Stories from the Kentucky Derby, Kenya, secular campus ministry in North America, Barbados, Walla Walla (Washington), Guadeloupe and Oakhurst (California)

A horse named Adventist may run in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday night (May 7) in Louisville. Because the famous race is limited to 20 horses and Adventist ranks 22, it will not run unless a couple of more likely horses drop out. Adventist came in third in the Wood Memorial race about a month ago, and the racing news media have been reporting daily on the development of the young animal as it ran in a couple of other races in New York state. The horse is owned by Treadway Racing Stable near Joilet (Illinois), which has run horses in an average of 20 races each year since 2000 and had an average of three first-place winners each year earning a total of $4.8 million from 2000 into 2016. Adventist Today has not been able to establish any connection between the owners and the Adventist faith, especially since most believers in North America would consider horse racing and betting on races as sinful behavior.

The cabinet secretary for education in Kenya, Fred Matiang’i has warned school administrators in the African country against discrimination toward Adventist students who skip classes and exams on Saturdays, reported the Kisii County News yesterday. Pastor Henry Nyamwanda from the denomination’s Nyamira Conference told the newspaper that the announcement was “remarkable” and urged Matiang’i to take disciplinary action against school administrators who ignore the directive. He pointed out that the Kenyan constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

Training for campus ministries at secular colleges and universities is scheduled for the week of May 22 through 29 at the University of Houston in Texas. The event is provided by the Adventist Christ Fellowship (ACF), a young adult outreach of the Adventist denomination in North America. It is called the ACF Institute. The training prepares participants to establish ACF groups on public campuses and develops competency in understanding the secular campus context, sharing faith on campus, organizing programs, small group leadership and leading students in Christian discipleship. Each morning there will be a Bible study and two sessions for the entire group, and in the afternoon three separate tracks: launching new groups, growing an established group or how to develop ongoing leadership to sustain a campus ministry. Last year 64 young adults attended the ACF Institute when it was in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada. Pre-registration for this year ends Sunday night (May 8). For more information go on the Web to https://www.acflink.org/FAQ.

The Adventist elementary school in Barbados was forced to suspend classes this week because of health problems caused by a silk cotton tree, reported the Barbados Today newspaper yesterday. Principal Angela Bushell-Skeete made the decision after “students complained of itchy eyes, burning skin and difficulty breathing,” the newspaper said. The trees are found in the topics around the world and grow to 230 feet tall, each producing hundreds of six-inch seed pods that include a fluffy, yellowish fiber that is light, resilient, resistant to water, but very flammable and traditionally used as filling in mattresses, pillows and upholstery. A silk cotton tree in Miami is claimed to be over 200 years old.

Rogers Adventist Elementary School in Walla Walla (Washington) collected 725 pounds of donated groceries last month to re-supply a local food pantry that provides emergency food to low-income families to prevent hunger, according to the Union-Bulletin local newspaper. Students in Grade Seven and Eight challenged the other classrooms in the school to a contest to see which room could collect the most in-kind donations, and they produced a video about hunger in the local community to promote the project.

Arson is suspected in a fire that damaged the Baie-Mahualt Adventist Church in Guadeloupe on April 17. No one was injured, but local police have opened a criminal investigation, according to the Adventist Review.

Oakhurst Christian School, operated by the Adventist congregation in that California town, is one of six schools in the United States to win an award for educating students about soil science and gardening. More than 30,000 public, private and church schools entered the contest conducted by the Nutrients for Life Foundation and Discovery Education, a publisher of online education resources, reported The Sierra Star local newspaper. Principal and K-2 teacher Sonya Reaves thanked the community and parents for their support of the program.