December 5, 2006

Adventist News

Adventist Leader Calls for Greater UN
Openness to Religious Groups
capAdventist Church representative to the United Nations, Jonathan Gallagher, called for more openness to religious groups at United Nations (UN)-sponsored meetings, particularly large conferences.
“We need to make such gatherings more faith-friendly,” he said, “so that we can engage the membership of these large religious communities around the world.” He added that religious groups frequently did not seem to be attracted to the current agenda.

HEADQUARTERS: The UN headquarters in New York City [J. Gallagher]

Gallagher was speaking on November 2 at a forum planning the largest public gathering at the UN in New York—the annual Department of Public Information/Non-Government Organizations Conference, which brings together thousands of civil society representatives.

“Historically, the UN has run on rather secular lines, and while not wanting to turn it into a ‘religion-fest,’ we do need to be aware of the values and principles that religious people bring to the table,” Gallagher explains. “By clearly welcoming people of faith to UN meetings such as this conference, we can do much to ensure that there is more engagement and so ensure that vital humanitarian and societal goals are achieved.”
UN officials agree that in the past, religion has not played a major part in agendas and planning. Recently, however, a greater emphasis is evident regarding the contribution made by faith communities, Gallagher says.
“We certainly do not want a religion-dominated UN with all that such a system would imply, but recognizing the social contributions of religious believers is essential,” he concludes. “People of faith have much to contribute to the wellbeing of this world, and their participation can make a real difference to the lives of so many.”                                                                                     —GC Public Affairs and Religious Liberty/AR.

Women Clergy Conference Focuses
on Nurture, Mentoring, and Education
The North American Division hosted its third annual Women Clergy Conference in Donaldson, Indiana, October 15-18, 2006, focusing on spiritual leadership with the theme

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CONFERENCE COORDINATOR: Dúane Schoonard is associate pastor of the Collegedale Adventist Church and associate ministerial secretary for the North American Division. [NAD Ministerial Association]

“Soul Designer.” Scores of female pastors, chaplains, and others in spiritual leadership throughout the division attended, as well as several female seminarians from the Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Ruth Haley Barton, co-founder and president of The Transforming Center—a Christian organization located in Wheaton, Illinois, that provides resources for pastors—began the conference with her presentation, “Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership.” Other presenters included Teresa Reeve from the Adventist Theological Seminary, and Ann Roda-Hernandez, associate pastor of New Hope Adventist Church in Fulton, Maryland.
“We desire to provide our female clergy with spiritual nurture, opportunities for mentoring, and continuing education for their profession. For me, this conference is the highlight of my ministry,” says Dúane Schoonard, who coordinated the conference. Schoonard is associate pastor of the Collegedale Adventist Church in Collegedale, Tennessee, and associate ministerial secretary for the North American Division.
“The conference has truly affirmed me both personally and professionally,” says attendee Margaret Michel, a chaplain from Michigan. “I have a clearer conception of my ministerial calling and a stronger bond with my sisters in ministry.”                                                                                                                                         —AR.
SAC Is for Students Too 
Four Oakwood College students and their sponsor traveled from Huntsville, Alabama, to Baltimore, Maryland, in mid-October to attend the annual Society of Adventist Communicators (SAC) convention. Oakwood juniors Cortnee Blayton, Danielle LaTouche, and Michael Vance, together with Communication Department assistant professor Kyna Hinson, went to the four-day event to learn “trade secrets” from experts in print and broadcast media, as well as network with prominent Adventist professionals and vendors in the field of communication.
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LEARNING TO “TELL THE STORY”: (From left) Kyna Hinson, assistant professor of Communication at Oakwood College, and juniors Danielle LaTouche, Cortnee Blayton, and Michael Vance [OC Photo]

“It’s a chance for networking and sharing ideas about what works and what doesn’t in the fast-paced professional arena,” Hinson said.

Several breakout sessions were held, focusing on the theme, “Story: The Heart and Soul of Communication.” Presenters challenged Adventist communicators to “embrace the peculiarities of their denomination” and “become emboldened to tell their story.”
Sabbath morning speaker Michael Mennard, a freelance writer and recording artist, captured the essence of the convention theme, stating that the story is essentially the “same age-old tale that has been repeated century after century,” but still, readers never tire of reading it, he said.
“It’s why we’re attracted to stories in the first place,” Mennard explained. “It’s because it’s the same story we’ve been reading and living for centuries. . . . The genius of Adventism is that we took the gospel and put it into the context of The Great Controversy and The Desire of Ages. It’s the concept that God has called us to do something really huge. How will we respond?” 
Other featured presenters focused on current trends in branding and marketing to a diverse global community, effective communication methods and tools, and making the best use of current technology. They also discussed how to make Adventist stories relevant to a postmodern society.
To learn more about the Society of Adventist Communicators, go to       
                                                                                                     —Oakwood College Public Relations/AR.
La Sierra University President Retires 
After serving as president of La Sierra University for the past 14 years, Lawrence T. Geraty has announced that he will retire on June 30, 2007.
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Lawrence T. Geraty
[LaU photo]

“There’s never a good time to retire,” says Geraty,  “but after 45 years of service to my church, including 22 years as a college/university president, the last 14 at La Sierra University, that time has come.”

Geraty has lectured throughout the world and contributed to numerous publications. He has been honored for his commitment to diversity, community involvement, and for leading in the development of the $23 million Thaine B. Price Science Complex recently opened on the university campus.
Geraty earned his masters degree from Andrews University, and his doctorate from Harvard University.                                                    —La Sierra University Public Relations/AR.