Brazil: Adventist Publisher to Produce for African Markets
Casa Publicadora Brasileira (CPB), the Seventh-day Adventist publishing house in Tatuí, São Paulo State, Brazil, will soon distribute its products in Africa, executives said.
EXPORTING BOOKS: João Vicente Pereyra is vice president of marketing and sales at Casa Publicadora Brasileira (Brazilian Publishing House) in Tatui, São Paulo State, Brazil. The Adventist-owned publishing firm will export Portuguese literature to various nations in Africa.João Vicente Pereyra, sales and marketing vice president, said: “The CPB was designed to provide literature in Portuguese to various countries, such as South Africa, Angola, São Tomé and Principe, and Mozambique.”
There is, however, an exact timetable for when books, magazines, and other materials would be made available to the population living in these regions. The first deals are being concluded with leaders who manage the administrative headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the countries wishing to market the products.
For 2013 the publisher also expects to expand its operations into digital formats. The idea is that dozens of online titles may be available in mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android. CPB is first place in production volume and sales among the 63 Adventist-owned publishing houses in the world.
Beginning in 2013 traditional publications such as Nosso Amiguinho (Our Friend for children 5 to 9 years old), Vida e Saúde (Life and Health), and Revista Adventista (the South American Division’s edition of Adventist Review) will also have Web portals. One core system was established to provide all this content in support of already established print versions.
Mexico: Bible Transcribed in Record Time at Adventist University
The timer stopped at 59 minutes, 52 seconds, and a fraction of a second. It was a record that bolted more than 2,150 individuals out of their seats with a shout after transcribing the entire Bible. The activity took place at Montemorelos University—a Seventh-day Adventist-operated institution in Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico—on November 24, 2012.
The historic event was part of the institution’s seventieth anniversary of offering an Adventist Christian education.
OFFICIAL RECORD: Alejandro Zepeda, notary public of Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico displays the total time of 59:52 minutes it took for the Bible to be transcribed by hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist leaders, students, and faculty at Montemorelos University, in Mexico, on November 24, 2012. The historic event is expected to be registered in Guinness World Records, and was one of many commemorative activities in celebration of the university’s 70 years of existence.Dressed in commemorative T-shirts with the number 70 printed on them, students, faculty, alumni, and community members and visitors each copied 20 to 25 verses at the gymnasium, an event that is expected to be officially recorded in Guinness World Records, organizers said.
“The objective of the event was to emphasize the value of the Bible as a foundation of the Adventist educational system,” said Juan Jose Andrade, director of Mexico’s Ellen White Research Center and organizer of the event.
Alejandro Zepeda, a notary public, verified the time and performed the legal documentation to register the record-breaking time.
Montemorelos mayor Gerardo Alanis and his wife, Minerva, were present during the historic event. “I feel God is here,” said Mayor Alanis.
Israel Leito, president of the church in Inter-America, congratulated the university via telephone for the Bible-focused initiative.
Seventh-day Adventist ministers from throughout Mexico also participated in transcribing the Bible.
The comprehensive initiative was suggested by a student and grew to involve more than 20 coordinators for three months and some 85 assistants to guide the transcribers, organizers said.
Stacy Olmedo, a 20-year-old communication student, transcribed Genesis 23 and the first four verses of chapter 24. “I was so excited to be part of this,” she said. “It took a lot of concentration, and I liked it very much, even though I had only some 24 verses to write.”
“Personally speaking, it helped my spiritual life and made me more aware of the significance of God’s Word,” said Jency Cordova, a medical student.
“It was a great privilege,” said Jaime Blanco, school services director. “All of us who participated were able to enjoy reviewing a portion of the Word of God.”
Jorge Manrique, director of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, his wife, and two sons were delighted to be together to copy verses. “As a family, it was a gratifying experience that reaffirmed our commitment in communion with God and reading of the Bible,” said Manrique. “We felt so excited to be part of this project and were able to identify with the ancient transcribers.” He added, “That encourages us and reaffirms for us that the Bible is the only true source, the Word of God.”
Once the transcriptions were complete and the timer was stopped, all transcribed pages were compiled and bound in the library and taken to the university church for a two-hour program to close the Sabbath. The transcription, called the Seventieth Anniversary Bible, will be exhibited in the Ellen G. White Research Center on campus.
“What’s important about this activity is not the fact that we transcribed the Bible,” said Ismael Castillo, Montemorelos University president, “but the precious moments we had together with our Sovereign God.
“Our greatest desire is for the Word of God to become the foundation of our daily devotional life.”
Seventh-day Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson met with government, community, and church leaders in West Africa during a November 2012 visit to the region.
In Ivory Coast, Wilson called for reconciliation following last year’s civil unrest after a disputed election.
