Gastonia S.D.A Church
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments"....1John 2 vs 3

Adventist Global News

 

At world youth conference, Asscherick, ‘Reality 7’ bring evening messages

The a cappella group Reality 7 performs Tuesday evening at the Saint George Hotel & Convention Center in Pretoria, South Africa. The group is a featured act at the Adventist Church's world youth congress this week.
David Asscherick preaches about "non-negotiable truths," chiefly that "God is love," on Tuesday, July 9. He is preaching each evening this week at the Impact South Africa world youth congress that the Adventist Church is holding in Pretoria, South Africa. [photos by Ronald Pollard]

Jul 09, 2013
Pretoria, South Africa
Ansel Oliver/ANN

David Asscherick, the self-described former purple-haired punk rocker, is bringing spiritual messages each night to more than 3,000 young Seventh-day Adventists attending the denomination’s world youth conference in South Africa and those watching via live streaming.

 

Asscherick became a Seventh-day Adventist at age 23 after reading the book, “The Great Controversy,” which was authored by Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White.

“Is it good news that there is a God?” he asked the audience at the opening of his sermon this evening, the second night of the conference.

“It depends,” he said, going on to describe a view of God that some Christians had tried to teach him before he became a Christian himself.

Some Christians had told him God would send someone to hell if they didn’t accept Jesus Christ as their savior. Asscherick would challenge them to consider those who might not ever hear about the Christian gospel and be given the option to choose. He later came to the conclusion that, “If there is a God who allows people … to suffer unending, conscious torment for something that they never even had the chance to know … I would rather choose atheism.”

His evening devotionals have focused on what he says are “non-negotiable” truths that should be on the table – chief among them, he says, is that “God is love.”

“If God is … as described in First Corinthians 13,” the love chapter, “then I suggest this is the best possible news in all the universe,” he said.

Asscherick is the co-founder of ARISE, a supporting ministry of the Adventist Church. He also became co-director of Light Bearers when the two ministries merged in 2011.

 

Evening devotionals of the global youth conference are being streamed on Facebook.com/ImpactSA2013 and Facebook.com/AdventistNews

Attendees of the world youth conference are also treated to nightly musical performances by several groups, including the featured South African a capella singers, “Reality 7.”

The six-member group was founded in 1992 by men who were raised in a children’s welfare home. The group performs fulltime ministry by singing South African gospel music at hospitals, schools and church events. On weekdays, several members mentor youth through the Abalindi Welfare Society Home in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal.

“It’s an honor for us to perform here, to show our international guests the African way of praising God,” said Themba Nkosi, the group’s manager. “It’s our prayer that God uses us.”

As the group performed their final song this evening, “I Feel Like Traveling Home,” two 24-year-old men from Botswana danced and waved their arms along with the song in the back of the hall.

“We like this group so much,” said Tshwaragano Aupiti, a nurse. “We just enjoy dancing, it blesses us,” he said with a huge smile. “When they sing I can feel the Holy Spirit.”

“They are singing the African way,” said Thubelihle Ncube, who works at a safari park.

At the end of the song, many in the audience applauded, shouted “Amen,” and 16-year-old Enzo Bocchino from Australia offered his appreciation with a short blast through an orange vuvuzela.

World youth conference closes with worship in stadium, evening celebration

Moeketsi Toka, a resident of Pretoria, South Africa, watches a Sabbath worship service at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Saturday, July 13. The large-scale service was held on the final day of Impact South Africa, the Adventist Church's world youth congress. [photo: Ansel Oliver]
Seventh-day Adventist Church member Dr. Ben Carson speaks at Impact South Africa, the Adventist Church's world youth conference in Pretoria on Friday, July 12. He invoked Romans 8:31 -- "If God is for us, who can be against us." [photo by Daryl Gungadoo]

Jul 13, 2013
Atteridgeville, Gauteng, South Africa
Ansel Oliver/ANN

Renowned brain surgeon Dr. Ben Carson this weekend implored Seventh-day Adventist youth to exercise their willpower and remain committed to God in a series of three speeches to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world youth conference.

 

Carson served for more than two and a half decades as chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, and was a key presenter at Impact South Africa. The event has drawn more than 3,100 Adventist youth and young adults from around the globe for two weeks of community service, workshops and worship.

“God has given each one of us something that is extraordinarily special. It’s called willpower. You don’t have to give in,” Carson said of things than can divert young people from realizing their full potential.

During this morning’s Sabbath worship service, Carson also recounted his experiences in becoming a neurosurgeon, as told in his book “Gifted Hands.” He credited God for allowing him to make an impact through his career, despite it turning out differently than his childhood ambition of becoming a missionary doctor.

“Never get too big for God, never deny God, no matter where he takes you, no matter what roles you’re in,” Carson said. “If you put him first in your life, you will be extraordinarily successful.” 

In the audience, Argentinian Ezequiel Durán, 26, said Carson’s speeches were some of the conference’s highlights for him. “He is a good leader and example for young people. He dedicated his whole life to God. I like that.”

 

Carson and other presenters today spoke to an audience of more than 18,000 – youth conference attendees and community members – at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in this suburb of the national capital of Pretoria.

In a sermon, Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson similarly affirmed youth and urged them to continue carrying out the Adventist Church’s mission.

“We love you and we’re counting on you for the future,” Wilson said. “Impact your city. Impact your country. My brothers and sisters, impact the world for Jesus Christ!”

Indeed, Shereen Rodney, 24, from the United Kingdom, said she came to the conference for the community service work that some 1,000 attendees gave during the conference’s first week. In a stadium seat, she said, “We’re looking to replicate some of these things when we go back home. It’s going to be like a chain reaction.”

Gilbert Cangy, director of the Adventist Church’s Youth Ministries and organizer of the conference, said the event successfully integrated youth from around the world as a family of faith.

“We truly embraced diversity at this event,” Cangy said. “There was a place at this conference for everyone – from every country, from every culture.”

Celina Sunder Singh, 20, from India, said the conference offered her the chance to meet new people in a supportive environment. “It’s nice to know so many people having the same faith as you, and learning a few words in every language was fun,” she said. “My favorite was Spanish.”

Following the morning service, dozens of attendees traveled throughout nearby neighborhoods to distribute 20,000 copies of the book “The Great Hope.” The book is an abbreviated version of Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White’s touchstone book, “The Great Controversy.”

This evening, back at the conference’s base at the Saint George Hotel & Convention Centre, a report was given from the final of the denomination’s 13 world divisions. Each regional administration presented throughout the week, with colorful national garb and video reports.

Cangy also thanked his team of organizers, who helped coordinate everything from service projects and workshops to producing evening worship services that featured music and preaching by evangelist David Asscherick.

“By God’s grace we’re finishing well," Cangy said. “We give God all the glory and we’re grateful for His gracious spirit.”

—see more photos of Impact South Africa at the ANN Flickr account

The ANN news bulletin is a weekly recap of news and information from the Communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist world church headquarters and is distributed by Adventist News Network.

Reproduction requirements: ANN encourages the republication of its news stories and accompanying editorial photos. Stories may be reproduced in full, in shortened form, or as one of several sources used to construct a news story. Please note that ANN's material is copyrighted. When reproducing ANN stories, the words "Adventist News Network" must appear either under the headline or immediately following the article. When reproducing photos that appear on ANN, please credit the photographer and ANN.

ANN staff: Williams Costa Jr., director; Ansel Oliver, assistant director; Elizabeth Lechleitner, editorial coordinator. Portuguese translations by Azenilto Brito, Spanish translations by Marcos Paseggi and French translations by Wenda Ozone-Mourandee.

