North American Division News
At the 2019 General Conference Spring Meeting, two world divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church officially entered into a partnership with the North American Division’s Hope for Humanity’s (HFH) literacy program, Partners in Mission.
Ezra Lakra, president of the Southern Asia Division (SUD), and Saw Samuel, president of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Daniel R. Jackson, North American Division (NAD) president, also signed the two MOUs, establishing the collaboration with the ministry.
From these partnerships, training is now occurring in India, with the new Hope 4 Kolkata program. And in the Philippines, HFH’s Partners in Mission is working with the well-established SULADS* missionary organization to bring literacy to adults in remote areas.
In April 2020, HFH will train more than 100 missionary volunteers from Mountain View College in Southern Philippians, who will spend one year in the remote mountains and islands as part of the SULADS. Through HFH adult literacy training, the volunteers will be able to better meet the social and spiritual needs of these isolated communities.
The Partners in Mission special initiative focuses primarily on helping to establish and support adult literacy programs to ensure that Adventist members have the opportunity to read, and as an outreach to those in the communities served by the Adventist Church. The NAD Partners in Mission initiative is supported and coordinated primarily by its Hope for Humanity ministry, which has helped establish successful literacy initiatives around the world.
“Mission has always been the focus of the North American Division — both at home and around the world. NAD’s desire to be engaged in mission worldwide is no less real today than in years past,” said Maitland DiPinto, HFH director. He believes that prayerful collaboration is the key to success in mission.
“With the church’s world field developing greater human and financial resources it is felt that partnerships such as this can enhance mission work in each division. NAD believes that independence should not be a goal to be strived for, but rather interdependence. Church entities need one another. They need to work together, learn from one another, and bless one another,” said DiPinto. “Opportunities should be sought to share ideas and to share both human and financial resources. It is mission that unites us.”
In 2000, the lngathering ministry of the North American Division (NAD) became known as Hope for Humanity (HFH) to better reflect the purpose of the ministry. Along with the name change there was a refocusing and clarification of the ministry's mission.
The mission of HFH is to work in partnership with church entities both within the NAD and other world divisions for the specific purposes of: engaging church congregations in ministry to both their own members and to members of the communities in which they live; supporting holistic ministry that has a permanent, life-changing impact on those being ministered to; and supporting ministry that facilitates the development of mission and leadership capacity among laymembers engaged in the ministry.
The initiative started years ago with partnership with the Inter-American Division (IAD). Adult literacy was identified as a pressing issue both among our own members, 20-25 percent of whom were illiterate, and within the general public. As this need was further explored it was determined that ministry addressing this issue could provide permanent, life-changing results, and that it could be organized to engage the average lay persons in our congregations in ways that would result in greater capacity for leadership and mission, thus meeting the unique missional goals of Hope for Humanity, as well as those of IAD.
At the request of SUD leadership, Hope for Humanity worked in collaboration with SUD Women’s Ministries to develop an adult literacy program in the early 2000s that would address these needs and opportunities. Since the beginning of the initiative NAD and SUD have worked collaboratively to provide the needed support to establish and grow the ministry through planning, training, managerial assistance, and financial support. To date, more than 75,000 learners have received the gift of literacy and have had their lives dramatically and permanently changes for the better — both socially and spiritually.
In exploring future possibilities for collaboration with the SUD leadership, adult literacy was identified as a persistent and pressing issue both among church members and within the general public. “As this need was further explored it was determined the program could dramatically expand the literacy work in the region,and that it could be organized to engage the average laypersons in our congregations in ways that would result in greater capacity for leadership and mission, thus meeting the uniqu emissional goals of HFH while enhancing the mission outreach within SUD,” explained DiPinto.
“With the MOU, our work together will spread further, including the new program in India, Hope 4 Kolkata,” DiPinto added. “Ongoing support is needed to continue and expand the adult literacy ministry in the Southern Asia Division. With greater local support and capacity this ministry can be part of the missional fabric of the church in the SUD.”
Before the recent MOU was signed, in exploring possibilities for collaboration with the SSD officers, adult literacy was identified as a potential mission initiative in a number of SSD countries. Timor and Irian Jaya were especially highlighted, but Sri Lanka, the remote areas of Southern Philippines, and Cambodia were also identified as potential places for an adult literacy ministry.
