The United States experienced its longest government shutdown in history. During the 35-day shutdown, paychecks were withheld from thousands of federal employees, including those who work in safety operations at airports. More than 800,000 employees were furloughed or asked to work without pay.
Below are a few examples of Adventists meeting the practical needs of those whose lives were upended during the shutdown, which took place Dec. 22, 2018 - Jan. 25, 2019.
Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington
Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington (ACSGW) organized pop-up pantries on Jan. 14 and 23 in Silver Spring, Maryland, for furloughed government employees and contractors to get groceries. ACSGW also hosted two additional pop-ups after the government reopened.
“The supplies will cover me and my granddaughter for quite a while,” said a government employee who visited a pop-up pantry.
Mytonia Newman, a member of the Restoration Praise Center in the Washington D.C., metropolitan area — where thousands of federal employees live — utilized her catering business, “My New Cuisine,” to provide 45 family-style meals to families.
Newman told the Potomac Conference that she used to work professionally in Washington, D.C., Her commercial kitchen is there. "I’m surrounded by federal workers. I knew several families personally that were affected by the shutdown and I also posted what I was doing on my Facebook page,” said Newman.
“I had many responses from people asking if I could include their son or daughter on the list for meals and others asked how they could donate. I continued getting funding and ended up doing a second week of meals for families.”
Community United Outreach
Community United Outreach, a Seventh-day Adventist co-op located in Orlando, Florida, sponsored a free food giveaway on January 31 to airport workers affected by the government shut down at the Orlando International Airport. More than 600 families were served.
Members of the Mt. Sinai Seventh-day Adventist Church's community services ministry and students of Mt. Sinai Junior Academy also partnered with the co-op.
Charles Drake, president of Community United Outreach said, “as Christians we are compelled to feed the hungry, even if they’re just temporarily hungry."
Another impacted area is the national parks, which did not receive maintenance. According to a Columbia Union Visitor report, to help, WGTS 91.9 staff organized a cleanup event at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. When the volunteers got there, however, they discovered that another group had already cleaned up.
Kevin Krueger, WGTS general manager, says, “[What] I noticed and thought about the effort is the coming together of community. ... People eager to do something, to help. ... We talk about being the hands and heart of Jesus to the Nation’s Capitol and beyond. It was wonderful to see so many listeners from around the region show up.”mylonmedley Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:05
The practice of faith community nursing in the Adventist Church was celebrated during the banquet ceremony of the 2019 North American Division Health Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Leaders and members of the Adventist Association of Faith Community Nursing (AAFCN), along with nurses who received specialized training during the summit to become a faith community nurse, attended the banquet on Jan. 24.
“We are grateful for the heritage of health and healing that we have in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I believe the time has come [for us to] be much more deliberate and intentional about merging our evangelism with our health message," said Teresa Nelson, president of AAFCN.
Faith community nursing is what was once known —or is often referred to — as “parish nursing.” It is recognized by the American Nurses Association as the “specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting wholistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community.”
In the context of the Adventist Church, “the faith community nurse is a member of the [local church] staff and works in conjunction with clergy and the congregation and provides opportunity for the transformation of the faith community and the sources of health and healing,” said AAFCN historian Maria Middlestate.
During the event, Middlestate gave an overview of faith community nursing within the denomination. The AAFCN was official formed in 2013 with the election of board members. In 2014, the association’s 21 inaugural members met for the first time at the NAD Health Summit in 2014 in Orlando, Florida. The association has been steadily growing ever since.
“Servant Leadership in Its Fullest”
Middlestate also shared the contributions of Bernice Deshay, who was instrumental to launching a parish nursing program at Columbia Union College, (now Washington Adventist University) and forming a partnership with Adventist HealthCare, which sponsored the banquet. However, special emphasis was placed on the evening’s 90-year-old guest of honor, Maxine Bloom, whom the association recognizes as its leader.
