North American Division News
The clock strikes 6:15 a.m. and the alarm goes off. It’s time to get going. The infectious music picks up as you see different individuals kickstart their days: a woman heading into a farm at sunrise, a man adjusting a bicycle, another woman with a volunteer t-shirt feeding and caring for animals. And then you see it. A hand checks off a day on a calendar. But not because the date has passed. Because the day’s activity, “volunteer,” has been completed. It’s one of 21 total.
That’s how one of the commercials for AdventHealth’s Feel Whole Challenge campaign begins. The words at the end deliver the powerful call to action: “You have the power to change your life. Prove it.”
It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form or break a habit. Throughout the course of this year, participants across the country have put this concept to the test, answering AdventHealth’s call to action to improve their physical, mental, and spiritual health. In nine media markets throughout the Midwestern, Southwestern, and Southeastern United States, 9.7 million consumers have heard this same message.
While it may seem counterproductive for a health system to challenge consumers to make changes that will keep them awayfrom its facilities, helping people feel whole is the center of AdventHealth’s health care approach. In fact, “feel whole” is its brand promise.
Feel Whole Pioneers
Although launched in 2019, the feel whole brand promise and the Feel Whole Challenge have roots dating back 150 years when Seventh-day Adventists pioneered whole-person care.
“Whole-person care was the conviction of our founding fathers, and it is ours as well,” said Terry Shaw, AdventHealth president and CEO. “They deeply believed in the idea of wholeness.”
The health principles those early church leaders revolutionized in their time are still relevant today and are currently expressed within AdventHealth’s CREATION Life program. The acronym in CREATION Life stands for Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust in God, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook and Nutrition. These same eight principles were used to shape the 21 activities of the Feel Whole Challenge, including:
- “Pray for someone every day of the challenge.”
- “Think of someone you’re grateful for and tell them.”
- “Do something you’ve always wanted to try.”
“More than 150 years later, we have the years of experience and the research that has enhanced our understanding and given us a broader view of those fundamental principles Ellen White and other church leaders originally espoused,” said Ted Hamilton, M.D., senior vice president and chief mission integration officer for AdventHealth. “Those principles of whole-person care impact how we live, how we care for each other and how we spend our time. In the long run, it’s these kinds of activities that make a huge difference.”
Participants both in and outside of the national AdventHealth system, which operates 50 hospitals across nine states and in four different Adventist union conferences, answered the call and committed to the challenge. Among the group were Joy Block-Gonzalez, executive director of internal audit and reconciliation services for AdventHealth; Benecia Holder, a Tampa Bay-area resident; and Terry Shaw himself, the president and CEO for AdventHealth.
The ABCs of Prayer
Block-Gonzalez looked down at her calendar and read her “Day 4” activity — one that would need to be repeated for the rest of the challenge: pray for someone. Prayer is not an unfamiliar activity for her. It’s part of her personal routine to pray for her kids, family, close friends and coworkers. Yet she wanted this particular experience to be different.
“I reflected on the task, wondering what I could do to make it special,” she said. “That’s when I landed on the alphabet. I took a couple letters each day, from A through Z, and prayed for individuals I knew whose names started with those letters.”
It certainly wasn’t easy, especially toward the end of the alphabet.
“The activity allowed me to think about the people who’ve minimally touched my life,” she continued. “I had to dig deep into my past interactions for people whose names started with X and Z, but I was able to pray for those whom I would have never thought to pray for otherwise. It helped me pause every day and spend time talking to God. I know the experience has helped strengthen my relationship with Him.”
Tag, You’re It
For Holder, the Feel Whole Challenge turned her positive activities into habits. Trying a new exercise turned into daily morning stretches, examining her sleep routine translated into limited screen time at night, and praying daily led her to a new faith community. She already wanted to get back to a church. The challenge just gave her the push she needed.
“The Feel Whole Challenge led me to pick up my Bible again,” she said. “I thought about how I’d like to find community again. Not just a church, but a community of like-minded people around my age.”