You're receiving this because you subscribed on our website: http://news.adventist.org

Edit your subscription  |  Unsubscribe instantly

Adventist News Network
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
United States of America

Web version
Facebook Twitter Forward
Adventist News Network: The Official News Service of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church

Hundreds baptized as first NY13 phase wraps up at Nassau Coliseum

Tomas Olivera of Peekskill, New York, was the first of several new Seventh-day Adventists to be baptized today by Adventist Church president, Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson, at the NY13 event at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. [photos by Mark A. Kellner/Adventist Review]
An estimated crowd of 12,000 people met today at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, for the combined campmeeting and NY13 special event.
Volunteers from 12 of the 13 world divisions on the platform at the capstone event of NY13, an evangelistic outreach in Greater New York. One volunteer, from the Greater Middle East and North Africa Union, had to return home before the event.

Jun 29, 2013
Uniondale, New York, United States
Mark A. Kellner, Adventist Review

Wearing a dark blue baptismal robe, Tomas Olivera of Peekskill, New York, stepped into the giant pool placed before the platform at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on this afternoon and knew only one thing: he was finally about to be baptized.

 

It quickly developed that the Seventh-day Adventist pastor who placed Olivera under the water was the president of the Adventist world church, Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson, who had just completed a sermon about the role this religious movement would play at the end of time.

Olivera was all smiles, as was John MacKneil, a former resident of New York’s Greenwich Village, who returned to the Historic Seventh-day Adventist Church on West 11th Street to hear Wilson present a four-week “Revelation of Hope” seminar. MacKneil was also baptized by Wilson, and was a bit overcome at the experience.

“It’s an inspiration to be baptized by this man of God,” MacKneil said, standing next to Wilson, who briefly interned at that church when he first began his ministry. “I wanted to be baptized; I needed to be baptized. I feel good and I feel inspired.” Both MacKneil and Wilson said MacKneil’s brother would also soon join the church.

Inspiration was certainly the theme for this day of celebration and commitment, which was held under the banner of a joint campmeeting of the Greater New York and Northeastern Conferences, something local officials said was a first for the two groups. Adventists came from all over the region – joined by officials of the Adventist Church world headquarters and the denomination’s North American Division, as well as from even farther afield – to mark the completion of an initial phase of urban evangelism and the welcoming of hundreds of new believers. At least 150 were baptized at the Nassau Coliseum venue, evangeslist Mark Finley told Adventist Review, with many more in area churches the same morning. Estimates point to nearly 2,000 baptisms in the NY13 campaign before today's event.

Hundreds more had been baptized before the event, as the New York City area hosted more than 400 evangelistic outreach events held by Adventist congregations. As Wilson said of the NY13 effort during his sermon, “This is not a spectator sport,” noting that several Adventist world church vice presidents and other world church leaders had conducted campaigns in the area as well.

 

At least one other division leader came to observe the results: Erton Köhler, president of the South American Division, and his wife Adriene were spotted among the worshippers Sabbath morning, no doubt happy that the “Arautos do Rei,” the Brazilian “King’s Heralds” quartet, were part of the morning’s worship music.

Music wasn’t the only cause for happiness that morning: several public officials came to publicly acknowledge the positive impact the Seventh-day Adventist Church had on the community. Mayor Wayne J. Hall, Sr., of neighboring Hempstead, New York, welcomed the Adventists, and Una S. T. Clarke, a former member of the New York City Council and mother of U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) was also recognized for her presence at the event.

But the greatest praise for Seventh-day Adventists came from Bill DeBlasio, who holds a citywide office as New York City Public Advocate, a job formerly known as president of the City Council.

“I represent all 8.4 million New Yorkers,” DeBlasio said. “And I come to bring greetings and appreciation” for the work Adventists are doing in the community, he added.

“I was moved by the work of your young people after Hurricane Sandy struck. Every day, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is doing good works in the City of New York,” De Blasio said. He lauded Adventist efforts in promoting healthy living and said the church’s schools comprise “one of the greatest educational systems on Earth.”

DeBlasio concluded saying,  “Every day [Seventh-day Adventists] make us a better and a stronger city. I say, ‘God bless you.’”

 

Following the comments of these public officials, Adventist evangelist Mark Finley prayed for Hall, Clarke, and DeBlasio, each of whom was also greeted by Wilson.

Wilson, in his morning message, emphasized that the June 29 event, though historic, isn’t the end of outreach here: “NY13 continues until Jesus comes!” he declared.

Speaking about the “little scroll” that would be sweet to taste but “bitter in the belly” (Revelation 10:8-9), Wilson linked the disappointment of the early disciples, who thought Jesus would establish the Kingdom of God during His time on Earth but instead was crucified, buried, and resurrected, with that of the early Millerites. The 1840s Millerites, out of whom the Seventh-day Adventist Church eventually emerged, initially thought that the 2,300-day prophecy of Daniel 8 pointed to the return of Christ to Earth in October of 1844.

Instead, the first-century disciples began preaching the gospel and, as Acts 17:6 records, “turned the world upside down.” So too, Wilson said, Seventh-day Adventists – the spiritual descendants of the disappointed Millerites – have reached out around the world bringing the three angels’ messages and the hope that Jesus is coming soon.

“This is not another church,” Wilson said. “The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a movement of God.”

Noting the church’s presence in over 200 nations and territories around the globe, Wilson added praise for the church’s media outreach, noting “Adventist World Radio is making a major impact around the world,” and praising church-owned Hope Channel and supporting television ministry 3ABN for their part in the media outreach.

Wilson again emphasized that the day’s event was not the “end” of outreach in the region. He told the thousands gathered for worship and celebration, “We came to New York to highlight ‘Mission to the Cities.’ This is not a culmination today in New York City: the work is continuing.”

Speaking with Adventist Review while waiting to baptize Olivera, Wilson said his own campaign was “an amazing experience in Greenwich Village. The audience stayed with us the whole time.”

Members of the congregation were impressed. Duane Cady, interim president of Atlantic Union College, a church-owned institution in South Lancaster, Mass., was visiting from his home in Syracuse, New York.

Cady, also a former board chairman of the American Medical Association, choked back tears as he contemplated the number of new Adventists being baptized.

“It’s amazing. We’re going forward, and I’m very happy, even thrilled,” he said.

As the baptisms continued, and an afternoon of music and testimony loomed, the joyfulness promised to remain for quite some time.

Ironically, early Adventists were reluctant missionaries

Though the Adventist Church didn't endorse him, Michael Czechowski was the first person to take the Adventist message outside of the United States. He actually arrived in Switzerland a decade before John Nevins Andrews, who is widely known as the denomination's first official missionary. [photos courtesy Office of Archives, Statistics and Research]
John Nevins Andrews, a former president of the Adventist Church, became the denomination's first official foreign missionary in 1874.
For nearly 30 years, Fernando and Ana Stahl shared their medical and educational skills with the Indians of the Andes and Amazon of Peru. Working among the oppressed indigenous people, they founded chapels, clinics, markets, and the first indigenous and first coeducational school system in the highlands.
William A. Spicer was president of the Adventist Church after serving as a missionary to India. He and Arthur G. Daniells, who also served as the church's president, led the denomination in a strong mission emphasis.

Jun 27, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Ansel Oliver and George R. Knight/ANN

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of historical articles published this year marking the 150th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Though John Nevins Andrews is rightfully credited as the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s first foreign missionary, the preaching of the Adventist message in Europe actually preceded his 1874 arrival in Switzerland by a decade.

 

Michael Czechowski, a former Roman Catholic priest originally from Poland, had requested to be sent to his native continent to spread his newfound faith that heralded the soon Second Coming of Jesus. Adventist Church leaders, uncertain of his reliability and honesty, declined his request. He would, however, go on to become the fledgling denomination’s first overseas missionary, oddly enough, by validating their suspicions.

