North American Division News
Southwestern Adventist University’s department of communication has won an Emmy® award — considered the highest honor in the television industry — at a televised awards ceremony in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 10, 2018.
Professors Kyle Portbury, Michael Agee, and Glen Robinson each received an Emmy® for their work on “Truth” in the category of Historic/Cultural — Program Feature/Segment. In addition, writer/director Kyle Portbury received an Emmy® nomination for outstanding achievement in directing. The Emmy® Awards ceremony was conducted by the Lone Star Regional Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Produced by Southwestern’s Institute of Christian Film, “Truth” tells the story of women’s rights activist and abolitionist Sojourner Truth and the speech she delivered at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851. “Truth” is a graphic novel style animation featuring the voices of a number of current communication students and staff members, along with professional actors. It is the first episode in the Institute of Christian Film series, True Heroes, with episode two, “Resistance,” currently in production.
The Emmy® award is the most recent and widely recognized of the many awards that the three professors have received during the course their professional careers.
Glen Robinson, Ph.D., is known primarily as a writer, with more than 200 articles and stories as well as 22 books published. His awards over the years include two Angel awards for writing and editing, two honorable mentions from the Society of Adventist Communicators for writing and web design, an American Fiction Awards finalist in 2018, and an official selection by New Apple book awards in 2018.
“It’s a joy to work on the Institute of Christian Film projects and an honor to collaborate with the two talented professors I share my department with,” Robinson says.
Michael Agee, department chair and general manager of the university’s TV station KGSW, also has a long history as a successful radio station manager. He is a three-time Dove Award winner for Station of the Year from the Gospel Music Association, received a Station of the Year award from Radio and Records, was a finalist for a Marconi Award, and received a Crystal Community Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters.
“I’m very excited for what this means for our department,” says Agee. “I’m proud of the recognition for my colleagues and the hard work they’ve done.”
In his wide-ranging film career, Kyle Portbury has won multiple awards, including best documentary at The Mountain Film Festival in California for his film “The Mountain Within,” 15 international awards including the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle for his television series "Beyond the Search,” and a nomination for best direction in online drama at the 2017 Australian Directors Guild Awards for the six-part mini-series version of “Tell the World.”
“We are humbled to receive an Emmy® award for 'Truth,'" says Portbury. “Sojourner’s courage to speak up against injustice 167 years ago still resonates today. It’s sacrifices by people like Sojourner Truth that encourage us today to keep trying to do what is right, regardless of the consequences.”kmaran Mon, 11/19/2018 - 20:43
On Nov. 2-4, 2018, for the third consecutive year, Breath of Life Television Ministries, in collaboration with Oakwood University and the Oakwood University Church, invited academy students from across the North American Division (NAD) to celebrate Adventist education through sports and the arts. In a climate of waning interest and support for Adventist Christian education in the NAD, as evidenced by 274 schools closing in the NAD in the past 15 years, Breath of Life Ministries is seeking to help reverse this trend by using its media presence as a platform for intentional support and promotion of our Adventist educational system.
Nearly 500 students representing nine academies made their way to Huntsville, Alabama, for the annual “Fall Classic: Celebration of Adventist Education.” From as far north as New York to as far south as Miami, high school students came to share the good news through music and healthy living through sports.
On Friday afternoon, choral clinics took place along with individual academy choir rehearsals for students. After the respective choir rehearsals, a mass choir rehearsal took place in preparation for its presentation on Sabbath. Throughout the Sabbath Worship Experience, including Sabbath School, personal ministries, and divine wWorship, each of the academy choirs shared a musical selection with a culminating mass choir selection being rendered just prior to the sermon for the Sabbath Worship Experience by Carlton P. Byrd, speaker/director for Breath of Life and senior pastor of the Oakwood University Church. Sabbath afternoon consisted of a choral festival featuring all of the academy choirs. The closing selection was performed by the mass choir.
A basketball tournament transpired on Saturday night and Sunday morning, showcasing both boys' and girls’ teams. This year’s tournament concluded with the Forest Lake Academy (Apopka, Florida) girls’ team taking the championship honors, and Takoma Academy (Takoma Park, Maryland) boys’ team repeating as champions for the third straight year.
