A SEMINAR PARTICIPANTS: Distance learners at the Mongolia Mission Field gathered for a January 2013 seminar. s the new year began, Seventh-day Adventists in the Mongolia Mission Field (MMF), working with the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, launched a distance learning center (DLC) program in Mongolia, run by the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) in Silang, Cavite, Philippines. The DLC will provide local pastors and church leaders with an avenue for upgrading their skills and augmenting their academic learning and technical competencies in ministry. The program will hold classes once every quarter for five years.
The first session took place January 14-30, 2013, with Youngsoo Chung, AIIAS professor of applied theology, presenting a “Biblical Foundation of Leadership” course at MMF’s headquarters.
This first distance learning course provided 32 MMF students with a foundational understanding of the principles and approaches to biblical leadership; identified the essential characteristics, qualities, and requirements of Christian leaders; appreciated various biblical models of leadership and leadership activities; and helped to coordinate missional leaders working together on a regional, national, and global level.
The DLC program is key to promoting a strong ministerial development plan that will train and develop Seventh-day Adventist pastors in Mongolia, church leaders said.
A GATHERING OF BELIEVERS:Young people sit in overflow seating at a temporary structure in Papenoo, Tahiti, built to host a weekend rally welcoming Adventist world church president Ted Wilson. The rally was streamed live online and broadcast on local Adventist radio stations in French Polynesia uthentic spirituality is at the core of the Seventh-day Adventist message, Ted N. C. Wilson, General Conferencepresident, said during an official visit with the leader of French Polynesia on February 8, 2013.
Wilson met with President Oscar Temaru and other French Polynesian government officials at the president’s office in Papeete, Tahiti, while on a tour of the South Pacific island groups.
President Temaru said he was grateful for the positive impact the Adventist Church has on French Polynesia, adding that Adventists are “good citizens.” Wilson, speaking in French, expressed appreciation for the religious liberty granted by the government of French Polynesia. As an overseas country of France, the island groups are given considerable autonomy, allowing for greater religious freedom than granted by laws in France.
Later in their conversation, Wilson illustrated the Adventist Church’s belief in wholistic living. Gesturing toward a table in the president’s office, he said, “When one leg is missing, the table can’t stand. Similarly, people need their spiritual, physical, mental and social needs met. We believe God wants us to develop all of these attributes in harmony.”
PRESIDENTS TOGETHER:Adventist world church president Ted Wilson (right) with the president of French Polynesia, Oscar Temaru, in Papeete, Tahiti. Wilson offered spiritual counsel and prayed with the national leader during the February 8, 2013, meeting.Earlier Wilson had met with Gaston Tong Sang, the mayor of Bora Bora and former president of French Polynesia. Sang later made the 45-minute flight to Tahiti to attend an Adventist worship and evangelism rally that ran February 7 to 9.
During his Sabbath sermon, Wilson urged an audience of close to 4,000 to prioritize spiritual development, citing the Old Testament story of Elijah, who advocated a return to godliness. “God is calling us to be Elijahs in our modern world,” Wilson said.
Local Adventist Church leaders credited the strong turnout to members who brought their friends and neighbors to the rally. There are about 4,600 Adventists in French Polynesia, spread over some 130 islands. The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates 37 churches in French Polynesia, as well as a college and a media center.
“This rally has been a profound blessing for us,” said Roger Tetuanui, president of the French Polynesia Mission. “It has brought our church family together. . . . But most important has been the spiritual impact of the messages. We feel unified and spiritually energized.”
—reported by James Standish, South Pacific Division, with Adventist News Network
ASeventh-day Adventist has received one of Canada’s top honors, a result of his work in religious liberty.
Barry W. Bussey, was awarded the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, in recognition of his work to support religious liberty in Canada and internationally. He received the award on January 30, 2013, in a ceremony in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.
AWARD WINNER: Barry Bussey, a Seventh-day Adventist active in religious liberty matters, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in a ceremony at Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario.According to Maurice Vellacott, a member of Parliament representing the Saskatoon-Wanuskewin constituency, Bussey “has played an important role in the fight to preserve religious liberty in Canada and internationally. . . . His effective voice on behalf of [the Seventh-day Adventist Church] has helped to broaden the representation of Canadians who are defending religious liberty here and abroad.”
Bussey, who spent more than 15 years in denominational service as a pastor, attorney, and religious liberty advocate, concluding as director of United Nations relations for the General Conference, is legal affairs vice president for the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, in Elmira, Ontario.
The Diamond Jubilee medal was created to mark 2012 celebrations of the sixtieth anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal “serves to honor significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.”
“It’s for the cause,” Barry said. “This medal is because of religious liberty. We have wonderful blessings in Canada, but I know around the world there are brothers and sisters suffering because of their faith, and that’s why I’m involved.”
The award presentation was held on January 30, in the House of Commons chamber in the Parliament building in Ottawa. MP Vellacott was on hand to present the award. Also present at the ceremony were Barry’s family members, friends, and colleagues.
