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Two Adventist Forum Events This Sabbath: Did God Create Viruses? and Can a Church Be a Secular Mission? 

Forum Events - February 24

The Michiana Adventist Forum and Andrews University Department of Biology invite you to join us Saturday, February 24, 2024, 3:30 P.M. for a presentation by James L. Hayward titled “Did God Create Viruses?”

Hayward is professor emeritus of Biology at Andrews University. The event takes place at Chan Shun Hall on the Andrews University campus.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought viruses front and center to the stage of human consciousness. Yet a great deal of misunderstanding about these biological entities remains. What are viruses? Are they alive? How were they discovered? How diverse are they? How do they reproduce and how are they transmitted? In what ways do they impact human society? Are some viruses “good”? Did God create viruses? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this presentation. 

This Forum event will not be live-streamed, but it will be recorded and made available for viewing later on the Michiana Adventist Forum website.

The Asheville Adventist Forum on February 24 invites you to join a presentation via Zoom ( at 3:00 P.M. Eastern time. The speaker this month is  Rebecca Barceló. 

Barceló works at The Conflict Center (TCC) in Denver, Colorado, instructing social-emotional classes and doing marketing and communications for the organization. She was drawn to TCC’s work based on her experience in communication, teaching, and theological peace studies. She is passionate about providing tools for better relationships, building community movements for the common good, and bridging cultural gaps. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Public Relations and Advertising from La Sierra University, and is completing her master’s degree in Theological Studies from Andrews University online. A California native, she grew up in a Mexican-American family, and speaks fluent Spanish. Throughout her lifetime, she has lived in Puerto Rico, Michigan, and Massachusetts, but is very happy to call Denver home. She is the news editor for Adventist Today.

Barceló provided a detailed summary of what she will be addressing in her presentation to us, but not an actual title, so this working title is based on her description: “The Practical Consequences of the Adventist Theological Distinction between ‘Sacred’ and ‘Secular.'” This is what she wrote concerning her presentation:

Adventist theology often separates the sacred from the secular, creating a theological division that has very practical consequences. The well-intentioned solemnity with which we endow the church premises serves to uphold a sense of reverence, but functionally removes our church buildings from being used for other purposes. This separation not only limits its influence, but has negative financial, spiritual, and communal effects. If God chose to be Emmanuel “God with us” and mix the sacred with the secular himself, could we instead make this the theology that trickles down to have practical benefits within our church? Could the church operate as a wellness center, a community center, or another multi-use campus without losing its original purpose?

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