Stories from Russia, Chicago, Ghana, Maryland, Global Youth Day, Delaware, Lithuania, California, Jamaica and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Adventist Church has not been banned in Russia despite widely circulated fake news said the Russian denominational leaders in a statement released today. “Any such information from unofficial sources is not consistent with reality,” said Pastor M. F. Kaminsky, president of the denomination’s Euro-Asia Division, and Pastor O. Y. Goncharov, public affairs and religious liberty director for the division as well as a member of the Advisory Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations under the President of the Russian Federation. “There is no reason to believe that any justified or sensible reason exists for restricting or banning the activity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Federation.” The full statement can be read here.

The ecumenical journalism organization Associated Church Press invited an Adventist leader to be the keynote speaker at their 2017 annual convention, April 26-28 in Chicago. Dr. Ganoune Diop, the director of public affairs and religious liberty for the General Conference (GC) of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, addressed the gathering of editors and writers for all of the Christian denominations in the United States. He has served as a missiologist at the GC office of mission and the denomination’s representative at the United Nations.

Distribution of school supplies to thousands of children in Ghana was conducted by a group of volunteers from the United Kingdom (UK) organized by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in February. Children from poor families in 50 schools in the city of Accra were identified by school administrators and each received a school bag with a pair of shoes, towels and a toy. The supplies were funded by the offerings of Adventist church members in the UK, Bert Smith, director of ADRA’s UK agency, told APD, the Adventist news service in Europe.

Opheilia Barizo, a faculty member at an Adventist secondary school in Maryland, was named Environmental Educator of the Year for 2017 by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The trust is a foundation that oversees the natural conservation of the largest bay on the east coast of the United States which includes coastlines in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Barizo is a teacher and administrator at Highland View Academy and STEM coordinator for the denomination’s Chesapeake Conference. She was honored by the Trust at a banquet in the state capital complex in Anapolis and given $2,500 for environmental projects at her school. She has been a faculty member at the school for 21 years and raised a total of almost $800,000 for the school over those years.

An estimated eight million Adventist young people participated in Global Youth Day community service projects on the weekend of March 18, reports the denomination’s General Conference youth department. This year the volunteers in 130 nations were connected by a live radio broadcast that lasted nearly 24 hours and included 23 different studios on five continents, as well as a dedicated Web site, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

The Adventist Community Services (ACS) agency in Wilmington, Delaware, reported that they met the needs of 15,477 clients in 2016 with the help of 4,483 volunteer hours. Typical of more than a thousand local ACS centers in North America, this one shared their annual report with Adventist Today. They are run by a board of pastors and lay leaders from the Adventist congregations in the largest metropolitan area in the State of Delaware. They operate an emergency food pantry, distribute recycled clothing and household goods, and have a street ministry for the homeless which provides hot meals, blood pressure screening and donated eye glasses. (If you would like to get more information or make a donation, their Web address is www.gwacs-de.org and their office phone number is 302-832-6832.)

Adventists in Lithuania celebrated the 90th anniversary of the denomination in that country two Sabbaths ago (April 29) in the city of Kaunas. Pastor Bertold Hibner, president of the denomination in Lithuania, recalled its history during the difficult times of World War II and the Soviet occupation. Representatives from several other denominations were present to bring greetings. Roman Catholic Archbishop Artras Jagelavius thanked the Adventist Church for its humanitarian service, especially its collaboration with the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in programs for lifestyle medicine, wholistic health and smoking cessation. Statements were also made by Lutheran, Baptist and Methodist leaders and a representative of the Lithuanian Bible Society. There are 765 adult, baptized members of the Adventist denomination in Lithuania out of population of nearly three million. (APD)

The Quiet Hour media ministry based in Redlands, California, has sponsored 5,700 mission trips over the last decade during which volunteers helped to build 479 churches in 135 nations, gave away more than 70,000 Bibles and saw more than 100,000 people baptized. That is the recent report circulated by the ministry which began in 1937 as a radio broadcast by the late Pastor J. L. Tucker when he was leading the Redlands Adventist Church. The ministry has also sponsored more than 3,000 orphans in Russia and India.

Dr. Delroy Gordon was a local elder in the Adventist Church and executive director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission when he died recently. At his funeral on Sunday, April 30, in the Port Maria Adventist Church, he was memorialized by two of the Caribbean nation’s cabinet members; the Honorable Robert Montague, minister of national security and the member of parliament from that community, and the Honorable Olivia Grange, minister of culture. In addition to his involvement in national development, community affairs and his family, he was also known as “a principled man of God,” said the news release from the Jamaica Information Service. The Adventist religion is one of the largest in the island nation and currently both the Governor General and the Prime Minister are Adventists, as well as a number of members of parliament and other government officials.

A new Adventist university has opened in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Adventist University of West Congo has received the approval of the national government and the congratulations of Steve Mbikany, minister of education. The first program at the university is focused on educating pastors for the growing denomination in that country, reported APD, the Adventist news service in Europe.

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