The challenge nudged Holder to claim a new home church this summer, and she in turn nudged three of her friends to also complete the 21 days. The women were already top-of-mind, as Holder has written them notes as part of the activity, “Think of someone you’re grateful for and tell them.”
“I’ve definitely been advocating for this,” she said. “I think being well-rounded is important for everyone. Personally, it’s made me more mindful when it comes to all aspects – physical, mental and spiritual.”
The Power of Balance
The life of a CEO is usually described as hectic, pressured or jam-packed. And while all those things may be true at certain times, Shaw has introduced a new word — “balanced.”
“One thing I learned from the Feel Whole Challenge is the power of balance,” he said. “Throughout the 21 days, I spent a lot of time thinking about ways I could bring more balance to my life. I will be using the new skills I learned through this experience to help make that happen.”
Shaw led by example, completing the challenge himself and personally inviting his leadership team, and then all other team members at every level, to commit to it as well.
“The Feel Whole Challenge is AdventHealth’s invitation to everyone — team members, families, consumers, community and church members — to begin their own journeys to wholeness,” he said. “Christ’s desire for us is to live life abundantly until the day when He returns and restores us to whole beings.”
To get started on your 21-day journey to wholeness, visit FeelWholeChallenge.com. You can post about your participation on social media using the hashtags, #feelwholechallenge and #feelingwhole.kmaran Wed, 11/13/2019 - 13:03
The General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (GC), as is practice, sends a representative from the each of the Church’s top offices – presidential, secretariat, and treasury – to the Year-end Meetings of the Adventist Church’s 13 world divisions. This year, the representatives, Juan Prestol-Puesan, GC treasurer; Ella Simmons, general vice president; John Thomas, associate secretary; attended and participated in the North American Division’s 2019 Year-end Meeting. In addition, Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, GC education director, also attended the business sessions.
On Sunday, November 3, Simmons and Thomas presented the General Conference’s strategic plan, “I Will Go” for the Church’s next quinquennium – 2020 through 2025. The executive committee also voted to accept the “Resolution of the Bible” statement that will be presented to delegates of the 2020 General Conference Session in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“You, all of you seated here, are the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Those of us who are at the General Conference are here to serve you. You are the Church,” said Simmons before the presentation.
Gordon Pifher, NAD vice president for media ministries, shared a video report on the division’s seven media ministries — Breath of Life, Faith for Today, It is Written, Jesus 101, La Voz La Esperanza, Life Talk Radio, and Voice of Prophecy.
“One of the best gifts that the North American Division has is the gift of Adventist Media Ministries,” said Pifher. “The dollars we put in are multiplied again and again by dollars they receive to provide some of the best resources we have to share the good news and the promises of Jesus’ soon return.”
At the conclusion of the report, Mark Galvez, a student delegate from Southern Adventist University, advocated for sponsorships of young adult-produced podcasts.
“Students from my campus and other campuses are giving of their own money, not from a source of many funds, but from passion and empty pockets,” said Galvez. “They are relevant voices of the church as well. I can guarantee you that many of my friends are not asking, ‘Where do the dead go after they die?’ Or many deep theological questions. We're asking questions about depression, anxiety, and ‘Why my brother died of an overdose?’”
“I think it's important for the youth to see young adults who are hosting podcasts to give them a voice in Spanish or in any other language,” continued Galvez. “Our target audience isn't secular it’s unchurched. If the North American Division can exemplify to the rest of world that we give to our youth and young people, then we can [help the church] move forward.”
The comment generated support from the executive committee, including the president of the division.
“When you think about our media ministries, generally speaking the individuals who initiated those ministries, they were individuals who had a dream and a passion,” said Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president. “My challenge to you and your colleagues is to produce then submit and to keep doing it, and if no one is listening, start your own.”
“That was a tremendous contribution to our meeting. We will do our best to direct and support where we can,” continued Jackson as he thanked Galvez for sharing.
A motion was presented — and subsequently passed — by Deborrah Jackson, NAD member of the General Conference Executive Committee, to allow the young adult delegates to draft a proposal on how the division can best support their endeavors.
