Andrews University Seminary Students Minister to Syrian Refugees - News Shorts

Andrews University Seminary Students Minister to Syrian Refugees. Seminary Student Forum (SSF) at Andrews University has  coordinated an optional service day following the Week of Spiritual Emphasis, providing a practical application of what was presented in the days prior. A group of around 35 volunteers, including translators, traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to minister to the Syrian refugees living there.  “This is a foreign land to these families, and we must do all we can to make them feel welcomed and at home,” says Hafiz Ally, a seminary student at Andrews University and president of the SSF.  “We want to build a bridge by which a friendship can form. We must be the hands and feet of Christ. . . As Christians we often focus on words to preach a sermon or works to teach a lesson,” says Ally. “While words have their place, we often neglect action. We forget how both are equally important.”  SSF planned to give each individual a winter coat and provide canned food and grocery gift cards for each family. From Andrews University, “The Hands and Feet of Christ: Students take action to help local refugees.”

Australian Union Weighs In on Marriage Amendment Bill. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia has made a submission to the Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull favors a plebiscite on the issue—a non-binding national vote to gauge public sentiment. Opponents of a plebiscite favor a an open vote by parliament, saying that the Australian public favor marriage equality, and  changing the law to allow same-sex marriage will ultimately require action from the legislature anyway. Australian Union Conference secretary Ken Vogel said the Union made its submission, written by U.S.-based lawyer James Standish, at the request of the government. Vogel said the Adventist Church in Australia is developing material that will help clarify the value of all persons while also holding onto those values and beliefs found in God’s Word. From Adventist Record, “Church makes submission on Marriage Amendment Bill.”

Jamaican Adventist Elder Arrested for Sexual Act with Girl. An elder in the St. Mary, Jamaica, Seventh-day Adventist Church was arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.  He was reportedly taken into custody by the Port Maria police after a probe by the Center for the Investigation of Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse (CISOCA).  The news mirrored recent events by three Moravian church pastors allegedly having sex with underaged girls. From Jamaica Observer, “Adventist elder detained for alleged child sex abuse.”

ADRA Official Causes Rift with Malawi Government. Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) Country Director Michael Usi has criticized the Malawi government and President Peter Mutharika’s inability to govern and steer the country out of the social and economic turmoil it is facing.  The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leaders want him fired for his remarks.  Some of the DPP leaders are also SDA, and they have started pressuring the church to fire Usi on grounds that he harbors political ambitions. The party has been urging Malawi Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist president pastor Frackson Kuyama to remove Usi, threatening to cut ties with the church and its agencies including ADRA. From Nyasa Times, “DPP pressures SDA Church over Manganya's political ambitions.”

St. Kitts Adventist Church Hosts Symposium to Empower Men. The Mount Moriah Seventh-day Adventist Church of Harris’ Village, St. Kitts, will be hosting a symposium dubbed “Man Up” to empower the men in the community.  “International [Social] Skills consultant Neals Chitan will be addressing the young men of the community [and others] . . . It is hoped that as a result of this presentation, the young men will become more productive, involved and they will take up their roles as leaders in our homes, in our institutions, and in the community,” church member Marilyn Johnson explained. From the ZIZ National Broadcasting Network, “Man Up Symposium Scheduled for Sunday.”

Loma Linda University Social Work Students Awarded for Community Service. Loma Linda University Iota Pi social work students received four awards during the recent annual meeting of the Council on Social Work Education from Phi Alpha, the national honor society for social work students. Iota Pi received the Chapter Support Award, the Chapter Service Award, the Chapter Grant, and first place in the poster presentation competition. This marks the first time a school has received all four awards at one time.  "It was a privilege to receive the awards on behalf of LLU social work students who, over the past years, have helped Phi Alpha to grow in its dedication to humanitarian work," Chapter President Gabby Navarro said. This school year, the social work honor students are volunteering quarterly to prepare a meal for families staying at the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House, and monthly they participate in an event in nearby Colton during which a coalition of agencies provides services to impoverished families.  Most recently, Iota Pi held a coat and sweater drive, collecting 78 winter garments for Foothill Family Shelter in nearby Upland, which helps the homeless. Dean of the School of Behavioral Health Beverly Buckles said, “The students’ contributions speak to their character and to the importance of service-learning and making man whole.” From Loma Linda University, “Social work students don’t wait for graduation.”

Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Redlands, California.

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