Czechowski, who had deserted his wife and children, later gained missionary sponsorship from the Advent Christian denomination – the main group of Sunday-keeping Adventists. Having his way paid, he ignored the teachings of his sponsors upon arrival in Europe in 1864 and proceeded to teach the Seventh-day Adventist message, gaining converts throughout the continent, including in Switzerland, Hungary, Italy and Romania.

With a church structure having recently been created, thus began the expansion of the Adventist message outside of the United States. But it would be many years before the Adventist Church would commit wholeheartedly to foreign mission.

Within the church at home – based in the U.S. state of Michigan – debate flared over the meaning of Jesus’ call in the Gospel of Mark to “Go into all the world.” Most of the 3,500-member church in 1863 thought reaching diverse immigrant populations within America was sufficient, some suggesting those immigrants would convert their friends and relatives in their mother country.

 

The 1871 General Conference Session passed a resolution to send “Bro[ther] Matteson as a missionary to the Danes and Norwegians”… in the nearby state of Wisconsin.

“It wasn’t our church’s finest hour,” says Adventist historian David Trim, who serves as director of the world church’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research.

Meanwhile, in Europe, some of Czechowski’s followers accidentally discovered an Adventist magazine among his papers informing them that, to their surprise, they weren’t the world’s only Adventists. Adventists in the U.S., still arguing over the feasibility of taking their teachings beyond national borders, were similarly taken aback.

“Adventists in America were actually sort of embarrassed to learn that there were already Adventist believers in Europe,” Trim says.

The mutual discovery led to American Adventists inviting a Swiss representative to the 1869 General Conference Session. He arrived too late, but spent the next year in the U.S. learning Adventist beliefs more thoroughly before returning home as an ordained minister.

 

At that 1869 session, however, the establishment of a missionary society was a key step in triggering a two-decade process of reversing the church’s mindset toward mission. The transformation was aided by a boldness of the small group of believers who thought they in fact could reach the world, and more importantly, leadership was becoming increasingly comprised of former missionaries.

The church’s prophet and co-founder, Ellen White, later penned her strongest calls for oversees mission after spending time herself in Europe in the 1880s and Australia in the 1890s.

In 1901, she declared at the General Conference Session, “The vineyard includes the whole word, and every part of it is to be worked.”

That same year, Arthur G. Daniells became the first missionary elected as the Adventist Church’s president, having served in New Zealand and Australia for 15 years.

“It’s a remarkable story of how our pioneers changed their mindset because they were such a small group,” Trim says. “The confidence of this tiny group to think they could reach the whole world is astonishing.”

The pattern for oversees mission can be traced back to when the church expanded to the west coast of the U.S. It was in 1868, one year before the landmark mission focus of the 1869 General Conference Session, that church leaders responded to a request for a minister in the far-off state of California. John N. Loughborough and D. T. Bordeau accepted the call and worked to build what would become a recipe for entering new areas – gain a sufficient following and then establish a printing press, a magazine and a medical facility.

 

The year 1874 was another key year for mission – widower Andrews, a former Adventist Church president, took his two children to Europe as the church’s first official missionary, and the denomination established its first mission periodical, “True Mission.” Also, Battle Creek College in Michigan was established to train ministers to work both in the U.S. and abroad.

By 1910 a steady stream of missionaries was heading out – the mission fields prior to the 1880s were joining the U.S. as the new Adventist homelands. The Germans took responsibility for Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and Russia, the Swedes for Ethiopia, the British for East and West Africa, and the Australians for Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Jamaica, too, sent missionaries; one of them, C. E. F. Thompson, went to Ghana.

A new publication, “Mission Quarterly,” was established in 1912, telling the stories of missionary families, including the Stahls in South America, Gustav Perk in Russia, the Robinsons in South Africa, and others who had left the U.S. knowing they might never come back.

William A. Spicer, who was appointed church president following Daniells and had served as a missionary in India, published his thoughts on mission in the 1921 book, “Our story of Missions for Colleges and academies”: Mission “is not something in addition to the regular work of the church. The work of God is one work, the wide world over…. To carry the one message of salvation to all peoples … is the aim of every conference, every church, every believer.”

The ANN news bulletin is a weekly recap of news and information from the Communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist world church headquarters and is distributed by Adventist News Network.

Reproduction requirements: ANN encourages the republication of its news stories and accompanying editorial photos. Stories may be reproduced in full, in shortened form, or as one of several sources used to construct a news story. Please note that ANN's material is copyrighted. When reproducing ANN stories, the words "Adventist News Network" must appear either under the headline or immediately following the article. When reproducing photos that appear on ANN, please credit the photographer and ANN.

ANN staff: Williams Costa Jr., director; Ansel Oliver, assistant director; Elizabeth Lechleitner, editorial coordinator. Portuguese translations by Azenilto Brito, Spanish translations by Marcos Paseggi and French translations by Wenda Ozone-Mourandee.

You're receiving this because you subscribed on our website: http://news.adventist.org

Edit your subscription  |  Unsubscribe instantly

Adventist News Network
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
United States of America

Web version
Facebook Twitter Forward
Adventist News Network: The Official News Service of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church

Starting in New York, ‘Mission to Cities’ focuses outreach on large metro areas

Members of the Adventist Church’s Women’s Ministries in the Democratic Republic of Congo prepare food outside of the Makala Prison in Kinshasa, the city that the East-Central Africa Division has selected for the “Mission to the Cities” initiative. [photo courtesy ECD]
The Inter-European Division has selected Geneva, Switzerland, for focused ministry outreach. Here, a train’s advertisement announces the Adventist Church’s “Time of Hope for Geneva” campaign. [photo courtesy EUD]
Pastor Masuya Yasui, right, baptizes a new member at the Tama-Saitama area campmeeting in Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Yamanashi, Japan, earlier this month. The Adventist Church’s Northern Asia-Pacific Division has selected Tokyo for focused outreach. [photo courtesy Japan Union Conference]
In London, Adventist young people place a couch on a city sidewalk and offer to let passers-by sit and rest. It’s an opportunity to talk about how Sabbath rest can help people gain peace in their own life. [photo courtesy British Union Conference]

Jun 24, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
ANN staff

As a New York City evangelism initiative is in full force, other plans for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to reach major metropolitan areas are in place. Some have begun, while others are waiting for the conclusion of the NY13 outreach initiative.

“The writings of our church co-founder Ellen White tell us very clearly what we need to do for the large cities,” said Adventist world church president Ted N. C. Wilson. “We need Christians who can manifest the love of Jesus as they work in the cities.”

Here is what each of the Adventist Church’s 13 world divisions say they are planning for the denomination’s “Mission to the Cities” initiative:

 

East-Central Africa Division, based in Nairobi, Kenya. This division has selected Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The metro area is home to some 12 million people and 12 Adventist churches. A key strategy is involving women and youth. In February, Division Women’s Ministries Director Debbie Maloba held a training session “Outreach is for Everyone,” in which she prepared participants for community service, prison ministry and giving Bible studies. Women have gained approval to minister to sick and abandoned prisoners at the Makala Prison, which holds 6,000 prisoners in a compound that was designed for 1,500 inmates. Women have also started a program to clean marketplaces – the initiative’s theme is “Garbage Kills but Cleanness Heals.”

Euro-Asia Division, based in Moscow, Russia. Includes Russia, Northwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The division has identified Moscow for focused outreach, including evangelistic and health initiatives.

Inter-European Division, based in Berne, Switzerland. This division has selected Geneva in Switzerland, home to some 1.2 million residents and several United Nations agencies. The division has two missionaries currently working in the city, and evangelistic campaigns were held in February at a French-speaking church and a Spanish-speaking church. This year the church will hold health expos and more evangelistic campaigns in October and November. Other cities of focus include Prague, Czech Republic; Hamburg, Germany; Munich, Germany; and Vienna, Austria.