ARRIVING IN ABIDJAN: Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson is greeted upon his arrival in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Wilson, who spent nine years in the country as a regional Seventh-day Adventist Church president, met with leaders in several West African nations.Wilson, who served as a regional executive for the Adventist Church in Ivory Coast from 1981 to 1990, said, “During this period of reconciliation here in Ivory Coast, we must have the spirit of the good Samaritan; the duty of Christians is to represent Christ.”
He delivered his remarks in French during a keynote speech at the Palace of Culture in Abidjan.
Wilson also added, “We must treat our women with respect. We must have a respectful and a warm attitude toward our wives, our husbands, and our children. Reconciliation must first start in the home, the neighborhood, the church, and spread to the country.”
Ediemou Jacob, president of the Religious National Forum of Ivory Coast, said Wilson was the first world religious leader to visit Ivory Coast with a message of reconciliation.
Wilson also met with Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara on November 7.
There are nearly 13,000 Adventist Church members in Ivory Coast, which is the headquarters for the denomination’s West-Central Africa Division. Wilson visited several countries in the division.
In the city of Kumasi during his five-day visit to Ghana, Wilson met with Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who is the Asantehene, a ceremonial leadership role of the Ashanti people. Wilson’s father, Neal Wilson, who served as Adventist Church president from 1979 to 1990, visited the previous king 24 years ago.
PRESIDENTIAL GIFT: Wilson is presented with a golden stool by a representative of the king of the Ashanti people in Ghana. The gift, which represents pillars and strong foundations, was presented during the Sabbath worship service at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.Ted Wilson told the king and his officials of the gift his father received—a hand carving of a hand holding an egg. “The explanation of it is that if you are too hard on your people, you will crush them. If you are too relaxed and uninterested and you relax your hand, the egg falls,” Wilson told the delegation in the Manhyia Palace.
Tutu commended the Adventist Church in Ghana for its contribution in the areas of education and health care. “I have realized that there is a lot of [self-]discipline in the Adventist Church, and those in the church believe in its values and principles,” he said through an interpreter.
Wilson also inaugurated a nearby multicultural center, which was sponsored by the Adventist Church headquarters and the church’s South Central Ghana Conference. The center will offer skills training for church and community members in information technology, catering, and sewing. It will also offer training for evangelism and outreach.
On November 10, 2012, Wilson joined some 30,000 worshippers at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi for a special Sabbath worship service.
The next day Wilson spoke at the graduation ceremony at church-run Valley View University. He challenged the more than 500-member graduating class to have the biblical viewpoint of success.
“In whatever work God leads you, you should realize that success is dependent on your connection to Christ, which results in humble service to Him and others,” he said.
Wilson also met with Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, the first Adventist mayor of Accra, Ghana’s capital.
There are some 375,000 members in the church’s Ghana Union Conference.
Wilson’s wife, Nancy, and officers of the division accompanied him on the trip. Earlier, at the division’s year-end meeting, the executive committee voted to grant self-supporting conference status to 14 administrative units in Nigeria and one unit in Liberia. The moves highlight development of the church in those regions in terms of its finances and leadership.
—reported by Gilbert Weeh, Solace Asafo Hlordzi, with ANN staff
The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Office of Adventist Mission announced several new directors as part of a reorganization of study centers for various cultural groups.
STUDY CENTERS: Gerson Santos is director of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s new Urban Ministry Study Center.Gerson Santos now serves as the director of the new Urban Ministry Study Center, based in New York City. Santos will also serve as executive secretary of the denomination’s Greater New York Conference for the immediate future.
The Urban Ministry center was launched in response to the Adventist world church’s initiative for comprehensive urban evangelism. The center was founded to assist ministry leaders worldwide as they make plans for outreach in major cities in their own territories. Next year the Adventist Church will begin the effort, starting with a major outreach push in New York City as part of the denomination’s NY13 initiative.
Six Global Mission Study Centers now serve the church to equip leaders and members to build bridges of understanding to those from non-Christian religions and traditions. Study Centers director Rick McEdward said the goal of the centers is to create models of ministry, materials, and to mentor Adventists for sharing Christ in a way that is wholistic and culturally adapted.
“Adventists have usually been very good at sharing their faith with other Christians, but we have to offer a cordial witness for those who don’t yet know Christ,” McEdward said.
McEdward said the World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Center has moved from Jerusalem to Paris. France has the third-largest Jewish population behind Israel and the United States, according to the World Jewish Population Study. Richard Elofer, former president of the denomination’s Israel Field, will continue serving as director.
The announcement came during a study center directors meeting in Cambodia. The group meets twice a year to plan how the Adventist Church can build bridges to cultures and contexts outside of traditional ministry.
Also, the Hindu Study Center, formerly based in India, was recently restarted in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad, home to a large population of Indian diaspora. Cliffmond Shameerudeen, a Guyanese of Indian descent, serves as coordinator.