In addition to the academy students, there was a group of public high school students from Tampa, Florida, who attended this year’s Fall Classic, representing their area churches. Among this group was one young person, Jahell Nunez, who was baptized in this year’s Breath of Life summer evangelistic revival held in Tampa. Nunez remarked on the weekend festivities, saying, “This was my first time coming to an Adventist school. I really liked this experience and I hope to come back soon.”
"This response is evidence of the long-term value of events like the Fall Classic to promote Adventist Christian Education," said Oakwood University leadership. Prayerfully, just as the songs ascended to God at the year’s Fall Classic, students commit to keep a song in their hearts, and pursue the mark of God as they did the goal on the basketball court. This is the aim of true education — a preparation for this life and life hereafter.
— Christopher C. Thompson is Communication and Marketing director at Breath of Life TV Ministries.kmaran Mon, 11/19/2018 - 19:43
On Oct. 27, 2018, Andrews University’s student-produced Envision magazine received a Pacemaker award from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP).
Known as “collegiate journalism’s preeminent award,” the Pacemaker awards are presented yearly by the ACP. Paul Kim, chair of the university's Department of Visual Art, Communication & Design, says, “These [Pacemaker awards] are widely referred to as the Pulitzer Prizes of collegiate journalism.”
Entries for the Pacemaker awards span a variety of publication types including online, newspapers, yearbooks and magazines. Each entry is carefully judged on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics.
Heather Thompson Day, associate professor of communication at Andrews University and editor of Envision magazine, further describes the significance of this award. “We competed against schools such as Harvard, Columbia and Baylor. The top 17 magazine publications in the nation were selected out of approximately 125 entries from their prospective schools. The Pacemaker signifies which schools set the pace for magazine publication in the country.” She adds, “I would also like to note we were one of very few Christian schools to be nominated, and I believe we were the only Christian school to win.”
Envision magazine received the Pacemaker award for their recent 10th issue, which featured Mekayla Eppers, Mrs. America 2018. Pictured on the cover holding a #MeToo sign, Eppers poignantly opens up about her own personal experiences with sexual abuse. The magazine also included stories, pitched by young college students, titled “Why are Christians So Fake?” “Can I be a Christian and a Feminist?” “Facebook is Making Me Hate My Friends,” “DACA and the Death of Dreams,” and “17 Years a Slave.”
Visit envisionmag.com to read the Envision blog, view writing submission requirements and watch behind-the-scenes videos about the people featured in the magazine and the student teams who pull it all together.
Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 200 areas of study including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but the university also provides instruction at colleges and universities in 19 countries around the world.
— Hannah Gallant is a university Communication student writer.kmaran Mon, 11/19/2018 - 18:53
Unprecedented Adventist Military Veterans Program Recognizes Exemplary Service, Remembers the FallenUnprecedented Adventist Military Veterans Program Recognizes Exemplary Service, Remembers the Fallen
The North American Division (NAD) Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries (ACM) hosted its first ever ceremony in honor of Veterans Day entitled, “You Are Not Forgotten: A Salute to Veterans” on Saturday, November 10.
“We have gathered. We who have served, and those of you who endured while we served, have come today to recognize those who are still with us and those who are not,” said Paul Anderson, director/endorser of AMC.
“Some have described a veteran as someone who at some point in his or her life wrote to this country a blank check up to — and including — their very lives,” continued Anderson. “Others have suggested that these men and women in uniform or who have served in uniform serve as the fabric of security in which we live day-by-day, and the security blanket under which we sleep night-by-night.”
More than 200 people attended the Sabbath afternoon program, which happened to fall on the 242th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, at the division’s headquarters in Columbia, Maryland. Those in attendance included servicemen and women from the five U.S. military services – Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Each member of the military marched into the auditorium where the program was held according to their service. They saluted a ranking official then received a commemorative coin that was fashioned for the occasion. Spouses, relatives, and supporters also came to express their gratitude for their service.
“My brothers, my sisters, we affirm you, we appreciate you,” continued Anderson. “Welcome home. Thank you for your service.”
The ceremony was designed to be simultaneously awe-inspiring and solemn. Each chair held a “Buddy Poppy,” the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. A table was set on the stage to remember prisoners of war (POW).