At the invitation of church leaders in Sri Lanka and Southern Philippines the NAD Partners in Mission representative visited these two territories to explore possibilities of establishing adult literacy ministries. The result is that project proposals have been developed, leading to the establishment of new programs, the first in this region kicks off with SULADS training.
*SULADS is an acronym for Socio-economic Uplift, Literacy, Anthropological, and Developmental Services. The organization recently celebrated 50 years of service. Click here to read an article about the SULADS from Adventist Review.kmaran Wed, 02/26/2020 - 21:11
On Feb. 14-16, 2020, 230 youth and young adults attended the Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress in Shipshewana, Indiana. They were encouraged to act on the Holy Spirit’s call for evangelism. This unique event is the only one of its kind in that it provides young people with a matching fund opportunity of $100,000 (provided by the Lake Union, conferences, and local churches) to make creative evangelism opportunities in their local church a reality.
Organized by the Center for Youth Evangelism, the weekend’s theme was "Courageous." Justin Khoe, founder of the popular YouTube channel ThatChristianVlogger, was the featured keynote speaker. Khoe shared his journey from literature evangelist to using YouTube as an evangelistic tool, and how he built a community of almost 100,000 subscribers despite having no media training.
“I felt a burden to reach those who hadn’t heard this gospel and thought, Where are my time and energies spent? What does serving my local church sounds like?" Khoe said he pondered. “I realize the gospel commission is to go into the world and share it with those who haven’t heard it before.”
Khoe encouraged the multi-generational crowd of 300 to confront their fears. “Perfect love casts out fear. Living a life of courage is not rooted in your actions, but your identity. It’s not something you earn … it’s something you receive. When God speaks identity over you, that’s who you are.”
Presenters also included Melissa Taylor (Indiana’s Art & Soul), Lilly Widdicombe (Michigan's Fieldwork), Connor Nelson & Sheree Skinner (Michigan's We are Called), Matthew Lucio (Peoria Illinois Digital Church), Joel Campbell (Green Bay Wisconsin Street Team), and others.
Isaac Smith from Village Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan, was one of the youth sponsored by their local church to attend. His goal is to help produce Village church’s podcast through interviews, because he believes that God has not only called him to tell stories but to listen as well. On the final day of the conference, he shared how his life was impacted by what he had experienced. “This weekend really showed me how many other people are out there, trying to do things in their own way, and it was inspiring to feel that comradery."
The Adventist Christian Fellowship at Purdue (ACFP) president Myles Chapman, and officers Joel Taina and Adrian Calderon, attended the event and decided to adopt a concept presented by Joshua Guerrero and University of Wisconsin Stevens Point ACF. With help from the Lafayette Church, they will have an ACFP Campus House to give their organization a permanent presence on Purdue’s vast campus.
“The 2020 Courageous Youth Congress has brought blessings that I didn’t expect to come. I came into this weekend uncertain of the nature of future ACFP projects,” said Chapman. “I left with a ministry plan and the resources needed to execute. I realize now that God provides everything we need to succeed in ministry, and that we must simply be courageous in taking steps with Him.”
Young Adult Advisory
The Lake Union Young Adult Advisory followed on Feb. 16-17. Mediated by youth training expert Steve Case, a selection of young adults representing the five Lake Union Conferences discussed issues important to them and provided input for youth directors and conference staff to glean from. The vote was unanimous to pilot the nine COR (Church of Refuge) principles as a tool to evaluate the condition of local churches compared with healthy Adventist churches around the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
COR values, which are Sabbath, Discipleship, Acceptance, Community, Support, Service, Leadership, Budget and Change, is not a “to-do list”, an event, or a program. It is a group of principles developed by healthy churches around the NAD territory, according to NCD [sic] research.
The next Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress will take place in 2022, with a theme of "Unstoppable." For more images from the weekend, visit the Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress’ Facebook page. Recap videos are available on the Lake Union Herald Facebook page.
— Victory Kovach is Communication director for the Center for Youth Evangelism; this article originally appeared on the Lake Union Herald website.kmaran Wed, 02/26/2020 - 14:20
Although Adventist Pharmacy Worker’s Case Declined by Supreme Court, Case Moves Cause of Religious Liberty in the Workplace ForwardAlthough Adventist Pharmacy Worker’s Case Declined by Supreme Court, Case Moves Cause of Religious Liberty in the Workplace Forward
On Monday, February 24, 2020, a nearly nine-year journey came to an end when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Patterson v. Walgreens. This case came out of Walgreens’ decision to terminate Darrell Patterson because he failed to work on a single Sabbath in 2011.
