Message of sympathy and condolence from Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson

May 24, 2017
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Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
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Message of sympathy and condolence from Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson

[photo credit: Getty Images]

This week we have been tragically reminded we live in a world filled with suffering and sorrow, and I invite you, the world church family of Seventh-day Adventists to join me in praying for the victims and families who are suffering from these recent events.

Last Sunday a bus carrying 46 Seventh-day Adventists (many of them young people) from Chiapas, Mexico, plunged down a 90-meter (295 feet) ravine, killing 18. Another 26 were taken to a nearby hospital where a 17-year-old girl died from her injuries. The group was returning from a regional youth congress when the accident occurred.

I’ve asked Pastor Israel Leito, president of the Inter-American Division, to please extend my personal sympathy and the condolences of the world church family for this very sad accident. I have prayed for our dear people of Chiapas, for the families who lost loved ones, and for those who are hospitalized.

Chiapas has been a heaven-blessed model of evangelistic outreach. By God’s grace this will continue even amidst this terrible tragedy as our members point to the great hope we have in Christ’s soon return when God will restore life to those who have died in Him.

On Monday night we were saddened to learn of the senseless loss of life in Manchester, England, where a bomb exploded, killing 22 and wounding 120, many of whom were young people. I have been in touch with Pastor Raafat Kamal, president of the Trans-European Division, letting him know of our sorrow and prayer support.

I invite you to join me in praying for the people of Manchester, for the families who lost loved ones, for the wounded, and for our church members who can be instruments of encouragement and hope to the people of that grieving city through Total Member Involvement. The hope of Christ’s soon coming can bring great hope for the future.

In addition to praying for those affected by these recent horrific events of which we are keenly aware, let’s also remember to pray for the many victims whose tragedies may not be reported in the news, but who are experiencing terrible suffering in silence.  

Let us each one determine by God’s grace to let our lights shine wherever we are so that we can bring God’s hope and comfort into this increasingly dark world.

Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, President
Seventh-day Adventist World Church       
   

Ellen G. White’s Steps to Christ celebrates 125 years in publication

May 25, 2017
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Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
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Ellen G. White’s Steps to Christ celebrates 125 years in publication

Steps to Christ, written by co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is being honored this year by the Ellen G. White Estate. To highlight the longevity and popularity of this book, the White Estate is celebrating its 125th year in circulation. An initiative called The Global Reading of Steps to Christ was issued by the White Estate to encourage Seventh-day Adventists worldwide to read and study the short volume. 

White was especially known for her prophetic gift. This gift was largely shared through many of her writings. Although White authored a multitude of books over the course of her life, Steps to Christ remains a favorite to this day. 

Published in 1892, Steps to Christ is still considered one of the most distributed, religious books to date. Tim Poirier, in his article A Century of Steps, says, “The book has been in the public domain for many years, so no one knows how many tens of millions of copies of Steps to Christ have been circulated.” 

The longevity of the book is due to a number of factors. Chantal Klingbeil, associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate, describes Steps to Christ as a book providing a host of answers to questions still asked today, such as how to deal with doubt, ways to know if you are converted, and understanding the difference between “grace” and “the law.” According to Klingbeil, the book has practical answers that everyone can identify with. “It’s intensely practical,” she says. 

When asked if Steps to Christ is still relevant today, especially for the younger generation, Klingbeil did not hesitate with her answer: “Absolutely.” 

She does admit the original version of Steps to Christ may pose a challenge for young readers because of its older writing style. Still, Klingbeil offers some practical reading suggestions, like listening to the audio version online, reading only a few pages at a time, or reading the paraphrase instead (Steps to Jesus). 

Klingbeil goes on to say she believes many theological problems could be solved if we could all “absorb the principles found within Steps to Christ, as its theology remains very central.” 

“For me, it’s always a great ‘go-to’ book…it’s just a wonderful book,” says Klingbeil. 

In his article, Poirier also shares this insight: “Anyone who has read Steps to Christ knows…profound truths await discovery with each new reading. Every chapter contains gems of hope, comfort or promise that many have committed to memory.” 