NAD Institution Reports
Three NAD institution reports were given, starting with Dale Galusha, president of Pacific Press Publishing Association, who presented a report on the publishing house that put a different spin on Adventists as “People of the Book.”
“When we say that, we usually mean the Bible, but I want to expand that to talk about benefits of reading,” said Galusha.
He highlighted a number of statistics on the benefits of reading, including how six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent, and how adults who read 30 minutes a week report feeling 20 percent more satisfied with their lives than those who don’t read as much a week.
“I invite you to find a selection of faith-building books at your Adventist Book Center, take time to go and read, and then share a book with a friend,” said Galusha at the conclusion of his report.
Leslie Pollard, president of Oakwood University, shared how the school is diversifying its revenue streams, expanding services that will be offered to the city of Huntsville, Alabama by students, and reaching new demographics. This year alone, the university applied for and received its first prime contract from the U.S. government; started construction on its Farm-to-Table Eatery that is expected to open in January 2020; and partnered with the Southeastern Conference for an evangelistic campaign in 16 Hispanic congregations in Florida that yielded 50 baptisms and the enrollment of 27 new students.
Following Pollard, Brad Forbes, president of AdventSource, introduced two resources that will be available for local churches in the new year. “Beyond Greeting: Establishing Guest Services in Your Church” is a kit that will help church greeters effectively welcome and connect visitors.
“In a society where more and more people have never been inside a church building, we want to make sure that when they take the step of stepping inside your church that we have a plan to make sure they are not ignored and [end up] never coming back,” said Forbes.
Forbes then introduced the curriculum for the 2020 Vacation Bible School program, “Heroes,” which was produced in partnership with NAD Children’s Ministries. The program will help teach children how to be brave for Jesus. Further, for the first time, the VBS curriculum from AdventSource will be fully available in Spanish.
After the report, Kwasi Ansah-Adu, president of the Quebec Conference, applauded the ministry for it work, but petitioned leaders to develop ways to make resources produced by the Church available in French on a consistent basis. The same sentiment was echoed by Daniel Honore, president of the Northeastern Conference, and Calvin Watkins, president of the Southwest Regional Conference, who specifically spoke about the need to reach the growing West African communities in Texas. Conrad Vine, a lay person from the Michigan Conference said French-printed materials can also be used by missionaries sent by the division to serve in western Africa.
Jackson asked for Ansah-Adu, Honore, and Watkins to meet with Forbes and Tony Anobile, NAD vice president for multilingual ministries, to help facilitate the best and most effective ways of producing needed resources for French-speaking church and community members.
Response to Requests for Action
On Sunday afternoon, the agenda allowed for members of the NAD executive committee to hear how the GC responded to the body’s requests for action regarding two items. The first was a voted document that outlined a process for dealing with non-compliant Church entities. (Click here to read the NAD’s original response to the document.) The second was the division’s request for financial parity to be accomplished in two to three years. (Click here to read an article detailing the parity discussion and action.)
Although not directly stated, implications of the document regarding non-compliant entities were directed toward the two unions within the North American Division that have ordained women to pastoral ministry — a practice that is not of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s governing policies. During the 2018 Year-end Meeting, a writing committee was formed to draft the following response to the document that references non-compliant entities:
- We respectfully request, in light of Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17 and in harmony with the call for unity in the body of Christ in Fundamental Belief No. 14, that the General Conference Executive Committee at its 2019 Annual Council rescind the action approving the document.
- We respectfully request that the 2019 Annual Council revise any policies that enable majority fields to dictate the management of non-doctrinal, non-biblical issues to minority fields (1 Cor 12:26) and create policies that protect the interests of minority fields.
- We respectfully request that an item be placed on the 2020 General Conference Session agenda calling for a statement by the world church that: (1) affirms our shared respect for the richness and variety of the multiple cultures and practices in which we minister; and (2) empowers ministry that is sensitive to the local context (Acts 15; 1 Cor 9:19-23).