Gregory Whitsett now heads the Center for East Asian Religions and Traditions, formerly the Buddhist Study Center. He began his new post in September. The center has been located in Thailand since its inception in 1992. Whitsett and his family have spent more than 10 years in Southeast Asia as missionaries. He replaces Scott Griswold, who served as director for 10 years.
The two other study centers are the Center for Secular and Postmodern Studies, based in São Paulo, Brazil, and the Global Center for Adventist-Muslim Relations, which has branches in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States; Nairobi, Kenya; and London, England.
Polish President Meets Country’s Adventist Church Leaders
Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poland were among representatives of the Eastern European nation’s religious communities who met with Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski on January 24, 2012.
POLISH PRESIDENT: From left, President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland greets Seventh-day Adventist pastors Pawel Lazar, Marek Rakowski, and Ryszard Jankowski.Addressing the religious leaders, including representatives of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations, Komorowski said that Poland is “a very diverse community of people in terms of language and culture, as well as religion. “
He focused on the idea of the state as a “good community [which] is able to embrace, hold, appreciate, and bring out everything that is good in diversity.”
Referring to the wide interreligious formula of the meeting, Rakowski said, “For me the very nature of the meeting was important. While hosting many significant dignitaries of the religious world, it was very neutral and—in the positive meaning of the word—secular. There were no prayers or rituals that could have caused any discomfort to any of the invited guests.”
The Adventist delegation gave Mr. Komorowski a gift edition of The Desire of Ages, by Ellen G. White, and a series of films on the heroes of the Protestant Reformation.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been present in the Republic of Poland for nearly 125 years and today has about 7,000 members. —reported by Andrzej Sicin ski, tedNEWS
Wilson Meets Jamaican Leaders, Haitian Adventists, During Tour
JAMAICAN WELCOME: Adventist world church president Ted N. C. Wilson greets Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller in Kingston on February 3. The two leaders discussed the role of the Adventist Church in the country and prayed togethereventh-day Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson met with top Jamaican national leaders during a recent tour of the island nation to promote the church’s Revival and Reformation initiative.
Wilson, his wife, Nancy, and local Adventist Church officials paid a courtesy call to Jamaica’s prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, and governor-general, Sir Patrick Allen. The visit coincided with the island nation’s fiftieth anniversary of independence.
Miller commended the church’s contributions to education and national development in the country. “The Seventh-day Adventist Church plays such an important role and has been doing a wonderful job in Jamaica,” she said.
There are some 270,000 Adventists worshipping at more than 650 churches in Jamaica. Church officials in the country estimate that about one in every 11 people there is an Adventist.
Wilson told the prime minister, “We want to be seen as an integral part of society. We want Seventh-day Adventists to be known as people who truly and genuinely fulfill the ministry of Jesus,” he said, citing education, health outreach, social programs, and spiritual guidance.
Beginning April 17, Seventh-day Adventists around the world are invited to read one chapter of the Bible every day up until the July 2015 conclusion of the General Conference session. “Revived by His Word,” as the initiative is called, is gaining support from church members and leaders around the world.
“Around the world, and particularly in Africa, I have seen the transforming power of the Bible in the lives of people at every level,” said Pardon Mwansa, a general vice president of the world church who is involved with the project. “By committing to this program of daily, prayerful Scripture reading, I believe Seventh-day Adventists will not only learn much about the God they serve, they will also find a great blessing,” he added.
According to organizers, “the goal of the entire project is to provide an opportunity for Jesus to speak to His people through His Word so they will know Him better, seek Him more deeply, and share His love more fully.”
“If there’s one habit that will change the life and conversations of Adventists around the globe, it’s the habit of daily placing ourselves before the open Word of God and filling our minds with the message of God’s love,” said Bill Knott, editor of Adventist World and a member of the church’s Revival and Reformation Committee. “I’m praying that thousands—hundreds of thousands—of believers will take up this challenge and make the next three years a time of special grace and power for this remnant people.”
More information on the project is available online at www.revivaland reformation.org, under a special banner. —Adventist World staff
Jan Paulsen, the most recent former president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, has been named a commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. The announcement from the Royal Palace states that “H. M. the King has appointed Jan Paulsen commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for meritorious work for the good of humanity.”
NORWEGIAN HONOR: Jan Paulsen, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists from 1999 to 2010, has been named a commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, an order established by King Olav V in 1985.“I am totally surprised and very honored by this recognition coming from His Majesty the King of Norway and his councillors,” Paulsen, 77, said. “It warms my heart that the accolade came with the recognition of ‘service for the good of humanity,’ for that is what the life of Christian service is all about,” he added.
The Royal Norwegian Order of Merit was founded by King Olav V in 1985 and is conferred on foreign and Norwegian nationals as a reward for their outstanding service in the interest of Norway. The actual date when Paulsen will be presented with the insignia of the order has yet to be decided.
