News Briefs May 31, 2014
by Monte Sahlin
Adventist Today regularly provides a summary of stories that we have decided do not require in-depth reporting, but our readers may want to be aware of.
Adventists in Brazil are preparing for the World Cup soccer event which begins June 12. The initiative is called “Hope Brazil” and will go beyond simply passing out tracts, according to the Adventist News Network (ANN), the official news service of the denomination. The most popular sports event in the world will draw large numbers of fans from around the world as well as across the country. Schools and businesses in Brazil will close for the 32-day tournament. The denomination will mobilize young adult volunteers in each of the 12 cities where games will be held. They will distribute bottled water, perform in concerts and conduct health expos, while those with special skills will give directions and information for tourists.
Adventist Pastor Clive Dottin told a panel last week that religious leaders "must be prepared to die" to make a difference in crime in Trinidad and Tobago. The event was a gathering of the leaders of the Christian denominations in the Caribbean nation with Stephen Williams, action commissioner of the national police, and Major General Kenrick Maharaj, chief of the nation's defense forces. Dottin's "fiery speech" grabbed the headline in Newsday. He said the country is "too downright corrupt" and that there are businessmen, lawyers and politicians who are part of an "upper crust network" of corruption. "Businessmen who appear to be very protected in this society … are really raping the society. We have to take a stand," the newspaper quoted him.
Two documentaries about the Adventist movement were presented for the first time in Romania in May and are being re-released on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television network in the United States this summer. A crowd of 1,200, including members of parliament and academic leaders, came out for the premiere of The Adventists and The Adventists 2 at Philharmonic Hall in Arad, Romania, filling it to capacity three times the weekend of May 16-17. The event "exceeded all my expectations," said Adrian Bocaneanu, a staff member for the Adventist denomination in Romania. Producer Martin Doblmeier spoke through a translator.
Adventist Health System (AHS) has been awarded the 2014 Gallup Great Workplace Award. The nonprofit health ministry affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination operates 44 hospitals across the United States. The award recognizes AHS employees as one of the best-performing, most productive and engaged workforces in the world. AHS has 70,000 employees all together and is one of 36 organizations given the award.
Two thirds of Adventists support the ordination of women serving as pastors in an international survey being conducted by the Council for Family Research, an independent organization based in Nassau, The Bahamas. A total of 77 percent said that they will "fully support" the change if it is permitted by denominational leaders. Barrington Brennen, president of CFR and an Adventist church member, told Adventist Today that he hopes to get at least 5,000 more responses before the final report is released. It is available in five languages at www.soencouragement.org/ordination/.
Kerry Heinrich will replace Ruthita Fike as chief executive officer of Loma Linda University (LLU) Medical Center on July 1. Heinrich is an attorney in private practice who has long advised LLU administrators. The medical center includes six hospitals and thousands of employees and physicians with staff privileges. Fike is retiring and has told the campus community that she would have preferred a later retirement date, but the LLU president asked her to end her tenure July 1. A number of readers have asked Adventist Today about this apparent conflict and after inquiry with several sources, it is clear to Adventist Today editors that the issue is evidently about scheduling. Heinrich's role is short term and a search is ongoing for a permanent replacement for Fike.
The governor of Oyo State in Nigeria "commended the Seventh Day Adventist Church for its service to humanity," reported Leadership, a news magazine in the African nation last week. Governor Abiola Ajimobi stated that the denomination "had always been at the forefront of social, economic, intellectual and more development" of the country. The comment came during a news conference in the city of Ibadan after a meeting with Adventist representatives led by Pastor Oyeleke Owolabi, president of the denomination's North-Western Union Conference.
The Florida division of Adventist Health System may try again to purchase Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach, according to the Orlando Business Journal. In 2011 AHS negotiated a deal to buy the hospital for $80 million and local opponents went to court and had the deal undone because of violations of public records laws by local government decision-making bodies. Then another nonprofit organization was supposed to buy the facility, but that deal also fell through and the public hospital is again on the market.
Lightening blew a hole in the roof of the Southampton Adventist Church in Bermuda last week during a powerful storm in the Atlantic island nation. The storm also hit the headquarters of the telephone system in Bermuda and shut it down for a time, reported the Sun newspaper.