South African Adventist Church Robbed during Service—and More News

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Published:
November 29, 2022

Six armed men robbed members of the Johannesburg Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Africa on November 26. Posing as visitors, the men waited until the pastor stood at the podium and then “got up, ordered [the pastor] to lie down, and took all cellphones, wallets, and other valuables from the congregation and stomped out,” according to The Star newspaper.

Speaking to The Star, church deacon Prince Thebe said: “We were just in the middle of the service, and some six guys came in, pointed guns at us, and started asking money for offerings and cellphones.”

. . .

Gauteng police opened a business robbery docket and the acting provincial commissioner, Major-General Tommy Mthombeni, condemned the attack on the church and said: “Police will do everything to bring the perpetrators to book. Church members should be allowed to do their business peacefully.”

Other South African churches have also been the victim of robberies. “Last month five armed men stormed into a church Diepsloot and fired shots that led to the death of the pastor and injured two congregants,” The Star reports.

The General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwanaspoke, spoke out against the robbery. “The majority of worshippers in this country are extremely poor people. These are people who give of themselves in worship in a way that you do not find in affluent societies. The place of worship, the last time we had this kind of violation of places of worship was in apartheid days. The apartheid security forces would ram into churches,” Mpumlwana said to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika.

The suspects remain at large.

—From The Star, “Armed Men Rob Preacher, Congregation during Church Service” and “At Loss for Words: SA Council of Churches ‘Shocked’ after Daring Robbery of Congregants at SDA Church in Joburg

Adventist Church Praised in Senate Bill Compromise Discussions

The Respect for Marriage Act passed in the US Senate on November 29, putting it on track to become law. The act requires federal and state governments to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages as valid, with the final bill also including religious liberty protections.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church—along with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America—was acknowledged in Senate speeches as helping guide the religious liberty language that led to the eventual bipartisan compromise. Four senators mentioned the religious groups, reports Joshua Lee for Deseret News:

“Achieving this kind of compromise could not have happened without hard work, good faith and bipartisan negotiation,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said during his Senate floor speech. “I want to extend specific thanks to the following groups that have worked with my colleagues and me to develop this legislation.”

—From Deseret News, Why 4 U.S. senators acknowledged The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Senate Floor.”

Florida Adventists Volunteered in Recovery Efforts after Hurricane Ian

Brenda Brown and eight members of her church, the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, recently volunteered in Fort Myers, Florida, in the recovery efforts after Hurricane Ian, according to Rebecca Salle for the Redstone Rocket. The group worked with 2Serve, an organization that trains and certifies people to prepare for disasters and assist in the aftermath until first responders arrive.

A donation from the Florida Conference helped cover the cost of meals for volunteers, Brown said, and the Gulf States Conference has offered to reimburse the cost of gas for their travels to Florida, so the trip was inexpensive financially--and priceless otherwise.

Brown, who works for the government’s Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency Team, completed the Community Emergency Response Team training for disaster relief along with a group of 38 people.

The group trained Sept. 21–25 and answered the call to duty a few days later, which Brown said was due to “Gods timing.”  During the training, group members were asked whether they want to be immediately “on call” for future disasters, and most did. But surely none expected the hurricane to strike so soon.

Brown and her husband, along with several other church members, deployed to Fort Meyers.

They brought sleeping bags, air mattresses, and cots and were housed at a sister Seventh-day Adventist Church along with dozens of volunteers from around the country. Some slept dormitory-style in the church gymnasium and others slept in classrooms for more privacy.

"Brown said there were nearly 250 volunteers at the church during recovery efforts, but not all at the same time.

One of Browns main duties was shopping for groceries and preparing three meals a day for the volunteers at the church. “At one time, we were feeding up to 150 people (a day),” said Brown, who volunteered Oct. 6-10.

. . .

Her 2Serve training involved everything from first aid, such as making splints and slings, to color-coding victims so first responders could know which people are most in need of attention.

—From the Redstone Rocket, I’ve only seen stuff like this in pictures’

Ghana Adventist Youth March in Protest of Their High School's Closure

In Ghana, "the Coalition of the Concern Adventist Youth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Northern Region and past students of the Adventist senior high school in Tamale have protested against the Leadership of North Ghana Mission for the dissolution of the school,” reports Martina Bugri of Joy News. “They contend that ADSEC is the only SDA senior high school in the north.”

The lead convenor of the protest, Mark Yaw Addo, said the future of the school is important.  

“We need ADSEC back in Tamale, and we all have a collective responsibility to ensure that we save this secondary missionary field of SDA Church here in Tamale. Let us think about the next generation, let us think about the youth and young people of tomorrow, let us do them a favor by allowing ADSEC to exist at all cost.”

Addo said that the North Ghana Mission has not responded to the petition. A church elder who received the petition said it would be looked into.

—From Joy News, SDA Church Youth Protest Dissolution of the only SDA SHS in Northern Region

 


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.

Title photo: Johannesberg Central Seventh-day Adventist Church (via Facebook)

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