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North American Division news:

NAD Hosts First Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast

NAD Hosts First Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast
Alvin Kibble, Mark Cleary and Anthony Medley

Alvin Kibble (left), NAD vice president for Big Data + Social Media, talks with local pastors Mark McCleary and Anthony Medley during the NAD's first Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast. Photo by Andre Hastick

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 78 percent of the world’s population is unable to worship their God in whatever way they see fit.  

Today, on Religious Freedom Day (Jan. 16, 2019), local faith and civic leaders gathered at the North American Division (NAD) headquarters in Columbia, Maryland, for the NAD’s first Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast. They celebrated the freedoms enjoyed in the United States and prayed for guidance in further fostering and sharing it with others. 

“We were just really hoping to bring together a lot of religious groups to pray together as a faith-based community — not worrying about what day we worship [on]or what type of house of worship that we’re in,” said Orlan Johnson, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and one of the event organizers. “Just the idea that we should all pray together and to seek the best that we can seek for our nation, for our community, for all of our loved ones and we think we accomplished that today.” 

Zainab Chaudry, Maryland outreach director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, “I feel like it is very important to have these kind of events, especially on days like today — Religious Freedom Day — because it is a reminder of the work that needs to be done to continue to protect religious freedom and religious pluralism in our country, especially when so many houses of worship and so many faith communities are being targeted by hatred, bigotry and intolerance. … It is an affirmation of our shared values towards one another’s liberty and existence and security.” 

Zainab Chaudry, Maryland outreach director for Muslim relations

Zainab Chaudry, Maryland outreach director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, attends the Jan. 16, 2019 Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast. Photo by Andre Hastick

The event also provided an opportunity for local ministry leaders to network with civic leaders and strategize about ways they can better serve their communities. 

“We were appreciative of the support and affirmation this event received by the attendance of so many of our Columbia Union pastors,” said Melissa Reid, associate director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the NAD. “This was a chance not only to celebrate the religious freedom, but also develop new friendships with fellow community leaders. There were business cards, handshakes, and hugs exchanged throughout the morning.” 

“Outreach is the most important thing,” said Obie Chinemere, Baltimore regional director for U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (Md.). “[Make] sure people have a connection with whoever is local. In Baltimore we have some great pastors who do great work and members of the religious community who do great work. [We need to make] sure that people have an outlet or know that this is a place of worship they can come and talk about things and issues they may be having.” He continued, “if local churches have connections with local leaders and organizations, they can better help connect community members to those services.” 

Paulo Macena, lead pastor at the Ellicott City, Maryland, church, added that when the pastors go into their local communities, they need to serve everyone. “They don’t have to agree with us for us to serve them. When we get together in groups like this, [it reminds us] we can serve each other despite of our differences.” 

Leaders plan to make the breakfast an annual event.

— V. Michelle Bernard is news and features editor for the Columbia Union Visitor; click here for the original article published by the Visitor.

kmaran Wed, 01/16/2019 - 19:57

ADRA Awards Adventist Community Services $50,000 to Help Wildfire Survivors in California

ADRA Awards Adventist Community Services $50,000 to Help Wildfire Survivors in California
wildfire stock photo provided by ADRA International

Stock photo provided by ADRA International

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) will provide financial support totaling $50,000 to the Adventist Community Services (ACS) that has been coordinating efforts to help survivors recover from deadly wildfires in of Butte County, California. The fires, which started on Nov. 8, 2018, and were later contained on Nov. 25, have been declared the nation’s deadliest in a century, according to local authorities.

“When a natural disaster strikes, ADRA, as an international humanitarian agency immediately activated its teams to respond, and equally so, to disasters affecting North America,” says Imad Madanat, vice president of programs for ADRA International. “Though the U.S. is not a territory we directly implement in, we willingly seek and reach out to ACS, our sister organization, to provide support to help them fill the gaps in their emergency efforts.”

ADRA connected with ACS shortly after the wildfires continued spreading to assist with ongoing relief and were on standby for ACS who was already assessing needs.

“Based on needs assessments conducted among fire survivors, ACS found that plates, utensils, pots and pans were some of the most needed items families were lacking,” says Charlene Sargent, director of Adventist Community Services for the Pacific Union Conference.  “Hungry people who have lost everything are asking for kitchen items, so they can begin returning to a more normal life of preparing and eating foods they need and love.”

The wildfires destroyed 250,000 acres of land and took the lives of more than 80 people. Several homes, schools, churches, and hospitals, including the Adventist Health Feather River’s lower level and multiple medical clinics sustained extreme damages.

