Stories from China and Australia, Oakwood University, Rwanda, La Sierra University, England, Sweden and more …….
Sales of Weet-Bix breakfast cereal which is manufactured by a company owned by the Adventist denomination spiked in China in recent months after it appeared in the popular television drama Ode to Joy. Sanitarium Health and Wellness, one of the largest food companies in Australia, has been selling its products in China since 2008, but the demand has become much larger. The company is using this as an opportunity to re-brand the cereal under the name Nutri-Brex which has been successfully launched in the United Kingdom. The cereal is exactly the same. The name change is necessary due to trademark restrictions.
Pastor Carlton Byrd has been named Pastor of the Year by the Madison County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a leading civil rights organization in the United States. Byrd is senior pastor of the Oakwood University Church and director of the Breath of Life Television Ministry, both Adventist organizations. Madison County is the larger metropolitan area including Huntsville, Alabama, the city where the university is located. It is a higher education institution of the denomination’s North American Division and one of America’s historically black colleges and universities.
A chapter of the Pan-African Movement was organized at the Adventist University of Central Africa on Tuesday (October 25) in Rwanda. Cyrus Nkusi, secretary general of the Rwanda chapter of the Pan-African Movement, spoke to a student assembly, challenging them to “embrace critical thinking, especially when it comes to what they can do for the betterment of their country,” reported The New Times, the country leading English-language newspaper. The movement has goals for improving the quality of life and human rights across the continent. The university has about 4,000 students enrolled in undergraduate programs in education, business, information technology and theology, as well as master’s degree programs in education, international development and business administration.
The Stahl Center Sabbath (October 29) at La Sierra University will remember the legacy of Fernando and Anna Stahl, early 20th century Adventist missionaries in Peru. Pastor Jose Rojas, evangelist and former youth director for the denomination’s North American Division, will speak for worship and in the afternoon. There will be a display from the center’s Global Quilting project which has provided some 40,000 hand-made quilts donated by volunteers for AIDS babies and orphans in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Plans will be announced for the 50th annual Andes and Amazon study tour, March 24 to April 2, 2017.

The well-known Adventist sculptor Alan Collins died last week at age 88 in Bridport, Dorset, England. Some of his best known works include “The Good Samaritan” on the campus of Loma Linda University in California; the three angels of Revelation 14 on the facade of the Trans-European Division office in Saint Albans, England; the “Glory of God’s Grace” based on Christ’s story of prodigal son on the campus of La Sierra University in California; and “Sacrificial Service” depicting Simon of Cyrene lifting the cross from a fallen Jesus on the campus of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. Outside the Adventist movement, he created many other works of art, including the John F. Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede, England; and a number of pieces at the Anglican cathedral in Guilford, England. The Royal Society for the Arts honored him with the Sir Otto Beit Award.

The 55-year-old husband of Pastor Audrey Andersson, executive secretary of the denomination’s Trans-European Division, died last weekend in an accident on his farm in Lindesberg, Sweden.  Lars-Erik Andersson “loved life on the farm, loved his family, his wife and his Savior,” said a statement from the family and his wife’s colleagues. He was very supportive of his wife’s ministry and traveled with her recently to the General Conference annual meetings in Silver Spring, Maryland, in the United States. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his mother, siblings and other family members.

In recent months two long retired Adventist leaders passed to their graves: Pastor David R. L. Astleford, a missionary who served in Africa, Southern Asia, the Far East and Western Pacific for 33 years, died in Bassingham, Lincolnshire, England on September 13. Pastor Lowell Bock, a retired vice president of the denomination’s General Conference, died August 22 in Loma Linda, California. Astleford directed publishing ministries at the union conference and division levels and started as a literature evangelist in the 1930s. Bock was president of the denomination’s Southern New England Conference and Lake Union Conference before his election to the GC. He served in key roles on the board of Loma Linda University in the 1970s and 1980s.