News reports from Romania, Hungary, Oakwood University, Takoma Academy, Australia and Egypt

ADRA Romania, a branch of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency is providing drinking water, food and hygiene supplies to families impacted by flooding in 20 counties, including the capital city of Bucharest. The project is called “Hope afloat.”

Dr. Gábor Mihalec, family ministries director for the Adventist denomination’s Hungarian Union Conference, was awarded the Kopp-Skrabski Prize for this year. Mihalec is both a pastor and family therapist, and the award was given by the Kopp Mária Institute for Population and Families for his “efforts to strengthen and preserve the value of marriage, childbirth and family.” The award is named after a renowned Hungarian couple, Mária Kopp and Árpád Skrabski, who conducted research in clinical epidemiology, psychophysiology and psychosomatics for almost five decades.

Two Adventist schools won medals at the World Choir Games in July at Tshwane, South Africa. The Oakwood University Aeolians won three gold medals in the categories of Spirituals, University and College choirs and Musica Contemporanea, besting 22 other choirs from around the world. Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland, won a gold medal in the Spirituals category and two silver medals in Mixed Youth and Jazz categories. More than 300 choirs competed this year from many nations, cultures and religions around the world.

An Adventist couple has won an important art award in Australia. Rod and Zan Long received the 2018 Gabe Reynaud Award for excellence in faithful creativity. As longtime members of Kellyville Seventh-day Adventist Church in suburban Sydney, the Longs have been part of worship, multimedia, young adult and children’s ministries. Rod has served as a member of the local conference executive committee for eight years and the education board for 12 years. Zan has created many resources for children’s ministries, including a daily Bible study that is distributed via the Internet. The award the Longs received is named after an Avondale College alumnus who became the Adventist Church’s first professionally trained film director, eventually becoming senior producer at the then Adventist Media Centre in Australia and pioneering a filmmaking unit at Avondale. Reynaud died in a motorbike accident in September 2000. His vision was for the church to recognise the power of art, “not to preach so much as … to testify to [God’s] wonder and awe and mystery, and for artists to use their talents in all genres to testify to a God who is the embodiment of creativity.” The award is given by Manifest, an Adventist network exploring, encouraging and celebrating faithful creativity.

Avondale College in Australia is cutting its budget due to lower enrollment this year following a record graduating class last year and a $2 million budget deficit. In addition to leaving positions vacant, eight employees have had to be laid off. This “has been particularly painful,” wrote President Ray Roennfeldt in an email to staff members. “These are our colleagues, our friends, people who have contributed much to making Avondale what it is over a long period of time. So, I wish with all my heart that this action was not necessary, but at the same time it is!” He also stated “further cuts in expenditure are not viable.” The college needs between 100 and 150 additional equivalent full-time student loads to balance the budget.

The Ramses Cultural Center has been inaugurated in a building the Adventist denomination has owned for 65 years in the heart of Cairo, Egypt. It will be a center for human development, offering an English language school, healthy lifestyle programs and a daycare center. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Egyptians. The opening ceremony was held in the main auditorium of the center this week. The renovation of the building started with government approval in August of 2017, after more than two years of planning, research, and professional paper work under the leadership of Kleyton Feitosa, the former President of Adventist Church in the Egypt-Sudan Field.

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