Enjoy music created by Seventh-day Adventist artists. Spectrum announces Spotify playlists in collaboration with curator Maxwell Aka.
Spectrum: Everlasting Gospel
If you love the depth, power, and pathos of Gospel music, this is the playlist for you. Gospel music in its various subgenres, performed by Adventist artists.
Spectrum: Flow Prophetic
Rap and Hip-Hop fans, this is the playlist for you. Hear the voices of young Seventh-day Adventist lyricists with something to say.
Spectrum: Diaspora Sound
From the continental Africa to Latin America and the Caribbean, the sounds of the diaspora are vibrant. Hear Adventist artists exploring the sound of “back home.”
ADRA Chile Sets New Guinness World Record, Supports “One Child, One Bed” Initiative
On February 10 in the city of Chillán, Chile, the Seventh-day Adventist humanitarian aid organization ADRA Chile assembled the largest bed in the world, beating the previous “largest bed” Guinness World Record set thirteen years ago in the Netherlands. The record attempt was part of ADRA’s One Child, One Bed campaign that provides bedding and other aid for vulnerable communities.
ADRA’s bed measured 19.52 by 32.72 meters (64 by 107 feet), roughly the size of an indoor soccer field, beating the previous record of 16.44 meters by 26.5 meters (53 feet 11 inches by 86 feed 11 inches) set by the Commissie Zomerfeesten St. Gregorius Hertme in Hertme, the Netherlands on May 28, 2011.
ADRA’s nearly 14 ton assemblage was a collaboration between ADRA and 6,000 Pathfinders participating in a national Pathfinder camporee held at the Adventist University of Chile. Pathfinders contributed air mattresses to the giant bed’s construction.
The construction of the bed required:
148 scaffold bodies 380 metal planks 4825 screws + 1622 piercing screws 680 technical hours 56 assembly volunteers 171 liters of paint 18 4-inch rollers 184 down covers 250 meters of sheets 180 mattresses
The completed bed measured 8 meters high at the headboard. The bed’s mattress was made of 180 air mattresses stacked four high. An 18 meter long pillow (roughly the size of four family-sized vehicles) sat at the head of the bed. The construction weighed 13,800 kilos.
The construction brought together ADRA aid workers, Pathfinders, numerous other volunteers, and private companies including Incatex Ltda. and a construction company that diagrammed and assembled the bed.
ADRA’s annual “One Child, One Bed” campaign raises funds to deliver complete new beds to children and adolescents who are experiencing poverty, affected by disasters or who are in vulnerable conditions (violence, abuse, abandonment, negligence, etc.).
ADRA Chile director Diego Trincado said of the underdtaking,
“The result is incredible when the work is collaborative. The challenge was immense: 14 tons of material and 400 square meters, along with the contribution of the mattresses by the campers to beat the current record. More than the record, which is otherwise spectacular, we are motivated to work from our humanitarian agency for the well-being of the children and adolescents of our country.”
ADRA is an Adventist humanitarian aid agency that has been working around the world for more than 40 years and in Chile for 37 years. ADRA provides disaster relief and aid to vulnerable communities. The agency obtains financing from donation campaigns. ADRA Chile has also been awarded government projects through public funds to provide daily care for more than 3,600 children and adolescents in temporary foster families, a commitment ADRA has sustained for three decades. In addition, it works to promote economic development, safe water, food, etc. among other lines of action.
You can support the One Child, One Bed initiative at www.adra.cl
Southern Adventist University’s Chemistry Department Collaborates with McKee Foods
McKee Foods, maker of brands such as Little Debbie and Sunbelt Bakery, has partnered with Southern Adventist University to use chemistry equipment that the company doesn’t have and provide opportunities for students, according to a story from the university.
Jared Freeman, an analytical chemist at McKee Foods and alum of Southern, said the equipment at Southern can help them troubleshoot and find issues. “The instrumentation that Southern has is incredibly helpful for troubleshooting, that’s the big thing,” he says. “We have an issue, we don’t know why, and we can take it over here [Southern].”
Brent Hamstra, PhD, professor and chair of the chemistry department, feels that this collaboration with McKee Foods is a great opportunity for students to see how chemistry works in the real world. Hamstra shares that chemistry students sometimes have a hard time realizing that a chemistry degree is beneficial for a lot of jobs; going into medicine is not the only option. Hamstra believes that students hearing about chemists from McKee Foods using Southern’s instrumentation for real-life problems will help open their eyes to more options.
Was George Butler the Villain of 1888?: An Interview with His Biographer Denis Fortin
Historians and hosts of the Adventist Pilgrimage podcast, Michael W. Campbell, PhD, and Greg Howell, PhD, talk with Denis J. H. Fortin, PhD, about his forthcoming book, George I. Butler: An Honest But Misunderstood Leader. Fortin is Professor of Historical Theology at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. According to the show notes, “Butler is best known for being the General Conference president during the famous 1888 General Conference Session, but Fortin makes his case that there is far more to Butler’s story.”
