Israel: Church Leaders Visit Israeli Parliament
esponding to an invitation from the Israeli Parliament’s “Christian Allies Caucus,” 12 leaders of the Adventist world church, including general vice president Armando Miranda, Office of Adventist Mission director Gary Krause, Trans-European regional church president Bertil Wiklander, and Israel Field president Richard Elofer, visited the Israeli Parliament, known as the Knesset, in Jerusalem on February 6.
“We are here to look for a better future and how we can work together to improve the safety and quality of life of people in Israel,” said Gila Gamliel, a member of the Knesset and the speaker for the meeting. “We face the same problems, and we need to come closer together to succeed in . . . understanding each other better, in spite of cultural and religious [differences]. We should not forget the past, but we must not dwell on it; [instead, we should] move forward,” concluded Gamliel.
Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (CAC), which is a group of parliamentarians and various church leaders, chaired the meeting and explained to the Adventist leaders the main purpose of the CAC: “Our dream is to bring basic Judeo-Christian principles to those who are living in different societies, including Israel. Jews and Christians have many points in common, in particular, Seventh-day Adventists. We can improve the way of living--the fairness, justice, and the rights of minorities in many societies,” says Reinstein.
On behalf of Knesset CAC, Reinstein invited Elofer to be a regular invitee, which will give the Adventist Church a seat at the table in the process of shaping and modeling a strategy of promoting Juedo-Christian values in Israel and elsewhere.
The visit to the Knesset took place when world church leaders from 23 countries were in Jerusalem for a six-day Jewish-Adventist Friendship Conference beginning February 6--a first for the world church. The aim of the conference was to build bridges between Adventists and Jews.
In his opening address to the 140 delegates, Wiklander noted several Adventist beliefs that suggest a close connection with Judaism and Jewish people.
“We have the Sabbath in common, and with it a high regard for God’s law as an ethical guide, and we wait for the advent of the Messiah,” said Wiklander.
Several Adventist scholars and pastors from throughout the world made presentations during the conference.
The Adventist Church in Israel has 1,500 members worshipping in 29 congregations across the country.
--Adventist News Network/TED/AR.
Ecuador: New Religious Liberty Association Proposed
Adventist leaders meeting in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, proposed the formation of a new religious liberty association, the first for the country.
“While religious freedom is guaranteed in the constitution, there are still many inequalities in the way religious groups are treated,” comments Leonel Lozano, president of the Adventist church in Ecuador. “We need a well-organized association that will take up the cause of religious freedom for all members of society.”
Jonathan Gallagher, deputy secretary general of the International Religious Liberty Association and a participant in the January 27 initial consultations, agrees with the assessment, and added, “We can bring to the country the expertise developed in the international community. We are here to help the development of a better atmosphere toward religious freedom and human rights.”
In the first stages of the new association, the planning group will be led by Winsther Miranda, a lawyer and legal advisor to the Adventist Church in Ecuador.
--Office of Public Relations and Religious Liberty/AR.
AFRICA: AWR Opens New Studio,
Adds Fulfulde Language Broadcasts
The construction of a new radio studio was recently completed at the North Cameroon Conference in Maroua, Cameroon, Africa. The project is a joint undertaking by the conference and Adventist World Radio (AWR), and will make it possible for staff to produce shortwave radio programs in the Fulfulde language. AWR supplied the equipment and an engineer to oversee the installation, and will provide training for the staff and subsequent broadcast time for the programs.
The Fulfulde language is spoken by Fulani people who live in the Sahel region of western and central Africa. Fulani are the cattle herders of western Africa, and most are Muslims. More than 15 million people in these territories speak Fulfulde as their first language.
--Adventist World Radio/AR.
JAMAICA: East Jamaica Conference Goes Live
As well as offering prerecorded Web casting, the East Jamaica Conference (EAC) has now gone live with a weekly Bible study program called “And God Said,” hosted by local church elder Norris Crooks. EAC has also launched a new Web feature called “Worship With Us,” which broadcasts the worship services of more than 100 Adventist churches in EAC territory. The feature involves streaming audio/video versions of Sabbath programs available 24 hours a day. Program developers are making provisions to show these broadcasts live as well.
To view the program or for more information, go to www.ejconference.org
-- East Jamaica Conference/ANN/AR.
SOUTH AFRICA: Helderberg College Has New President
Gerald T. du Preez has been elected the eleventh president of Helderberg College, South Africa, replacing Gary M. Ross, who retired due to ill health. Ross now lives in Olympia, Washington, in the United States. Prior to his appointment as president, du Preez served as the college’s vice president of Academic Administration.
--Helderberg College Public Relations Office/AR.
EGYPT: New Field President Elected
Samir Berbawy, principal of the Zeitun Adventist school in Cairo and a member of the Egypt Field Executive Committee, has been elected president of the Egypt Field. Berbawy, an Egyptian by birth, has served as a teacher and school administrator for more than 26 years in the Middle East and the United States. He succeeds Kjell Aune, who was called to be president of the Middle East Union in November 2005.
Adventist Review Online Breaks New Ground
Nearly 60,000 visitors from 140 countries each month are visiting the new Adventist Review Web site--www.adventistreview.org.
Launched in 1999 by the staff of the Review, sister publication of Adventist World, Adventist Review Online is a newly redesigned site unveiled at the General Conference session this past July. Visitors to the site will find all the Adventist Review articles each week, free to Adventist Review print subscribers and international visitors outside North America.* They can also access an extensive archive, which holds nearly eight years of back issues.
In addition to the print articles, surfers will find Web-only columnists Karl Haffner, pastor of the Walla Walla College Church in College Place, Washington, U.S.A., and Gary Swanson, associate director of the General Conference Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department. These two men share their perspectives on living out the Adventist faith in today’s culture.
The site also offers a monthly web-exclusive feature that focuses on high-interest topics.
Breaking church news can also be found each week, as well as in-depth coverage of major church meetings such as the General Conference Executive Committee’s Spring Meeting and Annual Council.
Another favorite is the new World News section, where visitors will learn about new legislation affecting people of faith and what issues many Christian churches are grappling with.
For those who don’t live near an Adventist radio or television station, there is the new “AR on the Air.” This section is a listening room featuring CD-quality radio programs from Adventist medial ministries on three continents. The musical and informational broadcasts are uplinked from North America, South America, and Europe, and can be heard in 16 languages.
While the Adventist World staff is working on plans to put its publication online, the Adventist Review Online continues to be a valuable resource that readers can access quickly with just a few clicks of the mouse.
*A $12.95 fee is required for nonsubscribers within North America to access the additional magazine articles and archives.