June 15, 2014

Adventist News in Brief

Switzerland: UN Panel Frets Over Religious Freedom

Religious freedoms risk being curbed if efforts aren’t made
to better coordinate the work of the United Nations, European Union and the other
entities that have different approaches to human rights, participants told a
UN panel co-organized by an Adventist-affiliated group.

<strong>UN SESSION:</strong> The assembly hall of the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo credit: A. Mazza, EUD Communication Department

“We have human rights obligations at different levels: national,
regional and international — and religious beliefs and human rights develop in
different directions and can mutually undermine each other,” Heiner Bielefeldt,
the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on freedom of religion or
belief, told the June 10 panel at the UN Human Rights Council’s 26th session in
Geneva, Switzerland.

The panel titled “Worldwide Human Rights, Religious Liberty
and Religious Minorities” was co-organized by the International Association for
the Defense of Religious Liberty, or AIDLR, a UN-recognized nongovernmental
organization founded by a French Adventist physician in 1946.

At the panel, AIDLR presented a new book, “Worldwide Human
Rights and Religious Liberty: A New Equilibrium or New Challenges,” a
collection of writings from four UN secretaries-general, religious leaders and
other personalities such as former U.S. first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

“I am very honored to be here and to support the
presentation of this great book that talks about dignity and love," former
Romanian Prime Minister Petre Roman said.

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Britain: ‘Creative Church’ Teaches With Kitchen Tubes and Tomatoes

An Adventist congregation in the British city of Manchester
has launched “Creative Church,” a worship program aimed at reaching out to
parents with young children as part of the world church’s “Mission to the
Cities” initiative.

<strong>BOAT PAINTINGS:</strong> Children showing off their artwork about Jesus calming the storm. Photo credit: adventist.org.uk

Manchester Central Adventist Church held the first Creative
Church program on June 7, and representatives from all local churches were
invited to attend to learn first-hand how to replicate it, adventist.org.uk

The first worship service, titled “Jesus Calms the Storm,”
began with a reading of the account in Mark 4:35-41. After that, children and parents
visited seven play stations with activities linked to the story, including
stations where they created “rain sticks” from kitchen roll tubes and built
edible boats from small tomatoes, cucumbers and toothpicks. A prayer station
helped children pray about difficult or upsetting situations.

Manchester is the target city chosen by the North England
Conference for its Mission to the Cities work.

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Belize: Adventist Girl Wins National Spelling Bee

A 10-year-old Seventh-day Adventist girl has won a national
spelling bee in the Central American country of Belize.

Shanalee Gayap, a fourth grader at Solid Rock Academy,
became one of the youngest champions of the annual Coca Cola Spelling Bee after
beating 11 older students, the local Reporter newspaper reported.

Gayap took first place for correctly spelling the words
“beau” and “coucal” at the Education Ministry co-sponsored event, taking prizes
of a four-year scholarship to the high school of her choice, a two-year college
scholarship, and a Dell laptop computer with a printer and accessories. Her
teacher, school principal Elcedia Awe, and her school also got a computer and
printer each as prizes.

The contest’s second- and third-place winners were both
12-year-old sixth graders.

Two other children at Adventist schools won runner-up prizes
of Samsung netbooks.

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U.S.: Adventist Mother Meets Obama

An Adventist mother flew from her home in the U.S. state of
Washington to witness the signing of an executive order at the invitation of
U.S. President Barack Obama.

<strong>AT THE WHITE HOUSE:</strong> Julie Kaas, center with arm raised, applauding at the White House as Barack Obama looks on in February. Photo credit: GleanerNow

Julie Kaas, a member of the Graham Seventh-day Adventist
Church, caught the White House’s attention after a national television show
profiled her efforts to rebuild her life after her 25-year marriage ended,
GleanerNow, the magazine for the North Pacific Union Conference, reported late
last week.

Kaas received a telephone call in February inviting her to
join a special group to watch the signing of the executive order raising the
minimum wage for federal contractors, to participate in an insider’s tour of
the White House, and to meet Obama.

Kaas, who has three teenage sons, works as an early
childhood teacher at Northwest Christian School in Puyallup, Washington, and often
gives public addresses about her life experience around the Seattle area. Her story has also been published in the local Tacoma News Tribune newspaper.

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Contact Adventist
Review news editor Andrew McChesney at [email protected].
Twitter: @ARMcChesney