Valley Fire: Many Lake County residents, already suffering from poverty and poor health, besieged again

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“You get the feeling of ‘what’s next and why?’ ” said the Rev. Randy Brehms of Lakeport Seventh-day Adventist Church, which has become one of several tent cities for evacuees. “It’s overwhelming.” In many ways, locals are content to live one valley over …

adventist – Bing News

Cream Cheese Apple Galette [Vegan]

And what better way to welcome fall than with an apple cream cheese galette? Instead of using store-bought vegan cream cheese, this version is homemade with coconut milk, cashew butter, and apple cider vinegar for tanginess. In a large bowl, mix together …

Vegan Recipes – Bing News

Six flag unity in San Antonio

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Residents from the former Yugoslavia worshipped together during the 60th General Conference Session

July 22, 2015 Victor Hulbert, communication director, Seventh-day Adventist Church, UK & Ireland.


Six flag unity in San Antonio

Flags representing Yugoslavia unity at GC Session – [photo by Rohann Wellington]

On the day that Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, was chased away by stone-throwing protesters at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a rich mix of 70,000 Seventh-day Adventists representing almost every culture on the planet found themselves in joint, heart-felt worship at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Very moving, for two of the worshippers, was the sight of a joint banner, the six flags of Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Slovenia, stitched together and prominently draped over the 5th level balcony to the right of the stage. It was a moving symbol of forgiveness and unity in the context of a service that focused on the hope that Seventh-day Adventists have in a Saviour that can and does change lives.

Dejan Stojkovic is Serbian. He now lives in the UK where he works in Teen’s ministry.  When just a teen himself he escaped military service in the war that split Yugoslavia, fleeing across the border in a hearse on its way to a funeral. The break-up of his country was painful to him and his family. His father had worked as a pastor whose ministry crossed cultural and ethnic boundaries. 

That pain became bittersweet when he met the young lady who now sits by his side. Deana comes from what, geographically and politically, is ‘the other side of the fence’. She is from Croatia, but ended up without passport or nationality – so today the passport she travels on is Bosnian. She equally works for the church within the Communication and Media department of their Trans-European Regional office in St Albans, England and has discovered that love has no barriers. Dejan and Deana have now been married for five years.  They don’t mind what flag is flying, for them the flag to fly most high is the one for Jesus.

To see the ‘six-flag’ banner hanging above the 70,000 Adventists was, for them, a meaningful emphasis of what it means to be part of a global church family, representatives of 168 countries meeting in worship, and singing together ‘Lift Up the Trumpet and loud let it ring, Jesus is coming again’.

Up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys died at the hands of Bosnian Serb forces amid the break-up of Yugoslavia. Serbia had backed the Bosnian Serbs.  On Saturday, 11 July, Mr Volvic had been attempting a gesture of peace, apology and reconciliation in joining with other world leaders at a ceremony in Bosnia-Herzegovina to pay respects at the Srebrenica graveyard where more than 100 newly found remains were to be buried with 6,000 other massacre victims. However, he became a target of abuse, the hissing crowd hurling rocks and bottles at him.

"I regret that some people haven’t recognized my sincere intention to build friendship between Serbian and Bosniak people," he said later. "I still give my hand to the Bosniak people. I will continue with that … and always be ready to work together to overcome problems."

It is a sad story that clearly is not yet complete.  Even more sad that it is not unique but has been repeated in multitudes of ways in countries around the world. Rwanda saw its own genocide – and yet has also seen amazing stories of reconciliation and healing. In South Africa we have seen once divided communities coming together. 

Even in Adventist meetings this past week people have sometimes strongly expressed very different points of view, particularly on issues surrounding the ordination of women, and may have had to agree to disagree, or graciously accepted the results of a disappointing vote for them. However, on Saturday, despite such differences, they were able to sit and worship together under the same united flag. As World Church President, Pastor Ted Wilson said in his sermon, "Don’t get stuck on one side or the other of the road – keep in the middle of God’s Word." 

Evidence of this was seen both in the morning and the afternoon programme.  Church members thrilled to see the way God was drawing communities together, be it health ministry in Jakarta, major evangelism in Zimbabwe, or one committed lady in an un-entered part of China who has has planted ten churches.

