News Briefs for October 20, 2017
Stories from Cuba, The One Project, California, Germany, Washington DC, La Sierra University, Oakwood University, Kettering College, Southern Adventist University, Northern Asia-Pacific Division, Friedensau University and Younger Generation Church. ………..
Adventist missionaries are in Cuba for the first time in 50 years. Short mission trips began in 1998, but Christian Guana-Jarrin and Joseph Capeles are the first long-term missionaries since the 1960s. They arrived in Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city in the island nation, during the third week of September. They are sponsored by Care for Cuba, a program based in the seminary at Andrews University (AU), Berrien Springs, Michigan. Dr. Fernando Ortiz, director of the M.Div. program at the seminary founded Care for Cuba and has led a group of AU students in conducting an annual evangelism campaigns in Cuba which have baptized more than 800 new believers over recent years.
The One Project will have its 30th gathering in Atlanta this weekend (October 21-22). The first gathering convened by the group of Adventist pastors and campus chaplains was in February 2011 in Atlanta. The theme for this weekend is “Sola Scriptura,” a fundamental principle of Adventist theology which originated 500 years ago in the Protestant Reformation. The One Project has announced that its last two gatherings will be early next year, in Sydney, Australia, February 3-4 and in San Diego, California, February 11-12.
A network of Adventist pastors, youth workers and church members dedicated to helping local churches grow the number of teens and young adults in their congregations was launched over the past two weeks during the first session of an advanced education cohort at the Fuller Youth Institute in Pasadena, California. More than 80 Adventists participated from all nine union conferences in the denomination’s North American Division. “We don’t have to just accept the fact of an aging church,” said Pastor Benji Fergusson, who attended from the Carmichael (California) Adventist Church. The focus is to learn practical ways to involved young adults from research among churches that are being revitalized by an infusion of young people. The goal is to develop point persons in each region who can help interested congregations.
The Adventist denomination in Germany has published a statement on migration and refugees. It begins with a Bible study and theological principles, and then provides guidelines for Christian service in a world where 65 million people have fled their home country due to the threat of being killed. The topic has become controversial in Europe and North America, and it involves missional and ethical issues that faithful Adventists cannot simply ignore. (APD)
A small, but very important human drama played out during the General Conference (GC) Annual Council in the parking lot of the denomination’s world headquarters in the Silver Spring (Maryland) suburb of Washington DC. A young couple were rushing to the hospital and their baby came unexpectedly, so they turned into the parking lot. Dr. Yvette Ross Hebron, a physician and a member of the GC executive committee, happened to be nearby. She delivered the baby, made sure it was breathing and took care of things until an ambulance arrived. “We just feel that it was divine intervention,” the doctor told a reporter for WJLA Channel 7, the ABC television affiliated in the nation’s capital.
The Wall Street Journal has named La Sierra University, the Adventist institution in Riverside, California, as number one for diversity among all the colleges in the United States. The leading business newspaper in America used a formula that include not just the ethnic diversity of the students and faculty, but also measures of economic diversity and the percentage of students who are the first in their families to go to college. The is the second year in a row that the newspaper gave this ranking to the university.
Five new academic programs were voted by the board of Oakwood University at a meeting on Sunday and Monday this week (October 15-16). The board also voted to begin a Community Action Health Clinic in Huntsville (Alabama) where the campus is located as a place for students to engage in service learning as well as to meet the needs of local residents. The new programs include an M.A. in urban ministry and community development and Bachelors degrees in sports management, human resource management, sports marketing, and mathematics.
Kettering College, the Adventist institution in Dayton (Ohio), is working to make health professions education more affordable. It provides up to $7,000 a year in tuition aid to nursing students and has announced plans to extend tuition aid to all undergraduate programs, including sonography and respiratory therapy. “We know the costs of college tuition are skyrocketing and that graduating with large amounts of college debt is a huge concern for American families,” said Dr. Nate Brandstater, college president.
On November 2 a full day seminar to encourage young adults to become entrepreneurs will be conducted by Fruition Lab at Southern Adventist University in Chattanooga (Tennessee). In the morning Adventist business owners will share their stories. In the afternoon students will have opportunity to pitch their business ideas. Seth Hill was a student at the same event last year. He graduated in the spring of 2017 and has started SWAYY Insulated Hammocks. “Fruition Lab gave me the confidence and most importantly the connections” to be able to start his business, Hill is quoted in a news release.
Dr. Si Young Kim was voted the new president of the denomination’s Northern Asia-Pacific Division by the GC executive committee in late September. He is 63 years of age and served for many years as a pastor, youth worker hospital chaplain, and church administrator in South Korea where he was born. He earned a doctoral degree at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines and joined the division staff in 2012. The Northern Asia-Pacific Division includes China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. As a division president he is also a GC vice president.
Dr. Johann Gerhardt, retired former president of Friedensau University, the Adventist institution near Magdeburg, Germany, died October 2 at age 73. “Authenticity and warmth distinguished him,” said Pastor Johannes Naether, president of the denomination’s North German Union Conference, during the funeral on October 16. Gerhardt spent more than half his life training pastors for the Adventist Church in Europe. He was known for his ministry to the victims of sexual abuse, chairing a committee focused on this issue for the denomination. His prayers and devotionals were widely heard on the MDR radio network and on the Hope Channel television station in Germany. His 2004 book has helped many readers find a “free and liberating faith.” (APD)
The Younger Generation Church series on “Humans of YG” is being live-streamed at 10:15 am Central time zone (U.S.) each Sabbath. It is also available on Vimeo for viewing at any time by groups and individuals (click below). Theme: “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the first foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” (Hebrews 11:1) YG is based at the Arlington Adventist Church in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.