WORLD CHURCH: Commission Studies Tithe Use
Use of Tithe Study Commission, established in 2004 at the Seventh-day Adventist world church’s Annual Council meeting, held its second meeting April 6 to look specifically at how tithe is used by the denomination.
“The biblical doctrine of tithe is clear and affirmed, but how the tithe is used needs further study and clarification, particularly in a rapidly growing church with its new and growing demands and challenges,” the commission reported.
The commission has asked biblical scholars to write papers on the use of tithe using the Bible as well as the writings of Ellen G. White. The commission will function for the next several years until the work is completed. A report on the commission’s work and findings will then be presented to the church’s General Conference Executive Committee.
“I am grateful for the faithfulness and generosity of our members in returning their tithe,” says Gerry Karst, a vice president of the world church. “The returning of tithe is a voluntary act of worship in response to a benevolent God. We want to be sure the church is using the sacred tithe according to biblical principles and in harmony with the inspired counsel given to this church.” --Adventist News Network/AR.
ADRA Responds to Heavy Flooding in Ecuador
During the month of March, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) provided aid for 200 Ecuadorian families devastated by the intense rainfall that drenched the coastal region during this winter’s rainy season. The most severely affected areas lie in the coastal provinces of Los Rios, Manabi, Guayas, El Oro, and Esmeraldas.
An estimated 20,000 families have been directly or indirectly affected by the evacuations implemented by Ecuador’s Civil Defense and the Ecuadorian Red Cross.
“More than 400 people have lost everything in the floods, while tens of thousands have lost their homes, businesses, crops, and livestock. . . . Many now are also suffering from diseases such as dengue and malaria, caused by mosquitoes and lack of potable water,” said Ruth Bejarano, project director for the ADRA office in Ecuador. “In such a difficult situation, ADRA is working to help those who have been through so much.”
ADRA has provided medicines and medical care, mattresses, bed linens, and mosquito nets. In addition, 500 schoolchildren living along the hard-hit coastline received urgently needed backpacks filled with school supplies from ADRA.
The project, which is valued at $10,000, is funded in partnership by ADRA International, the ADRA office located in Ecuador, and the ADRA-South American Division office located in Brasilia, Brazil. The distribution was completed in late March.
For more information about ADRA, go to www.adra.org.
Largest Adventist Church in South America Dedicated
What is recognized as the largest Adventist house of worship in South America was dedicated and officially opened April 22 on the campus of the São Paulo Adventist University, near the city of Campinas, Brazil.
“In this part of the world we do not build large churches,” said Williams Costa, Jr., communication director for the church in the region. “We are more inclined to have smaller congregations, and have more congregations at the same time. But this one is different. This is a university setting.”
General Conference president Jan Paulsen addressed the approximately 4,500 people who attended the official opening services. He congratulated the congregation on their new sanctuary and challenged them to get involved in the community. “Don’t go and hide away,” he said. “Be social. Mix with people.”
The university church, known as Campus Engenheiro Coelho, seats about 2,200 people.
There are more than 2.6 million Adventists in South America worshiping in nearly 19,000 congregations.
--Adventist News Network/AR.
ENGLAND: AWR Announces New Europe Region Director
Adventist World Radio (AWR) recently announced the appointment of Tihomir Zestic as director of its Europe region, headquartered in Bracknell, England. Zestic joined AWR in 1993 as a producer in Zagreb, Croatia, and became studio director there in 1995. He then served as communication director for the Croatian-Slovanian Conference (now the Croatian Conference) in 1996, and most recently taught communication and journalism classes at Adriatic Union College. In addition to his radio and conference work, Zestic has also served as pastor of a church in Zagreb.
The Europe region director is responsible for overseeing AWR’s work in continental Europe and parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. --Adventist World Radio/AR.
MARYLAND: Adventist Review Wins Four ACP Awards
The Associated Church Press (ACP) presented four awards to the Adventist Review at its annual convention held April 23-26 in Orlando, Florida. Recipients were chosen from more than 1,000 entries in 70 categories.
Awards of excellence were given for feature article “A Journey and a March,” written by associate editor Bill Knott (Adventist Review, May 26, 2005) for the category of Feature Article: Denominational General Interest Magazine; and the General Conference bulletins and supplement (June/July 2005) by Review staff for Convention Coverage: Magazine.
ACP judge Pamela Hill Nettleton described Knott’s article as “well crafted [and] structured by a pro.” She added that “the reporting is solid and the storytelling is compelling and deeply felt.”
The 3,000-word cover feature told the story of four young Adventist college students from California who drove to Selma, Alabama in the spring of 1965 to march for civil rights with Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others.
Commenting on the General Conference bulletins, ACP judge Sandi Dolbee wrote, “The sheer volume of this achievement should be cause enough for celebration. . . . Adventist readers are well served by an obvious commitment to excellence—and to what would seem to others to be a task too overwhelming to take on.”
Honorable mentions were given for Review editor-in-chief William G. Johnsson’s editorial “The Papacy in Transition” (Adventist Review, May NAD edition) in the category Editorial Courage; and Pat Grant’s “A Countdown of Grace” (Adventist Review, August 18) for Personal Experience: Short Format. Grant is a pastor in the Washington Conference.
ACP presented awards to two other Adventist periodicals. The Lake Union Herald received an Award of Merit for Magazine Design: Spread or Story, and an Honorable Mention for “Strengthening the Knot” in Theme Section: Magazine. The Adventist Church of Canada’s Messenger was given an Honorable Mention for Magazine Design: Entire Issue, for its January 2005 issue. --AR.