Skip to content

The Adventist “Abortion Rights Missionary” of Arkansas—and More News


In the Arkansas Times, Stephanie Smittle writes: “A fifth-generation Seventh-day Adventist, Karen Musick was ‘raised looking for a missionary challenge.’ . . . But these days, that spiritual call has taken a very specific direction. As one of three volunteers who helm the Arkansas Abortion Support Network, Musick spent the last eight years donning a rainbow vest with the word ESCORT’ on it, accompanying patients from an often-vitriol-charged parking lot to the doors of the Little Rock Family Planning Clinic, the only spot in Arkansas that was dedicated to performing surgical abortions. None of the escorts, nor any of the organizations three leaders—Musick, Ali Taylor and Roz Creed—take a paycheck for their work.”

Musick’s “high school was an Adventist academy. She went to an Adventist college. She grew up hearing stories of how far people would travel to visit her grandfather, a respected missionary doctor working in Africa.”

Musick is “helping pregnant people navigate access to safe abortions. . . . Shes trying to remember to take care of herself—to ‘sleep well and eat appropriately, accurately, carefully, to keep myself fueled.’ ”

—From the Arkansas Times, “Meet Karen Musick, the ‘Abortion Rights Missionary’ of Arkansas.”

Dwight Nelson Retiring in 2023

After pastoring Andrews University’s Pioneer Memorial Church for almost 40 years, Dwight Nelson announced he is retiring in 2023. Marcos Paseggi quoted Nelson in the Adventist Review:

“In the field of economics, there’s something called Stein’s law . . . and it goes like this: ‘If something cannot go on forever, it will stop,’ ” Nelson said in his opening remarks during his worship message at PMC on August 13, 2022. “It has finally dawned on Karen and me that the privilege of pastoring this parish cannot go on forever. So today, we announced that it will soon stop,” he said.

—From the Adventist Review, Dwight Nelson Announced He Is Retiring after 50 Years.”

Southern Adventist University Hires New Senior Advisor to the President on Diversity and Strategic Planning

As Janell Hullquist writes for Southern Adventist University:

Kathy Goodridge-Purnell, Ph.D., joins Southern Adventist University as the new senior advisor to the president on diversity and strategic planning. Originally from England with roots in the Caribbean, Purnell is a gifted communicator and leader, bringing decades of relevant experience to the Collegedale campus.

“I look forward to working closely with our new team member,” said Ken Shaw, university president and 1980 graduate. “She brings a strong background in change management strategy and experience from several higher education institutions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Purnell’s extensive expertise includes providing strategic leadership in shaping and defining an organization’s inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity values by creating initiatives that advance such values for all members of an organization. Most recently she served as chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at Pacific Union College in California. No stranger to Southern Adventist University, Purnell has served as an adjunct instructor in the School of Social Work.

With a doctorate in education and professional studies from Capella University, Purnell also holds master’s degrees in social work and instructional design/online technology. She is married to Franklin Purnell, and the couple has three grown children.

. . .

“I hope that our collective efforts and goals will ignite innovation and intentional planning around diversity and strategy across the institution, nationally, and globally,” Purnell said. “This begins with important relationship building to assess the climate and needs. I consider it an honor to be part of the Southern family and the global community of faith-based leaders spearheading diversity and strategy efforts.”

—From Southern Adventist University, “Southern Adventist University Welcomes New Senior Advisor to the President on Diversity and Strategic Planning.”

May-Ellen Colón, Former GC Department Director, Dies at 73

Following a long hospitalization after suffering a cardiac episode at the 2022 General Conference Session, May-Ellen Colón died on August 3. She was 73. The former assistant director of the Sabbath School / Personal Ministries Department of the General Conference received the first GC Women’s Ministries scholarship awarded in 1991. According to her obituary:

May-Ellen spent her life serving the church, both locally and globally. In addition to her formidable roles as a department director at the General Conference, May-Ellen also held a doctoral degree in philosophy. She was a speaker and an author who wrote several books, including From Sundown To Sundown: How To Keep The Sabbath . . . And Enjoy It! And Adventist Churches That Make a Difference.

