N E W S B R E A K
New Zealand Couple Gets 5 Years for Manslaughter
eborah Moorhead, 34, and husband, Roby Jan, 45, both Adventists members in New Zealand, were sentenced June 13 to five years in jail for the manslaughter of their six-month-old son, Caleb, for failing to provide the basic necessities of life. Caleb died of complications from a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Roby and Deborah Moorhead, strict vegans, had refused to vary their son's diet and resisted medical treatment for his vitamin deficiency. They told the court that their actions were based on their religious beliefs and their interpretation of the writings of Ellen White, a founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In a press release, church officials in North New Zealand recognized Deborah Moorhead as a member of the Dargaville Church, but noted that "the Moorheads' dietary practices and attitudes to modern medicine are not the teachings of the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church, but choices of the couple. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is praying for the Moorheads."
The Moorheads were regular attenders at the Dargaville Church, reports pastor Victor Acuna. They were active in the church and known for their passion for healthful living. Acuna has been the pastor at Dargaville since February 2001.
What was not known were the extremes the couple had taken, until the information began to appear on national television, radio, and in newspapers all over New Zealand during the recent court case.
Dargaville Church still cares, and will continue to care for the Moorheads, says Acuna. He adds that church members are in contact and have been able to visit the Moorheads in prison. "What you have to realize is that the Dargaville Church is a loving church," he says. "The church members are praying for this couple. Two individuals have been convicted and sentenced for doing something that the church, also, does not condone. But that doesn't and shouldn't stop the caring."
Currently it is not known where the Moorheads will serve their sentence. Deborah Moorhead is expecting another child and will give birth in about three months. She has been told she will not be able to keep the baby in prison. --Adventist News Network
50 Adventists Die in Tanzanian Train Disaster
Fifty Seventh-day Adventists were among 200 people killed in a train crash in central Tanzania on June25 while returning from a women's ministries convention in Morogoro, said B.M. Ruguri, secretary of the Eastern Africa Division.
The train was headed from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Kigoma. Reports from the region say the train's engine and brakes failed on an incline causing all 20 coaches to roll backward for more than 11 miles and collide with a freight train in the hills near Msagali. More than 1,200 people were on board.
Ardis Stenbakken, director of the General Conference Women=s Ministries Department, said that there are "no words to express how this tragedy shocks and saddens us." She paid tribute to the "effective and loving service" these leaders had provided, saying their loss would "profoundly impact the church."
"We express our sincere condolences to the church and to the family members of those who died," said Matthew Bediako, General Conference secretary. "We may not understand some of these things that take place in this world, but there's one thing we know: Our savior is going to abolish death with His soon return."
Support Needed for Workplace Religious Freedom
Letters of support are needed to help pass important religious accommodation legislation that will directly benefit members of the Adventist Church as well as people of other faith groups such as Jews, Sikhs, and Muslims.
The Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WFRA) is designed to provide adequate legal protection for people of faith in the workplace. WRFA was introduced into the United States Senate on May 23, 2002, by Republican Senator Rick Santorum (PA) and then Democratic Senator, Bob Kerry (NE) and is co-sponsored by legislators across party lines. In addition, it is supported by a broad coalition that is co-chaired by James Standish, director of legislative affairs for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and with Richard Foltin of the American Jewish Committee.
"The Workplace Religious Freedom Act is the Adventist Church's foremost priority this legislative session," says Standish. "We have solid support in the Senate and House, but in order to get the necessary majority, representatives are going to have to hear that this is important to citizens. We are therefore hoping that church members across the country will write, call, and visit their elected representatives to let them know how important religious freedom is. Enough faithful men and women have lost their jobs and have been humiliated at work. This is our chance to stand up for them, and by so doing, ensure that religious freedom is adequately protected."
For more information about the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, including a sample letter and representatives' contact information, visit http://ola.adventist.org.
Paul Moore, President of LifeTalk Radio, Retires
Paul Moore has retired as president of LifeTalk Radio, the network he founded 11 years ago in Yakima, Washington. The network moved to Vonore, Tennessee, in 2000 and now has more than 15 affiliated stations. With the advent of low power FM stations, the network is expected to grow to more than 100 in the next few years. It is the only radio network owned by the North American Division (NAD).
Jim Gilley, NAD vice-president, presented Moore with a plaque recognizing his gifts that moved LifeTalk Radio from vision to reality. Gilley spoke of the three significant words on the plaque: "Vision, Dedication, and Persistence in Creating and Supporting the Ministry of LifeTalk Radio."
During his 41 years of ministry, Moore served as a missionary in South America for 11 years and worked in Texas as well before starting LifeTalk.
Phil Follett, formerly a special assistant to the president of Adventist World Radio, has replaced Moore as president of LifeTalk Radio. The network's strategic vision focuses on increasing its interaction with local churches in areas where it has radio stations, and helping the churches do evangelism in those areas.
Academy Holds Events Emphasizing Sexual Purity
Newbury Park Adventist Academy (NPAA) in Newbury Park, California recently held two separate events for teenagers focusing on pure sexual values and the sacredness of the marriage relationship.
Fifty-six young women attended the Pure Value's Banquet held first in April. In attendance were NPAA students, as well as other Adventists and Christians from the community. "Since I have been involved in youth ministry, I have had a passion for young people to really want to know Jesus and to base their life decisions on a foundational relationship with Him," said Irmgart Mitchell who coordinated the event along with her husband, Greg. "Because girls tend to see their identity more in externals of weight or clothing styles, rather than how God sees them," she said, "we named the event Pure Value."
Held in the NPAA cafeteria, the banquet and program centered around Jesus, who paid the ultimate price for each of them. Youth performed skits and songs, and testimonies were shared by several adult women. "The most amazing part for me were the personal testimonies," stated Chelsea, age 15. "Seeing and hearing women from my church, women that I know, talk about such a personal topic was very influential."
Each young woman was invited to sign a card to commit to waiting until marriage for a sexual relationship, because "You are worth waiting for!"
A subsequent event for teenage young men, entitled Pure Challenge, was held in June on the NPAA football field. The 29 youth participated in physically challenging activities, a pizza dinner, and a program uniquely geared toward interests and issues of men, including frank discussions. As they worked together in teams, accountability was emphasized as well as the need for a relationship with and dependence on God.
Youth Leaders Distribute 10,000 Bibles
Seventh-day Adventist youth leaders in Brazil have distributed 10,000 Bibles obtained from the Brazilian Bible Society. The Jovem Amigo version is a special youth-oriented translation of the Bible written in everyday language, making it easier for young people to read and share with their friends, said church leaders at the June launch of the project in Sao Paulo.
Along with the special edition, leaders distributed a book giving biblical responses to some 150 issues confronting young people today, such as abortion, friendship, astrology, drugs, sports, homosexuality, leadership, sin, peer pressure, sex, and temptation. Materials also included five guides for reading the Bible in one year, and 20 different Bible studies.--Adventist News Network
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