“It’s wonderful to get [recognized] for something you that love doing. The Lord is good. I believe in it, I believe in health. I’m going to keep walking and keep teaching,” said Bloom, after accepting a lifetime achievement award from NAD Health Ministries.
After receiving training in the practice of parish nursing in 1994, Bloom brought her knowledge to her workplace at Adventist Health in Roseville, California. She created a how-to booklet to help educate ministers on faith community nursing, spoke at ministerial meetings, and fostered a partnership with local churches.
“When I first took this program, it didn’t take me long to realize that this was servant leadership in its fullest and this is what Seventh-day Adventists believe in. The whole program just was so exciting when I took it,” said Bloom.
Bloom retired from her position the same year, but agreed to help Adventist Health manage the 12 hospitals in its network with parish nursing programs. She served in the part-time capacity for 10 years.
"Her dream was to have all Seventh-day Adventist churches have a parish nurse for their members,” said Middlestate. “It is still Maxine’s vision that each nurse experience the rewarding, spiritual connection this relationship fosters; and that every hospital patient have an advocate to assist in the unknown and overwhelming world of medical care.”
The Necessity of Partnerships
An underlying theme of the banquet was the importance of ministerial support and how vital is it for the association’s aim to have a faith community nurse in every church.
"I must confess, when I became senior pastor at Emmanuel-Brinklow 10 years ago, I did not know an awful lot about faith community nurse. I had heard about parish nursing because I'm married to a nurse … but I did not fully understand the benefits of having a faith community nurse on your pastoral staff,” said Anthony A. Medley, I, senior pastor at Emmanuel-Brinklow Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ashton, Maryland.
Medley, who also serves as the pastoral liaison for AAFCN, says if he were called to another church, he would ensure that a faith community nurse would be part of his team. “I've grown not only to appreciate what faith community nursing is, but I'm also at a place where I'm challenging and encouraging my colleagues in ministry to see the faith community nurse as the anchor to help churches, congregations, and community to fulfill the wholistic gospel message that God has uniquely given to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Dr. Angeline David, director of NAD Health Ministries, serves as the executive director of AAFCN and believes in the unique role faith community nurses play in fulfilling the gospel commission.
“It is an honor for me, though I am not a nurse … to be able to work with these amazing nurses and those who value them, and [those who] recognize how important they are to the work in the church and the work of the church,” said David.
David also announced a project developed in conjunction with the General Conference information systems department that is poised to help expand the Church’s faith community nursing network.
“I have made it one of our primary goals of the NAD Health Ministries to strengthen and develop where needed a stronger network and networking capabilities,” said David. “We are looking at avenues of using technology to connect us. Our goal is to make it accessible, user-friendly, functional, and help you achieve what you want to achieve where God has placed you.”
*Correction: An earlier version stated that a partnership was established between Columbia Union College and Adventist Health System. The partnership was formed with Adventist HealthCare, not Adventist Health System.mylonmedley Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:17
From the very first camp meeting of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, held in 1868 on the farm of E. H. Root in Wright, Michigan,to the 111 camp meetings held in the North American Division (NAD) in 2018, the benefits of these gatherings are still countless.
Having preached at many camp meetings the past few years, I am encouraged—and amazed—that many members still attend. What attracts church members to drive for miles with tent or camper, stay in on-site cabins or off-site motels, bring food for picnics, and bear the dusty, hot summer heat to attend a camp meeting? Most campgrounds are in remote, rural places in conference territories. Most of our members live in urban places. Why do we keep holding camp meetings? Why do urbanites keep returning?
Here are five of my observations about camp meeting, and why Adventists still attend.
It solidifies our biblical faith.
From Palau to Bermuda, from Alaska to Newfoundland to Florida—and everywhere in between—Adventists in the NAD still have the hope that Jesus is coming again soon. That hope is forged and solidified when we come together to open God’s Word and are reminded that this world is not our home. Faith in God is renewed at camp meeting and, as quiet as it’s kept, it is a great place to deal with, or combat, errant theology. Ellen White wrote that camp meetings were “to promote spiritual life among our own people. . . . We need to meet together and receive the divine touch.”Camp meetings keep us spiritually focused. They also give us an annual, corporate, and personal renewed-faith possibility.
