist Church, is launching the juice bar as part of his doctoral dissertation work. The juice bar will serve as a center of influence for the Adventist Church. The venue will function as a healthy juice bar during the week and will be transformed into a gathering place for millennials seeking to worship on Saturdays. “We’re redefining what church is,” Hablitzel said. “When I say ‘church,’ people think of large gatherings or meetings. But one of my ideas is that millennials don’t like the way we currently do church.”
Capt. Richard Conklin of the Stamford, Connecticut police department said bones, at least one tooth and a piece of a human skull had been found exposed in a cemetery behind the city’s Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church. According to the Stamford Advocate, Conklin said that it appeared rodents had retrieved the remains from rotted wooden caskets. “They look human and look as though they have been there for a long time,” Conklin said. The cemetery dates back to the mid-1800s.
Time magazine recently highlighted Loma Linda, California as one of the blue zones known for having high concentrations of some of the world’s oldest people. Loma Linda was described as a haven for Adventists. Sabbath-keeping and a plant-based diet were described as influential factors in Adventist longevity. The other blue zones listed were Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica and Ikaria, Greece.
From AdventSource, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based production company run by the North American Division of the Adventist denomination:
Is your congregation happily open to having all people attend worship services, Bible studies, Sabbath School classes, potlucks, and prayer meetings? Does this invitation include people of every race, appearance, belief system, sexual orientation, nation, gender, economic level, age, and ability? If the answer is Yes, now is the time to craft a welcoming statement to show that your church is a safe space for everyone. Visit AdventistChurchWelcomingStatements.org to get started.