Inter-America Division, based in Miami, Florida, United States. The division in the past six months has focused on evangelism efforts in 49 cities. The surge is aided by mission funds designated for church planting in cities and urban ministry training for pastors and church leaders. Over the next two months, more than 200 university students from throughout the region will assist church planting initiatives in 15 cities. Next month, division officials will plant a Chinese church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. That congregation will be the first Chinese Adventist church in the division.

 

North American Division, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States. This division has supported NY13 and its more than 160 evangelism venues throughout the tri-state area surrounding New York City. Adventist world church officers selected New York City as a model for evangelistic outreach in other major metro areas worldwide. The “Mission to the Cities” campaign is part of the division’s core building block of Transformational Evangelism. The goal is to inspire members to get out and make an impact in their community. Division leaders say churches and conferences will sponsor health expos, and dialogues are currently taking place with Adventist healthcare systems about how to partner in impacting big cities. Future cities of focus include Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Memphis, Tampa and Oklahoma City.

Northern Asia-Pacific Division, based in South Korea. The division has chosen Tokyo, Japan, as the city of focus, and named the initiative TOKYO 13. The “13” means that every pastor and church member is to become the 13th disciple of Christ. The Adventist Church in Japan has experienced very low growth in recent years. Because evangelistic meetings have met with little success, the church will employ Christ’s method of mingling with people. Hence, the strategy for TOKYO 13 will be relational evangelism. Later this year, the church will organize small groups and engage in team ministry while inviting new people to church. The goal is 100 new believers, which may seem a small number compared to other regions of the world church, but would be three times the number of new members in a typical year. A team has already started praying for the TOKYO 13 initiative.

South American Division, based in Brasilia, Brazil. Includes South America except for the five northern-most countries. Division leaders have designated Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, for focused outreach. The church opened a center of influence in Villa del Parque, one of the busiest districts of the city. The center partners with the Belgrano Adventist Sanitarium to offer guidance about health and family issues. The center is visited by nearly 40 people each day. The church also operates the Granix Restaurant, which sells healthy food and offers health information. The division is purchasing two pieces of property to construct new congregations. Other major outreach is also planned in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia; Santiago, Chile; Guayaquil, Ecuador; and Sao Paulo, Brazil, home to 19 million people.

 

Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, based in Pretoria, South Africa. This division plans to hold a school of evangelism, similar to one held in New York City to launch NY13, which was the starting point of the “Mission to the Cities” initiative. Luanda, Angola, is the designated city of outreach for this year. It is home to some 7 million people. The Adventist Church is now holding 10,000 small group meetings, and 100 larger campaigns will be held in neighborhoods throughout the city in September. Every church department is involved and the initiative is widely supported by lay members. Follow-up will include the “Fishers of Men” discipleship program. Next year, 70 cities will be identified throughout the division, with each union, conference, district and church offering support.

South Pacific Division, based in Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia. Sydney was the site of an Adventist evangelism series, “The Last Empire,” the largest of its kind in more than three decades. The series was promoted with four billboards, 1.25 million brochures and 100 TV ads. The series was held in partnership with 45 churches and was held in 29 venues. More than 1,500 community members attended and nearly 1,000 were still attending the final program. Most of the meetings were held in English, but several venues offered Portuguese, Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, Mandarin and Arabic. Churches prepared for the series for 18 months, and members were encouraged to pray for five people in their circle of influence.

Southern Asia-Pacific Division, based in Manila, Philippines. Includes Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Adventist Mission representatives are planning for a major evangelism campaign in Manila next year, with church President Wilson as the featured speaker. The denomination will also offer health outreach from a shopping mall in Indonesia and a vegetarian restaurant in Laos.

 

Southern Asia Division, based in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, India. Includes India, Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal. The division has selected Mumbai, India, a city of more than 18 million people. Church leaders will offer ministry in the northern suburb of Malad, among the fishing community in Vasai, and at the Paschael village in Madh Island. Local members and pastors are offering Bible studies in these communities. In February, Adventists held evangelistic outreach in West Andheri in India among the Telugu-speaking community. Programs offered preaching, children’s programming and lectures on health. 

Trans-European Division, based in London, England. The division will host more than 100 evangelism initiatives and Bible academies in London. Members are encouraged to reach out to their circle of influence. In addition to traditional billboard and Underground posters, a clever advertising campaign includes the “Sabbath couch.” Adventist young people place a couch on a city sidewalk and offer to let passers-by sit and rest. It’s an opportunity to ask what they would do with a 24-hour break each week, introduce the concept of Sabbath, and invite them to an upcoming meeting nearby. The goal is to have 50,000 people sit on the couch over time leading up to meetings. The division is also planning meetings next year in other cities, including Belgrade, Serbia; Budapest, Hungary; Dublin, Ireland; Split, Croatia; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

West-Central Africa Division, based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. This division has selected Lagos, Nigeria, for focused outreach. Lagos state has more than 8 million people according to census records from 2006. The division has also designated 50 other cities throughout the division for ministerial outreach.

In Kyrgyzstan, Adventist Church ordains its first native pastor

Talgat S. Kubegenov, on the platform with his wife, was ordained during a mission conference at the Tokmok Adventist Church in Chuy Province on June 14. He is the first Kyrgyzstani ordained as an Adventist pastor. [photos courtesy ESD]
Kubegenov is a former police officer and has functioned as an Adventist pastor for many years.

Jun 25, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Ansel Oliver/ANN

A former police officer in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan was ordained earlier this month as the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s first pastor from the native population.

 

Talgat S. Kubegenov was ordained during a mission conference at the Tokmok Adventist Church in Tokmok in Chuy Province on June 14.

Kubegenov, 39, has already been serving as a pastor of two churches and has worked as secretary-treasurer of the denomination’s Kyrgyzstan Mission since 2010.

Kubegenov is a graduate of the Academy of Home Affairs Ministry and joined the church in 2002. He was ordained a local church elder in 2005, and in 2008 the Adventist Church hired him as a Global Mission Pioneer.

“It was heartwarming to see this small but successful step,” said Ben Schoun, an Adventist world church vice president, who attended the ceremony. “I’m aware that several countries in the region can be difficult for our church to work in, but God is helping us accomplish some very wonderful things.”

Kyrgyzstan, which shares a border with China, is a former Soviet republic. It became an independent country when the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991. Many citizens work in mining and agriculture. Its current population is roughly 5.5 million. A large majority of the population is Muslim, and many are also Russian Orthodox.

 

The Adventist message came to Central Asia through German missionary Philipp Trippel in 1906, said Denis Sand, director of Adventist Mission for the Euro-Asia Division. In 1915, the construction of the Orlovka Adventist Church became the denomination’s first church in the region, then known as Turkestan. It had 50 members.

Adventists and other Christians faced heavy persecution during the reign of the Soviet Union, Sand said. Many members buried their Bibles each time after reading them.

Today, the Adventist Church in Kyrgyzstan has nearly 800 members and operates the only elementary school in the denomination’s Southern Union Mission.

The church in Kyrgyzstan employs Global Mission pioneers who work in the country. At this month’s mission conference, about a dozen GM pioneers graduated from a training program, Schoun said. Earlier this month, the church also opened a new Adventist World Radio studio in Bishkek, home to the Adventist Church’s Kyrgyzstan Mission.

North American Adventist publishing house boards asked to consider merger

Pacific Press Publishing Association is located in Nampa, Idaho. [ANN file photos]
Review and Herald Publishing Association is located in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Jun 20, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
General Conference Administration

On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, the General Conference and North American Division administrations forwarded to the boards of Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association a request for the two organizations to consider a merger in the near future.

The proposal comes in response to church administrators’ analysis of the current publishing mission setting along with related distribution systems. It builds upon the work of several commissions and groups that over the past several years have studied the challenges and opportunities arising from rapid technology changes in publishing as well as changes in how society accesses information.

