Georgia-Cumberland Conference Logs Huge Membership Gains
reeling from the tragic loss of four Georgia-Cumberland Conference (GCC) leaders in a plane crash on December 2, 2004, including the conference president, Dave Cress, and one pilot, church leaders wondered how members and conference employees would meet the challenge. They believed it could take years to recover. Instead, according to Southern Union Conference president Gordon L. Retzer, GCC finished 2005 stronger than ever before.

Retzer reported that the number of baptisms and professions of faith last year was 1,341—a gain of 359 over 2004, and the highest total in conference history. Conference membership now stands at 30,984, a gain of nearly 800. Five new churches, eight new companies, and five new mission groups were organized in 2005 alone. Mission offerings are up, and tithe showed an increase of 10.74 percent. Retzer also added that tithe per capita increased 6.82 percent to $1,191.40—the highest in the union.

“On behalf of the Southern Union and the world church, we affirm the members and leaders of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference for allowing God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to ignite greater passion for evangelism as they faced tragedy,” said Retzer.

Ed Wright, the new GCC president and former senior pastor of the Collegedale church, attributes the conference’s strong showing to a team effort and commends the administrative team that led the conference in the intervening months before new leadership was elected.                                                                                                         --Southern Union Conference/AR.


President of North Bahamas Mission Dies
Keith Albury, president of the Adventist Church in the North Bahamas region, died on January 24, 2006, at Scottsdale Healthcare in Arizona, following a one-year battle with cancer.He was 48.

Albury served as pastor of several churches in the Bahamas, beginning in 1979. He was then called to the Bahamas Conference office, where he was Church Ministries director (1986-1990), conference secretary (1990-1996), and then president (1996-2003). When growth and development of the work in the Bahamas necessitated the restructuring of the territory into two fields in 2003, Albury was asked to head the new field—the North Bahamas Mission.

Albury is survived by his wife, Ann, director of Children’s Ministries for the North Bahamas Mission; and three sons, Anson, Alden, and Brendon.                                                                    --West Indies Union Conference/AR.


SOUTH PACIFIC: Signs of the Times Celebrates 120 Years
The January/February 2006 South Pacific edition of Signs of the Times marks 120 years of continuous publication for this Adventist Church magazine.

The first issue, then named The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, was printed in Melbourne, Australia, in January 1886 and given away free on street corners to anyone who showed interest. By 1896, the publication had been reduced from 16 to eight pages and was being sold for a penny. In 1906, the magazine simplified its name to Signs of the Times, as it is still known today.

The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times was first laboriously printed on a hand press, each large page filled with comprehensive articles on Bible prophecy, fundamental Christian beliefs, and social morality. While there have been significant changes in style over the years, current editors say the focus of the magazine remains intact—to interpret world and local events through a Christian and prophetic perspective.

At least 25 million copies of the South Pacific Signs of the Times have been printed during the last century.

Signs of the Times was first published in Oakland, California, in 1874 by Adventist Church cofounder James White, and is also currently published in North America by Pacific Press Publishing Association in Nampa, Idaho.

To read a more detailed history of Signs, go to www.signsofthetimes.org.au.       --Signs of the Times/AR.


LIBERIA
: ADRA Builds Schools in Liberia
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is working to revitalize the educational system in Liberia, helping to rebuild schools, reconstruct kitchens for school feeding programs, and provide training for kitchen staff in schools that were damaged or destroyed during two civil wars (1989-1996 and 1999-2003) in Liberia.

“The educational system has suffered greatly as a result of the many years of war,” said a report from the ADRA office in Liberia. “Not only were the buildings and furniture destroyed, damaged, and/or completely looted but school facilities, such as latrines and kitchens, were completely destroyed.”

ADRA also plans to conduct training workshops for 24 school cooks to promote improved nutrition and hygiene practices during meal preparation.

Liberia’s new president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was inaugurated as leader of this western African country of about 3.5 million people on February 16, 2006. She is Africa’s first female president.                      --ADRA/AR.


MARYLAND: AWR Deploys “GodPod”
Adventist World Radio (AWR) is adding a solar-powered “GodPod” device to its technological inventory, which already includes shortwave and Internet broadcasts, in order to spread the gospel in remote areas.

“AWR sees great potential in this new technology,” says the organization’s president, Ben Schoun. “We are starting this pilot project with 500 units, which cost approximately [U.S.] $25 each and are much cheaper than tape recorders or MP3 players.”

According to Schoun, the 500 devices will be loaded with their own programs and will be distributed in southern Sudan and northern Africa.                                                                  --Adventist News Network/AWR/AR.


VIRGINIA: Former GC Health Ministries Associate Dies
Ella May Stoneburner, associate director of the General Conference Health Ministries Department from 1963 until she retired in 1980, died on January 14, 2006, in New Market, Virginia. She was 88.

Before going to the GC, Stoneburner was assistant medical secretary of the South India Union, where she served for 14 years. She moved to New Market after her retirement. She is the last survivor of her immediate family.                                                                                                                                                                              --AR.


OAKWOOD COLLEGE: Notice of Regular Meeting
To the constituency of Oakwood College, an Alabama nonprofit educational corporation: Pursuant to the laws of the State of Alabama, notice is hereby given that the regular meeting of the Oakwood College Constituency will be held in the auditorium of the Business and Technology Complex on the campus of Oakwood College, Huntsville, Alabama, on Sunday, May 28, 2006, at 9:00 a.m. The purpose of the meeting is to elect the members of the Board of Trustees and to conduct such other business as may be necessary.                                    --Mervyn A. Warren, secretary of the Corporation.

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