Ted N. C. Wilson, current General Conference president, congratulated his predecessor, saying, “This is a wonderful demonstration of how God can bring a life of Christian service to the forefront for the world to know of His power. We are grateful for this special recognition of Pastor Paulsen by the Norwegian government, and thank him and Mrs. Paulsen for their many years of dedicated service to God’s church and the good of humanity, which has been so nicely recognized by the king of Norway.”
Reidar J. Kvinge, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway, said: “It is a great honor for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway that the global service of Dr. Paulsen has been recognized in this way.”
Paulsen was president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists from January 1999 to June 2010. He holds a Doctor of Theology degree from the University of Tübingen in Germany.
Jan Paulsen began his ministerial service in 1953 in Norway, later serving as a teacher in Ghana and as teacher and college president in Nigeria, at what is now known as Babcock University. From 1976 to1980 he was the principal (or president) of church-run Newbold College in England, which houses the main theological faculty of the Seventh-day Adventist movement in the Trans-European region.
For 12 years he served as president of the Trans-European Division in St. Albans, England, before coming to Silver Spring, Maryland, as a general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. —reported by Tor Tjeransen, communication director, Norwegian Union Conference
Religious Liberty Conference to Spotlight Global Freedom
Amajor international event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in April will affirm once more that “religious liberty is part of the DNA of the Adventist Church,” according to General Conference president Ted N. C. Wilson. The seventh World Congress for Religious Freedom, organized by the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), expects to bring together some 800 government officials, community activists, church leaders, scholars, and legal experts for a three-day series of meetings, beginning April 24.
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ENCOUNTER:Reverend John G.W. Oliver, chairman of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative, left, and Imam Seyyed Mohammad Ali Abtahi, an Iranian theologian, scholar, and pro-democracy activist, converse during the 6th IRLA World Congress, held in 2007 in Cape Town, South Africa. The imam is currently imprisoned in Iran for alleged political crimes.In a short video message Wilson said the event offers an unprecedented opportunity “to mix with those who hold positions of influence in society—to explore how, together, we can speak for the millions of people around the world today who face discrimination, imprisonment, or worse, simply because they’ve chosen the path of faithfulness.”
A 2011 international study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life suggested about a third of the world’s population—more than 2.2 billion men, women, and children—live in in places in which religious persecution not only exists, but is actually on the rise. This grim forecast for religious minorities comes as no surprise to John Graz, director of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department for the world church and secretary-general of the IRLA. “As we meet together in Punta Cana to explore current religious freedom issues, this terrible reality of persecution will be ever before us,” he said.
“We serve a God of freedom who appeals to us through love, not fear,” Wilson added. “Preserving and promoting religious freedom for all people—no matter what their faith tradition—will always be a central Adventist value.”
The seventh World Congress, the first such event to be held in the Inter-America Division, has attracted presenters from around the world, including ambassador Robert Seiple, former U.S. ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom, and Neville Callam, Baptist World Alliance general secretary and leader of 100 million Baptists worldwide. Other attendees from the local region include Dominican Republic president Leonel Fernández, prime minister Gerrit Schotte from Curaçao, prime minister Michiel Eman from Aruba, and Caridad Diego Bello, Cuba’s minister for religion.
For more information about the congress and for streaming video of plenary sessions, go towww.irla.org. —reported by Bettina Krause, IRLA
ADRA Project Gives Renewable Energy to Chinese City
The humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is moving forward with plans to construct biomass power plants in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China.
POWER FOR CHENGDU: Adventist humanitarians in China are studying the feasibility of building biomass power plants in Chengdu, where a growing waste problem has local officials scrambling for answers. From right: Marcel Wagner, project manager; Linda Zhu, ADRA China country director; Arthur Wellinger, president of the European Biogas Association; with representatives from Beijing University and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.A source of renewable energy, biomass power plants convert organic waste into biogas and electricity.
Representatives from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Switzerland and China say a recent feasibility tour with local officials and Arthur Wellinger, president of the European Biogas Association, was productive. The study group was able to assess the local waste chain and take samples for further analysis, said project manager Marcel Wagner.
“The project is still at the very beginning, but the doors are open,” Wagner said, adding that the next steps involve drawing up a detailed business plan, project proposal, and contract for potential investors and partners.
Reports indicate that some 5,000 tons of waste is collected every day in Chengdu. To reduce the contamination of soil and water, and avoid using valuable agricultural land for landfills, officials are increasingly turning to new recycling methods.
Already, China operates biomass power plants in several provinces. So far, the plants operate by burning only dry organic waste, such as wood chips, branches, and leaves. Wet organic waste—from kitchens, slaughterhouses, and restaurants—makes up an estimated 60 percent of all organic waste and often remains untreated. ADRA China representatives say this yet-unused waste has potential to generate biogas and organic fertilizer.