When asked to share one of her favorite quotes from Steps to Christ, Klingbeil had many to share, including, “God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children.” She also quoted, “Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” 

To date, Steps to Christ has been released in over 165 languages, reaching millions of people around the globe. As Poirier fittingly states, “We don’t know who first suggested to Ellen White the idea…but one thing is certain: that person had no idea of the millions who would have their first introduction to Christ through that one little volume.”

US Adventist University Opens Organic Farm to Benefit Students, Community

Healthy food option is part of Oakwood University’s industry recovery initiative

Oakwood University, a historically African-American Adventist-operated school in Huntsville, in the US State of Alabama, recently opened an organic urban farm set to become the largest of its kind in northern Alabama. Oakwood Farms, which carries the motto “Food to Grow on,” opened its doors in late April with the firm intent of contributing to the natural foods options in the area.

“We’re just starting,” said Oakwood University president Leslie Pollard in a video interview. “We are going to be the largest organic urban farm [in the region].”

According to a video report of Adventist News Network (ANN), which cited school sources, Oakwood Farms is part of the school’s industry recovery initiative. “It is a program that helps the university to keep its tuitions low by turning funds back into campus, employing students and teaching them the value of entrepreneurship,” it said.

  • Oakwood President Leslie Pollard, right, and Artis Sidney, farm production manager of the new organic vegetable farm on campus. [Photo: Oakwood University Facebook]
  • Oakwood President Leslie Pollard, right, checks the first produce from the new organic vegetable garden on campus. At his side is Artis Sidney, the farm production manager. [Photo: Oakwood University Facebook]

The school believes the industry recovery initiative will position Oakwood University to serve the community in northern Alabama with healthy and affordable goods. According to ANN, leaders said Oakwood Farms is a practical way of promoting a healthy lifestyle based on biblical principles.

“There should be 1,800 plants out there,” said Artis Sidney, farm production manager, in a school video report. “And we’ll have some production this year. Some plants are three, four, five years old, so we plan to have some crops this year.”

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TWO BAPTISMS, TWO FAREWELLS, AND TWO CAMPAIGNS


25th May 2017

During the months of April and May this year, Lewisham church in south London were very active in evangelistic and family life meetings geared toward the youth and community.

The first event was the Youth Week of Prayer with speaker Stephen Fuller, a well-known and respected lay young speaker from London. Other speakers for the week included Stephen-Fuller,-preacher-for-Yth-week-of-Prayerlocal member Asher McKenzie and Daniel Anti.

All speakers presented inspiring messages that met with a positive response through the appeals that were given each night. Some who responded included two young people who decided to be baptised. The first was Dante Grant, who is a talented young man who plays the drums for the church. The second was DaVinci Stanislas, another talented musician who plays the violin. The baptism proved to be spiritually uplifting as many friends and visitors who attended said they were “moved by the inspiring service.”

In May, Family Pastor-Peter-GordonLife speaker, Pastor Peter Gordon from the West Jamaica Conference was invited to speak on a series of meetings aimed at the various needs of the family. Many who attended each night mentioned they were “encouraged and strengthened” and by the topics presented. By the end of the meetings five individuals responded to the call for baptism: Donna Nelson, Garfield Stewart, Latia Corion, Reuel Corion, and Carla Forte.

At the end of the series farewells were said to speaker Pastor Gordon, and a special present and vote of thanks was led by Pastor Stewart and the elders. The whole church wished farewell-Ps-Otishim a blessed future and safe travel back to Jamaica. At this time, the church also said farewell to Pastor Otis Lewis who had been assigned to Lewisham as the pastoral associate and had worked in the church for the past three years. Pastor Otis and his family ably served Lewisham, and now becomes the sole pastor for the newly organised Downham and Sydenham Adventist churches. A special presentation was made to Pastor Lewis with appreciation given for his services and the blessing was given through prayer for a continued successful future.

Sabbath School Matters: Shaping Its Future in North America

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By Tracy Wood

 

Tracy Wood (left) and Armando Miranda talk about the Sabbath School "crisis" in North America during the 180 Symposium on May 9-11, 2017.

