ellow students and friends of Hailu Kidanemariam gathered at Miami Temple Church on July 14 to mourn the death of the student literature evangelist. The Ethiopian student died from injuries suffered when he was struck by a lightning bolt on July 8.
Kidanemariam, 40, a student at Antillean Adventist University (AAU) in Puerto Rico, was in Miami participating in Florida Conference's summer literature evangelism, when the lightning bolt struck him. He was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital by helicopter where he laid in a coma. He was pronounced dead at the hospital on July 12.
Among those attending the memorial service was Hailu's brother Tewodros Kidanemariam, who arrived from California on July 9 and stayed by Hailu's side until the pronouncement of death. Tewodros was the only family member present at the service.
Hailu, an Ethopian who had lived in Cuba, Spain, and Puerto Rico, was pursuing theology and nursing degrees at AAU. He held a degree in electrical engineering and was known as a very spiritual person and a good example for other students.
Florida Conference publishing director Joe Holloway and youth coordinator Les McCoy assisted with arrangements for the service and to have Hailu's body flown to Ethiopia. The conference publishing department hopes to erect a memorial marker on the grounds of Miami Temple Church to remind future students of Haliu's life and service. -- Florida Conference / AR.
Adventist Chaplain Profiled on Public Broadcasting Service
Seventh-day Adventist pastor Barry C. Black, 63rd chaplain of the United States Senate, was given entrée to homes in the United States in June 2007 when “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly,” a national program aired on the Public Broadcasting Service, featured a profile of the Senate’s spiritual advisor. It is the first such profile of an Adventist pastor on the 10-year-old public television program, and helped introduce Adventist beliefs to viewers, the show’s managing editor said.
|FROM THE HOOD TO PBS: Adventist pastor and U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, author of “From the Hood to the Hill,” was recently profiled on public television’s “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.” [File photo]
“Chaplain Black is someone we’ve been interested in since he was first appointed [as Senate chaplain],” said Kim Lawton, a veteran religion reporter who is managing editor for the weekly telecast. “That first year, I invited him to be our show’s guest at the [Congressional] Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner. We got to know him then, and found him to be an interesting person in so many ways.”
It wasn’t until this spring that Lawton was able to get a profile of Black on the calendar. The segment featured the pastor’s youth in Baltimore, his rise through the ranks of the U.S. Navy to the rank of Rear Admiral and designation as Chief of Naval Chaplains, to his present position.
“Berea Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in Baltimore became an anchor for the family,” Lawton said in the televised report. “Adventists are part of the evangelical tradition. They place a strong emphasis on Scripture, keeping Saturday as the Sabbath and often following Old Testament dietary laws. Black and his family came here virtually every Saturday.”
Lawton also interviewed Purnell Jones, an elder at Berea Temple, who recalled that Black’s mother had been baptized while she was pregnant with her son, Barry: “When Barry was in the womb, she would always say, ‘I prayed for my son and that the Lord would anoint him.’ When Barry came out, he was special. He was just special,” Jones told the program.
Through it all, Lawton noted, Black works to maintain authenticity with the people of the U.S. Senate — Senators and staff — whom he serves, and in having a devoted prayer life.
“Being Senate chaplain gives Black a lot to talk with God about,” Lawton told viewers. “He often writes his prayers while looking out the window in his office — an everyday inspiration, he says, to pray for the nation.”
Serbia: Neo-Nazi Vandals Post Message on Adventist Church
A Seventh-day Adventist Church in Serbia was the target of vandalism July 10 in the posting of a message signed by a neo-Nazi group. A poster, which read "sects are the death of the Serbian nation" and signed by the "Nacionalni Stroj" movement, was posted on the wall of the Adventist Church in Belgrade.
Church officials in the country called on the government to "secure a peaceful and safe life in which the indestructible spirit of tolerance, understanding and trust will rule."
Several young men arrived on a motorcycle to post the message, said Miodrag Zivanovic, president of the Adventist Church in South-East Europe.
The incident was caught on surveillance tape, Zivanovic said, and underlines the volatile position for religious minorities in Serbia.
Adventists and other religious communities have been targeted several times in the last year by ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazi groups, Serbia's B92 news reported.
The incident also received condemnation from the International Religious Liberty Association. --ANN
They Were Prepared To Save Others News Commentary
BY ELIZABETH LECHLEITNER, who writes from Silver Spring, Maryland
In what one eyewitness described as a “30-foot tornado of flames,” the roof of a Charleston, South Carolina furniture warehouse imploded, killing nine area firefighters and spewing ash and debris over rescue workers and stunned onlookers.
The blaze, which reportedly was kindled around 7 p.m. Monday, June 19 in a storage area of a Super Sofa Store, was initially deemed controllable. As the firefighters--ranging in age from 27 to 56--navigated six-foot-high mazes of sofas and mattresses in search of potentially trapped employees, a Charleston fire captain suspected that a “flashover” overpowered them. Intensely hot gasses--no doubt fueled by the wood lacquer and other highly flammable materials in the warehouse--heated the building to the point of explosion.
Nearby car dealership employees and others came to assist. “The next thing you know, we were carrying hoses, directing traffic, everybody from the dealership,” one car salesman said.1 Despite the efforts, only the store employees escaped unscathed. Throughout the night, rescuers pulled the fallen firefighters from the smoldering rubble.
“They did exactly what they were trained to do,” Charleston’s fire chief, Rusty Thomas, said of the nine who died in the blaze.2
As Adventists, are we doing what we’re “trained” to do? We’re pretty good at rallying around words. But how many of us are unwaveringly committed to impacting our communities?
A startling statistic from the Adventist World Survey, released in 2002, indicated only 30 percent of us are. The remaining two-thirds of us, it seems, rather leave the ‘firefighting’ to someone else. God may never call any of us to break into a burning building to do His bidding, but He does expect all of us to show the world about Jesus with as much fervor as we tell the world.