Serbian Church Celebrates Centennial
pastors, members, and guests of the local Adventist church in Kumane, Serbia, celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the Adventist church in that village on October 28, 2005.

Kumane, a historical landmark of the Adventist Church in Serbia, is where Adventist pioneers John F. Huenergardt and Petar Todor, the first representatives of the church, arrived in this region of Europe more than a century ago. A small group of believers then began meeting in a nearby village called Mokrin, but interest in the Adventist message soon spread until the first members were baptized in 1904 in the village of Kumane.

The second baptism, held July 12, 1905, brought the total number of Adventists in Kumane to 10. Following this baptism the first church was organized in Kumane, and in the October 1, 1905, issue of the official Adventist paper, called Zeteoci, published in Budapest, Hungary, it was reported: “We are very glad to announce to our readers that in

Adventist church in Kumane, Serbia.
July this year we have established the first Adventist church in the Serbian nation. Now in Europe we have Adventists from Hungary, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, and also from Serbian nationalities.”

Miodrag Zivanovic, president of the Adventist Church in Serbia, participated in the celebrations, and said, “Since 1905 until today we have now established more than 200 churches,” with a total membership of nearly 10,000. Zivanovic added that the church is recognized and well respected by the government.

The daily newspaper Danas (which means “Today”), reporting on this event, stated, “The Seventh-day Adventist Church has contributed greatly to our society in the area of social life; public debate regarding Religious Liberty; humanitarian activities through ADRA; and they are recognized as a vital part of this society.”

--Trans-European Division Communication Department/AR.

$1.1 Million Targeted For World Mission Projects
The Adventist world church’s Global Mission (GM) Operations Committee voted in a November 22 meeting to fund approximately U.S.$1.1 million for several hundred pioneering mission projects.

“I would like to think that one of the reasons people belong to the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that they believe in the gospel commission and that they are ambassadors of the gospel,” said Michael L. Ryan, a general vice president of the world church and chair of the GM committee.

Projects were approved for countries as diverse as Guatemala, Bangladesh, Haiti, India, and Australia, among others. And while many of these countries have long had an Adventist presence, the projects funded in those lands are aimed at either unentered areas or to reach previously unreached groups of people.

According to Homer Trecartin, director of planning for the church’s Office of Adventist Mission, in the past five years the world church has approved more than 6,300 project applications with a total value of U.S.$40.6 million. Of that amount, approximately $15 million, an average of 37 percent each year, comes from Global Mission funds. Local churches provide the rest of the funding.                               --Adventist News Network/AR

First “Women and the Word” Conference
Held in the South Pacific Division   
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Women in the South Pacific were encouraged to think beyond stereotypes and to reach their full potential during the first “Women and the Word” conference held recently in Sydney, Australia.

“We wanted to draw attention to what Christianity and the Bible really say about women and their potential,” says Joy Butler, director of Women’s Ministries in the South Pacific Division (SPD). “We want women to know they are chosen by God to be proclaimers of truth and should not be afraid to do so.”

The conference, held at Sydney Adventist Hospital, was organized jointly by the SPD Women’s Ministries Department and Avondale College. It attracted some 100 people—both men and women—from as far as Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands over a two-day period.                                        --Mosaic/ANN/AR.

ADRA/UK Works to Improve Literacy Rates in Sudan
ADRA/UK has made girls’ education a priority in southern Sudan, which has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the statistics regarding education are particularly disturbing for women, with 90 percent being illiterate, and only one in 100 girls likely to complete her schooling. ADRA/UK, however, is working to change this.

ADRA/UK and the British government’s Department for International Development (DFID), which distributes money that the government earmarks for charities, jointly fund a project in southern Sudan that focuses on girls’ education. The three-year “Raising Awareness of Girls’ Education” project started in 2004 with a mission of promoting girls’ education through working with the local community and partnering with the local government.

At one school in southern Sudan, a 10-year-old named Grace said, “I want to be a nurse when I grow up.” She added that she wants a better life and to be able to help her parents after completing school. ADRA is helping Grace and her parents reach this goal. --British Union Conference Communications Department/AR.

ROMANIA: From a Bucharest Basement
to a National Media Center

A small basement in Bucharest was once the scene for the Adventist Church’s television production in Romania. Today, the church’s national media center stands in this capital city and has the task of producing radio and television programs for the country. On November 24, the media center officially joined six other major church-owned media centers around the world.

“I come with joy to this place, and this center is a way of bringing light to the hearts of many people,” Romanian senator Virginia Vedinas told the audience of nearly 100 Adventists and guests attending the event. Vedina is an attorney and religious liberty scholar who also teaches at the University of Bucharest.

Teodor Hutanu, president of the church in Romania, addresses guests at the media center opening. [photo credit: John T. Banks/ANN]
“It’s a thrilling day for me,” said Adrian Bocaneanu, an Adventist pastor and former president of the church in Romania, under whose vision the media center was developed. Bocaneanu and other Romanian Adventists pioneered a nightly television talk show on life and spiritual matters that was produced in a basement studio at the church’s headquarters.

Other government officials in attendance included Romanian parliamentarians Dãnut Liga and Ciucã Bogdan; Attila Gáspárik, vice chairman of the Romanian National Audio-Visual Council; and Stefan Ionita, director general of Romanian Religious Affairs (RRA), who read a prepared statement from RRA’s state secretariat. The statement mentioned that Adventist media would make a strong contribution to religious freedom and diversity under the Romanian constitution.

The facility covers an area of 2,500 square meters (approximately 25,000 square feet) and has a large television studio. Just recently the center received a television license from the Romanian government to broadcast throughout the country. The first transmissions from its own production and syndicated programs are to be broadcast in the second half of 2006.

Approximately 71,000 baptized members worship in Adventist congregations in Romania, and an estimated 100,000 Romanian Adventists reside in other nations around the world.    --Adventist Press Service/ANN/AR.

First Youth Festival Held in Mongolia
One hundred twenty college students from throughout Mongolia were challenged to live for Jesus and set a positive example for others when they recently attended the first youth festival held in that region.

“God’s remnant church was started by young people, and God’s remnant church today is full of young people,” Mongolia Mission Field director Dale Tunnell told the young adults. He added that “God’s last-day message will [also] be carried around the world by young people.”

Bible studies, singing, and skits were among the festival’s activities, providing attendees the opportunity to meet and share ideas with other Adventist youth.

--Northern Asia-Pacific Division Communication Department/AR.

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