The boards of both institutions met separately Wednesday evening, and each, by overwhelming majority votes, expressed agreement to consider a yet-to-be-developed merger proposal. In addition, each board authorized its chair and president to represent the institution on a taskforce whose assignment will be to develop a detailed merger proposal for future consideration by the boards and constituents.

 

Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, affirmed that “publishing and distributing materials to advance the proclamation of the gospel remains a vital and integral part of the church’s worldwide evangelistic and witnessing program. We believe that restructuring the two General Conference institutions could serve even more effectively the future needs of the church especially, in North America as well as for more general assistance to the world for print and digital content that correlates with information in other media platforms.”

Review and Herald Publishing Association, located in Hagerstown, Maryland, and the Pacific Press Publishing Association, located in Nampa, Idaho, have been operating as General Conference institutions. The two publishing houses serve the General Conference, the global Seventh-day Adventist Church, and, more specifically the North American Division, as they derive the large majority of their operating resources from services to church members and denominational organizations in North America.

The proposal forwarded to the respective boards, through the board chairs, requests not only consideration of a merger of the two institutions but also a transfer of identity for these entities from being General Conference-sponsored institutions to that of being North American Division-sponsored.

The combination of restructuring envisaged in the request placed before the boards therefore involve two principal concepts with the expectation that both would be considered as a package and implemented together. The proposal envisions:

• Placing both Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association on the pathway to merger as one publishing house to serve the North American Division territory as well as the needs of the General Conference office. 

• Restructuring the publishing house governance model from a General Conference-based constituency and board of directors to a North American Division-based constituency and board of directors.

Over the past two years, the North American Division has been developing a comprehensive approach to all forms of media ministry. “The preparation and use of literature by church members, by local church-sponsored witnessing initiatives, and as an adjunct to programs in other media platforms is a prominent component of this strategy,” said Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division. “A publishing house closely linked to church infrastructure and intimately involved with planning, implementation and coordination of witnessing and nurture programs is a key component in accomplishing our mission objectives.”

 

Neither publishing house receives financial appropriations from the General Conference or from the North American Division. Both publishing houses currently enjoy operating gains. Historically, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has operated several publishing houses in North America. Each must make important decisions regarding its vision for the future and the investment of capital to maintain efficiencies in publishing and printing processes. Such decisions will have far-reaching impact. In light of present surplus manufacturing capacity it is believed advantageous for the two organizations to plan for the future as one unit rather than separately and to be directly connected to a North American Division mission-driven distribution system.

A case statement presented to the two boards outlines a design for a positive, mission-oriented future for the church’s publishing ministry in North America. “It is a strategy in response to 21st century realities,” said Dale Galusha, president of Pacific Press Publishing Association. Mark Thomas, president of the Review and Herald Publishing Association, added, “Commercial and private publishing houses today are finding it necessary to redesign their business plans. We need to be proactive in addressing a rapidly changing publishing environment.”

The next step will be for a taskforce with representation from the General Conference, the North American Division and each publishing house to prepare a blueprint for merger. It is expected that a report from the taskforce would be presented to the boards by late September of this year. Each board will then have the opportunity to determine its response to the merger proposal.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates 63 publishing houses worldwide, each operating under its own board of governance. Review and Herald Publishing Association is the successor to the first publishing house, The Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, incorporated in 1861. The Pacific Adventist Publishing Association, established in California, was organized in 1875. It was renamed as the Pacific Press Publishing Association in 1904. A third General Conference-sponsored publishing house, Southern Publishing Association, merged with the Review and Herald Publishing Association in 1980.

General Conference administration asks that church members pray for God’s guidance upon church leaders and publishing house boards so that what is done in this matter will result in the most effective evangelistic print and digital publishing program to proclaim the three angels’ messages, advance God’s work through His power and hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ.

In India, Adventist humanitarians poised to assist flood victims

Flash floods and landslides triggered by 60 hours of nonstop monsoon rains swept through communities in northern India last week. Government officials and humanitarians, among them Adventists, are battling ongoing bad weather and blocked roads to assess needs. [photo: ADRA India]

Jun 25, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
ANN staff

Seventh-day Adventist humanitarians in northern India are monitoring needs and preparing emergency relief in the wake of an unprecedented monsoon season in the region.

 

The torrential rains arrived a month early this year, triggering flash floods and landslides that swept through mountain communities and religious sites. The monsoons destroyed homes and business, killed more than 1,000 people, and stranded tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists visiting Hindu shrines in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, according to news reports.

While government and relief agency efforts so far are centered in the town of Uttarkashi, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in India is preparing emergency assistance for Rudraprayag district, where 20 riverside villages were severely affected, said Gladwin Bol, emergency response coordinator for ADRA India.

“These local communities have lost everything – their homes, land, livelihood and belongings,” Bol said. Other nearby villages remain inaccessible due to ongoing inclement weather and blocked roads, he said.

“We will be able to move to the area as soon as we get clearance,” he said.

ADRA India is prepared to provide utensils, blankets, clothes, mosquito nets, hygiene items, tarps, buckets and other relief items, Bol said.

Meanwhile, local officials have set up 40 relief camps to provide food, water and other emergency aid to tourists and locals, according to an ADRA Situation Report. News reports indicate that military helicopters have also rescued an estimated 30,000 stranded people, but bad weather continues to thwart efforts.

Bol said ADRA India will implement its initial emergency response based on the findings of an assessment team currently at work. The team is backed up by local non-governmental agencies with more ground presence in the affected region than ADRA, which is headquartered further south in Delhi.

The ANN news bulletin is a weekly recap of news and information from the Communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist world church headquarters and is distributed by Adventist News Network.

Reproduction requirements: ANN encourages the republication of its news stories and accompanying editorial photos. Stories may be reproduced in full, in shortened form, or as one of several sources used to construct a news story. Please note that ANN's material is copyrighted. When reproducing ANN stories, the words "Adventist News Network" must appear either under the headline or immediately following the article. When reproducing photos that appear on ANN, please credit the photographer and ANN.

ANN staff: Williams Costa Jr., director; Ansel Oliver, assistant director; Elizabeth Lechleitner, editorial coordinator. Portuguese translations by Azenilto Brito, Spanish translations by Marcos Paseggi and French translations by Wenda Ozone-Mourandee.

You're receiving this because you subscribed on our website: http://news.adventist.org

Edit your subscription  |  Unsubscribe instantly

Adventist News Network
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
United States of America

Web version
Facebook Twitter Forward
Adventist News Network: The Official News Service of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church

NY13’s evangelism school offers methods to reach other major cities

Participants of the Adventist Church's International School of Evangelism are meeting at a church in Corona, New York, as a key part of the NY13 and "Mission to the Cities" initiatives. [photos courtesy Greater New York Conference]
Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson speaks during orientation of the International Field School of Evangelism earlier this month.

Jun 18, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
ANN staff

Scores of Seventh-day Adventists from around the world are learning and sharing ideas for urban outreach at a New York church that’s been turned into a giant classroom this month.

The Adventist Church’s International Field School of Evangelism is part of the denomination’s NY13 outreach initiative, which is launching a worldwide push to reach major metropolitian areas. The school is meeting at the Luso Brazilian Adventist Church in Corona, New York. The Adventist world church has sent at least three people from each of its 13 world divisions to attend the school.

 

The NY13 initiative is the first in the “Mission to the Cities” campaign, which was unveiled in 2011 by Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson. This year’s outreach meetings and training in New York City are the basis for future outreach campaigns worldwide.

The school is holding a full-length curriculum during the week from June 7 to 29, and an intensive class will be taught from June 23 to 29. More than 32 students have registered for both tracts, organizers said.

Class topics include health ministry, family life outreach, Bible study and developing an evangelism strategy. Instructors are university professors, evangelists and world church leaders. The meetings are being streamed live at schoolofevangelismlive.com

Many students said the urban focus is key for their home territory. Kwon JohngHaeng, Adventist Mission coordinator for the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, based in South Korea, said his region has 23 metro areas with more than 6 million people.