NAD president Jackson shared that the officers of the General Conference reviewed the requests and even read the official minutes from the business session where the discussion on the matter was held.
“To the first request, they said, ‘We cannot do that, we will not present that to the body of the 2019 annual council,’” said Jackson. “To the second request they said, ‘This is not practical, and would be hard to manage. We will not take this to the body.’ And to the third request they said, ‘We think we can do that.’”
This launched approximately an hour-long discussion on the matter, which concluded with a motion presented by Neil Biloff, president of the Dakota Conference, to resubmit the first two items back to leaders of the GC in hopes that they will be presented during the 2020 Annual Council. The motion was passed 138 - Yes, 87 - No, and three - Abstain.
Remembering Kirsten Wolcott
The day concluded with a special presentation on behalf of the Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM). Dan Weber, director of communication for the North American Division, introduced a short film that honored the life of Kirsten Wolcott, a student missionary who was murdered while serving on the island of Yap 10 years ago. Weber shot the majority of the footage for the project that was edited by Nina Vallados-McGill and Rachel Scribner, both producers/editors the NAD contracted with to create the film and a longer version that will be shared in GMM this November.
Following the film, Ken Norton, president of the mission, invited the Wolcott family to the stage and offered a special prayer. Before delegates left the auditorium, Norton invited them to a special evening reception sponsored by GMM.
Click here to watch the entire afternoon business session, including the screening of the short film, that took place on Sunday, Nov. 3
Visit the NAD Flickr page to see photo coverage of day four of the 2019 North American Division Year-end Meeting.mylonmedley Wed, 11/13/2019 - 13:03
Southern Adventist University is pleased to welcome Joseph Khabbaz as the new vice president for spiritual life. Along with serving as campus chaplain, Khabbaz will help prioritize Southern’s spiritual goals through this newly restructured position.
“For some time, I hoped for an administrative position focused on spiritual life that would provide direct input into top decision-making processes,” said President David Smith, Ph.D. “I believe that spiritual life is at the heart of everything that is important to us at Southern and that we are best served by waving the flag of spiritual life as high as we can. I know that the focus on spiritual life will be greatly enhanced through Joseph’s ministry and that our employees and students will be effectively ministered to through the work he and his team in the Chaplain’s Office will provide.”
Khabbaz was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, where he worked as an accountant before attending seminary at Andrews University. He has years of experience working with young people, including his most recent position as the youth and young adult pastor at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland. His hobbies include international mission trips, basketball, and spending time with friends and family, including his uncle, retired Southern religion professor Philip Samaan, D.Min.
“I’m excited to serve young adults as they matriculate through Southern,” Khabbaz said. “This is a time of life where they will be making critical decisions that will set their future direction in areas of their career, finances, friendships, and spirituality. As faculty and staff go through life alongside students, I pray that both ourselves and the students will be transformed through a vibrant relationship with God.”
Khabbaz assumed his responsibilities in the new dual role of chaplain and administrator in mid-October.
– by Rachel Beavergeorgiadamsteegt Tue, 11/12/2019 - 10:50
For 16 years the Acts of Kindness Extreme Home Repair Ministry based out of Church in the Valley has renovated worthy recipients' homes in the Township of Langley. Fortunate individuals who are unable to repair and maintain their homes get an act of kindness from our team and receive the renovation completely free of charge. Our mission Statement is: Repairing homes; restoring lives.
The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce nominated AOK's Extreme Home Repair to possibly receive an award at their 23rd Annual Business Excellence Awards in the category of "Community Impact - Non-profit." The awards banquet was held on October 24 in a large banquet hall at Cascades Convention Center in downtown Langley. Pastor Dauncey along with Lorne Brownmiller and Garth Dauncey attended the beautiful gala and were able to connect with other businesses and non-profit organizations from their local community. Church in the Valley is honoured the Township of Langley recognizes the ongoing and faithful work which the Church and Extreme Home Repair conducts in their community. God willing, we will continue to make a kingdom difference in our local community!
georgiadamsteegt Tue, 11/12/2019 - 09:59