ADRA Tackles Human Trafficking During Super Bowl, Requests Anti-Trafficking Aid
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA International, or simply ADRA) has released a Super Bowl-related ad highlighting human trafficking and asking for donations to combat trafficking worldwide.
ADRA, the 40 year old humanitarian agency operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, provides individual and community development and disaster relief.
In an online article timed to coincide with today’s Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, ADRA presented the account of Apinya, a “story inspired by the girls of ADRA’s Keep Girls Safe program in Thailand.”
ADRA chose to highlight the Big Game not only for the eyes the event draws and the often viral ads for which it is famous, but also because, ADRA said,
“According to law enforcement organizations, big-scale athletic events can lead to an upsurge in criminal activity, including unlawful human and sex trafficking, with youngsters making up a major proportion of the victims. Sex trafficking sting operations have resulted in arrests during the 2023 Super Bowl in Arizona and the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four in Minneapolis, resulting in the release of 28 victims, including a minor. Furthermore, law enforcement investigations indicate that the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Founder has been the subject of a federal sex trafficking probe since 2022.”
The article provided this definition: “Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children, and men involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Victims are sold, bought, and traded like objects.”
The article offered these statistics on trafficking:
Over 27 million people worldwide fall prey to forced labor, with women and girls accounting for more than 65%.
90% of female victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Women and children make up most of the human trafficking victims.
Over one-third of total trafficking cases are children.
People fleeing persecution and conflict are particularly vulnerable to trafficking.
More than 50% of child trafficking victims are recruited by family and friends.
In addition to defining the problem, ADRA is soliciting funding for its Keep Girls Safe initiative. The “Protect Children” giving campaign currently covers the home page of Adra.org.
Andrews University Center for Adventist Research Inaugurates Rose James Endowment
The Center for Adventist Research on the Campus of Andrews University has inaugurated the Rose James Endowment to promote research in Black Adventist studies and to address racism globally.
The Center, which “seeks to promote an understanding and appreciation of the heritage and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” established the endowment during its annual Friends Event, held in person and via Zoom on February 8, 2024.
The endowment will fund research and combat racism:
“The Rose James Endowment is designed to promote research, spirituality, health, and evangelism within the black community and enhance the collaborative relationship between Andrews University and Oakwood University. The funding will be used for collection development, special projects, and research in the area of black Adventist studies to address the issues of race, ethnicity, and racism globally. To achieve these goals, a portion of this endowment will be allocated for scholarly lectures and research fellowships, including the ‘E. E. Cleveland Lecture’ and ‘C. D. Brooks Research Fellowship.’”
Participants in the program included current and former leaders from Andrews University, Oakwood University, Loma Linda University, Ministry magazine, and the East-Central Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
The endowment was presented by Kevin Burton, director of the Center for Adventist Research, Paulette Johnson, dean of libraries at Andrews, and Stanley James, CEO and medical director of Premier Health & Wellness Centre. Rose James, listed as “a Seventh-day Adventist Mother,” also provided remarks.
The Center for Adventist Research posted photos of the event on Facebook, including the image above.
Conscience and Justice Council on DEI and Andrews University
The Seventh-day Adventist Conscience and Justice Council includes almost two dozen denominational Public Affairs and Religious Liberty leaders as well as legal, history, and theological scholars across the North American Division. Several weeks ago, they held an online forum titled, “Systems of Oppression: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and You.” It focused on “myths and truths about these systems from an institutional perspective, including the church and higher education.” One of the expert guests was Dr. Courtney Ray, a clinical neuropsychologist, Spectrumcolumnist, and an Andrews University Honored Alumni awardee in 2020.
Framing this discussion as coming from a biblical perspective, C&JC chairman Edward Woods III, PARL Director for the Lake Region Conference, called for “constructive challenge” as the discussion addressed the recent disruption by the new president over DEI on the Andrews University campus.
The participants drew attention to the official denominational statement, “One Humanity: A Human Relations Statement Addressing Racism, Casteism, Tribalism, and Ethnocentrism,” which states, in part, “We maintain our allegiance to the biblical principles of equality and dignity of all human beings in the face of historic and continuing attempts to use skin color, place of origin, caste, or perceived lineage as a pretext for oppressive and dominating behavior. These attempts are a denial of our shared humanity and we deplore all such aggression and prejudice as an offense to God. Still, we acknowledge that many members of our worldwide Church fail to uphold this biblical truth about the equality of all persons.
