Church Leaders Inaugurate First Adventist
Hospital in Dominican Republic
|RIBBON CUTTING: IAD president Israel Leito cuts the ribbon during the inauguration. [IAD photo]
ozens of medical doctors, health professionals, administrators, and leaders from the Seventh-day Adventist Church and other religious organizations witnessed the inauguration of the first Adventist hospital in the Dominican Republic on December 28, 2006.
Located in the country’s capital city of Santo Domingo, the new facility will offer health care to a city of more than 3.5 million people.
“The Vista del Jardin Medical Center will be characterized for not only being a place with the best doctors but a place with . . . Christians who will fulfill its purpose by providing health care and the prevention of illnesses, and foremost Christians who will reflect the character of God through their actions as they sooth human hurts,” Inter-American Division president Israel Leito told those attending the event.
|NEW HOSPITAL: The new Vista del Jardin Medical Center is the first Adventist hospital to be constructed in the Dominican Republic. [Courtesy of Inter-American Division]
Cesario Acevedo, president of the Adventist Church in the Dominican Republic, expressed gratitude for a hospital that will offer health care with an Adventist touch to the people in the region. He also thanked all who supported the four-year long initiative.
More than 150 professionals, including 60 medical doctors and 30 nurses, are on staff at the new 3-story, 23-bed facility. It also boasts 21 medical offices; 3 operating rooms; a delivery room; intensive care, physical therapy, and endoscopy units; an emergency room, and three fully equipped ambulances.
Some 230,000 Adventists worship in 1,084 churches and congregations in the Dominican Republic.
—Inter-American Division Communication Department/AR.
Ending Decade of Struggle, Radio Ministry Permit Granted
A 10-year battle for religious freedom—in this case the right to physically operate a radio station licensed by federal authorities—ended January 23 when the Solano County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted a “use permit” for the Vacaville Adventist Church to operate a radio station on its property.
“After ten years of litigation, I’m exhausted—and relieved,” said Alan Reinach, an attorney and the Pacific Union Conference’s Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director, who has guided the congregation through the litigation. “It was clear from the beginning that God had given the church this radio frequency, but we have never understood why we had to struggle so long to get on the air.”
The litigation, which grew out of the county’s refusals to allow the church to operate the station, resulted in a settlement more than two years ago, and the church has been working with county officials to implement the details. The final plan was reviewed five times in public hearings, first before the Planning Commission and then the Board of Supervisors, before it was finally approved.
American communities have been torn in recent years over land-use issues involving churches and other religious institutions. Congregations of many faiths, including Adventists, have had trouble expanding their places of worship, finding new homes, and expanding services, often under protest from neighbors. Various pieces of legislation—local, state, and federal—have been enacted to support the right of congregations to conduct their activities. Protests and even litigation, however, are often the consequences of churches’ efforts to serve and reach their neighbors.
David Dordevic, Vacaville church pastor, led in a prayer of thanksgiving for the circle of church members who attended the Board of Supervisors hearing.
The congregation intends to produce some local programming in the format of religious talk, along with a strong emphasis on Adventist preaching. Similar radio formats has been successful in other places.
“We are very pleased that this prolonged legal process has come to a positive end and the local church will be able to broadcast into its community,” says attorney Robert Kyte, general counsel for the world church. “It shows that at times a lot of patience must be mixed in with the legal process in order for the Church to come to a just result.” —Pacific Union Office of Religious Liberty/AR.
GC to Cultivate Relationship With Other Faith Groups
Church leaders voted on January 22 to change the Council on Inter-church/Inter-faith relations to the Council on Inter-church/Inter-religion affairs. Much more than a name change, the update is meant to usher in what Michael L. Ryan, a world church vice president, called “a relationship of mutual relating” between Adventists and adherents to other faiths.
“A conversation that aims to connect in a meaningful way is crucial,” said John Graz, director of the General Conference Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department and the Council’s general secretary. “If you don’t talk, they don’t know what you may believe and may even think you’re dangerous or are pushing a threatening political agenda. In today’s climate of confusion, with creeds, sects and religious fanaticism, it is important to anchor our dialogue.”
Along with the name change, council members at Adventist world church headquarters also voted to expand Council membership to include more representation from the office of Adventist Mission and other mission-oriented church organizations to keep outreach at the forefront of church agenda.
—Adventist News Network/AR.
New LLU Centennial Complex Reaches $40 Million Milestone
Loma Linda University achieved a significant milestone when gifts and pledges for a new Centennial Complex, under construction, passed the $40 million mark in mid-December. This met a key qualification for a $1.5 million challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation.
According to Carolyn Cales, LLU executive director for special gifts, more than 750 individual donors gave gifts and made pledges to this major building project—as did several major foundations.
The Centennial Complex is a high-technology, student-oriented facility that will enable “anytime, anywhere” access to a vast array of health profession information.
“Our students are quite adept at using up-to-date communication technology,” says Richard H. Hart, LLU chancellor. “Therefore, the complex is designed to integrate these skills into the learning process.”
—Loma Linda University/AR.
Former GC Associate Secretary Dies
|D. R. Christman [Courtesy of Don Roth]
Donald Robert Christman, a former associate secretary of the General Conference and a longtime worker in Brazil and Peru, died on November 2, 2006, in his home in Redlands after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 87.
Christman began working for the church as a pastor in eastern Pennsylvania in 1943. In 1946, he was called to mission service in Hawaii. Six years later, Christman moved to South America. There he served in various posts in Brazil and Peru, including president of the church’s Inca Union Mission. While in Peru, he supervised the construction of the church’s first floating church on Lake Titicaca.
He returned to the United States in 1966, and in 1977 accepted the call to be an associate secretary of the General Conference. He retired in 1985.
Christman is survived by his wife, Dorothy, four sons, and 10 grandchildren. —Don Roth/AR.
Climate Change, or Just Hot Air News Commentary
BY WILLIAM J. VAN SCHEIK, a retired biology professor who writes from Alberta, Canada
Assumptions and speculation have given way to certainty. Scientists now agree that the planet is indeed sick. Very sick. The disease is progressing, it seems, at an accelerating rate.
“The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. . . . Failure to implement significant reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions now will make the job much harder in the future,” the joint science academies stated in their June 2005 response to climate change.*
The symptoms of global climate change include:
· Frequent and severe heat waves
· Droughts and wildfires
· Ocean warming
· A rise in global sea levels
· Melting glaciers
· Spreading of insect-vectored diseases
· Downpours, heavy snowfalls, and flooding
· Extreme and unusual weather
Whether we agree or not, climatic change is happening. If pushed to the limit we can expect extinctions that exceed those of the fossil record. Some ecologists predict widespread starvation and mass migrations. Others predict anarchy and political unrest.
The year 2006 was the warmest year on record in the United States. Ocean warming and changing ocean currents resulted in changing weather patterns. Melting glaciers affected river flow rates, power generation, and irrigation schemes.
It is not hard to visualize scenes like those described in the book of Joel as the earth responds to centuries of abuse by convulsive violence. If God does not intervene, life on earth would disappear.
How should we respond to the change that is occurring? The Lord counsels us to occupy until He comes. We do what we can to protect the earth, and prepare our hearts for a new heaven and a new earth.
____________________*National science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf ).