April 2, 2015

Adventist Pastors Resolve to Lose Weight in South Pacific

, news editor, Adventist Review

Scores of Adventist pastors from South Pacific islands have embarked on a challenge to lose weight after a medical check found that only seven pastors of the about 120 employed by the church’s Trans-Pacific Union Mission were not overweight.

The medical check, conducted at a Trans-Pacific Union Mission meeting at Fulton College in Nadi, Fiji, determined that more than half of the pastors from places such as Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands were at risk of becoming diabetic and some of them were very obese.

In response, pastors from the Samoas-Tokelau Mission suggested a weight loss challenge, which started on March 1 and will run until June 30. The aim is to help motivate the pastors to lose weight, reduce blood sugar, hypertension and blood pressure.

“The pastors committed themselves to exercise every day and invited others to join them,” the South Pacific Adventist Record reported this week. “They plan to reduce the amount of food they eat and eat less refined food and meat. Every few weeks they will receive health and weight loss tips.”

Three pastors are being filmed for an upcoming Hope Channel program, “Pacific Pastors Weight Challenge.”

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Ian Sweeney, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Britain and Ireland. Photo: NEC Youth / Facebook

Worries About ‘Homophobic’ Sermon in Britain

Ian Sweeney, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Britain and Ireland, has expressed concerns after a Christian street preacher was convicted of making a homophobic comment via a loudspeaker last summer.

A British court convicted Michael Overd, 50, of a public order offense for the comment and criticized him for his choice of Bible verses during a street sermon in Taunton, Somerset. He was fined £200 ($296) and ordered to pay compensation and costs totaling £1,200 ($1,777) at Bristol Crown Court.

Sweeny said Adventists fully support the right to freedom of expression in the streets of Britain.

"Seventh-day Adventists strongly support freedom of speech, and freedom of religious speech in particular," he said.

But, he said, the church also counsels that such expression should always be within the context of Christian love.

"We have to mindful that this freedom should be guided by not causing offense to hearers and ensuring that our speech is most suited to receiving a response from those listening that might lead them to further investigation and acceptance of the Christian message," he said.

Quoting the apostle Paul's words in Colossians 4:6, he said, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

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A typical school in Namibia. Photo: Pgallert / Wikicommons

Church School Back in Namibia Region

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has opened its first school in Namibia’s Zambezi Region, returning to an area that it left during South African rule 62 years earlier.

The Mavuluma Adventist Primary School, built by Maranatha Volunteers International, was inaugurated last week in Katima Mulilo, the capital of the Zambezi Region, Namibia’s New Era newspaper reported.

The school will enroll more than 100 children in the first through third grades at the start of the next school year.

"This school will cater for the values missing in secular schools,” said Ignatius Nkunga, an adviser to the Zambezi Region’s governor, in comments published by the newspaper. “I encourage the church to continue with this gesture."

The region has a severe shortage of schools, with more than 12,000 students studying in 20 schools.

The first Adventist school opened in 1920 when the region was a German colony, and 12 more schools followed. All closed in 1943, in the middle of World War II. South Africa claimed the territory of present-day Namibia after the war. Namibia gained independence in 1990.

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Update: Maranatha posted its own story

Florida Hospital in Orlando. Photo: Adventist University of Health Sciences

Florida Student Lobbies a Bill

A first-term nursing student from the Adventist University of Health Sciences has convinced Florida state Senator Darren Soto to support legislation that would increase nurses’ influence on hospital operations in the U.S. state.

Student Jessica Tiegs presented “Bill 1342: Nurse Staffing Committees” to the senator at the Florida Nurses Association's Advocacy Days fair in Tallahassee, Florida.

The bill, if approved, would create nurse staffing committees at some hospitals, allowing nurses to be actively involved in staffing plans including RN experience, patient complexity, and review of adverse incidents in connection to staffing.

"Senator Soto listened to Jessica's presentation and immediately called in his aide to pull up the bill and sponsor it," said Frank Harris, president of the Student Nursing Association at the Adventist University of Health Sciences.

The bill is currently moving forward in the state senate.

"I can't believe that I, a first-term nursing student, was capable of making such an impact,” Tiegs said in a statement. “I knew from that moment that you can make difference even as a student.”

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Membership Breaks 10,000 in North England

For the first time in its history, the North England Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has broken the 10,000-membership barrier.

The region of England had a total of 10,033 members at the end of 2014, Paul Lockham, executive secretary for the British Union Conference, announced at a meeting in late March.

In total, membership across Britain and Ireland now stands at 35,330.

“While this is only 0.05 percent of the total population, it is still good news,” the British Union Conference said in a statement. “Each of the 274 baptisms over the fourth quarter not only means a decision for Christ, but also another disciple who can share their faith with the community around them.”

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