[Prior coverage of this case can be found here: “U.S. Department of Justice Urges Supreme Court to Hear Adventist's Sabbath Accommodation Case;” “U.S. Supreme Court Asks Government to Express View on Church Member's Case;” and “Adventist Pharmacy Workers' Case Likely to be Accepted by U.S. Supreme Court.”]
The case wound its way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the question: What does the law require employers to do in order to accommodate the religious beliefs of its employees? Patterson asked the court to reconsider its 1977 decision in TWA v. Hardison. Hardison said anything more than a minimal inconvenience or expense would be an undue hardship.
While it is disappointing that the court did not take Patterson, the fact is his case moved the cause of religious liberty in the workplace forward immeasurably. Before Patterson’s case, religious employees were not only stuck with the Hardison decision, there was no movement to get the Supreme Court to reconsider Hardison.
That has all changed. In declining to hear Patterson, three justices (Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch) said they were looking for an appropriate case to revisit Hardison. In a statement made when the case was denied, Justice Alito wrote, “I reiterate that review of the Hardison issue should be undertaken when a petition in an appropriate case comes before us.” In Supreme Court parlance, that is as clear an invitation as it gets.
In addition, the U.S. government is now on record as supporting Hardison being revisited. This is not insignificant; the Solicitor General (who represents the U.S. government) is often called the tenth justice, and that opinion matters. The position of the government is not likely to change even when the administration changes either in early 2021 or in 2025.
Put in different terms, while we were not able to get the ball over the goal line in Patterson, we moved it considerably. Before Patterson brought his case, legal challenges to Hardison were non-existent, the equivalent of being on our own 1-yard line. This single case has put the issue in the red zone. While there is no guarantee the court will overturn Hardison, it is now in striking distance.
Football analogies aside, Patterson’s case, despite it not being granted, is the most significant development in workplace religious accommodation in a generation. The Adventist Church is committed to continuing this fight — as it has for the last four decades — and to bettering the workplace for all people of faith.
— Todd McFarland is associate general counsel for the Office of General Counsel of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.kmaran Wed, 02/26/2020 - 12:33
On Feb. 7, 2020, after nearly six months of preparation, the Oakwood University Ambassadors emerged as winners at the Honda Campus All Star Challenge (HCASC) National Qualifying Tournament (NQT) held at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The team will now prepare for the national championship tournament in Torrance, California, on March 28 to April 1, 2020.
Teams from Allen University, Claflin University, Harris-Stowe State University, Paine College, and Oakwood University met in a face-off to answer an array of questions on topic areas including classic literature, science, the arts and African-American culture.
The teams of scholars were given a few ground rules, and category names and descriptions, before the games began for the day. The first three rounds, called Face-Off rounds, present the teams with two types of questions: face-offs, worth 10 points each; and bonuses, worth 20 points. The fourth round is called the Ultimate Challenge. Each team gets a turn to play the Ultimate Challenge and has 60 seconds to answer 10 questions in the category of its choice. Each correct answer is worth 25 points, for a total of 250 points. Each round has a category board with four categories.
Each team was anxious to answer as many questions as possible to lead their teammates to victory. When the final round concluded, Oakwood’s Honda team emerged as the winners of the NQT held at Claflin. Because NQTs would also be played the following day (Saturday), it was requested that no one announce Friday’s results until the results of both days could be announced simultaneously.
Oakwood’s HCASC team members included Danielle Honoré, Biomedical Science major – sophomore (captain); Crosby Lambert, Communication major – junior; Jonas Clarke, Biology major – junior; and Grayson Mejia, Applied Mathematics major – junior. The university’s alternate HCASC team members included Jordan Seal, Biochemistry major – freshman; Miriam Duronville, Biology major – sophomore; Khaliah Patton, Accounting major – freshman; and Nirvana Walton, Allied Health major – senior.
Rennae Elliott, Communication Department chair, also serves as Oakwood’s HCASC Coach.
HCASC is America’s premier academic quiz competition for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). More than 150,000 HBCU scholars have participated in HCASC since 1989. Honda has awarded more than $9 million in grants through HCASC to help fund tuition and book scholarships, student development initiatives, endowment and development initiatives, as well as facilities improvements and equipment.
— Debbe Millet, Integrated Marketing & Public Relations
kmaran Thu, 02/20/2020 - 09:30