Adventist Women Advocate
Gender Equality at UN

ive Adventist women added their voices to thousands of other women in calling for drastic improvements in the lives of women worldwide at the United Nations’ 50th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women held in New York, United States. The meeting ran until March 10, and was attended by the Adventist delegation from February 27 to March 3.

According to Viola Hughes, who led the Adventist delegation and is the church’s public affairs specialist, attendees at the conference defined rights violations as occurring whenever women are denied access to property or employment, face violence within their homes, or cannot claim fair representation with their government.

The other four Adventist delegates, all from the United States, were Raquel Arrais, associate director of Women’s Ministries (WM) for the Adventist world church; Sheryal Vandenberghe, WM director of the Florida Conference; Shirley Scott, WM director of the South Central Conference; and Deborah Rapp, WM director of the Carolina Conference.

More than 6,000 women came to the meeting representing nongovernmental organizations in countries such as Vietnam, Nigeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Burma, China, and Peru.

Two departments of the General Conference—Women’s Ministries and Public Affairs and Religious Liberty—worked together to write a statement addressing the challenges women face around the world. It was first submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women last January. The statement was later modified, and about 1,000 copies were distributed at the Commission. The modified statement outlines the six challenge issues women face globally: illiteracy; poverty; threats to health; workload; abuse; and lack of training, mentoring, and leadership opportunities.

At one of the Commission’s workshops, titled “Preparing Girls for Leadership,” Arrais spoke about the church’s leadership certification program for women. She said that the meeting provided an opportunity to network with women from all over the world on common issues and also to share with them what the Adventist Church is doing to help women worldwide.
                                   —Adventist News Network/International Religious Liberty Association/AR.

INDIA: Nontraditional House of Worship to Be Dedicated in Pune
The construction of a new and spacious house of worship on the campus of Spicer Memorial College in Pune is nearing completion.


NEW HOUSE OF WORSHIP: Spicer Memorial College’s new church building is considered to be the largest Christian church in the city of Pune. [Photo credit: Rajmund Dabrowski]
It seems that “we have talked about it for generations, but now we are about ready to open it,” says Justus Devadas, college president. “It will seat 2,000 worshippers and will be the largest such [church] structure in this city.”

Referred to as a “house of prayer,” it is expected to house special convocations connected to the life of the college. Dr. Vijayan Charles, an Adventist surgeon in Maryland, United States, and his family are the sole benefactors that made the “dream come alive” by donating the U.S.$700,000 for its construction. The landscaping and access roads were made possible by funds from the college.

The new church will replace the much smaller church building, which was constructed in 1962 with a seating capacity of 800. Gordon Christo, communication director of the Adventist Church in Southern Asia, and a former Spicer Memorial College dean, reminisces: “In those days we wondered if we would fill that church when we had only 200 students. Today, we have 800 with a large faith community in the area, and we know that this new place will be filled.”

Adventists in Pune are a well-established Christian community, with schools, a medical clinic, a publishing house, and a media center. Pune is the seat of the Adventist church’s administrative headquarters in the region. Spicer Memorial College is one of the church’s oldest institutions, a flagship of Adventist education in India, and one of the oldest schools in Pune. Today, Adventists in India operate more than 300 schools.                                                                                                    —Adventist News Network/AR.

ADRA Provides Emergency Aid
to Nearly 7,000 Flood Survivors in Bolivia
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has been providing humanitarian assistance for thousands of families driven from their homes by severe flooding in the provinces of Madre de Dios and Manuripi, Bolivia.

Record rains in Bolivia during January and February caused flooding in both the highlands and the Amazon Basin, destroying crops and livestock and forcing families from their homes. More than 33,000 families were affected by this disaster.

ADRA responded by providing food rations, water, and other needed items for more than 6,500 residents in the municipalities of Gonzalo Moreno, San Lorenzo, Sena, and Puerto Rico. In addition, the towns of Gonzalo Moreno and San Lorenzo were given water tanks to provide clean drinking water for destitute families in the region. To deal with the rising health risks, medical personnel also distributed medications to help prevent malaria, parasite infestation, and other illnesses.

For more information about ADRA, click here.                —Adventist Development and Relief Agency/AR.

AWR Dedicates New Office in the UK
Adventist World Radio (AWR) dedicated its new office building in Bracknell on Sabbath, February 25, with a consecration program and a community open house.

DEDICATION: AWR recently held a dedication ceremony and a community open house for its new office building in Bracknell, England.
 [Photo courtesy of Adventist World Radio]
Located approximately one hour from London and five minutes from Newbold College, the building offers increased space for staff serving the Europe region and AWR’s global services, which are located in England, as well as room for future growth. The previous property, located adjacent to Newbold College, has been sold.

“Radio can be an excellent way of breaking down prejudice by allowing people to listen to how we as Adventists express ourselves,” Trans-European Division president Bertil Wiklander said during the dedication ceremony. “At the same time, we need to contextualize our message to fit people’s questions.”

Wiklander also described the Church’s evangelism challenges in Europe, ranging from societies that are extremely secular to Islamic countries where proselytizing is illegal. “Approximately 65 to 70 percent of the 600 million people living in this division are Muslim, and the Adventist Church cannot communicate directly with them,” Wiklander said. “AWR is their link to the Church and serves as a sort of ‘radio church.’”

AWR’s first broadcasts took place in Portugal in 1971, and now broadcasts around the world in nearly 70 languages. In the Europe region, 16 studios produce programs in 25 European languages, and 49 hours of programs are broadcast each day through shortwave radio, satellite, and FM networks.

For more information about Adventist World Radio, click here.                  —Adventist World Radio/TED/AR.

AUSTRALIA: AvondaleCollege to Offer Ph.D Degrees
Avondale College, an Adventist institution in Cooranbong, New South Wales, has recently been granted authority by the New South Wales government to offer Doctor of Philosophy degrees in history, health, education, and theology. Avondale currently offers postgraduate studies up to the Master level in leadership and management, education, nursing, and theology. Postgraduates make up 15 percent of the student body. About 1,000 students attend Avondale College.

For more information, click here.                               —Avondale College Public Relations Department/AR.

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