Stories from Ohio, Tulsa (Oklahoma), Los Angeles, Oakwood University and Portland (Oregon) ….     

Across North America many are concerned about declining enrollment in Adventist schools, but enrollment has increased by four percent in the Columbia Union Conference in the 2016-17 school year compared to last year in grades K through 12, Dr. Donovan Ross, vice president for education, told the executive committee this week. One of the local conferences in the union conference, the Ohio Conference had enrollment growth of more than 17 percent. The total enrollment in Adventist schools from preschool through higher education is 8,965 in the eight-state region of the eastern United States which makes up this union conference.

An evangelical megachurch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be selling its campus as the new site of Tulsa Adventist Academy, according to both the Tulsa World and the Tulsa Beacon newspapers. Grace Church was not affiliated with the Adventist denomination and once had thousands in attendance each Sunday, but “a steep decline in membership” has resulted in negotiations to sell the facilities. A total of 58 of the 76 acres will be sold to YME Foundation, an independent Adventist group that will lease the seven buildings on the property to Tulsa Adventist Academy which is operated by the Oklahoma Conference of the Adventist denomination. The foundation also plans to develop industries to help sustain the K-12 school which currently has an enrollment of about 120. Pastor Stephen Carlile of the Tulsa Adventist Fellowship church is the only denominational employee on the board of YME Foundation. His congregation is one of the fastest-growing Adventist churches in the United States with about 900 members.

Adventist Health is operating a clinic in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles (California) reported KABC Television Channel 7, the ABC network affiliate recently. The report included an interview with Dr. Evan Kim and highlighted the special needs of urban, ethnic communities where “being able to communicate with someone who speaks their language and may share their same culture and perspective” is important to primary care. “While Koreatown is one of the most densely populated areas of Los Angeles, … Kim said research shows it was highly lacking in primary care physicians.” Adventist Health is the agency of the denomination that operates hospitals and clinics in four western U.S. states.

Three students from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, won awards at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students last week in Tampa, Florida. A total of 1,500 students presented research projects they had completed over the summer many cooperating companies and research institutions across the country. Oakwood University is the only one of the historically black colleges and universities in the United States affiliated with the Adventist denomination. The three students were Amara Hendricks, a senior biochemistry major; Greg Darville and Keith Rogers, both junior biomedical sciences majors.

Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS) held a ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday (November 16) for a new dental clinic. When construction is completed next year, it will also provide more room for the PACS medical clinic and an ophthalmology clinic. PACS is the Adventist agency that serves the needs of low-income families in the largest city in the State of Oregon. It also provides emergency food, as well as blankets, coats and clothing to meet basic necessities. Volunteers from Adventist churches throughout the metropolitan area help staff the center.