“The School of Evangelism, especially focusing on urban evangelism, is a great opportunity to learn and share with people from other divisions, countries and cultures,” Kwon said. “While we may not apply everything that we learn here, we are learning principles from one another on how to approach big cities.”

Chukwuemeka Abaribe, a district pastor in Nigeria, said the school has been “awesome.”

 

“We’ve been challenged and our eyes have been opened by new methods of evangelism at home," he said. "Most times back home, I must confess, it’s been baptism, baptism, baptism. But our calling is to make disciples.”

Abaribe said he will work to make sure future evangelism campaigns in his district will include several months of community service and involvement by church members, as well as follow-up work.

“The feedback we’re getting is that in general people are very thankful for this school of evangelism,” said Robert Costa, associate secretary of the Adventist Church’s Ministerial Association and coordinator of the program.

“We’re learning how to reach people in cities in ways that are sensitive to their cultural context,” he said. “The goal is to equip leaders with tools to launch comprehensive evangelism initiatives in their own territories.”

Costa said the focus is on conducting “blended ministry,” with a combination of personal evangelism and community service.

“We’re not talking about big, massive events, but reaching one person, a secular post-modern mind,” Costa said. “We want to take the approach of a personal touch.”

The school is operating as the Adventist Church is holding more than 160 evangelism outreach meetings in New York City’s tri-state area. Those meetings followed months of several comprehensive outreach events, including prayer ministries, community service and health education events.

“The unity and excitement of all the activity in recent weeks is very encouraging to long-time New York members and leaders,” said Jerry Page, secretary of the Adventist world church's Ministerial Association. “Barriers are coming down and conferences and pastors are praying together and working unitedly to train, equip and empower lay people to lead out in various ongoing outreach ministries. [This] is a marathon of compassion that must have an ongoing and sustained presence in the cities, and must continue beyond 2013.”

The NY13 initiative will also host a June 29 mass campmeeting in Uniondale, New York, at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders hockey team.

ADRA’s ongoing aid to Syrian refugees includes women’s clinic, school

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency helped Syrian refugees with cash assistance for shelter in neighboring Jordan. Here, an ADRA worker dispenses funds in October. [photos courtesy ADRA International]
ADRA provided winter kits to thousands of Syrian refugees at the Za’atari refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate in Jordan. Here, workers unload supplies in January.

Jun 11, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Ansel Oliver/ANN

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has offered assistance to hundreds of refugee families fleeing the ongoing conflict in Syria with a targeted focus on un-registered refugees, an agency official said.

 

Over the past year, ADRA has offered cash assistance to more than 100 families to help cover rent in neighboring Jordan, said Thierry Van Bignoot, ADRA’s director of emergency management.

The agency also partnered with the government of Germany to distribute winter clothing to some 3,500 families living in the Al Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate in Jordan.

For two years, refugees have fled Syria’s civil war, which has killed more than 70,000 people, according to the United Nations. More than 1.5 million people have fled, many to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Van Bignoot said ADRA estimates the number of refugees is higher because many have not registered.

“Some people are afraid to give their names for fear of retribution,” Van Bignoot said.

 

The agency last year partnered with ADRA Middle East North Africa and the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization to offer 100 Jordanian dinars (approximately US$140) each month for three months to unregistered families for lodging. Many are staying with designated host families, while some have found basement rooms or small apartments.

The assistance helped people such as Amara, who told local ADRA officials that she came to Jordan with her five children while her ex-husband remained in Syria with his new wife. With the extra cash, she was able to pay rent for an unfurnished and unheated apartment. She said she was also able to buy some necessary medication for her heart problems.

Another recipient was a man named Musa, who came to Jordan with his wife and six children. Their finances have been depleted after they sold the last of their gold jewelry they brought from home.

ADRA has identified other needs in the region and is now implementing a project to provide gynecological and obstetrical care to Syrian refugee women in West Bekaa, Lebanon. In Beirut, the agency is planning a school that would provide half-day classes to refugee children, who are without education. Another project proposes a mobile clinic in the Jordan Valley, an area where few nongovernmental organizations are involved.

“The needs are huge,” Van Bignoot said.

He estimated that more than 70 percent of refugees are women and children. Many men have stayed behind in Syria, he said.

Adventist denomination emerged amid debate over church structure

James White turned down a nomination to become the first president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, fearing some would see it as a power grab following his long call for a formal church structure. [photos courtesy Office of Archives, Statistics and Research]
In 1863, 20 delegates met in this building in Battle Creek, Michigan, to organize the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, creating a formal structure for the Adventist movement.
John Byington served as the first president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Jun 12, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Elizabeth Lechleitner/ANN

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of historical articles published this year marking the 150th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

A decade after the Great Disappointment, the fledgling Advent movement was at another crossroads. But where 1844 had jarred the movement’s doctrinal core, this crisis saw leaders debating more tangible matters.

“Around 1854 the movement almost falls apart because they can’t pay their ministers. You have [John Norton] Loughborough asking for a loaf of bread,” said Adventist historian David Trim. “It’s got to where he can’t even support his family.”

 

Deeply discouraged, Loughborough, John Nevins Andrews and other early workers retreated to Waukon, Iowa, in 1856, where they planned to homestead and serve as missionaries. But the rural setting provided few opportunities for witness, and the inclement weather forced Loughborough to take up carpentry instead of farming.

Shortly afterward, church co-founders Ellen and James White arrived unexpectedly to check up on the seemingly delinquent workers.

“[Ellen] finds Loughborough and three times says to him, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?’ and sort of shames him back to work,” Trim said. White was referring to the Old Testament prophet who distrusted God and hid in a cave. 

“But that’s the moment when they realize they’ve got to find a way to support their ministers, and that means every church needs a treasurer,” Trim said.

The story highlights the balancing act early Adventists faced: they still recoiled at the thought of adopting formal church structure, but it was becoming increasingly clear that zeal alone wasn’t enough to effectively spread the gospel message.

But just how the church should move forward was a fraught topic.

By the late 1840s, the Advent movement consisted of scattered groups loosely connected through periodicals such as the “Advent Review & Sabbath Herald” and sporadic Sabbatarian Conferences, where believers met to discuss and, more often than not, argue the finer points of doctrine. “There were hardly two agreed,” Ellen White said of the second such conference in 1848.

 

Indeed, according to Adventist historian George Knight, it would require “forceful, goal-oriented leadership to form a body of believers within the chaotic conditions of post-disappointment Adventism.”

Despite lingering fears that church structure was tantamount to “Babylon”—or favoring organized religion over gospel simplicity—leaders such as the Whites and Joseph Bates were increasingly steadfast in their call for structure.

Formal organization, they argued, would give the early church the financial and legal foundation it needed to own church property, pay and send out pastors, and determine how local congregations should relate to each other and to church leadership.

James White went further, suggesting that structure was a gauge of good stewardship. In an 1860 issue of the Review, he called it “dangerous to leave with the Lord what he has left with us, and thus sit down upon the stool of do little, or nothing.” He was especially concerned about the church’s publishing ministry, which he wanted held and insured “in a legal manner.”

Momentum for the cause grew in the months preceding what would be a watershed church business meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan, in October 1860. There, White challenged his rivals to find a biblical passage against organization. When they failed, the group moved forward. They adopted a constitution to legally incorporate the church’s publishing association, admonished local churches to “hold their church property or church buildings legally” and chose a name for the scattered believers—Seventh-day Adventist.

In early 1861, at another business meeting in Battle Creek, church leaders in the Midwest made three more recommendations, adding to the foundation they had built the previous year. They officially incorporated the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, backed the formation of state or district conferences, and urged local churches to keep accurate membership and financial records.