For Dejan and Deana, holding hands in a dome filled with Adventist members from so many different cultures and background, many in national costumes, and with even the music and scripture coming in a multitude of languages, this is a little picture of the future.  "The Book of Revelation paints a wonderful picture of heaven", Dejan enthuses. "It describes ‘a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.’ [Rev 7:9 NIV]  United in Christ, today was just a tiny glimpse heaven. 

Dr. Ben Carson’s Life Story Rests on a Deep Adventist Faith

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By the time the precocious Ben was 12, he and his mother were attending a Seventh-day Adventist church. In an interview with Newsweek earlier this year, Carson stressed his faith. “Doubt has crept out of my life over the years. Too many doors open and …

adventist church – Bing News

Valley Fire: Many Lake County residents, already suffering from poverty and poor health, besieged again

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“You get the feeling of ‘what’s next and why?’ ” said the Rev. Randy Brehms of Lakeport Seventh-day Adventist Church, which has become one of several tent cities for evacuees. “It’s overwhelming.” In many ways, locals are content to live one valley over …

adventist – Bing News

A new networking association is formed for Christ’s “unusual ambassadors”

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The World Adventist Public Officials Association (WAPOA) aims to connect Adventists around the world who serve their country as elected or appointed officials.

July 22, 2015 Bettina Krause


A new networking association is formed for Christ’s “unusual ambassadors”

WAPOA luncheon during GC Session. [photo courtesy of GC PARL]

It can be an isolating experience for Seventh-day Adventist Church members who hold high public office: this was one of the key messages to emerge from a unique gathering of Adventist public officials earlier this month in San Antonio, Texas. Some 21 leaders from ten countries—ambassadors, ministers of state, members of parliament, a senator, a deputy chief justice, and high-level officials within international organizations—came together for a lunch meeting on July 8 to discuss both the challenges and opportunities facing Adventists within the public realm. 

Elder Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Adventist world church, attended briefly and encouraged his fellow church members. “You are the Esthers, the Josephs, the Daniels of our world,” he said. “You make a difference in an arena that most of us never touch. And never forget you are there for a purpose; you are where God has placed you. Yes, you serve your country, or a particular legislature. But most importantly, because you are a Seventh-day Adventist, you are working under the very highest authority: Jesus Christ our Savior. You are called to be unusual ambassadors for Christ.” 

Those seated around the table spoke frankly about the need for better networking between Adventists who serve their governments, and about the loneliness that often comes with serving in a political or civic role. Some expressed their disappointment that holding elected office is sometimes seen as “off limits” for faithful church members—a sign that someone has compromised their integrity. All spoke about their desire to carry their spiritual values into the public realm and to reflect Christ’s character in their service to their country. 

Senator Floyd Morris, Senate President of Jamaica, was voted as the first president of WAPOA. Philippine Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Bienvenido V. Tejano, was chosen to serve as the association’s secretary, and Damaris Moura Kuo, president of the Religious Liberty Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association’s São Paulo Division, was selected as its public relations officer. 

According to Senator Morris, the first order of business will be to identify more Adventist public officials—whether they serve their national government, or their local city council—and invite them to join the association. The group plans to communicate regularly and to organize a meeting of the association in 2017.

The gathering was hosted by the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department of the Adventist world church, and took place during the General Conference Session, which some of the public officials were attending as delegates.

Dr. Ganoune Diop, the newly elected director of PARL for the world church, says he hopes the association will promote a vigorous dialogue between Adventists who hold prominent and often-influential positions. “These men and women need our support and our prayers,” he says. “They are first and foremost our brothers and our sisters, but they are also called to represent Christ’s kingdom and His values within often-difficult and sensitive circumstances.”  

Those who are interested in the association can contact the Adventist Church’s PARL department through its website, www.adventistliberty.org.

Dr. Ben Carson’s Life Story Rests on a Deep Adventist Faith

0

By the time the precocious Ben was 12, he and his mother were attending a Seventh-day Adventist church. In an interview with Newsweek earlier this year, Carson stressed his faith. “Doubt has crept out of my life over the years. Too many doors open and …

adventist church – Bing News

Dr. Ben Carson’s Life Story Rests on a Deep Adventist Faith

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As a 12-year-old in Detroit, Ben Carson asked to be baptized again. The future brain surgeon told his pastor that the first time he underwent the ritual, at age 8, he didn’t yet understand what being a Christian meant. The story of his religious …

adventist – Bing News

A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Vegan

In the coming weeks, I have more installations planned about kicking animal-based beauty products to the curb, going vegan in the bedroom, and veganizing your wardrobe, so stay tuned at Green Living Ideas! Below, you’ll find resources and recipes to …

Vegan Recipes – Bing News

Adventists named ‘most racially diverse religious group in U.S.’

