Adventist Church Drops VALIC, Goes With Empowerment Retirement. The Seventh day-Adventist Church has chosen a new retirement company, Empower Retirement by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, to replace AIG subsidiary VALIC. Since 2000 when the church ceased operating its own retirement system, the Adventist Retirement Plans has grown to nearly $1.1 billion in assets and has 18,000 active accounts—and an additional 8,000 open accounts—at 150 different employers.
Adventist Legal Affairs Director Supports Muslim Woman Against Abercrombie & Fitch. The Huffington Post published an op-ed by Dwayne Leslie, Legislative Affairs director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, about a case for which the church filed an amicus brief regarding the religious freedom rights of a young Muslim woman to wear a head scarf at work. Adventists were joined by a number of other organizations in supporting this case: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Christian Legal Society, National Association of Evangelicals, Church of God in Christ, Ame
Weet-Bix Maker Enjoys Continuing Tax Exemption. The Adventist-owned New Zealand company Sanitarium, maker of Weet-Bix and Marmite, remains exempt from taxes on its business earnings despite a recent government reevaluation of charities. *Sanitarium maintains its operations meet the charitable expectations required by the Charities Act and pays all other required taxes. From The New Zealand Herald, "Sanitarium safe from charity crackdown."
'Coming Out' Comes to Bermuda. Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bermuda hosted a service featuring three members of the Coming Out Ministries: Mike Carducci, Wayne Blakely, and Danielle Harrison. The three say that they no longer practice a homosexual lifestyle, having been healed. They see homosexuality as a choice. The event, attended by hundreds, was disapproved by the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights organization.
GC President to Inaugurate Infrastructure Projects in Rwanda. Ted Wilson, President of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church, will travel to Rwanda in February to dedicate several projects there: the nine-story Rwandan Seventh-day Adventist headquarters building and the new Adventist University of Central Africa Science and Technology-Gishushu Campus. He will also attend the groundbreaking for another construction project, the Adventist Regional Medical School in Masoro, Gasabo District.
Pastor Relieved of Pastoral Role While in Jail for Alleged Sexual Battery. Seventh-day Adventist pastor Michael Wayne Hill has been removed as the pastor of churches in Chanute and Thayer, Kansas because of his arrest in Florida State for alleged sexual battery. Conference President Ron Carlson said Hill was removed because he could not carry out his pastoral responsibilities in prison. From The Chanute Tribune, "Hill removed as pastor of Seventh Day Adventist."
Ice Bucket Challenge Pales in Comparison. Union College students, religion major in Douglas Barahona and math/religion education major Seth Moturi, survived the Polar Challenge on December 8 near the Aitkin Seventh-day Adventist Church in Alaska. Barahona and Moturi, who were part of a four-student team with Campus Ministries, had planned to help with the Aitkin church service, and in the evening, join some members playing volleyball. However, they were surprised to be challenged to a Polar Plunge.