“FEMA will provide many families with temporary housing, but the units do not include items to prepare their own meals, which is of critical need for displaced families,” Madanat says.

Through the financial assistance of ADRA, ACS in the Pacific Union Conference will be able to purchase and distribute 1,000 kitchen kits for families who were displaced and who are being moved into temporary housing.

“As in any emergency response, it will take time for families to rebuild, but they have the full backing of ACS meanwhile as they endure these painful next steps in their lives; ADRA supports the efforts of ACS and is glad to be of assistance to help fill the need,” says Madanat.

The full extent of casualties and property losses are ongoing.

— Kimi-Roux James is Communications specialist for ADRA International.

kmaran Wed, 01/16/2019 - 18:57

Generations of Adventist Health Care

Generations of Adventist Health Care
Jenna, nurse

Jenna, also a registered nurse, works at Avista Adventist Hospital — almost 100 years since her great-grandmother Bernice trained in Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium as a nurse.

Like the passing of a torch, committed Seventh-day Adventists have passed the privilege and responsibility of working for the church’s healing ministry from generation to generation. Within the Adventist Health System, soon to be known as AdventHealth, children in countless families have followed in their parents’ footsteps, continuing the legacy of extending the healing ministry of Christ in hospitals and care sites across the country.

For one family, that legacy spans four generations of health-care workers and begins circa 1910 at a camp meeting in Denver, Colorado. Anna Mardian gathered several of her children and attended a series of evening meetings hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. What she heard in that tent changed her life, and she was soon baptized into the Adventist faith. Little did Anna know how much that decision would influence the course of her family for generations to come, beginning with her daughter, Bernice.

A Nurse in a New World

Two of Anna’s daughters knew they wanted to pursue a vocation in medical missionary nursing. Bernice was the first to set out on this adventure. With a heart for helping others, she registered in the nurses training school at the Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium, one of the earliest extensions of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, the very first Adventist sanitarium, originally built in 1866. The Boulder, Colorado, facility was built in a cool mountain setting to help miners suffering from tuberculosis.

There, Bernice became a registered nurse and learned the principles of healthful living, such as the healing power of sunshine, water, and fresh air. After graduating in 1923, Bernice did private-duty nursing and accepted an assignment that was an adventure far from home: she packed up and headed into the Wild West to take care of an elderly rancher with a broken hip. As it turns out, that rancher in Rock Springs, Wyoming, needed Bernice as a nurse, and with the passage of time, his son, Edmund Blair, wanted her as his wife.

Later Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium, the facility where Bernice started her nursing career, would be replaced by a new facility six miles away called Avista Adventist Hospital. Today Avista Adventist Hospital remains part of Adventist Health System’s Rocky Mountain Region.

nurse Bernice, upon graduation

Bernice [Mardian], upon graduation from nursing school in 1923

Raising a Family of Faith

In the early 1940s Bernice and her husband left Rock Springs and moved to her home state of Colorado. There they raised their two sons, making sure that Adventist education was a central part of the boys’ upbringing. Partly because of this devotion, one of their sons, Mardian J. Blair, would later serve as CEO of several Adventist hospitals—Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, Portland Adventist Medical Center, and Florida Hospital—as well as Adventist Health System. Today Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Florida Hospital are two of Adventist Health System’s longest standing facilities.

As Mardian and his wife continued their commitment to God and church, three of their five children followed in his footsteps and chose a career in health care.

From Generation to Generation

These days, Mardian’s daughter Robyn works as director of mission strategy for Adventist Health System, continuing the development of CREATION Health and expanding the whole-person lifestyle initiative in churches, schools, and hospitals. CREATION Health, which stands for choice, rest, environment, activity, trust in God, interpersonal relations, outlook and nutrition, is a contemporary expression of the same message of biblically-inspired healing that the Adventist Church has held since 1866.

The Torch Continues its Journey

Just as the overall legacy of Adventist health care continues, so too does the Blair family generational legacy that began in the early 1900s in Boulder, Colorado. Today Bernice’s great-granddaughter Jenna, also a registered nurse, works at Avista Adventist Hospital — almost 100 years since Bernice trained in Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium as a nurse.

Jenna remembers the day she fully realized the connection of her work to her great-grandmother’s: “I was doing a CPR recertification in a boardroom where there were all of these artifacts from the Boulder Sanitarium” she says. “It was so cool to look around and see these things that I know my great-grandma was a part of and could have touched.

