Stories from India, Andrews University, Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Baltimore (Maryland) 

Dr. Edison Samraj, director of the Adventist Media Center in India, was honored recently by the Catholic Press Association of India as one of two distinguished journalists. The award was presented at the National Conference of Christian Journalists in the city of Pune. The other journalist honored was Dr. Michael Gunzal, editor of the prestigious business journal Financial Chronicles. (Thank you to Dennis Tidwell for passing on this news.)

The annual Symposium on Ellen G. White Issues is scheduled for Monday (March 28) at Andrews University (AU). Four papers will be presented by scholars this year: “The Use of Metaphor, Allegory and Symbol in White’s Description of Believers Union with Christ” by Dr. Katrina Blue, a hospital chaplain and pastor who recently completed her PhD at AU; a paper contrasting the reactions of three male church leaders to White’s testimonies by Dr. Brian Stayer, professor of history at AU; “The Meaning of Conscience in the Writings of Ellen White,” by Pastor Bryce Bowman from Oregon; and the story of George Butler who once served as General Conference president and was criticized by White, by Dr. Merlin Burt, the coordinator of the symposium and a church historian at AU who also directs the branch office of the White Estate. The day will end with a time of open discussion of current issues and the papers will be published.

A town established to provide homes for Christians in Pakistan recently had its sewer line disconnected by a government agency, reported Pakistan Christian Post on Thursday (March 24). An Adventist church is the nearest religious facililty to the stagnant pool of sewage some 40 feet deep that resulted, and Pastor Naveed Akhter has taken a leading role among the 4,000 residents, setting up a meeting with civic authorities to discuss the problems. The raw sewage can cause Malaria and Dengue Fever and parents are concerned about children drowning in the unfenced, unmarked pond.

Dr. Samuel Saw has been appointed president of the Adventist denomination’s Southern Asia-Pacific Division which includes 14 nations from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west across to Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines in the east. He was voted unanimously by the denomination’s governing body (the General Conference executive committee) on Tuesday (March 22) to replace Pastor Leonardo Asoy who died January 12 from a rare bone disease. Saw is the first person of Myanmar dissent to hold office at this level of the denomination, although he began his career and served many years as a pastor and church administrator in Thailand. Saw earned the Doctor of Ministry degree at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines.

Dr. Kesslyn B. Stennis, a local elder in an Adventist congregation in Baltimore, has been elected president of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work. She is chair of the social work department at Coppin State University in Maryland. She is a seminary graduate as well as an MSW, and an alumna of Oakwood University, the Adventist institution in Huntsville, Alabama. She developed the Healing for Silent Sufferers ministry for women suffering abuse.