In this week’s Adventist news round-up, the Kenyan Community Seventh-day Adventist Church, which lies ten miles from where Officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd last year, offers a safe space to protestors. Plus, more news from around the world.
Minnesota Adventist Church Ministers to Protesters. Religion News Service reports that the Kenyan Community Seventh-day Adventist Church’s involvement with demonstrations in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, went viral recently when a photo of police officers surrounding the church was shared widely on social media. Simeon Momanyi, pastor of the Kenyan Community Seventh-day Adventist Church, has worked to strike a balance between abiding by law enforcement and ministering to protesters decrying racism and police brutality. Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, lies ten miles from the spot where Officer Derek Chauvin was filmed killing George Floyd last year.
But moments before Chauvin’s conviction by a jury on Tuesday (April 20), was read, Momanyi said no matter their decision, he intended to keep his church — which has been offering food and water to demonstrators — open. “The church is a safe space where healing and hope happens,” he said in a text message “Regardless of the verdict, the church will always remain open and will continue serving the community.”
The pastor told Religion News Service his congregation opened its doors to offer a place of respite during daytime demonstrations. Kenyan Community Adventist coordinates with different community-based organizations in the area to allow volunteers to stand outside to offer food and water to protesters. “If someone wants to pray, or just a place to rest during the day, they can come in,” Momanyi said.
From Religion News Service, “Minnesota churches caught in standoffs between protesters and police.”
Tobago SVG Mission of Seventh-day Adventists Spend $150,000 for Volcanic-eruption Relief. According to Searchlight, Seventh-day Adventist Church will spend approximately EC$150,000 to provide hot meals to persons displaced by La Soufrière’s volcanic eruption. The feeding program was officially launched on Sunday, April 18, at the church’s headquarters at New Montrose, Tobago. Pastor Dermott Baptiste, the president of the SVG Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, said the local church, in association with a number of agencies of the regional and international church structure, including the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), are partnering to respond to the natural disaster on several fronts.
“Our immediate intervention is to provide just over 15,000 hot meals to persons in shelters that have been assigned by the National Emergency Management Organization, for a period of one month in the first instance, which will be reviewed and renewed in successive months,” Baptiste said.
He added that the meals will be prepared at four centers and transported to nine shelters for distribution and consumption. The president promised that the meals will be healthy, balanced, and tasty, and sufficient to meet the nutritional and biological needs of the beneficiaries.
At least 10,000 people have been displaced by the explosive eruption, which began on April 9 and are living in shelters and private homes. Baptiste said there are three pastoral districts comprised of eight congregations within the SDA church local structure, whose members and families are among persons who have been displaced.
From Searchlight, “SDA Church to spend EC$150,000 in volcano relief.”
Remains of WWII Adventist Returned to the United States. The Los Angeles Times reports that Adventist Jacob Cruz served in WWII and died during the Battle of Tarawa on November 22, 1943. Recently, his remains have been returned to the United States. Cruz and his company found themselves under a heavy counterattack. It was his first day of combat, and he ran ammunition boxes to gunners on the front line until two bullets struck him down, killing him instantly, according to a letter his sergeant sent to his mother months later. The sergeant added this detail: The morning of his death, Jacob spent his down time under the shade of a coconut tree reading a Bible.
He and the other American casualties were buried in shallow graves with hastily built markers that Navy Seabees soon replaced with white crosses. A letter to the Cruz family said the military would try to retrieve his body “upon cessation of hostilities.” But in the rush to win World War II, the locations of many graves were forgotten. An Army review board in charge of tracking down the bodies of fallen troops declared Jacob “non-recoverable” in 1949. Then, in April of last year, his niece, Ruthie, received a phone call at work: Jacob was coming home.
From the Los Angeles Times, “Column: Lost for decades, a World War II hero finally comes home.”
SDA Composer’s Faith Inspires His Music, Particularly Daniel and Revelation. According to The Post and Courier FreeTimes, composer James Lee III, a Seventh-day Adventist, often finds that his faith plays a big role in inspiring his music, particularly the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation. Themes of mourning, religion, and perseverance are frequent subjects for Lee’s compositions.
He is pleased to have his 2018 composition “Emotional Transformations” included on the program of the South Carolina Philharmonic’s annual Beethoven & Blue Jeans performance. “This is one of the few times I’ve actually been programmed with Beethoven, usually I’m programmed with [Czech composer Antonín] Dvořák,” he told Free Times. “Given the towering figure that Beethoven was or is today, it’s always a nice way to really see how the orchestra or the way of thinking about music has evolved over the centuries. “My piece has the exact same instrumentation as the Beethoven Symphony No. 2,” Lee added, noting the piece the Philharmonic played directly before his. “So you can see what you can do with the same instruments, but centuries later.”
But while there is a happy, upbeat spirit to the Beethoven symphony, Lee’s work is one of mourning. Directly inspired by losing his father to pancreatic cancer, the piece is designed to “express certain aspects of mourning or grief,” according to the composer.
From The Post and Courier FreeTimes, “James Lee III talks pairing with Beethoven as a Black composer for SC Philharmonic concert.”
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 courtesy of the Kenyan Community Seventh-day Adventist Church Facebook page.
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