In this week’s news round-up, three Kenyan churches have now switched conference allegiances, an Adventist pastor is charged with allegedly defrauding an insurance company, Oakwood University is accused of not taking sexual assault allegations seriously, and legal actions continue for fired Adventist physician in Colorado.
Kenyan Adventists Continue to Splinter. The KPCU SDA Church, which is situated in Nairobi, Kenya, voted to switch allegiance from Central Kenyan Conference (CKC) to the breakaway Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference (NCC), becoming the third group to do so. KPCU’s neighbor, Saika West SDA church also held its church business meeting and voted to join NCC. Saika church is however yet to notify CKC or NCC of the decision.
The KPCU church joins Kangemi’s Mountain View SDA and Meru-based Makandi SDA church that severed links with CKC and joined the splinter group of NCC. The new entity deployed Pastor Kennedy Nyachiro who conducted services at Makandi.
The split was sparked by leadership wrangles at Nairobi Central SDA church, popularly known as Maxwell, in the last few months. Private security men were hired by Kiragu after the expulsion of 15 members he accuses of being behind the chaos that saw the church temporarily closed. Some faithful have criticized the move to hire private security. The 15 have recorded a statement at Kilimani Police Station after head pastor Jean Pierre Maiywa claimed his life was in danger. The move to decamp has, however, not been accepted by CKC, which terms it irregular on grounds that NCC is a private company that cannot run churches. From Standard Media, “SDA row deepens as another church quits conference” and from Kahawa Tungu, “Crisis In SDA Church Deepens As Several Churches Quit Central Kenya Conference.”
SDA Pastor and Others in Kenya Allegedly Defrauded Insurance Company. In Kenya, a Kisumu court heard how Andrew Okeyo Osewe, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, hatched a plot to defraud an insurance company of millions of shillings by forging a death certificate to claim benefits. Osewe is alleged to have forged a death certificate to claim benefits after a patient known to the pastor died at Kendu Adventist Hospital. Apart from the widow, the pastor also colluded with other three accomplices in an attempt to claim Sh8 million from the insurer. The five were arrested by officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Insurance Fraud Investigations Unit in Nairobi. From Daily Nation, “Pastor, widow and chief charged in Sh8m insurance fraud.”
Oakwood University Administration Accused of not Taking Allegations of Sexual Assault Seriously. A social media campaign got attention when students accused Oakwood University administration of not taking the allegations of sexual assault seriously. Oakwood University released a newsletter that talked about the steps it is taking since those allegations. The newsletter contains a list of things President Pollard says he has done since the allegations surfaced. "I have directed our leadership to actively embrace this 'me too' moment at Oakwood University," and "we will lean in and become a stronger and healthier university by seizing this unique moment." Pollard said administrators have held small group discussions with students on how to make campus safer. He also directed administrators to re-evaluate campus safety policies.
A WAAY31 ABC television reporter tried to get more information on how specific departments are looking into changing the way they process reports of sexual assault and if any reports have been made against students, faculty, or staff. She called the public safety office, and when she asked how students report a sexual assault on campus, she was hung up on.
Huntsville police confirm they had reports of two off-campus assaults involving Oakwood students; however, those cases are now closed. Adventist clergy have joined in the discussions, and they invited students to attend on Sabbath to talk. From WAAY31 ABC, “University taking steps to fight sexual assault.”
Legal Actions Continue in Firing Physician over “Right to Medical Aid-in-dying Services” at Colorado’s Centura Health. Centura Health on Wednesday asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by one of its former doctors and a patient, both of whom are fighting for the latter’s right to medical aid-in-dying services. Centura, in the court filings, argues that the First Amendment prohibits the religious health care system from being forced to continue the employment of Dr. Barbara Morris after she advocated for the right of a terminally-ill patient to end his life at his home. In an interview Wednesday, Centura CEO Peter Banko said Morris was fired because she “breached her employment agreement…We view this as a direct challenge to our mission and values,” he said, adding that Centura considers medical aid-in-dying “morally unacceptable.”
The termination came days after Morris filed a lawsuit with patient Cornelius “Neil” Mahoney, who has terminal cancer and wants to end his life under Colorado’s medical aid-in-dying law. “I was shellshocked,” Morris told Kaiser Health News. “Because of all the things I expected them to do, that was not in the playbook. Because it seemed so obvious that they can’t do it.” In their lawsuit, Morris and Mahoney alleged that Centura’s policy regarding medical aid-in-dying violated the 2016 state law that gave doctors the ability to prescribe lethal drugs to patients who want to end their lives. Morris and Mahoney want a judge to determine whether Centura can lawfully stop Morris from writing prescriptions for aid-in-dying medication, according to a news release. From The Denver Post, “Centura Health seeks dismissal of lawsuit by Colorado doctor fired in aid-in-dying dispute.”
Please note: Spectrum news round-ups are an aggregation of regional, national, and international publications around the world that have reported on stories about Adventists. As such, the accuracy of the information is the responsibility of the original publishers, which are noted and hyperlinked at the end of each excerpt.
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 Yucaipa, California.
Photo credit: Wikipedia.org
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