January 31, 2007

Adventist News

Largest Third Quarter Thirteenth
Sabbath Offering
capIn 2006, Seventh-day Adventists around the world gave the largest-ever third-quarter thirteenth Sabbath offering—nearly $2.05 million—part of an encouraging trend in mission giving. The South Pacific Division will receive 25 percent of this offering, some $512,000, to help fund that quarter’s thirteenth Sabbath special projects: a new airplane for mission outreach in Papua New Guinea, and a new church building in Suva, Fiji, for the more than 500 Adventist students who attend the University of the South Pacific, a state-run institution.
“This encouraging increase will help the Seventh-day Adventist Church accomplish its holistic mission to touch lives for Jesus,” says Gary Krause, Adventist Mission director for the church worldwide.
Every quarter 25 percent of the thirteenth Sabbath mission offering, which is collected the last Sabbath of the quarter, goes to special projects in one of the world divisions of the Adventist Church. This particular offering was the highest ever received outside of the historically larger fourth-quarter thirteenth Sabbath offerings. Totals for this past fourth quarter have yet to be released.
The total weekly mission offerings are up by more than 10 percent over the past two years. These weekly offerings provide the ongoing support for missionaries, buildings, and other infrastructure such as education and humanitarian work required to maintain the Adventist Church’s global outreach in the years to come. Regular support of the weekly mission offerings allows for successful long-term churchwide mission planning.                                                                                                                   —Adventist Mission/AR.
Adventist Student Trial Team
Rules in Favor of Sabbath Observance
The Mock Trial Team of Loma Linda Academy won Round 4 of the San Bernardino, California, school district’s Mock Trial Competition on December 5—and then withdrew from semifinals scheduled for Sabbath, December 9, when an accommodation could not be worked out to move the competition to another day.

FAITHFUL COMPETITORS: Loma Linda Academy’s Mock Trial Team [Photo: Gamundoy]

“We are proud of our academy students,” explained Marion Gamundoy, claims counsel with the Riverside office of Adventist Risk Management and a team coach for the students. “They had to choose between participating in the competition and standing by their religious beliefs. They made the right decision.

“When we got notice . . . that we had won Round 4, we were faced with a difficult challenge,” Gamundoy continued.  “So many people tried to help. Several local attorneys and judges volunteered to assist in scoring on alternate days, perhaps a Friday when local courts could have accommodated us more easily with courtroom space. But time just ran out.”
Gamundoy said that based on the response of San Bernardino County attorneys and judges, the district attorney indicates he plans to make accommodations next year.
The Redlands Daily Facts, a local newspaper, reported the story and comments from coaches of several non-Adventist religious school teams.
“I am proud someone did that well,” said a former coach of a local Christian high school’s team. “In a society that is so quick to throw out God, it’s great to see young people take God more seriously than a trophy.”
Loma Linda Academy is a K-12 school located in Loma Linda, California, and has a current enrollment of some 1,500 students.                                                                                     —GC Office of General Counsel/AR.
OC's Single-Parent Program Receives $10,000 Grant
New Beginnings, an innovative program for single parents developed recently at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, has been awarded a grant of $10,000 by the Daniel Foundation of Alabama. Twenty-seven people have so far been accepted into the program.
“The needs of single parents are great, and this program is the only one of its kind in north Alabama,” says David Sedlacek, an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work and director of the New Beginnings single parent program. “Our single parents are actively reaching out and giving back to the community through speaking engagements and encouraging others to break the cycle of poverty through higher education. They are raising awareness on campus that the life of a single parent is difficult and can be avoided by making better choices.”
For more information about Oakwood College, click here.        
                                                                                 —Department of Social Work at Oakwood College/AR.

Florida Hospital, University of Central Florida,
Debut Lifestyle Medicine Journal
In January, Florida Hospital and the University of Central Florida jointly debuted the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM), a peer-reviewed journal with commentaries and research reviews to help caregivers guide patients to lead more healthful lives.
“Lifestyle medicine, the branch of medicine which explores how daily habits and actions impact both short- and long-term health and quality of life, represents an important new era of medicine,” said James M. Rippe, chair of the Florida Hospital Institute for Lifestyle Medicine and editor-in-chief of AJLM. “This national journal will be a pacesetter in the medical community and will shed light on the importance of lifestyle medicine in health.”
Published six times a year by SAGE Publications, AJLM will reach some 20,000 physicians and other health-care workers. For more information click here.                                                                —Florida Hospital/AR.

Is Religion Harmful?                                                                                    NEWS COMMENTARY
Most Britains think religion causes more harm than good. According to a poll published in December by the Guardian, a London newspaper, 82 percent of people in Britain see religion as a cause of division and tension. Only 16 percent disagree. The findings contradict the attempts by religious leaders to define the country as one made up of many faith communities.

OUTREACH: An Adventist church member in London, England, shares his faith by inviting a woman on Oxford Street to attend a community outreach event. [Matt Vincent]

The poll also indicates that most people have no personal faith: only 33 percent of those questioned described themselves as “religious.” A clear majority, 63 percent, say they are not religious—including more than half of those who describe themselves as Christian.

Commenting on the poll, Miroslav Pujic, director of the Centre for Secular and Postmodern Studies for the world headquarters of the Adventist Church but based in Herts, England, told the Adventist Review that he questioned whether faith is really the problem. “I can see that many people would think so, as we watch the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as we see constant conflict in Northern Ireland,” Pujic said. “The outflow of these clashes has rippled throughout the United Kingdom, convincing people that faith is the cause behind it all.”
He added, “We live in a culture dominated by postmodern values. This culture attempts to deconstruct truth, and as a result many people don’t really believe that there is truth or a God. This causes a deep skepticism of all religion, and ultimately of faith in general. So is faith really the core problem? Instead, perhaps we should reassess our culture’s view that all faith is directly tied to the dictates of religion, and that all religion is divisive.”
Victor Hulbert, communication director of the British Union Conference, also responded to the poll: “My personal experience has been that while there are undoubtedly some tensions and flashpoints within certain segments of the religious community, religion in general and Christianity in particular have had an incredibly positive influence on British society,” Hulbert said. “Talk to the dispossessed and homeless who visit our drop-in centers. Visit with those who have found hope and security in a troubled world. They will give you a very different story to the one portrayed by those with a secularist agenda.”
                                                                                             —Jean Kellner, editorial assistant, Adventist Review.