Adventist Artist Leon Thomas Wins Best R&B Song Grammy
American record producer, songwriter, singer, and actor Leon G. Thomas III won Best R&B Song at yesterday’s 66th Grammy Awards for his writing on the song “Snooze” performed by SZA. It was Thomas’ second nomination and his first win.
Irish entertainment website Entertainment.ie, states that Thomas “is an active Seventh-day Adventist Christian,” something Thomas confirmed on Twitter (now X) in 2010.
The 30-year old began his performing career at age 10, playing the part of Young Simba in the Broadway production of Disney’s The Lion King. In addition to that and other stage acting roles, Thomas has numerous film, television, and music writing, producing, and performing credits to his name.
That his body of major works is all non-religious led Adventist writer and content producer Natahlia Carr (@laugh_track_nat) to playfully call Thomas a “Badventist” on X, simultaneously revealing Thomas’ Adventist affiliation to to many:
Per Wikipedia, the song Snooze for which Thomas won his Grammy “is a song by American singer-songwriter SZA from her second studio album, SOS (2022). It was sent to rhythmic contemporary and urban contemporary radio as the sixth single from the album on April 25, 2023. SZA wrote the song with producers Babyface, the Rascals (Leon Thomas III and Khristopher Riddick-Tynes), and BLK. The acoustic version features Canadian singer Justin Bieber, who stars in the official music video of the song’s original version, and was released on September 15, 2023.”
Police Evacuate Fort Myers Seventh-day Adventist Church after Reports of Armed Individual
On Saturday morning, February 3, police responded to the Fort Myers Seventh-day Adventist Church in Florida while an event was taking place, according to a statement from the Florida Conference:
Upon entering the church building, Fort Myers police announced they received a report of an armed individual in the area and instructed everyone to stay calm. The police surrounded the building and, after a 30-minute search, determined it was safe to evacuate everyone to a parking lot across from the church.
“We’re extremely grateful for the immediate response of the FMPD and the protection that surrounded the building,” said Tim Goff, Executive Secretary (COO) of Florida Conference. “We praise God that everyone is safe and the situation was managed quickly and professionally.”
Nancy Hoyt Lecourt taught English at Pacific Union College for 25 years, before becoming Academic Dean for the final 13 years of her career. Retired in 2019, she now delights in gardening, volunteering at nearby Adventist Health St. Helena, coordinating the PUC Choir Zoom Sabbath School, and rambling the trails of PUC’s c. 1,000-acre forest.
Lecourt gave this presentation at the Choir Zoom Sabbath School on February 4, 2023.
As someone who grew up in the Adventist denomination Lecourt asks how her forebears and others like them came to be part of this small, marginalized group of believers.
To answer the question, she delves into Adventist and United States history. Witness a remarkable trove of primary source documents and photographs as Lecourt finds her Seventh-day Adventist roots.
Thandazani Mhlanga has written for Spectrum and is a pastor and educator who recently earned an MA in ancient Near Eastern civilizations at the University of Toronto. To kick off 2024, he teamed up on a new podcast with Greg Thorp (of the Okanagan Valley Thorps), a very active member of the Osoyoos Seventh-Day Adventist Church in British Columbia.
Their Never Black and White podcast “pays homage to human spirituality through meaningful dialogue. In a world of rigid dichotomies where alternative realities and non-mainstream human experiences are regarded as unconventional and, thus, infrequently discussed, hosts Thandazani Mhlanga and Greg Thorp will delve deep into humanity’s spiritual quagmire with intentionality, care and a high-endeavour for precision.” They are already four episodes in and they have addressed religious metanarratives, gender, the law of attraction, and the future of organized religion. Check out their “empowering, fresh, and inclusive perspective on all things spirituality” on Spotify here.
The Spectrum team visited and reported on around a dozen Adventist churches around the North American Division in 2023. Unlike other media in Adventism which is obligated to say nice things or anonymously and carelessly attack individuals and institutions, we work hard to support a more complete and complex Adventist story. Not everyone appreciates or understands this balance, but we press on.
Last week, Ezrica Bennet shared about her visit to the WholeLife Seventh-day Adventist Church in Orlando, Florida. She writes, “As I entered the sanctuary, I was immediately greeted by someone I later found out was on the pastoral team. She initiated our conversation by saying, “I’ve never seen you before; are you new here?” I was moved by her welcome.” The church’s website makes that welcome very clear stating, “We are all genders: single, married, divorced, straight, LGBTQ+, poor, rich, dis/abled, old, and young. At WholeLife Church, we welcome every member of the community to join us in worship. We don’t care if you’re a lifelong Christian or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We want to offer you grace and peace as you begin or continue your faith journey.”
In 2023, WholeLife’s membership grew by 77 people to reach 1,270. As Ezrica reports, about half of those attend in person and another 500 watch online. This mirrors a trend we are seeing lately—growing hybridity in association and identity.