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Adventist leaders say the Pew findings reflect the church’s mission to prepare all people for Jesus’ return.

July 30, 2015 Andrew McChesney and Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review


Adventists named 'most racially diverse religious group in U.S.'

Some of the 70,000 Seventh-day Adventists who attended the General Conference session in San Antonio, Texas, in July. [Photo by David B. Sherwin]

Don’t worry if you happen to walk into a Seventh-day Adventist church in the United States where English is not the first language of choice. Chances are you are worshiping in one of the increasingly typical Adventist congregations across the country.

Seventh-day Adventists are the most racially and ethnically diverse religious group in the United States, according to a report released Monday by the Pew Research Center, a respected non-partisan organization in Washington.

“Thirty-seven percent of adults who identify as Seventh-day Adventists are white, while 32 percent are black, 15 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are Asian, and another 8 percent are another race or mixed race,” Michael Lipka, a Pew editor who focuses on religion, wrote in the report.

The analysis, based on data provided by the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, looked at the racial and ethnic composition of 29 major religious groups. Racial and ethnic groups were broken down into five categories: whites, blacks, Hispanics of all races, Asians, and other races and mixed-race Americans.

After collating the data, Pew gave Seventh-day Adventists a score of 9.1 in the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, well above the national average of 6.6, where 66 percent of church membership is white. The least diverse religious group in the United States, according to the report, is the National Baptist Convention, a traditionally black denomination that received a score of 0.2.

Gary Krause, director of the Office of Adventist Mission for the Adventist world church, said the church’s very mission of preparing all people for Jesus’ Second Coming called for diversity.

“We’re not an American church. We’re not an African or Asian church. We’re not a European church,” Krause said. “We’re a worldwide movement with a mission to all people groups.”

He noted that the Adventist Church operates in 215 countries and territories. “But we’re not happy about it because the United Nations lists 22 more where we don’t have established work,” said Krause, whose office coordinates and provides funding for the church’s global mission work. “We’re all God’s children, and we love to welcome people from all races into our family.”

In the United States, the Adventist Church has grown more diverse since 2007, according to a similar Pew report carried out that year. In just seven years, the number of white Adventists has decreased by 6 percentage points, from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the number of black Adventists has increased by 11 points, from 21 percent to 32 percent. Asian members grew by 3 percentage points, from 5 percent to 8 percent, and Adventists in the other/mixed-races category doubled from 4 percent to 8 percent. 

The margin of error for both the 2007 report and the new report is less than one percentage point, Katherine E. Ritchey, communications manager for the Pew Research Center, told the Adventist Review.

Daniel Weber, communication director for the Adventist Church’s North American Division, said the 1.2 million Adventists in the United States are a direct reflection of the church’s worldwide membership of 18.5 million people and growing.

“As our church has grown overseas and is represented in almost every culture, race and language group, this same diversity has also changed in North America because our experiences with different cultures overseas has allowed us to be more effective in reaching the diverse growing populations here,” Weber said. “The Gospel Commission calls for us to reach all people of all cultures.”

The Adventist world church has not conducted research solely on its diversity. But the findings of an unpublished 2013 general survey of North American church members that included questions on ethnicity fall in line with Pew’s new report, said David Trim, director of the world church’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research.

Trim was not surprised by the Pew report, saying the Adventist Church as a whole is very accepting of all people and its message emphasizes commonalities such as a community in Christ and the hope in the Second Coming rather than differences.

“We have an identity that transcends national and ethnic differences — and that is not true for every church,” Trim said.

The Pew report defines a denomination as diverse if no racial or ethnic group amounts to more than 40 percent of its adult membership. Only two other religious groups fit that definition: Muslims (with a score of 8.7) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (8.6), which placed second and third, respectively, after Adventists.

The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index used by Pew is a measurement commonly applied to market share studies, among other fields. It is usually used to contrast monopolies against companies that face less competition.

On the other end of the index’s spectrum, the least religiously diverse groups tend to be denominations where most of their members are either mostly white or mostly black.

The report includes three subsets of people who are unaffiliated religiously: atheists, agnostics, and “nothing in particular.” All three groups are mostly white.