Day to day living is encouraged through fellowship.
This annual gathering encourages cross pollination with like-minded believers from many congregations. Whether in cities or in rural towns and neighborhoods, our fellowship helps us relate to each other’s common struggles and victories. Fellowship is like iron sharpening iron (see Prov. 27:17). It was huge in the early church as they broke bread together and prayed (see Acts 2:42). Isn’t it just as important today?
It helps keep the focus on mission.
Camp meetings done superbly require significant time, energy, and finance. The investment given by conferences to camp meeting yields significant spiritual optimism, evangelistic momentum, and mission feedback that can be felt throughout the entire year. When conference churches or constituencies join together, newfound stories and experiences are shared and mission is solidified.
Most church members attend on weekends.
Camp meeting attendance is largest on the weekends. Because of this, some conferences conduct only weekend seminars and preaching services. But even in these situations, it is an annual occurrence of focus and intentionality.
The Lord blesses abundantly.
It’s true that you get what you desire or expect from camp meeting. But one thing is certain: the Lord blesses human efforts on these dusty grounds. When I hear such things as “I’ve been attending camp meeting for 32 years” or “I’ll never miss camp meeting again” or “I was baptized at camp meeting,” I know the Spirit of the living God accompanies our human frailty in a meeting that’s been around a century and a half.
What spiritual benefit have you discovered at camp meeting? What urbanite friend could you invite to experience the concentrated exposure to nature while listening to practical seminars and powerful preaching? I invite you to experience at camp meeting the refreshing outpouring of God’s Spirit on your life.
— Ivan L. Williams Sr., is director of the Ministerial Association for the North American Division.
Arthur W. Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1962), vol. 2, p. 10.
Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 6, p. 32.
This winter, La Sierra University’s Zapara School of Business launched its first out-of-state Master of Business Administration program, offering graduate courses designed for busy health care professionals.
The MBA cohort program at Adventist Health Castle medical center in Kailua, Hawaii, officially began instruction on Jan. 7, 2019, following a fast-tracked setup and approval in December by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and subsequent approval by the state of Hawaii. The class of nurses, doctors, managers, health care specialists, and administrators is expected to reach an enrollment of 35 students by spring quarter.
The program allows students to complete their MBA requirements in less than two years. It delivers two six-week sessions per quarter, each featuring a one-week intensive taught by La Sierra faculty and supported by reading, group projects, and assignments in Blackboard, a virtual online classroom environment.
The first one-week intensive class for Adventist Health Castle cohorts was held in early January and taught by Dulce Peña, associate professor of Law and Human Resource Management, from the Zapara School of Business. The course, “Leadership Creativity and Organization Dynamics,” teaches students the value of a creative mindset in business and life, and how to create organizational structures that support creativity and bring out the best in employees. The class typically involves students engaging in some form of art-based activity outdoors, usually the mountains or the beach. Students may also engage in photography, creative writing, improvisation or other art-based activities in the classroom.
According to Peña, “The shift to a fast-paced and innovation driven economy has led to a demand in a shift in the leader mindset. Organizations are looking for leaders who are creative, embrace the certainty of failure, are able to recognize and appreciate different perspectives, inspire creativity and healthy workplaces, and are open and adapt quickly to change. Art-based activities in the classroom and corporate training are becoming more widely used to develop the mindset of a creative, authentic and transformational leader.”
Following the first week’s class, several cohort students gave their impressions. William Scruggs, emergency medicine physician at Castle, said, “I expected to be exhausted at the end of the week and I already am. I’m surprised that it’s not because of reading and writing. It’s because I can’t fall asleep and wake up early thinking about the things we talk about, what I could have done better in the past, and how I can apply all of this in the future.”
“An MBA cohort is a magnificent decision for any hospital,” said Estrella Noguchi, director of laboratory service.“Investing and supporting our leadership skills will have more than 100 percent returns in innovation and collaboration, positively changing how health care is provided.”
