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Oakwood Alum Offers Positivity in Ferguson Photography Exhibit and More News Shorts


Oakwood Alum Offers "Positivity" in Ferguson Photography Exhibit. Adventist, Oakwood University alum, and photographer Henry Chaney is featured in the Ferguson, Missouri, Good Shepherd Gallery art show "Change the Narrative." His photos focus on what he calls "the positivity" in the Ferguson unrest of three years ago. Peaceful protests and positive interactions between protesters and police run counter to the stories in the national media. "Everything negative," said Chaney. "If no one changes the narrative, that's what everybody's going to think. The first thing I saw out there was the community coming together as one and showing support for (Brown's) family," he said. "People had signs, were voicing their concerns, giving out water. I saw a lot of positivity right from the get-go. I hadn't seen a community come together like that. . . . I saw a lot of love and compassion." Chaney has been exploring photography since college and pursuing it professionally for about seven years, in addition to his day job. He prefers journalistic/editorial photography because it shows people as they are, candid in their natural environments. "People being themselves . . . is more beautiful anyway," he said. Chaney's faith tradition played a role in his positive viewpoint. He belongs to Northside Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jennings. His previous art show at Good Shepherd captured the beauty of God's creation, the focus of Pope Francis in "Laudato Si'." "God is in everything," Chaney said. "You have to look at it with a different lens. You have to have that love. . . . That's where it comes from — God." From the St. Louis Review, “Photographer uses positive lens.”

Australian Adventist Honored for Charity in Tonga and New Guinea. Adventist Christian Dennis Perry received the Australian Rotary Foundation’s highest honor, the Paul Harris Fellow Award, for his Operation Food For Life (OFFL) charity which has helped thousands of people around the Pacific. He began his charity over 30 years ago after seeing Tongan families competing with pigs to forage for food scraps on a local rubbish dump. “I was shocked that day. I had never seen poverty like that,” the Seventh-day Adventist said. “I said to God, ‘What are you doing about this?’ He said, ‘Dennis, I am doing something about this. That’s why you are here.'” The Cherrybrook resident continues to devote himself “24/7” to the cause, even 10 years into retirement. His former employer, Sanitarium Health Foods, has donated food to the project for over ten years. From the Daily Telegraph, “Rubbish dump epiphany leads good samaritan to found Operation Food for Life.”

Zimbabwe Family Share Internment Service Recognizing Their Three Different Faiths. Ignatius Madidi (76) was Catholic, his wife Roselyne (65) was a member of the African Apostolic Church (Mwazha), while their son Godwill Kudakwashe (32) was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA). They co-existed as a close-knit family, but each person attended a church of his or her choice. After the trio perished in a traffic accident, each church wanted to give its member a befitting send-off. “We will accord each church a chance to give its deceased member what it thinks is a befitting send-off,” said the funeral director while addressing hundreds of mourners gathered at the Madidi house as he tried to calm a potentially fiery situation. At the funeral, each church group tried to “outdo” each other in song and dance. While there was no time for a funeral mass in line with Catholic rites, the Catholics were afforded time to sing and conduct a prayer for their member. Adventists sang their songs while Mwazha Apostolic Church members conducted their rites. The SDA Church leadership saw no reason to foment confusion and allowed the Roman Catholic Church to preside over the burial. The Mwazha Apostolic Sect did not share that view. It was a unique setup and complex funeral. From The Herald, “Liberal in life, but not so in death. Catholics, Adventists and Mwazha followers clash over burial rites.”

Jamaican Usain Bolt Raised Adventist Chooses Catholicism. Jamaican Usain Bolt, who holds world records in the 100 and 200 meters and has won eight Olympic gold medals, has become a living legend in a track event that is known for creating superstars. He grew up in a Seventh-day Adventist home. Although he attended an Adventist church during his youth, he did not become a member as an adult. He converted to Catholicism and has taken the middle name St. Leo. He has talked about praying the nights before his meets. He is open in interviews about his belief in God. The Vatican even invited Bolt to speak at the TEDx Via della Conciliazione conference on religious freedom in 2013. From America Magazine, “Usain Bolt is the greatest Catholic athlete in the world.”

Yosemite Community College Chancellor Was Educated at Loma Linda University. Born and raised in Malaysia, Henry Yong recently was named Chancellor of the Yosemite Community College District. Yong received his bachelor's degree and another advanced degree from Loma Linda University. After graduating, he spent time teaching in community colleges. From The Modesto Bee, “He found his way from Malaysia to Modesto; Henry Yong will help students find success.”

Lightning Sparks Fire Damaging Michigan SDA Church. Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wilson, Michigan, was heavily damaged by fire. Fire officials suspect a lightning bolt struck the building, causing the blaze. Firefighters were at the scene for at least three hours. The building remains standing but suffered major damage, including the roof being destroyed. From the Daily Press, “Lightning strike, fire damages Wilson church.”

Newly Rebuilt Blue Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Elementary Dedicated. Blue Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Elementary in Tilden Township, Pennsylvania, which was destroyed by a tornado two years ago, hosted a Grand Opening dedication. “On July 9, 2015, a tornado struck. Part of the roof was on that mulberry tree over there, part of it was in the soybean field down there, parts of it in the trees. There were pieces of wall standing here and there and all manner of junk over five acres,” said Dr. Merle Whitney, Chairman of the Board, Blue Mountain Seventh-day Adventist School, welcoming the group gathered at the Grand Opening. “Here we are two years later after challenges, set backs, decisions, pauses and amazing progress, excitement and eventually rapid completion.” “Blue Mountain Elementary is more than a building; it’s a community,” said Dr. Jeff Bovee, superintendent and vice president of the Pennsylvania Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. From the Berks-Mont News, “Blue Mountain Adventist Elementary reborn after tornado.”

Colleen Payne's Murderers Charged. UPDATE: In Barbados, three teenagers and their two accomplices have been charged with the murder of Colleen Payne, the Seventh-day Adventist who was attacked while using an ATM. From Nation News, “Five remanded in ATM killing.”


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 Redlands, California.

Image Credit: Henry Chaney / St. Louis Review

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