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Pioneer Adventist Physician featured in Docuseries — and More News Shorts


In this week’s Adventist news round-up, pioneer physician Lyra George is featured in the docuseries “Uncovered in the Archives,” a Washington student is a finalist in a video contest, Antiguan Charles Walter Stevens discusses his faith on his 100th birthday, and Forbes discusses how Adventists in Papua New Guinea may be the “saving grace” for some species of sharks and rays.

Pioneer SDA Physician Lyra George featured in Southern California Docuseries. Uncovered in the Archives, a documentary series, featured physician Lyra George from Loma Linda University, who would go on horseback to deliver the babies of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in the early 1900s. Her care at a time of great prejudice saved the lives of mothers and babies. “When you watch the episode, it is clear why the tribal members feel so tied to Loma Linda and Lyra George,” said Brad Pomerance, who hosts and produces the series along with CJ Eastman and Glenn Grant for Empire EMPIRE | KVCR, the public TV and radio station for the Inland Empire, operated by the San Bernardino Community College District. The series took third place for short documentaries in the 12th National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards for the Los Angeles Press Club. From Empire Network, “Uncovered in the Archives” and from, “Empire KVCR TV Show Wins Los Angeles Press Club Award.”

Washington Student Named Finalist in Bank Video Contest. Ryan Song, a student at Buena Vista Seventh-day Adventist School in Yakima, Washington, has been named a national finalist by the American Bankers Association Foundation sponsored by Yakima Federal Savings and Loan’s “Lights, Camera, Save!” contest. The annual video contest encourages teen participants to produce a short film that communicates the importance of sound money management. Song is one of five students selected to compete for several awards, including a $5,000 grand prize and a scholarship for a teacher at their school to attend the 2020 Jump$tart National Educator Conference. This year, 142 banks hosted 163 contests in 46 states as a part of “Lights, Camera, Save!”

In addition to competing for cash awards, Song’s video was entered in the ABA Foundation’s “Savers’ Choice” social media contest. The contest – which ran Feb. 12-19 on ABA’s Facebook page – will feature the top five “Lights, Camera, Save!” videos and allow viewers around the world to vote for their favorite entry. The winner of the “Savers’ Choice” will receive a GoPro camera to encourage future filmmaking. From Auburn Reporter, “Auburn’s Song named a national finalist in ABA’s video contest.”

Adventist Antiguan Charles Walter Stevens Shares His Faith Celebrating His 100th Birthday. Adventist Charles Walter Stevens marked his 100th birthday on February 10th. He fills his days with morning devotions and Bible studies. He is also the first to arrive at church on any given Saturday because according to him, “I do not like to be late, and I am sad because some people do not understand punctuality.”

From his alertness and the way in which he interacts with people, one would find it hard to believe that Stevens is actually 100 years old. “Be still and know that I am God” are the words the devoted Christian lives by as he noted: “I do not fool around friends. I don’t keep friends; the Bible says the heart of men is wicked… I love to read the Bible, and because of that, I love to tell plenty of Bible stories,” the centenarian said.

While he was an only child, he fathered 13 children and, to date, he boasts 32 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.

The widower, who lost his wife in 2016, is also regarded as a veteran fisherman who was still making fish pots up until his 97th birthday. He describes himself as a “professional and the best fisherman in Antigua,” attributing his love for the craft to his love for geography. The centenarian also spoke about his preference for eating ground provision, singling out his favorites — sweet potato and cassava. He also enjoys a good meal of corned fish and dumplings. From The Daily Observer, “Newest centenarian bases his life on the Bible and its teachings.”

Seventh-day Adventist Members in Papua New Guinea the Saving Grace” for Some Sharks, Skates, and Rays. While religion has started many wars on this planet, this very thing that tears people apart may be the “saving grace” for some species of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays). “Religious values are prominent in the Papua New Guinea culture, so the activities of remote villages are often influenced in part by their religious values,” explained Michael Grant, a PhD candidate at James Cook University in Australia. “When we chose to survey the Turama River in PNG’s Gulf Province, we did not know that the Seventh-day Adventist denomination of Christianity would be prominent in local communities, nor that it would have benefits for local sawfish and river.”

The most important part of this conservation puzzle piece is the people, and in the Turama River, Christianity offers a “saving grace” for sawfish and river sharks. It turns out that followers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which include many communities along this river, do not eat non-scaly fish due to their religious obligations. Most villages here do not have access to fuel, and it is a couple of days paddle by canoe to Kikori Town or Daru Island, meaning that communities here are almost entirely reliant on their natural resources and gardens.

“A sawfish or river shark would hence provide a large high-quality protein source, so the fact that local people there discard elasmobranch catch on the basis of religious values underlines the importance of religion to local culture,” said Grant. He went on to explain that in the adjacent Kikori River, where religious values differ, sawfish numbers appear to be considerably lower due to historic fisheries’ pressure. “Therefore, in the development of community-based awareness for sawfishes in this region, religious values will play a part in allocation of conservation effort, as religious values influence the way people interact with their environment.” Grant and White, with funding from the Save Our Seas Foundation, are continuing to study how religious and cultural values are shaping elasmobranch conservation in this part of the world. From Forbes, “How Religion Is Helping Some Sharks.”


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.

Image Credit: Uncovered in the Archives


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