The Zapara School of Business cohort graduate program caters to professionals seeking a graduate degree in business, but who don’t have the ability to attend regular classes on campus and who are eager to engage in active learning with a network of their peers. The business school works with organizations to provide on-site instruction for groups, or cohorts of employees and associates. Over the past two decades, the cohort programs have been offered around Southern California through such organizations as Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, Loma Linda University, and Adventist Health Glendale.
The process of organizing and establishing a cohort program is complex and time-consuming. The development of the Hawaii MBA program encountered a particularly short window for winter quarter setup once key administrators at Adventist Health and the business school came to an agreement in October.
“We are pleased to be able to partner with La Sierra University to bring the MBA program back to Adventist Health Castle,” said Heidar Thordarson, Adventist Health Castle’s finance officer. “We have seen the benefit of an MBA program as three of our executives are graduates of past MBA programs at Castle and we’re committed to the continued growth of our leaders. By offering this valuable Christ-centered program to our leaders, we’re able to continue our mission of ‘Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.’”
John Thomas, dean of the Zapara School of Business, said, “We are so excited that we could create this partnership with Adventist Health Castle and continue providing business education in health care, which we have done for so many of our health care professionals over the years.”
— Darla Martin Tucker is director of public relations at La Sierra University in Riverside, California.kmaran Wed, 02/13/2019 - 18:34
February 7, 2019, marks 100 years since Desmond Thomas Doss’s birth in Lynchburg, Virginia. Doss, who passed away in 2006, grew up to be one of the greatest examples of love and kindness of the century as he served as an unarmed U.S. Army medic in World War II. Not many would go into the bloodiest battle of the war without a weapon. Armed only with his faith and a prayer, the story of his courage and conviction is now known by millions, thanks to Mel Gibson’s movie, Hacksaw Ridge.
Doss didn’t set out to be a hero, but his story shows how faith, love, and patriotism can change the world. (Just ask the families of the men he saved.)
A retreat was ordered during the battle on Hacksaw Ridge, Okinawa, Japan. But Doss refused to leave the wounded on the battlefield. He went back into the firefight to just save one. Then he went back again and again. Doss knew he couldn’t win the war by himself, but he could at least try to save one life at a time, including the very men who hated and distained him because of his faith and values. On that day, Doss saved at least 75 men.
Conviction and Courage
Desmond’s stance on keeping the Sabbath and refusing arms angered his commanding officers. His fellow soldiers thought his behavior odd and they bullied him. But Doss stayed true to his convictions. Eventually, he was allowed to serve as a medic and not carry a gun.
Doss became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a single shot. Out of more than 3,500 heroic individuals to be awarded the Medal of Honor for “above and beyond the call of duty, only his citation reads,”FAR above and beyond the call of duty.”
For Doss’ heroics on the battlefield, President Harry Truman awarded Cpl. Desmond Doss the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for courage under fire and risking his life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.
In 12 hours, Doss accomplished more than just saving 75 men; his actions have touched and changed millions of people around the world. He will continue to be admired and respected for generations.
Just One More
There’s a real spiritual battle taking place in the world. Like Doss, we are also on enemy territory. Jesus asks us to fulfill “the Great Commission” by making disciples from every nation, tribe, and language. Doing this might seem hard for many of us. Instead of being overwhelmed by the task, however, what if we were to pray the simple prayer of Desmond Doss, “Lord, please help me get one more,” as we find ways to play a small part in God’s great rescue operation?
Like Desmond, each of us can make a difference in someone’s life. Stand up for those who are bullied. Befriend people who are lonely. Encourage those who are down. Serve people in need. Forgive those who wrong you. Live like Doss, who lived like Jesus.
In a world where there is so much hatred, there is no better way to change the world, except helping to change one life at a time and making a difference in the lives of our fellow humans.
If someone such as Desmond Doss can make a difference, we can too. Who is your one more?
