News Briefs for June 3, 2016
Stories from Kenya, Canada, Jamaica, Washington Adventist University, Australia, North American Division’s new office, Oakwood Adventist Academy, New Zealand, and the United States Congress resolution about an Adventist pastor.
Adventist leaders in Kenya joined others in urging President Uhuru Kenyatta to reach out to opposition political leaders to resolve the current dispute over the electoral commission in the central Africa nation. In 2007 and 2008 there was violence and deaths as a result of an election crisis, and now is the time to prevent a repeat said a joint message from all major religious leaders in the country, according to The Standard newspaper in Nairobi. The religious leaders offered to be part of discussion designed to prevent a crisis. In addition to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, the other religious leaders included the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, Organization of African Instituted Churches, Hindu Council of Kenya, Council of Imams of Kenya and National Muslim Leaders Forum.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Canada has a team of pastors trained in crisis management in Fort McMurray (Alberta) as residents are able to return after the massive fire. The team will provide counseling services to many families who have lost everything and ADRA volunteers will be providing necessary essentials and meals to insure that the needs of the displaced are met.
Corporal Judith Williams of the Jamaica police was buried Sunday (May 29) after a funeral in the Hagley Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston. The 54-year-old officer died a month earlier after being shot six times, reported the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. She was part of the staff of Carl Williams, Jamaica’s commission of police, who spoke at her funeral and told journalists that a 27-year-old policeman and a civilian were being held in the murder and would be formally charged this week.
Eugene Simonov, a recent graduate of Washington Adventist University and a staff member at the radio station operated by the university, won an Emmy in the College Television Awards on May 25 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. He won the award for the best unscripted television series for Words of Hope which he produces. The College Television Awards are conducted by the Television Academy Foundation, the same organization that runs the professional television Emmy Awards. Out of more than 600 nominees, only 37 won awards. WGTS 91.9 FM broadcasting across the Washington DC metropolitan area from the university campus in Takoma Park (Maryland) consistently rates the largest listening audience for Christian radio stations in the United States capital region.
Avondale College, the Adventist institution of higher education in Australia, is raising funds to help reduce the crippling burden of chronic disease in the South Pacific islands. The funds will support the Lifestyle Research Centre at the college and provide seed money to help Pacific Island residents begin postgraduate study in lifestyle medicine. More people “are now dying from lifestyle diseases than from communicable diseases,” explains Dr. Chester Kuma, the director of Adventist Health Ministries for the denomination’s South Pacific Division. He is a Solomon Islander born in Papua New Guinea, began his training in Fiji and practiced surgery in the Solomon Islands before moving to Australia. It pain him to visit the islands, the doctor told the Avondale News. The island nations of the South Pacific are “the diabetes hot spot of the world,” added Dr. Darren Morton, lead researcher at the Lifestyle Research Centre.
The Adventist denomination’s North American Division started renovation this week of the building where its new offices will be located. The division staff will move out of the denomination’s General Conference (GC) office in Silver Spring (Maryland) in April next year and into the new facility in Columbia (Maryland) about 12 miles further north on Route 29. The NAD includes the Adventist churches, institutions and organizations in the United States, Canada, Bermuda and Guam-Micronesia. Although the denomination began in the U.S. with the organization of the GC in 1863, the NAD remained a legal fiction until the mid 1980s when it was organized along the lines of the other “divisions.” Unlike most Protestant denominations, the Adventist faith has a centralized global authority structure with the 13 world “divisions” playing an increasingly important role as the number of adherents pushes past 30 million and it becomes more and more difficult to make decisions that can be implemented in hundreds of nations and thousands of cultures.
Keviez Wilson, a graduating senior at Oakwood Adventist Academy in Huntsville (Alabama), has been named a Gates Millennium Scholar. Out of more than three million high school graduates this year in the United States, he is one of only a thousand who received this award which includes a full scholarship at any accredited institution for ten years through the completion of a Ph.D. or other terminal degree. Wilson is student association president at the academy and has selected nearby Oakwood University for his college with plans to pursue a career in medicine. So far as Adventist Today has been able to determine, Wilson is the only Adventist among the 2016 Gates Millennium Scholars. If you know otherwise, please send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Millennium Scholar” in the subject line.
The Hope Channel Adventist television service in New Zealand has switched from satellite distribution to “free-to-air” broadcasting in the last month. This means that almost every home among the 4.5 million population will be able to see Adventist television programming instead of the much smaller number with satellite dishes. Information is not available as to which nations have Hope Channel in open broadcasting, but in North America and many other places it is available only through satellite and a limited number of local cable companies. The other Adventist television operations have even more limited distribution.
Pastor Ron Pickell, coordinator of the Adventist Christian Fellowship secular campus ministry for the denomination’s North American Division, was honored with a resolution by the United States Congress last week. The occasion was the 2016 ACF Institute, a yearly summer week of training for leaders of campus ministries at state universities and other public institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada. The resolution was introduced by the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, member of congress from the 18th district in Texas and the senior of the two members of the U.S. Congress who are Adventists. For two decades Pickell has pastored Adventist churches near major state universities and been accredited as a campus chaplain by these universities. He actively assists local groups that seek to form campus student groups.