Land Rules May Force Fiji College to Move
he future of a Seventh-day Adventist college in Fiji is uncertain after a court ruled in July that indigenous people could now deny the lease of their land.
COLLEGE UNDER THREAT: Adventist Church leaders are deciding a course of action for Fulton College in Tailevu, Fiji, which occupies land its indigenous owners can now reclaim following a court ruling in their favor. [Photo: SPD/ANN]
The Suva High Court confirmed that Fulton College in Tailevu -- about 31 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Fiji's capital, Suva -- is built on an indigenous reserve. Native reserve land is set aside in Fiji for exclusive use by indigenous people and can only be leased by others if first “de-reserved.”
The Seve Adventist Church in Fiji has leased the 100-acre property from the Native Land Trust Board (NLTB) since Fulton College was established in 1940. The land was reclassified as a native reserve in 1983. The NLTB took the matter to court two years ago when the church's 30-year lease was up for renewal.
Now church leaders in the region are examining three options: renegotiate with the landowners for the lease of the land, relocate the college or cease operations.
Waisea Vuniwa, secretary of the Adventist Church's Trans-Pacific region in the South Pacific, says discussions are underway to ensure that Fulton College is given adequate time to decide its future and reorganize. Church leaders in Fiji anticipate that the school will be allowed to operate at its current location until a decision is finalized.
Fulton College offers high school and university level classes. About 200 students and 50 staff live on campus. The college also leases 300 nearby acres of agricultural land that is not under dispute.
--Melody Tan, South Pacific Division
Adventists, World Evangelical Alliance Anticipate Statements
The Seventh-day Adventist Church and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) are expected to announce a joint statement within the next few months identifying the common goals and results of theological discussions between the two institutions, delegates from both organizations announced in an August 9 press release.
EXCHANGING VIEWS: Members of delegations representing the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the World Evangelical Alliance which met August 5 to 10 Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. The two organizations are expected to release a statement of common goals within the next few months. [Photo: Public Affairs and Religious Liberty]
"We were able to share with the evangelical world the Adventist self-understanding in an effort to eliminate prejudice and clarify questions about our message," said meeting organizer John Graz, secretary of the Council on Interfaith Relations of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
"Instead of finding out about us through questionable means, this allowed us face-to-face interaction to share where our church stands," he said.
The two institutions shared a "large measure of theological agreement," said Angel Rodriguez, director of the Adventist Church's Biblical Research Institute. The discussions were led by Rolf Hille, chairman of the Theological Commission of the WEA, and William G. Johnsson, assistant to the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for Interfaith Relations.
The WEA represents some 420 million Evangelical Christians from different denominations in 127 countries. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has 15 million baptized members, and a total of 30 million who attend weekly worship services, in more than 203 countries.
-- Adventist News Network/AR staff
JAMAICA: Literature Evangelist Justin S. King, 99, Dies
Following a self-described full life which included 60 years as a literature evangelist for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Justin S. King, age 99, passed to his rest on Aug. 10, 2007.
King, the father of Atlantic Union president Dr. Donald G. King, had worked in his native Jamaica, the Bahamas, New York City and finally in Jamaica again. He received a Centennial award from the West Indies Union for his faithful service to the church.
-- AR Staff Creation of a New Kind of Museum
By Timothy G. Standish, writing from Loma Linda, California
Many public museums are moving away from presenting data to “educating” patrons into a particular orthodoxy. In this process, museums are devolving from places where the public can see genuine fossils and other natural wonders into “edutainment centers,” which deny the opportunity to view evidence and may distract from data. Reality may be less entertaining than the monotonously small repertoire of dinosaur casts found in major and lesser museums the world over, but my reason to visit museums is rendered superfluous when they all have the same or similar skeleton reconstructions at the expense of displaying real fossils. Real data is far less amenable to misdirecting people’s understanding of nature.
Reconstructions of dinosaur skeletons are not necessarily inaccurate, but they may give a misimpression that complete dinosaur skeletons are common when they are actually scarce. More disturbing are tooth-flashing roaring animatronic dinosaur reconstructions. Who has ever heard a dinosaur roar? How would or could dinosaur vocalization be known? Wouldn’t dinosaurs be more likely to chirp instead of roar if they are as closely related to birds, as many claim?
This brings us to the recently opened Creation Museum* in Petersburg, Kentucky, near Cincinnati. Why should there be a need for a creation museum? Shouldn’t all museums testify to the Creator of all nature? Sadly, caricatures of reality commonly create false impressions in the minds of museum patrons. This ultimately removes the opportunity to make an informed decision about nature’s origin. The new Creation Museum may help to balance some of the indoctrination that has become commonplace in other museums, although countering evolution animatronic dinosaurs with creation animatronic dinosaurs seems problematic. Ultimately it should not be a matter of balancing different views; museums should be more sources of data and less proponents of interpretation. Bible-believers have nothing to fear from data.