 

Adventists in the Eastern U.S., Knight said, reacted “forcefully,” rejecting the recommendations and accusing White and his supporters in the Midwest of apostasy.

White blamed the standstill on the silence of prominent church leaders on the subject of organization, Knight said. Ellen White agreed, deploring a lack of “moral courage” among silent leaders. She had received a vision indicating that the real “Babylon” was the confusion and conflict that accompanied disorganization.

“Instead of our being a united people, growing stronger, we are in many places but little better than broken fragments, still scattering and growing weaker. How long shall we wait?” James White wrote in the Review in August 1861.

Shortly afterward, support for organization began pouring in. In October, Adventists in Michigan were the first to organize a state conference. Over the next twelve months, Adventists in six more U.S. states followed suit. Barring a few holdouts in the East, the move toward organization seemed unstoppable by 1862.

But without a top governing body, leaders such as James White, Joseph Harvey Waggoner and Andrews worried that the church would miss out on the full benefits of organization. They proposed that each state conference send a minister, or “delegate,” to a general business meeting, or “general conference.” The need for reliable pastoral ministry was the driving factor. If pastors were entitled to systematic benevolence, White argued, than the church was entitled to “systematic labor.”

So in May of 1863, 20 delegates—10 of whom represented the Michigan Conference—met in Battle Creek to organize the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists “for the purpose of securing unity and efficiency in labor, and promoting the general interests of the cause of present truth, and of perfecting the organization of the Seventh-day Adventists.”

Delegates also adopted a constitution, a model constitution for state conferences and elected the denomination’s top three officers: president, secretary and treasurer. While unanimously elected, James White declined the presidency, fearing the job would sully his campaign for organization as “a calculated grab for personal power,” Knight says. Instead, John Byington served as the denomination’s first president.

But the man behind establishing a framework of decision-making for the church was already one of its most powerful influences. White had introduced the notion that if actions and practices were not “forbidden by the Bible and did not violate common sense,” they were legitimate, Knight said. This challenged the strictly literal interpretation of the Bible favored by early Adventists.  

“To stick with the narrower understanding would have largely crippled the church as it moved across time and culture,” Knight said.

With a broader understanding and acceptance of structure, the church would become better equipped to refine its doctrinal identity and organize for mission.

The ANN news bulletin is a weekly recap of news and information from the Communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist world church headquarters and is distributed by Adventist News Network.

Reproduction requirements: ANN encourages the republication of its news stories and accompanying editorial photos. Stories may be reproduced in full, in shortened form, or as one of several sources used to construct a news story. Please note that ANN's material is copyrighted. When reproducing ANN stories, the words "Adventist News Network" must appear either under the headline or immediately following the article. When reproducing photos that appear on ANN, please credit the photographer and ANN.

ANN staff: Williams Costa Jr., director; Ansel Oliver, assistant director; Elizabeth Lechleitner, editorial coordinator. Portuguese translations by Azenilto Brito, Spanish translations by Marcos Paseggi and French translations by Wenda Ozone-Mourandee.

You're receiving this because you subscribed on our website: http://news.adventist.org

Edit your subscription  |  Unsubscribe instantly

Adventist News Network
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
United States of America

Web version
Facebook Twitter Forward
Adventist News Network: The Official News Service of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church

NY13’s evangelism school offers methods to reach other major cities

Participants of the Adventist Church's International School of Evangelism are meeting at a church in Corona, New York, as a key part of the NY13 and "Mission to the Cities" initiatives. [photos courtesy Greater New York Conference]
Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson speaks during orientation of the International Field School of Evangelism earlier this month.

Jun 18, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
ANN staff

Scores of Seventh-day Adventists from around the world are learning and sharing ideas for urban outreach at a New York church that’s been turned into a giant classroom this month.

The Adventist Church’s International Field School of Evangelism is part of the denomination’s NY13 outreach initiative, which is launching a worldwide push to reach major metropolitian areas. The school is meeting at the Luso Brazilian Adventist Church in Corona, New York. The Adventist world church has sent at least three people from each of its 13 world divisions to attend the school.

 

The NY13 initiative is the first in the “Mission to the Cities” campaign, which was unveiled in 2011 by Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson. This year’s outreach meetings and training in New York City are the basis for future outreach campaigns worldwide.

The school is holding a full-length curriculum during the week from June 7 to 29, and an intensive class will be taught from June 23 to 29. More than 32 students have registered for both tracts, organizers said.

Class topics include health ministry, family life outreach, Bible study and developing an evangelism strategy. Instructors are university professors, evangelists and world church leaders. The meetings are being streamed live at schoolofevangelismlive.com

Many students said the urban focus is key for their home territory. Kwon JohngHaeng, Adventist Mission coordinator for the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, based in South Korea, said his region has 23 metro areas with more than 6 million people.

“The School of Evangelism, especially focusing on urban evangelism, is a great opportunity to learn and share with people from other divisions, countries and cultures,” Kwon said. “While we may not apply everything that we learn here, we are learning principles from one another on how to approach big cities.”

Chukwuemeka Abaribe, a district pastor in Nigeria, said the school has been “awesome.”

 

“We’ve been challenged and our eyes have been opened by new methods of evangelism at home," he said. "Most times back home, I must confess, it’s been baptism, baptism, baptism. But our calling is to make disciples.”

Abaribe said he will work to make sure future evangelism campaigns in his district will include several months of community service and involvement by church members, as well as follow-up work.

“The feedback we’re getting is that in general people are very thankful for this school of evangelism,” said Robert Costa, associate secretary of the Adventist Church’s Ministerial Association and coordinator of the program.

“We’re learning how to reach people in cities in ways that are sensitive to their cultural context,” he said. “The goal is to equip leaders with tools to launch comprehensive evangelism initiatives in their own territories.”

Costa said the focus is on conducting “blended ministry,” with a combination of personal evangelism and community service.

“We’re not talking about big, massive events, but reaching one person, a secular post-modern mind,” Costa said. “We want to take the approach of a personal touch.”

The school is operating as the Adventist Church is holding more than 160 evangelism outreach meetings in New York City’s tri-state area. Those meetings followed months of several comprehensive outreach events, including prayer ministries, community service and health education events.

“The unity and excitement of all the activity in recent weeks is very encouraging to long-time New York members and leaders,” said Jerry Page, secretary of the Adventist world church's Ministerial Association. “Barriers are coming down and conferences and pastors are praying together and working unitedly to train, equip and empower lay people to lead out in various ongoing outreach ministries. [This] is a marathon of compassion that must have an ongoing and sustained presence in the cities, and must continue beyond 2013.”

The NY13 initiative will also host a June 29 mass campmeeting in Uniondale, New York, at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders hockey team.

ADRA’s ongoing aid to Syrian refugees includes women’s clinic, school

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency helped Syrian refugees with cash assistance for shelter in neighboring Jordan. Here, an ADRA worker dispenses funds in October. [photos courtesy ADRA International]
ADRA provided winter kits to thousands of Syrian refugees at the Za’atari refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate in Jordan. Here, workers unload supplies in January.

Jun 11, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Ansel Oliver/ANN

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has offered assistance to hundreds of refugee families fleeing the ongoing conflict in Syria with a targeted focus on un-registered refugees, an agency official said.

 

Over the past year, ADRA has offered cash assistance to more than 100 families to help cover rent in neighboring Jordan, said Thierry Van Bignoot, ADRA’s director of emergency management.

The agency also partnered with the government of Germany to distribute winter clothing to some 3,500 families living in the Al Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate in Jordan.

For two years, refugees have fled Syria’s civil war, which has killed more than 70,000 people, according to the United Nations. More than 1.5 million people have fled, many to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Van Bignoot said ADRA estimates the number of refugees is higher because many have not registered.