Photo by Gerardo Oudri

 

A group of Sabbath School practitioners, curricula developers, media producers, university professors, and conference, union, and division youth and young adult ministries directors met on May 9-11, 2017, to discuss what many are seeing as a crisis in Earliteen, Youth, and Young Adult Sabbath School across the North American Division. The group convened on the campus of Andrews University in Berrien Spring, Michigan, to pray, discuss, strategize, and commit to the re-visioning, reshaping, rebuilding, and relaunching of Sabbath School ministry for our young people.

 

The collaborative event, called 180 Symposium, was hosted by the Center for Youth Evangelism with sponsorship from the North American Division Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Andrews University, Lake Union Conference, and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.

[CLICK HERE for information on 180 Symposium speakers.]

 

The Sabbath School “crisis” is multifaceted. Very few conferences and unions provide Sabbath School leader training for Earliteen, Youth, or Young Adult Sabbath School ministry. Because of the many ministries that youth and young adult departments already lead (Adventures, Pathfinders, Master Guide, summer camp, youth, young adults, and public campus ministry) it has been difficult to add Earliteen, Youth, and Young Adult Sabbath School to the list of responsibilities for youth directors. Sabbath School resources such as Guideand Insight magazines continue to decrease in subscriptions, thereby making it a huge financial challenge for continued publication. And, the purpose and focus of Sabbath School has become unclear in many churches across the division as attendance continues to drop.

 

For two days of the symposium, leaders made 15-minute presentations followed by discussions based on papers and articles they had written covering a vast range of issues relevant to the current Sabbath School crisis. These articles and papers will soon be available online. A book containing the articles will soon be published by AdventSource. This book will be similar to the ones published from previous 180 Symposiums.

Campers of all Ages Will "Shine Bright" at National Camps for Blind Children

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Katrina, Carolyn, and Ryan, NCBC attendees, enjoy the swimming area at Camp Lawroweld.

Photo by Taumi Baker

 

 

National Camps for Blind Children (NCBC), a program of Christian Record Services, Inc., is excited to announce open registration for its 51st summer season. The theme for 2017 is “Shine Bright!”

Children and adults ages 9 to 65, who are legally blind, are invited to attend camp sponsored by NCBC at 10 locations across the United States. Each camp provides a variety of modified traditional activities such as horseback riding, waterskiing, archery, crafts, climbing wall, swimming, canoeing, bowling, talent night, and more.

Started in 1967, National Camps for Blind Children has offered safe, fun adventures in nature for more than 50,000 blind children and adults. The confidence-building experiences at these camps enable attendees to view life in new and exciting ways. Generous individuals and business owners provide these camping adventures.

If you know someone who is blind who would like more information, contact Christian Record Services at 402-488-0981. A full list of camp locations is available at www.BlindCamps.org.

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Southwestern Adventist University Receives Major Gift From Marti Foundation

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On May 18, 2017, Dr. Ken Shaw (SWAU president), Larry Moore (chairman of the board of trustees), Justin Hewlett (foundation board member), Michelle Marti, and Dr. Rene Brockett (foundation board member), stand with a sketch highlighting the two rooms that the Marti Foundation gift will make happen.

Photo provided by Southwestern Adventst University

 

 

Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, is grateful to receive a major gift from the Marti Foundation towards the Larry R. Moore Nursing and Administration Building. Michelle Marti, and other members of the Marti Foundation Board, visited the university campus on May 18, 2017. During their visit, president Ken Shaw, chairman of the board of trustees Larry Moore, and members of administration were on hand to recognize and show appreciation for the $200,000 gift. The gift will make possible a student study lounge and a medical surgery simulation lab.

 

“We really appreciate partnering with Southwestern Adventist University for the benefit of education in Johnson County,” shared Marti. “Southwestern has many good programs.  We’re so happy to support their nursing program with this gift. We also very much enjoy benefiting from their music program and their presence in the community.”

 

The Marti Foundation is a non-profit founded in 1988 by George and Jo Marti, Michelle Marti’s parents, to support education in Johnson County. The Foundation is currently supporting 220 Johnson County students with scholarships.