“I feel connected to my great-grandma in the sense that I’m caring for patients similar to the ones she cared for,” Jenna continues. “I’m dealing with the same heartbreak and advocating for patients just as she did. I’m doing these things with newer scrubs and computer charting, but it’s the same work — bringing comfort and healing.”

A Legacy of Care

Thanks to the steadfast commitment of generations of Adventists such as the Blairs, organizations such as Adventist Health System have offered unique whole-person care for more than 150 years, reaching almost 14 million people each year. With a total of five hospital systems in North America, nearly 100 hospitals, 140,000 employees, and nursing schools across the country, the legacy of health and wholeness lives on.

— Heather Quintana is a freelance writer and editor of Vibrant Life magazine.

kmaran Wed, 01/09/2019 - 21:36

2018 Accomplishments — and 2019 Dreams

2018 Accomplishments — and 2019 Dreams

"No organization can survive without dreams," says Daniel R. Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. In this reflection, Jackson shares his thoughts on dreams accomplished in the division in 2018 and hopes for 2019. Below are his "Top 10" for 2018; and "Top 10 Dreams" for 2019.

stock photo for Dan Jackson's top 10 dreams and goals of 2018 and 19

Photo by iStock; digitally modified

"Top 10" for 2018

If we forget the past it is highly unlikely that we will envision the future. The purpose of a "Top 10" list is not to "chest beat," but rather to praise God for what He has been able to accomplish. Here are my picks for 2018:

  1. The birth and development of Adventist Journey, our North American Division news and feature magazine. This increased our direct access to church members — the magazine is distributed to more than 400,000 per month.
  2. Appointment of a Publishing (Literature) Ministries director. The NAD Administrative Committee appointed Carl McRoy to serve.
  3. New church plants throughout the NAD reach 560.  
  4. The NAD Teachers’ Convention: more than 6,000 education professionals from across our division attended this outstanding convention in Chicago, Illinois.
  5. The NAD's Hispanic Ministries Caravan of Hope, involving more than 8,000 lay persons and 500 pastors was a 37-day journey to train and implement with a mission goal of up to 30,000 baptisms through small groups and Bible studies throughout the division.
  6. An ocean-going vessel for the Guam-Micronesia Mission. The NAD assisted in the purchase of a sea-worthy boat for the mission of GMM.
  7. AdventSource officially became an entity of the NAD.
  8. Communication and Children’s Ministries departments strengthened.
  9. Oakwood University Aeolians named "Choir of the World."
  10. NAD hosted several major conferences at its headquarters. Here are a few: the NAD Human Resources convention, Sonscreen Film Festival, division-wide Secretariat and Treasurers training, the NAD Summit on Abuse (in English and Spanish), and the Society of Adventist Communicators convention.

Top 10 Dreams for 2019

No organization can survive without dreams. Our dreams can, when initiated by God and blessed by the work of His Spirit, become realities. In the NAD, we continue to focus on strategic thinking and planning.  This activity has brought with it new visions and plans. Throughout 2019 I will be dreaming the following dreams:

  1. I am dreaming of unprecedented membership growth and expansion throughout our division.  I dream that we will add at least 45,000 new Christians to our church in 2019.  This will be due to the Hispanic Caravan of Hope and the systematic outreach drives of our NAD unions, conferences and local congregations.
  2. I dream that the Adventist Ministries Convention will spawn increased commitment to collaboration and every member involvement in the mission of the church. This biennial conference will take place soon in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  3. I dream that our new Literature Ministries Department will grow in terms of membership involvement in spreading the gospel and the three angels’ messages.
  4. I dream that Plant1000, the NAD church planting initiative, will continue to expand to 800 new congregations worshipping by the end of 2019.
  5. I dream that our "Pastoral-Evangelism" bootcamp will significantly grow the number of our local pastors involved in local evangelistic outreach.
  6. I dream that in 2019 all nine NAD unions will have specific Projects in Guam-Micronesia that are viable and progressing.
  7. I am dreaming that our Treasury and Stewardship departments will continue to foster the faithfulness of our people throughout 2019.
  8. I am dreaming that our Youth and Young Adult Ministries department will continue its aggressive mentoring and training programs throughout our territory.
  9. I am dreaming that our multi-approach NAD Media Ministries will continue their innovative and aggressive outreach.
  10. Digital strategy: I am dreaming that our NAD team continues to innovate and envision digital strategies that will revolutionize ministry delivery throughout our territory.
kmaran Wed, 01/09/2019 - 20:15