“Some people are afraid to give their names for fear of retribution,” Van Bignoot said.

 

The agency last year partnered with ADRA Middle East North Africa and the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization to offer 100 Jordanian dinars (approximately US$140) each month for three months to unregistered families for lodging. Many are staying with designated host families, while some have found basement rooms or small apartments.

The assistance helped people such as Amara, who told local ADRA officials that she came to Jordan with her five children while her ex-husband remained in Syria with his new wife. With the extra cash, she was able to pay rent for an unfurnished and unheated apartment. She said she was also able to buy some necessary medication for her heart problems.

Another recipient was a man named Musa, who came to Jordan with his wife and six children. Their finances have been depleted after they sold the last of their gold jewelry they brought from home.

ADRA has identified other needs in the region and is now implementing a project to provide gynecological and obstetrical care to Syrian refugee women in West Bekaa, Lebanon. In Beirut, the agency is planning a school that would provide half-day classes to refugee children, who are without education. Another project proposes a mobile clinic in the Jordan Valley, an area where few nongovernmental organizations are involved.

“The needs are huge,” Van Bignoot said.

He estimated that more than 70 percent of refugees are women and children. Many men have stayed behind in Syria, he said.

Adventist denomination emerged amid debate over church structure

James White turned down a nomination to become the first president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, fearing some would see it as a power grab following his long call for a formal church structure. [photos courtesy Office of Archives, Statistics and Research]
In 1863, 20 delegates met in this building in Battle Creek, Michigan, to organize the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, creating a formal structure for the Adventist movement.
John Byington served as the first president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Jun 12, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Elizabeth Lechleitner/ANN

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of historical articles published this year marking the 150th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

A decade after the Great Disappointment, the fledgling Advent movement was at another crossroads. But where 1844 had jarred the movement’s doctrinal core, this crisis saw leaders debating more tangible matters.

“Around 1854 the movement almost falls apart because they can’t pay their ministers. You have [John Norton] Loughborough asking for a loaf of bread,” said Adventist historian David Trim. “It’s got to where he can’t even support his family.”

 

Deeply discouraged, Loughborough, John Nevins Andrews and other early workers retreated to Waukon, Iowa, in 1856, where they planned to homestead and serve as missionaries. But the rural setting provided few opportunities for witness, and the inclement weather forced Loughborough to take up carpentry instead of farming.

Shortly afterward, church co-founders Ellen and James White arrived unexpectedly to check up on the seemingly delinquent workers.

“[Ellen] finds Loughborough and three times says to him, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?’ and sort of shames him back to work,” Trim said. White was referring to the Old Testament prophet who distrusted God and hid in a cave. 

“But that’s the moment when they realize they’ve got to find a way to support their ministers, and that means every church needs a treasurer,” Trim said.

The story highlights the balancing act early Adventists faced: they still recoiled at the thought of adopting formal church structure, but it was becoming increasingly clear that zeal alone wasn’t enough to effectively spread the gospel message.

But just how the church should move forward was a fraught topic.

By the late 1840s, the Advent movement consisted of scattered groups loosely connected through periodicals such as the “Advent Review & Sabbath Herald” and sporadic Sabbatarian Conferences, where believers met to discuss and, more often than not, argue the finer points of doctrine. “There were hardly two agreed,” Ellen White said of the second such conference in 1848.

 

Indeed, according to Adventist historian George Knight, it would require “forceful, goal-oriented leadership to form a body of believers within the chaotic conditions of post-disappointment Adventism.”

Despite lingering fears that church structure was tantamount to “Babylon”—or favoring organized religion over gospel simplicity—leaders such as the Whites and Joseph Bates were increasingly steadfast in their call for structure.

Formal organization, they argued, would give the early church the financial and legal foundation it needed to own church property, pay and send out pastors, and determine how local congregations should relate to each other and to church leadership.

James White went further, suggesting that structure was a gauge of good stewardship. In an 1860 issue of the Review, he called it “dangerous to leave with the Lord what he has left with us, and thus sit down upon the stool of do little, or nothing.” He was especially concerned about the church’s publishing ministry, which he wanted held and insured “in a legal manner.”

Momentum for the cause grew in the months preceding what would be a watershed church business meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan, in October 1860. There, White challenged his rivals to find a biblical passage against organization. When they failed, the group moved forward. They adopted a constitution to legally incorporate the church’s publishing association, admonished local churches to “hold their church property or church buildings legally” and chose a name for the scattered believers—Seventh-day Adventist.

In early 1861, at another business meeting in Battle Creek, church leaders in the Midwest made three more recommendations, adding to the foundation they had built the previous year. They officially incorporated the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, backed the formation of state or district conferences, and urged local churches to keep accurate membership and financial records.

 

Adventists in the Eastern U.S., Knight said, reacted “forcefully,” rejecting the recommendations and accusing White and his supporters in the Midwest of apostasy.

White blamed the standstill on the silence of prominent church leaders on the subject of organization, Knight said. Ellen White agreed, deploring a lack of “moral courage” among silent leaders. She had received a vision indicating that the real “Babylon” was the confusion and conflict that accompanied disorganization.

“Instead of our being a united people, growing stronger, we are in many places but little better than broken fragments, still scattering and growing weaker. How long shall we wait?” James White wrote in the Review in August 1861.

Shortly afterward, support for organization began pouring in. In October, Adventists in Michigan were the first to organize a state conference. Over the next twelve months, Adventists in six more U.S. states followed suit. Barring a few holdouts in the East, the move toward organization seemed unstoppable by 1862.

But without a top governing body, leaders such as James White, Joseph Harvey Waggoner and Andrews worried that the church would miss out on the full benefits of organization. They proposed that each state conference send a minister, or “delegate,” to a general business meeting, or “general conference.” The need for reliable pastoral ministry was the driving factor. If pastors were entitled to systematic benevolence, White argued, than the church was entitled to “systematic labor.”

So in May of 1863, 20 delegates—10 of whom represented the Michigan Conference—met in Battle Creek to organize the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists “for the purpose of securing unity and efficiency in labor, and promoting the general interests of the cause of present truth, and of perfecting the organization of the Seventh-day Adventists.”

Delegates also adopted a constitution, a model constitution for state conferences and elected the denomination’s top three officers: president, secretary and treasurer. While unanimously elected, James White declined the presidency, fearing the job would sully his campaign for organization as “a calculated grab for personal power,” Knight says. Instead, John Byington served as the denomination’s first president.

But the man behind establishing a framework of decision-making for the church was already one of its most powerful influences. White had introduced the notion that if actions and practices were not “forbidden by the Bible and did not violate common sense,” they were legitimate, Knight said. This challenged the strictly literal interpretation of the Bible favored by early Adventists.  

“To stick with the narrower understanding would have largely crippled the church as it moved across time and culture,” Knight said.

With a broader understanding and acceptance of structure, the church would become better equipped to refine its doctrinal identity and organize for mission.

The ANN news bulletin is a weekly recap of news and information from the Communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist world church headquarters and is distributed by Adventist News Network.

Reproduction requirements: ANN encourages the republication of its news stories and accompanying editorial photos. Stories may be reproduced in full, in shortened form, or as one of several sources used to construct a news story. Please note that ANN's material is copyrighted. When reproducing ANN stories, the words "Adventist News Network" must appear either under the headline or immediately following the article. When reproducing photos that appear on ANN, please credit the photographer and ANN.

ANN staff: Williams Costa Jr., director; Ansel Oliver, assistant director; Elizabeth Lechleitner, editorial coordinator. Portuguese translations by Azenilto Brito, Spanish translations by Marcos Paseggi and French translations by Wenda Ozone-Mourandee.

You're receiving this because you subscribed on our website: http://news.adventist.org

Edit your subscription  |  Unsubscribe instantly

Adventist News Network
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
United States of America