December 3, 2014

Adventist News in Brief: U.S., Italy, Ukraine

, news editor, Adventist Review

U.S.: AUC Has New Leader

Atlantic Union College has appointed Avis Hendrickson as its new president and tasked her with helping it regain accreditation.

Avis Hendrickson, AUC's new president. Credit: AUC

The Adventist-operated college in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, fell on rocky times in 2011 when its inability to maintain a large financial reserve as required by the accrediting organization NEASC led to the loss of its accreditation.

Last year, it received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to offer two four-year degree programs in theology/religion and biology/health science.

Hendrickson will assist AUC in its quest for re-accreditation and to build on creating more certificate programs in addition to the one it currently operates on campus known as the Northeast Evangelism Training School, AUC said in a statement.

“She brings with her many years of experience as an educator and administrator,” said Donald G. King, chairman of the AUC board of trustees. “The board of trustees looks forward to working with her as she seeks to provide leadership, vision, and strategic planning for the operation of Atlantic Union College, poised for transition into the future.”

Hendrickson has a doctorate in developmental education from Grambling State University and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Hunter College of The City University of New York.

The AUC statement said she has “extensive experience in student affairs, having worked in community colleges, senior colleges, and universities in urban, suburban, and metropolitan communities.”

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<strong>FLOODED CHURCH:</strong> A view of the Filipino Adventist church after a flash flood in Milan in mid-November. Credit: Vincenzo Annunziata

Italy: 2 Churches Flooded

Heavy rainfall caused the Lambro River to overflow in the Italian city of Milan, flooding the Filipino and Romanian Adventist churches and forcing them to close for emergency repairs.

"Now our brothers and sisters do not know what to do and where to meet,” said Vincenzo Annunziata, communication director for the Adventist Church’s Italian Union. “Let us pray for them so that, together with the Italian Union, we can find a solution.”

He said the Filipino church was the most damaged, but the Romanian church was also in a state of emergency. The flash flood in mid-November badly damaged plaster walls, doors and wooden window frames. Water also destroyed furniture, floors, sound systems, heating, children's Sabbath School materials and books.

A group of volunteers promptly salvaged what they could and is now working on making repairs.

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<strong>ACCEPTING JESUS:</strong> Charlie Jimmy, director of Vanuatu Youth Ministries, baptizing Aore Adventist Academy students in the South Pacific. Credit: Jean-Pierre Niptik / Adventist Record

Vanuatu: Record Baptisms at Academy

Seventy-three high school students were baptized on a single Sabbath on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu, setting a record for the number of students baptized at Aore Adventist Academy in a single year, the South Pacific Adventist Record reported.

Vanuatu Youth Ministries director Charlie Jimmy conducted a week of prayer at the school in March, with students starting Bible studies with school chaplain George David shortly afterward.

Jimmy, who works at the Vanuatu Mission’s head office in Port Vila, returned to the island of Santo a few weeks ago to baptize the students.

“The principal and the staff are very committed to seeing that the students accept Jesus into their lives and not only be qualified academically,” Jimmy said. “Our schools have huge potential as places of evangelism.”

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CHILDREN IN SONG: A video report from the North Colombia Union about the talent showcase for children. (In Spanish)

Colombia: Children Prepared for Leadership

Preparing the next generation for leadership in the Adventist Church is something that church leaders in Colombia take seriously, with scores of children from across the Central American country participating in a talent showcase in the city of Medellin, the Inter-American Division said.

The annual competition gathered children from the seven fields in North Colombia to demonstrate their knowledge of biblical doctrines, and to preach and sing in front of a large congregation at Colombia Adventist University’s auditorium.

While finalists answered a series of questions on computer terminals, others preached about the Sabbath as the day of rest before a panel of judges. Several soloists and musical groups sang.

“This day highlighted the fact that the church has a beautiful future if it continues cultivating the gifts and talents children posses,” said Zoraida Perez, children and adolescent ministries director for the church in North Colombia and organizer of the event.

Melisa Arteaga Garcia, first place winner in the child preacher category, was happy about her win but mostly because she was able to touch the hearts of those who attended the event. “When I preach, I feel God’s power and His Holy Spirit next to me,” she said.

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<strong>COLLEGE MARCH:</strong> Church and college leaders marching to a ceremony celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Ukrainian Adventist Center of Higher Education on Nov. 22. Credit: Euro-Asia Division

Ukraine: Bucha Turns 15

The Adventist Church’s top school in Ukraine opened after local church leadership prayed for a small seminary to train Adventist pastors and is now considered one of the top colleges in the country, church leaders said at a 15th-anniversary celebration.

The Ukrainian Adventist Center of Higher Education, commonly referred to as Bucha, the name of the town outside Kiev where it is located, marked the anniversary of its founding with a music-filled ceremony attended by local church and political leaders on Sabbath, Nov. 22.

“When we prayed to God for the opportunity to have an Adventist institution of higher education, we dreamed of having a single building where a single class of future pastors could train,” the first president of the Adventist Church in Ukraine, Nikolay Zhukalyuk, 83, said at the ceremony.

“But we could not have even dreamed for what the Lord has done for us. I see a thriving religious educational institution before my eyes in Ukraine today,” he said, according to Vladimir Tkachuk, the top education official for the church’s Euro-Asia Division, which includes Ukraine.

The campus now encompasses both a seminary and a college. Among Ukraine’s 76 universities and colleges, it is ranked the sixth best, said Tkachuk, who attended the ceremony.