— Jeanie Allen and Roger Rusted are from the Desmond Doss Foundation; click here for more information.kmaran Wed, 02/06/2019 - 10:09
John W. Thurber, best known as second tenor of the King’s Heralds quartet with the Voice of Prophecy from 1961–1967, passed away Sunday, February 3, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the age of 87. Thurber was widely known and loved across the North America Division during his long life of service to the Adventist Church, including territories in six union conferences.
Thurber was also widely known for his ground-breaking youth work during the years he served as a teacher, pastor, conference and union youth director, family life educator, and conference president.
Thurber was preceded in death by his daughter Sherry (Thurber) Juhasz. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Patsy (Fogg); sons Mic and Gary Thurber; their spouses Jana and Diane; son-in-law Gary Juhasz; five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of John’s life and ministry will take place at the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, on March 2, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family invites memorial gifts to the Voice of Prophecy, a ministry that was dear to John’s heart. Cards of condolence may be mailed to The Thurber Family, c/o the Mid-America Union Conference, P.O. Box 6128, Lincoln, NE, 68506.kmaran Tue, 02/05/2019 - 11:18
It was one of the most iconic moments in biblical antiquity. God spoke to Moses and enlisted him in the divine work of deliverance. Moses would not deliver Israel from sin; that work was reserved for the Messiah. Moses would, however, prefigure the work of the Messiah by delivering Israel from slavery in Egypt. This single event of deliverance in the Exodus would forever change the course of human history.
The initial call of Moses often arrests my attention. This call was unique. Unlike the disciples (who were approached by Jesus), or the prophets (who simply heard the voice of God), in the call of Moses God chose a multimedia presentation complete with pyrotechnics and miraculous displays using nature and animals as props.
I love the way the apostle Stephen tells the story of Moses’ call in the book of Acts just before he was stoned to death. The King James Version translates this calling with a repeated phrase. God says to Moses, “I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt” (Acts 7:34, KJV).
The phrase “I have seen” is repeated twice, accentuating the emphasis God places on this call. Even in the New International Version God is translated as saying, “I have indeed seen,” which also highlights the importance of this calling.
Yet the King James Version translation gives me overwhelming pause whenever I read it. God is pronouncing with definitive clarity that His patience has run out on oppression; thus He has chosen to enlist Moses to execute His judgment. The rest is history.
Legacy of Empowerment
When I survey the history of the Bible, it’s obvious that God has always been active in the work of deliverance, liberation, and empowerment to those who are oppressed. The prophets all spoke of God’s judgment against those who sought to abuse His children. What gives me courage is that God has never ceased this work.
In 1865 Sojourner Truth spoke with power saying, “It is hard for the old slaveholding spirit to die, but die it must.”
In 1868 Ellen G. White wrote that slavery is “a sin of the darkest dye.” Then in 1894 James Edson White boarded a steamboat and traveled throughout the South to establish schools and share the Advent message among African Americans. As a result of that movement, Oakwood University was established in 1896; and a steady stream of leaders have also emerged to add to the legacy of empowerment.
These leaders include James K. Humphrey, who founded the First Harlem Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1929, and later started Utopia Park, a self-sufficient community designed to combat poverty and poor health. By the mid-1940s another leader, E. E. Cleveland (above photo), was already a seasoned evangelist conducting revivals all around the world. In 1957 an Adventist teenager by the name of Terrence Roberts helped desegregate Little Rock’s school system.
The list of Adventist activism and accomplishment is too long to list here. Yet the mission is incomplete.
As long as there is poverty, injustice, and oppression, the Lord still has a work for us to do. He challenges us still today, saying that whatever we do for “the least of these” (Matt. 25:40, KJV) it’s as though we did it to Him directly.
I want to be on the right side of history. How about you?
— Carlton P. Byrd, Ph.D., is speaker/director for the Breath of Life Telecast and senior pastor of the Oakwood University church in Huntsville, Alabama.
Sojourner Truth, “Personal Letter to Amy Post,” Oct. 1, 1865.
Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 1, p. 359.