Stories from Europe, India, Honolulu, Rwanda, Bermuda and Newfoundland

Adventist leaders in Europe released a statement Thursday (May 19) in response to the loss of an Egyptian airliner with 66 people on board over the Mediterranean Sea. “We are deeply saddened by [the] tragic event,” the public statement said, noting that the governments involved did not yet know what happened. “May our prayers, sympathy and heartfelt condolences bring comfort to all those who lost their loved ones. May God embrace them … during this difficult time.” The statement went to news media from the Inter-European Division of the Adventist denomination’s General Conference with offices in Bern, Switzerland.

Spicer Memorial College in Pune, India, was recognized Wednesday (May 18) as a full-fledged university by a six-member visiting team from the Maharashtra state government. This announcement at an evening meeting on campus was the final piece in a series of inspection visits and meetings in recent years. The leading Adventist institution of higher education in one of the largest-population nations on the globe will now be known as Spicer Memorial University and is authorized to offer programs leading to Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees, stated S. Rajendra Prasad, registrar. It is currently on break and will re-open for the next term on June 15. (Thank you to Dennis Dean Tidwell for this immediate bulletin.)

A man was shot Sabbath (May 14) at the Samoa-Tokelau Seventh-day Adventist Church in Honolulu (Hawaii) as the congregation gathered in a courtyard to congratulate him and others who had just been baptized. Tali Taliton was shot in the back by Violesolo Tavita, according to reports in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and on television station KITV Channel 4, the ABC affiliate in Honolulu and on KHON Channel 2. Both the shooter and the victim were 59 years of age. Taliton was taken to the hospital and Tavita was arrested by police and has been charged with second degree attempted murder. Taliton’s wife was present and baptized with him on Sabbath morning. Do information about why the incident occurred has been released. The church has 363 members and is affiliated with the denomination’s Hawaii Conference.

The cornerstone was laid last week for the new facilities that will house the school of medicine at the Adventist University of Central Africa in Kigali, Rwanda. The two cabinet ministers for education and health from the Rwandan national government assisted with the ceremonies as did Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the Adventist denomination, who was in Rwanda for a massive evangelism campaign that began last Friday (May 13). Crowds overwhelmed the free clinics being conducted by thousands of Adventist volunteers in three of the major cities of Rwanda last week, and as many as 100,000 people may be baptized in a country where the Adventist Church is the largest Protestant denomination.

A program that provides hot meals on Wednesday and Sunday evenings at the Adventist Youth Center in Hamilton, Bermuda, was given a $10,000 check last week by Global Atlantic Reinsurance Ltd, reported The Royal Gazette, the daily newspaper in the island nation. About 15 volunteers from the Hamilton Adventist church and Bermuda Institute, the Adventist school, feed an average of 140 people, Pastor Sydney Gibbons told the newspaper.

Peace officers who gave their lives in the line of duty were remembered Wednesday (May 18) in an ecumenical service at the Saint John’s Adventist Church in Newfoundland, reported radio station VOCM. The memorial liturgy included reflections, music and the policeman’s prayer for courage. In 155 years the Canadian province has lost only 20 lives of peace officers in the line of duty, but the dangers for those who serve are always present.