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Canadian Adventist Church Aids Migrant Farmworkers—And More News


Canadian Adventist Church Aids Migrant Farmworkers

"The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kelowna, Canada, is one of a few [churches] that have stepped up to help migrant farmworkers, raising money for everything from boots to bikes to food. The church also packed gift bags for Father’s Day, loaded up with Vancouver Canucks baseball caps, according to Zak Vescera in The Tyre.

"June Dubyna, a church member, helped get the congregation involved after learning of the plight of some of the workers who grow the city’s food. She believes most Kelownians are not.

"'Of course I was aware there were people coming here to pick produce and all of that, but I had no clue. No clue about the conditions that some of them were living in and the experiences and the challenges that they face,' Dubyna said.

"In some cases, she said, the church has raised money for workers who cannot afford desperately needed dental work. In others, Dubyna has housed workers who need to convalesce after suffering heart attacks in the field.

"Dubyna, who is Australian, had never cooked with a jalapeño before but said she learned some Mexican recipes to help the workers feel comfortable. 'I had to spice it up a bit,' she said with a laugh.

"Dubyna says that when she personally visited a farm, she was shocked by the conditions there. She said she never believed such a thing would be possible in Canada, which prides itself on its defense of human rights internationally.

"'We, the church, are not into government situations. But it seems to me there is a lack of oversight from the government,' she said. 'I would have no clue how a farmer could go and put up a shack where there’s no proper facilities. I don’t know how they can do that and get away with that.'"

"Every year, about 10,000 workers come to British Columbia because the wages they earn here are far superior to their home, which for most people is Mexico, Guatemala or Jamaica. But living in Canada is not easy. Workers who do not speak English struggle to access basic medical services. There is a constant need for food, bikes and sometimes basic protective equipment for the hazardous work on the farm. And some workers are the target of abuse by their bosses."

From The Tyee, "The Lifelines for Thousands of BC Foreign Farmworkers.

Florida Adventist Church Holds Plant Giveaway

"The North Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church of Panama City, Florida, held a plant giveaway recently. Groceries can be quite expensive nowadays, especially vegetables. The church wants to give people an opportunity to cut those costs and start a new hobby.

"The senior pastor Omar Montilla and his team got 1,200 plants ready to give each person eight plants apiece. Vegetable plants such as cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and many more were available for picking.The pastor hopes people will feel inspired by the event and create a garden at home.

"We are also teaching them how to plant them and how to protect the garden so they can have . . . a way to feed their families with healthy and inexpensive food. Also, planting a garden is a great tool for mental health,' said Montilla.

"The plants picked out for the giveaway grow well during the winter season. This is the [church's] third plant giveaway, and Montilla says his church members plan on giving away many more in the future. Montilla says he wants to educate more people about plants and is planning on offering gardening classes in the near future."

From ABC 13 Panama City, North Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church plant giveaway.

Andrews University Noted for Ethnically Diverse Student Body

"Nonprofit private universities in Michigan are looking for ways to expand opportunities for students from underserved communities, bringing more diversity and equity to the campuses, according to Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities, reports Liz Nass for Capital News Service  As higher education diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices and staff have 'ramped up' in the last 10 years, the push to change enrollment strategies to become more inclusive has become a major goal, the association says. 

"According to the association, some of its members are at or near 'majority-minority status.' That occurs when there are more non-white students than white students. Andrews University in Berrien Springs boasts that diversity status, with a 3-to-1 ratio of non-white to white students, according to Tony Yang, its vice president of strategy, marketing and enrollment.

"Yang said Andrews’ strong faith base as a Seventh-day Adventist university has created a global outreach for the institution. An internationally diverse group of students want to be part of a “learning community” with the same religious values, even though students are not required to be Seventh-day Adventists, he said.

Yang said the university does not have an intentional goal of expanding its minority enrollment, but its recruitment from all over the world adds to its diversity.

Andrews is tied with the University of Hawaii at Hilo as the No. 1 most ethnically diverse campus in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

"To continue its support of DEI, Andrews created the position of chief diversity officer, he said. 'This university is kind of in the middle of nowhere here in Michigan, but somehow we’re a small representation of God’s kingdom, drawing people from all over the world with vastly different cultural, ethnic and lots of other different backgrounds. Representing God’s kingdom in that way here, that’s so fulfilling for me for the work that I do,' Yang said."

Read more at Spartan Newsroom.

Long Beach Adventist Church Screens Social Justice Film

Pastor David Zaid held a viewing of the film Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power for his congregation at the Long Beach Philadelphian Seventh-day Adventist Church. That film had kicked off the first of three in the Conscious Cinema film series featuring Black-centered, social justice screenings being hosted this summer by Long Beach Forward and Hannibal Media Group, as reported by Jonathan Bigall in the Signal Tribune.

Zaid "was moved by the power of community in the documentary. The documentary, which originally began streaming on Peacock in 2022, follows Black residents and activists in Lowndes County, Alabama, as they fought for voting rights and against discriminatory red-lining following the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

"Zaid said a crucial moment in the film was when the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee reached out to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for help. King was not able to extend much support to Lowndes due to other obligations, but Zaid said seeing the strength of the community coming together in spite of that inspired him.

"'That message in the film resonated with me because I think when you grow up on cartoons and superheroes, you’re always going to believe the hero is going to rescue you,' Zaid said. 'Sometimes you realize that the hero is not always coming; the hero is you.'"

Read more at the Signal Tribune.

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: Spectrum  

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