“I was instantly struck by the diversity of the congregation,” Ezrica adds. “Many churches claim to be multicultural, but WholeLife truly embodies inclusion. The foyer was filled with people of various ethnicities, including Black, White, Asian, and Hispanic individuals. There were youth, young adults, children, families, young couples, and singles—all contributing to a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere.” As she notes, the focus of the church service was on its theme of “connection” for 2024. Here is a “year in review” video on what the church did in 2023 with its theme: Follow Me.
Five Loma Linda University Research Teams Earn Internal Grants
Five research teams at Loma Linda University Health received internal $75,000, 24-month awards. Supported project topics include ovarian cancer, RNA sequencing of oral brush swab specimens, bariatric surgery, cardiovascular repair, and intrauterine hypoxia.
The announcement quotes Michael Samardzija, PhD, vice president of Research Affairs that these investments go to “the most promising projects to generate data for future externally funded grants, which will help Loma Linda University Health create solutions for medical needs that are currently unmet.” Samardzija adds that LLUH “has experienced a surge in external funding over the past few years”—Ansel Oliver/LLUH.
Southern Adventist University Students Question Punishments for Missing Worships
The Southern Accent recently published a story about students being barred from registering for classes due to not attending enough worship programs. “Students should feel happy and willing to go to these events, but in the end, many feel stressed and forced to make it to as many as they can, while also juggling a lot of other responsibilities,” one student told the Accent. “A hold on registering for classes should not be a consequence for not getting your credits on time. These are two unrelated events. And it causes more stress, and students lose the opportunity to get into the classes they need.” Other students thought the punishments, which also include fines, help promote the campus culture.
Debates over worship policies are an age-old topic at Adventist schools, and some members of the Spectrum team remember similar stories from their college days. Digital editor Jared Wright says he recalls skipping chapels while a student at Southern because they wouldn’t let him in without a necktie. And the perennial question always is: do harsh worship policies do more harm than good? —Southern Accent
Pioneering Adventist Chaplain Herman L. Kibble Dies at 92
Kibble, who was the first Adventist to serve as a head chaplain for a US Navy carrier group, died on December 17, according to an obituary from the Adventist Review. For the first 17 years of his career, he worked as a church pastor in California. In 1969, he entered the Navy and went on to serve tours in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Antarctica. “He received many military awards, including the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy), Vietnam Gallantry Cross (Civil Actions Medal), and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation ribbon. While in Vietnam, he risked his life to hold prayer services with service members in the Mekong Delta. This so impressed one of the young service members that he also decided to become a Navy chaplain.”
According to his obituary, Kibble was also a mentor to Barry Black, who would rise to become a rear admiral and chaplain of the US Senate. —Adventist Review
Church from Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” Now an Adventist Congregation
One of the key scenes from the 2003 film Kill Bill: Volume 1was filmed at a small church in the Mojave Desert. Soon after, According to SFGATE, Oscar Castañeda purchased the building to turn it into a Seventh-day Adventist church. But he was perplexed when people kept arriving to photograph the building.
After he learned the reason for the attention, Castañeda watched the movie’s famous wedding chapel scene filmed at the location—which ends in a bloody massacre—describing it as “very violent.” Several well-known music videos have also been filmed at the church over the years, including “Be Careful” by Cardi B. Castañeda appears in the music video as a wedding officiant, which he calls “my biggest regret” after learning more about Cardi B’s music.
Although he describes himself as a pastor, Castañeda doesn’t appear to work for the Seventh-day Adventist denomination and his congregation is not an official conference church.
Walla Walla University President McVay Announces Retirement
After 44 years working for the denomination, including 18 years leading the Adventist university in the Pacific Northwest, John McVay announced this academic year will be his last. At the end of this term, with about 1,350 students enrolled, McVay will pass the earlier presidential length record of 17 years. McVay stated, “To serve Walla Walla University as its president for an extended period of time has been the great honor of my career….”—WWU.
AdventHealth CEO Among Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential
AdventHealth President/CEO Terry Shaw has been recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare of 2023. The prestigious list honors individuals who are highly regarded by their peers and the senior editors of Modern Healthcare for their impact and leadership in the health care industry.
“The 2023 honorees on our 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare reflect the providers, insurers, technology firms, government leaders, investors and others who have made oversized contributions to the industry in the past year,” said Mary Ellen Podmolik, editor-in-chief of Modern Healthcare. “Our ranked list honors the C-suite decision-makers using their clout and influence to lead their organizations and make sweeping changes that affect patient care.”
The list features health care influencers representing a range of sectors such as providers, payers, tech companies, associations and government.
In a profile on Terry’s presence on the list, Modern Healthcare highlighted Shaw’s leadership of AdventHealth’s growth strategy and innovations in individualized care.