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Seventh-day Adventist Congregation Hosts Ecumenical Service Acknowledging Dutch Role in Slavery and the Slave Trade—and More News

St. Eustatius Seventh-day Adventist Church / Statia Government Announcement

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Newton Pasture, St. Eustatius, hosted an ecumenical Emancipation Day service on Saturday, July 1. Currently a “public body” of the Netherlands, the former Dutch colony officially abolished slavery in 1863. The island is within the territory of the Northern Caribbean Conference, and Adventists represent the third largest denomination on the island, which has a population of about 3,240 inhabitants.

During the service, Government Commissioner Alida Francis acknowledged the apologies offered by King Willem-Alexander for the role the Netherlands played in slavery and the slave trade, according to The Daily Herald.

The service featured a live video transmission of the kings address at a ceremony marking the 160th anniversary of the legal abolition of slavery in the Netherlands, including its former colonies in the Caribbean, at the national slavery monument in Amsterdams Oosterpark, in which he offered his apology for slavery.

Government Commissioner Francis acknowledged the Kings apologies. “It is time we stopped looking down on each other because of the shade of blackness. The dark-skin girl, the red-skin girl, the chocolate guy. This must stop. We are all one people. We are all Black people. To borrow from Amanda Gorman, let the world see that even as we as Statians grieved, we grew; even as we hurt, we hoped; even as we tired, we tried; and we will forever be tied together, victorious, not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.”

Pastors Timothy Leito (SDA church), Melville Hazel (Bible Baptist Church), Hilary Undenhout (Big Stone Fellowship), and J. Farrell-Philp (Methodist Church) and others spoke at the special service.

Leito spoke about the different types of treatment the enslaved had to endure. During his [remarks], he asked the congregation to sing “We Shall Overcome.” The SDA church choir gave a moving performance.

—From The Daily Herald, “Commissioner Francis Acknowledges King Willem-Alexander’s Apologies.”

Transgender Adventist Interviewed by Independent News Site The 19th

Life-long Adventist Randi Robertson, 60, grew up in Collegedale, Tennessee, where her father taught music at Southern Adventist University. Currently an instructor pilot for JetBlue airlines, Robertson is transgender and recently gave an interview to Sara Luterman at The 19th.

I grew up in Collegedale. . . . My life revolved around church and church community. I have three siblings. I had wonderful parents, lots of wonderful family friends that I grew up knowing. I had good adult leaders and mentors and all of those things.

I knew from a very early age [that I was transgender]. Somewhere between the age of six and nine, I clearly understood that I had a different sense of myself than most of my playmates. I spent much of my life growing up, even past college, sorting through all of that and trying to reconcile who I perceived myself to be with what my place of heritage said I should be. 

After I finished high school, I went to a Seventh-day Adventist University in southwest Michigan, where I completed a bachelors degree in aviation. Thats where I met my wife. We just celebrated our 39th anniversary a few days ago. 

Read the rest of the Robertson interview at The 19th, “‘You’ve Got To Live Your Truth’: Two Trans Elders on What Resistance and Resilience Mean to Them.”

Adventist Master Teacher Awarded Prestigious Education Award

Master teacher Chelsea Campbell-Ellis from Montego Bay, St. James, was named the Americas' regional winner of the UK-based Pearson International School Teacher Awards, which recognize “outstanding educators in international schools across the world.” She was nominated by a student for her English language and literature teaching at Herbert Morrison Technical High School, where she has worked for 26 years.

“It was a great feeling to know that my teaching went beyond the parameters of the classroom—and clearly I have impacted the person who nominated me. That was enough for me to feel some amount of elation, but I think that peaked when I realized I was shortlisted,” Campbell-Ellis said.

“I've always been passionate about English, and I consider myself an English enthusiast. I was drawn to broadcasting, that was my passion, and everybody who knew me at the time thought that was what I was going to do,” the master teacher told the Rochelle Clayton for the Sunday Observer.

“But given what broadcasting required, because I am a Seventh-day Adventist, it was kind of non-negotiable for my parents. I was encouraged to go to teachers' college and become a teacher of English, or to major in English, which I did. But throughout the years I have had no regrets—absolutely none.”

Read more of the Campbell-Ellis interview at the Jamaica Observer, “Big Award for Herbert Morrison Master Teacher.”

Oldest Adventist Woman Celebrated 110th Birthday

Adventist Hazel Schultz of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is the oldest woman nationwide in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as reported by Josa Snow in the Coeur d'Alene/Post Fall Press. Her family researched the facts with the local Area Agency on Aging ombudsman Roseanna Lewis. 

Nearly one hundred friends and family celebrated her 110th birthday party, said her friend, George Ciccone. Ciccone manages and owns the Country Comfort Residential Care and Assisted Living facility, where she has lived for the last year. 

Schultz was born January 10, 1913, according to her last driver's license, which she had until she was 100. . . . A spunky creature of habit, Schultz meets her daughter, Cheryl Pegel, once a month for pedicures, for hair appointments on Fridays, and for church on Saturdays.

She likes to nibble a few pieces of Hersheys chocolate each day and loves bright red, leopard prints, and sitting in the sun. Schultzs secret to a long and happy life is eating well, enjoying the chocolate, and staying active, but she gives most of the credit to a higher authority. “The good Lord has decided to keep me here a little longer,” Schultz said.

“I think youre really centered on your religious beliefs,” Ciccone told Schultz, and she agreed. “She loves Tennessee Ernie Ford. She grew up listening to Ernie Ford.” Ciccone plays that and religious music occasionally to watch Schultz light up. Just talking about the singer makes her beam a bit.

—From Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press, “Oldest Adventist Lives for Family, Friends.”


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 by Spectrum / St. Eustatius Seventh-day Adventist Church Facebook  / Statia Government Facebook

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