News Briefs for October 7, 2016
Stories from General Conference, Bhutan, Bermuda, Uzbekistan, Dominican Republic, Germany, Southern Adventist University, Mexico, California ……..
The annual meeting of the governing body of the Adventist denomination begins today at denominational headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC. It is the General Conference executive committee in Annual Council, a meeting which will continue through the middle of next week. The agenda is primarily about policy issues, denominational financial problems and an ongoing conflict over the extension of clergy ordination to women as well as men. Dr. Loren Seibold, executive editor of Adventist Today will be present for much of the meeting and share regular reports throughout the day via Facebook and Twitter, as well as a daily roundup in our Web edition.
The people of Bhutan will soon hear the gospel in their own mother tongue, announced Dr. Edison Samraj, director of the Adventist Media Centre in India. Programs in the Dzongkha languages will be broadcast from the Guam Adventist World Radio station on October 30. They will be produced at a recording studio in the small nation that is located on the eastern edge of the Himalaya mountains with a total population of about 755,000. It is a Buddhist kingdom with fewer than 700 Adventists in a handful of congregations.
A documentary about Johnny Barnes, the Adventist who is a local hero in Bermuda and died earlier this year, has been released. It is entitled Welcoming Arms and has footage of Barnes doing his famous warm welcome ritual at the main highway intersection at the entrance to Hamilton, the island nation’s capital city. His faith “is very apparent” in the interviews with children who knew him, producer Rosanne Ma told Adventist Today. It has been screened at Oscar-qualifying film festivals, including Urbanworld, Big Sky Documentaries and the Bermuda Film Festival. It can be viewed on the Web here:
Pastor Andrei Ten, leader of the Adventist church in the Olmazor District of Tashkent, has been fined for distributing copies of The Great Controversy by Ellen White despite the fact that a government “expert analysis” said that it was permitted in Uzbekistan. Forum 18, a civil rights organization based in Oslo, Norway, reported this week that Ten and three other men were riding in a taxi and stopped by the National Security Service police in early August. The other three men were not Adventists, but had been hired to work on the church building. The books were found on all four men and the case was turned over to terrorism unit. After the “expert analysis” document showed that the books were not subversive, the men were released. Six days later, the pastor was called to the police station and required to write a statement saying he had given the other three men the books. When his statement was completed, the police brought out a new “expert analysis” document that now said the book was banned in the central Asian nation because it encouraged extremism. On August 19, Ten was fined by Judge Musa Yusupov of Olmazor District Criminal Court of Tashkent. The fine is an amount equal to 100 times the average daily wage in the country.
Volunteers in the Dominican Republic removed more than 50,000 breeding sites for mosquitos in 12 communities, organized and trained by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) branch in the Caribbean nation that shares a large island with Haiti. The volunteers distributed chlorine kits and educational materials to 4,000 families as well as physically removing the breeding sites. A total of 1,200 volunteers were involved in a six-month project with the goal of preventing Dengue fever, Chikungunya and Zika virus in collaboration with the National Ministry of Public Health.
The Marienhohe Adventist education center in Darmstadt, Germany, started the new school year with 756 students, a ten percent increase over last year, reported APD, the European Adventist news service. Over 500 of the young people are enrolled in the secondary school and 60 in the primary school. Just 47 of the students live in the dormitories and three-quarters of these are from Adventist families. Many of the day students from the local community are not from member homes. Of the 68 faculty members, 37 are Adventists. Monday and Tuesday (October 3 and 4) the students raised 28,400 euros (about $32,000) for local charities, an annual project to teach community service.
Dr. David C. Smith will be inaugurated next Thursday (October 13) as president of Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, reported The Chattanoogan local newspaper. He took the job last summer following the retirement of Dr. Gordon Bietz who served as president for nearly two decades. Pastor Dan Jackson, president of the Adventist denomination in North America, will be present for the event, as well as Pastor Ron Smith, president of the Southern Union Conference and chairman of the university board; and Dr. Larry Blackmer, vice president for education for the denomination’s North American Division.
Monday (October 3) nearly 600 Adventist young people marched through the City of Villahermosa in Mexico with banners promoting moral values. The city in southern Mexico has a population of nearly 400,000 and is considered to be one of the most insecure cities in the country. The purpose of the historic march was to make a lasting impact in the community, reported the Adventist News Network. Pastor Jaime Velazquez, president of the denomination in Southern Tabasco state, spoke Bible-based social values during the demonstration.
The Southern Asia Adventist Community Church in Redlands, California, will celebrate its 14th anniversary with a special week of activities, October 15 to 22. On the first Sabbath, Dr. Bill Knott, the editor of the Adventist Review, will preach. On the second Sabbath, the preacher will be Pastor Tom Lemon, vice president of the denomination’s General Conference. The congregation has about 35 members and meets in the First Lutheran Church of Redlands on Cypress Avenue. It is one of eight Adventist congregations in North America that work directly with immigrants from southern Asia.