However, the life roles she most cherished were that of mother and grandmother, along with wife and ministry partner to Pastor Gaspar Colon. Gaspar served as Pastor of Nurture and Discipleship at Spencerville from February 2017 until his retirement in January 2021. While at Spencerville, Gaspar and May-Ellen participated faithfully in  local Community Services ministry—a ministry for which May-Ellen also served as chair. Pastor Gaspar once shared that he considered the ability to minister alongside May-Ellen, and later as a family, to be one of the great privileges of his ministry career. A great majority of the ministry roles to which Gaspar was called found them serving side-by-side as a couple    

May-Ellen is survived by a brother, her husband, Pastor Gaspar Colón, daughter Sara-May, son Ivan and his wife Crystal, and three grandchildren.

—From the Spencerville Church, “Remembering May-Ellen Colón (1949-2022).”

Mid-Columbia Medical Center to Join Adventist Health, Serving All Community Groups and Needs

Mid-Columbia Medical Center in the Dalles, Oregon, announced a non-binding letter of intent to join Adventist Health. As Columbia Gorge News reports:

If finalized, MCMC would become part of Adventist Healths Oregon Network, which includes other medical centers in Portland and Tillamook and more than 47 other clinics.

“Ultimately, we are interested in building healthcare in communities,” said Kerry Heinrich, president and CEO of Adventist Health, during a visit to MCMC Aug. 11. “We have a commitment in Oregon, we want to grow our footprint and scale in Oregon.”

. . .

Unlike MCMC, Adventist Health describes itself as a “faith-inspired nonprofit” integrated health system. When asked about the differences, Heinrich said, “I’m extraordinarily proud to lead a faith-based organization. Our faith allows this to not be just a balance sheet, it’s about serving people. We welcome all people, patients and employees, from all walks of life, all faiths.

“We welcome employees from all backgrounds, including the LGBTQ community,” he added.

Adventist Health has no church directive regarding reproductive rights, he said. “Decisions on reproductive rights are a discussion between a woman and her physician.”

Joyce Newmyer, president of the Oregon Network of Adventist Health, said that “as a woman, and an Adventist Health employee, Im very proud of our position on reproductive rights, which leaves women in charge of their own bodies.”

—From Columbia Gorge News, MCMC Begins Process of Joining Adventist Health.”

Kevin Wilson to Lead Social Media at Andrews University

Kevin Wilson, an Adventist pastor who became known as the “chai guy” on TikTok, gaining over 350k followers, is joining Andrews University as the new digital and social media coordinator in the Office of University Communication. As Isabella Koh writes for the university:

Beginning in September 2022, Wilson will oversee the University’s social media platforms, developing and implementing strategy and overseeing the creation of content.

“It’s a fancy way of saying that if President Luxton jumps on a TikTok trend, she didn’t do it voluntarily,” Wilson quips. He explains further, “The position involves a fair bit of planning, strategy and execution with regard to communication across different social media platforms. It would be cool to create a communication system that is easily replicable, consistent and helps us reach the goals we have at University Communication.”

Wilson served as a youth and young adult pastor at the Oceanside Seventh-day Adventist Church and chaplain at the Oceanside Adventist Elementary School in San Diego, California. He hosts the Faith and Chai podcast and has a book, The Way of Chai, scheduled for release in the summer of 2023.

—From Andrews University, “Kevin Wilson to Lead Social Media at Andrews.”

Comprehensive Online Evangelism in Mexico Culminate with Thousands of New Converts

More than 27,000 new believers recently joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mexico,

The coordinated efforts engaged thousands of members in spreading the message of hope and salvation in Jesus throughout their cities, communities, and social media platforms. The online series drew more than 2 million people online and resulted in more than 5,000 baptisms in Mexicos five major church regions on the closing day of the one-week series.

Themed “Ultimate Hope” (Esperanza Definitiva), the eight-day evangelistic series consisted of a hybrid setup, with a group of 500 persons viewing the program in person at the Julio Glocker Lozada Auditorium in Puebla, Mexico, while thousands more tuned into the one-hour evening messages.

—From the Adventist News Network,Over 27,000 Join the Adventist Church in Mexico as National Evangelistic Efforts Conclude.”

Please note: the accuracy of the stories in this collection is the responsibility of the original publishers, which are noted and hyperlinked.


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 image: “Pro-Choice Clinic Escort” by Lorie Shaull (CC BY-SA 2.0

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.