Each element was intentionally placed and held a special meaning, including a white table cloth that represented the purity of motives of those who served; a candle that represented the hope for the return of the serviceperson; and a Bible that represented the strength gained through faith.
A 95-year-old former POW from World War II was recognized for his bravery and service. Rothhacker Smith was drafted in 1943 when he was 20 years old to serve in the 92nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. The regiment was the only African-American infantry division to see combat in Europe during WWII. The following year, his infantry was sent to serve in the war’s Italian Campaign in the Tuscan region.
As a noncombatant medic, Smith accompanied his fellow soldiers who operated machine guns. While stationed in a house across from a German line on Christmas day, the Germans began shooting mortar shells, an artillery weapon that fires explosive shells known as “mortar bombs.” The following day their house was hit three times. Only 10 survived, including Smith who was severely injured. While they were spared from the mortar shells, they were certain their mortality was near.
“We knew Hitler declared ‘instant death’ for any black capture. They surrounded us for almost two whole days before they came in to pick us up. We knew we were going to be dead. There was no question that we were going to die," said Smith.
The soldiers were instead marched on foot for approximately four days before they were loaded in a truck to be transported to a German prison camp. A month later, Smith and other POWs from Allied countries were transferred to Germany. The POWs were freed by American troops three months later on April 29, 1945.
“My advice to you, if you face death get ready to die,” said Smith who asked God to forgive his sins when he thought the Germans were going to execute him and the fellow survivors. Once he had peace that he was forgiven, he accepted his fate because was eager to see Jesus. “It's a beautiful thing when you're ready.”
Honoring Exemplary Service
ACM leaders recognized four servicemen for their extraordinary service in their fields. The honorees included Sgt. 1st Class Joseph D. Anderson, (ret.) for his service to the Army during the Vietnam War, and his leadership as Ward Master for Male Orthopedics at the FitzSimmons Army Medical Center in Denver, Colorado; Frank Damazo, M.D. was honored for the 60 years of advocacy and mentoring for the White Coats – 2,300 soldiers who volunteered as human subjects in experiments from 1954-1973 to develop the science of defensive capabilities against bio-chemical warfare; and Brig. Gen. James Hammond was honored for his outstanding public service in the South Carolina National Guard and the U.S. state of Maryland as a minister, teacher, counselor, and highly decorated military leader.
Leaders also honored Col. Richard “Dick” Stenbakken, (ret.) who helped establish Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries as its first director/endorser after becoming the first Seventh-day Adventist Chaplain to serve as full colonel in the U.S. Army. Stenbakken was also the 13th Adventist chaplain to be assigned to active duty in the military; today there are 104 Adventist chaplains serving on active duty in the uniformed services.
“You can't possibly understand the thrill that's in my heart,” said Stenbakken. “It's been my pleasure to see the growth and expansion, [and] to enjoy seeing this church serve not only Adventists, but many, many, many other faith groups as well.”
Remembering Staff Sgt. Stacey Mastrapa
A section of the program was dedicated to Staff Sgt. Stacey Mastrapa who was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq. Mastrapa’s mother, Nancy, attended the ceremony to accept an honor in his memory.
“It is our honor to appreciate the fortitude under which you bear the loss of your child and the character that you built within him,” said Anderson while fighting back tears. “On behalf of the president of the North American Division, your grateful church and Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, it is my honor to present you with this [award] as an appreciation for your life, the life of your son, and your commitment to God and His church."
“[Stacey] joined the army to keep us safe,” responded Nancy. “He believed in God and country. May his life and all others not be in vain. Thank you for recognizing our fallen heroes and for remembering our sacrifice. Let us pray for our country, and the freedom we have. God bless America."
The ceremony concluded with a gracious acknowledgement of the men and women who support their loved ones who serve.
“We want to take this time … to salute and acknowledge the strength behind the veteran,” said Debra Anderson, wife of Paul. “ACM would like to give you a token of appreciation for all that you have done when you are home alone, when you're raising the kids all by yourself.”
Spouses of military personnel in the audience were asked to stand to receive a gift, which was a white handkerchief with the engrained message, "You are not forgotten."
“We ask you just to keep it with you, you don't have to use it … but [please know] that ACM appreciates you, as does the country. Thank you for your service.”mylonmedley Mon, 11/19/2018 - 18:41