News Briefs November 21, 2014
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.
Hollywood producer Devon Franklin and actress Meagan Good will speak will be the keynote speakers for a major event this weekend organized by the Freeport Adventist Church in the Bahamas. Several hundred young adults and teens are expected both from the island nation and internationally. Franklin and Good are married and will tell the story of their romance as well as their spiritual journeys. As senior vice president for production at Columbia Pictures, Franklin is probably the highest ranking Adventist in Hollywood.
Hundreds of Adventist churches across the United States will have Thanksgiving dinners for their local communities next week. For example, the Williston Herald in North Dakota announced Tuesday (November 18) that people “who may not have a place to go to spend the holiday” are welcome at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 701 Second Avenue from 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 27, for “turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls and different kinds of pie” donated by at least 14 local businesses and prepared by volunteers from the congregation. “This is not about the church,” Pastor Peter Simpson is quoted. “It’s about giving people a Thanksgiving meal with no strings attached. Everybody is welcome.” The Williston Adventist group is small and a new congregation only recently begun.
Adventists in Egypt have expressed concern about a new law which may affect their status. Leaders were “shocked” by article 112 of a draft “personal status law … which does not recognize the denomination as Christian,” according to a report dated November 17 from the All Africa news service, quoting the state-run Middle East News Association (MENA) as the source. The report included a quote attributed to Adventist leaders in Egypt: “Our wise government recognizes the Seventh-day Adventists as a Christian denomination entitled to exercise its religious rituals and provide educational and health services to the whole society,” and this article contradicts the state’s recognition. “The denomination called upon the minister of transitional justice and the designated committee not to approve excluding them from the Christian denominations, as stated in the article,” the news service stated.
At least two women were injured when a car plunged into the crowd waiting outside an emergency food pantry at El Cajon Adventist Church in the suburbs of San Diego, California on Tuesday (November 18). “A line of more than 230 people waiting for food” when a “42-year-old female driver … backed her Volkswagen Jetta into a parked car [and] then rapidly accelerated forward and into the waiting crowd,” reported Channel 7, the NBC television station in San Diego. “A 74-year-old woman and a 33-year-old woman were smashed into the wall behind them.” The two women were taken to the hospital as well as the driver and a passenger from the Jetta. Volunteer Elizabeth Barnette said it was “an average Tuesday” for the food program at the church before the crash. The event is held each Tuesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the church’s gymnasium, Pastor Richard D. Smith told the San Diego Union Tribune. Volunteers provide boxes of groceries for 150 to 250 families each week. It collaborates with Feeding America, he said, and he called it “Soup and Spirituality” because a community worship is provided after the food distribution. Many people crowded in for prayers on Tuesday night following the accident, he said. “It has been a traumatic day for everyone.” The congregation has more than 500 members and is part of the denomination’s Southeastern California Conference. Update: Channel 7, the NBC affiliate television station in San Diego reported on Friday (November 28) that one of the injured women had died in the hospital.
Ground-breaking ceremonies for a 500-bed Adventist hospital in Uganda were reported by The Observer newspaper this week. The Kireka Adventist Hospital “will be the biggest Adventist church project for the next five years,” wrote columnist Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda. It “will provide … general medical services, surgery, physiotherapy and dental services,” as well as specialists in “orthopedic, pediatric, obstetric and cardio-thoracic surgery, radiology, urology, dialysis, ophthalmology, etc. In truth, I don’t know what all these things mean but they point to a big dream by the Adventist church. The church has more than five acres … overlooking Mbuya Military headquarters and Kyambogo University.” The new health ministry is a project of the denomination’s Central Uganda Conference.