 

“We are so thankful to Michelle and the Marti Foundation for supporting this project and helping us make a difference in the community,” said Ken Shaw, SWAU president. “We have many students from Johnson County attending our university so we’re grateful to partner with a group of people who have the interests of these students at heart.”

 

The new building will provide state-of-the-art space and equipment to continue to grow the nursing program and provide nurses for the community. Nursing students make up about one quarter of Southwestern Adventist University’s total enrollment, a large portion of which call Johnson County their home. The funding for the Larry R. Moore Nursing and Administration Building has seen one miracle after another as friends and alumni of the university have shown support. Of the $16M total needed to build and equip the building, only $400,000 is left to match the latest challenge grant.  

Pacific Union College Announces New President

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Robert A. Cushman

Photo provided by Pacific Union College

 

 

Robert A. Cushman Jr., Ph.D., has been selected as the president of Pacific Union College (PUC) in Angwin, California. Cushman will be the 23rd president in the institution’s 135-year history. He comes to PUC from Walla Walla University in Washington state, where he currently serves as vice president for academic administration. 

Pacific Union College’s Board of Trustees, advised by a search committee that included trustees, alumni, faculty, and staff, approved the appointment of Cushman at the May 11, 2017 board meeting. 

In announcing the choice, board chair and search committee member Bradford Newton remarked on the thoughtful and deliberative nature of the selection process. “As our work began, we solicited input from PUC’s faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, students, and constituents to get their vision for PUC and understand the qualities that members of the college community thought would be most essential in our next leader,” he said, adding, “At the end of the day, one candidate stood out clearly from the others.”

Cushman will officially assume office on July 1. He and his wife, Judy, a school psychologist, will relocate from Walla Walla, Washington, to Angwin in the summer. 

“In this moment, Judy and I feel deeply the call for me to serve as the next president of Pacific Union College,” shared Cushman. “During our recent visit to the PUC campus, we were impressed by the strong sense of PUC mission and history and by the commitment and sacrifice of faculty and staff who have served here for much of their lives. We are humbled and honored to be selected to serve and lead PUC forward. We’re looking forward to working together with the campus to make PUC the obvious choice for prospective students and their parents who are seeking the highest quality education in the context of Adventist mission and values.” 

ACS Disaster Response Helps Tornado, Flood Victims

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By W. Derrick Lea

 
This Thomasville, Missouri, home sustained major damage after the Eleven Point River waters flooded it on April 29, 2017. Much of the historic town has been destroyed by the flood waters.

Photo provided by Adventist Community Services

 

 

A sudden downpour on April 29-30, 2017, resulted in significant flooding in Missiouri. Kansas and Arkansas were also affected. Approximately 1,000 homes sustained damage (some were completely destroyed); and several roads, property, and businesses have also been devastated by the natural disaster. According to an Associated Press report, much of Missouri was “inundated with up to 12 inches of rain, causing flash flooding that killed three people and led to well over 100 evacuations and water rescues.”

 

The severe weather system also hit the Canton, Texas, community with seven tornadoes. Five deaths were reported, and more than 50 individuals have been injured.

 

Adventist Community Services Disaster Response (ACS DR) was on the scene at the affected areas. The ACS DR team in Texas is in the process of recovery from the seven tornadoes that struck the area late evening on April 29. According to Sherry Watts, ACS director for the Texas Conference, the team is operating a collection/distribution center in the judging barn at the Van Zandt County Fairgrounds. “Donated goods are continuing to come in, and the tornado-struck community is extremely appreciative of the much-needed emergency supplies,” says Watts in a report. ACS volunteers from Terrell, Athens, Mesquite, and Jefferson Academy churches, along with many other community volunteers, have dedicated time to helping those who have been affected by the tragedy.

 

“It has been our privilege to serve more than 300 families from the distribution center so far, and 250 families at remote drop off locations,” says Watts. “We have also sent yard tools, gloves, snacks, trash bags, sunscreen, insect repellant, Gatorade, and bottled water with the clean-up crews going out.”