—reported by Alexandra Yeboah, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada
More than 200 Seventh-day Adventists concerned with ministry to those having special needs met January 25-27, 2013, in São Paulo, Brazil, to formulate ways to reach those with physical and emotional disabilities.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church,” said Jonathan Kuntaraf, Sabbath school and personal ministries director for the General Conference, “has made an intentional decision to train, challenge, and encourage each division, union, conference, and church in this ministry, whose time has come.”
SINGING PRAISES: A musical item is performed by a blind choir at a joint event for Seventh-day Adventist Special Needs Ministries in Sáo Paulo, Brazil. The conference took place at Universidade Adventista de São Paulo (the São Paulo campus of Brazil Adventist University), and centered on a Special Needs Emphasis Sabbath at the UNASP campus. The event included presentations by Christian Record and Adventist Deaf Ministries, as well as performances by a choir for the blind and signing by several individuals and groups who are deaf.
Kuntaraf presented the keynote address for the Special Needs Emphasis Sabbath: “Ministry of Compassion.” In his message he quoted Ellen G. White, a cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who sensed the need for such a ministry. InTestimonies to the Church, volume 3, she wrote, on page 511, “that persons afflicted in a variety of ways have been placed in close Christian relationship to His church; it is to prove His people and develop their true character. Angels of God are watching to see how we treat these persons who need our sympathy, love, and disinterested benevolence.”
Though the church has historically addressed some special needs through specific ministries in some areas for those who are blind or deaf, until now there has been no comprehensive inclusion of the wider needs in this field. This new ministry seeks to address the needs of seven categories of disability: cognitive, hearing, mobility, psychiatric, speech, visual, and “hidden,” which covers disabilities not easily observed.
“The ministries of compassion and mission cannot be separated,” said Larry Evans, associate director of the General Conference Stewardship Ministries Department. “Those with special needs, while deserving of compassion, also see themselves as God’s ambassadors to reach out to others like themselves with the message of hope. They can play a vital role in the mission of the church.”
While participating in an international advisory meeting of the newly established Special Needs Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Rajmund Dabrowski, Christian Record marketing director, met with approximately 25 members of Real Vision, a São Paulo, Brazil, organization of church members who are blind. Real Vision members shared their experiences and expressed interest in future cooperation with Christian Record in providing materials for the blind and visually impaired in Portuguese.
“This is a timely entity, a blend of services responding to individuals and groups with special needs, who are a part of our faith community. Christian Record is eager to share what it has learned in its 113 years of experience in serving people who are blind. Special needs ministries is a much-welcomed approach the church now recognizes,” Dabrowski said.
—reported by Gary Swanson, with Mark A. Kellner, news editor
How many people does it take to make a church a church?
A One-Day Church
The Gratitude Church
(image) Left: BETTER THAN NOTHING: Before Maranatha Volunteers, members in Kibeto, Angola, used the best avaliable materials to build a house of worship.
(image) Right: ROUGH ROAD: Materials for the church building in Kibeto had to be transported slowly and carefully.
How many people does it take to make a church a church?
Ask church elder Jos? Manuel. “It only takes two to make a congregation, but at least 30 or 40 would be much better. But if you do not have a proper building, it’s hard to keep the believers believing!”
Manuel’s church is just beyond a baobab forest in the hillside village of Kibeto, Angola. There’s been a congregation of believers in Kibeto for about 25 years. Sometimes the group is small, and at other times it has grown to a “more respectable” 30 or 40 members. That’s when they moved from under the giant baobab tree into their new church.
They built the church themselves: the walls, the roof, the pews, and the pulpit.
Then the winds came, blowing away the roof and much of the wall. After members reinforced the wall, the hot Angola sun made the worshippers feel like “baked potatoes” inside the steel walls. One by one they slipped away to the shade of the baobab tree.
Meanwhile, far away in Ecuador, Adventists were celebrating Maranatha’s successful completion of more than 220 church buildings. They came to two large Sabbath celebrations, one in Quito and the other in Guayaquil.
“We have received so much,” said the members, “that we want to give our best to God, and ask Him to use our gifts to build a church somewhere else in the world.”
The members in Ecuador sold crops, goats, and many possessions of great personal value. Those offerings were just enough to fund the cost of a One-Day Church with “nonbaking” cement-block walls, real wooden pews, and a “nonflying” roof for the congregation in Kibeto.
Kibeto’s new church will truly be the Gratitude Church. And it will fill rapidly!
ASI and Maranatha Volunteers International fund and facilitate One-Day Church and One-Day School projects. Since 2009, more than 1,600 One-Day buildings have been built around the world. These stories come from Maranatha storyteller Dick Duerksen.
After years of waiting, the parts had all come together: an ancient stick-and-thatch church building, and a steel “one-day church”; a kiln packed with bricks ready for completing the church; and today, an ADRA well-drilling rig stood beside the church, its motors roaring and the bit grinding though tough granite
A One-Day Church
The Church at Runyararo, Zimbabwe
It was a party!
After years of waiting, the parts had all come together: an ancient stick-and-thatch church building, and a steel “one-day church”; a kiln packed with bricks ready for completing the church; and today, an ADRA well-drilling rig stood beside the church, its motors roaring and the bit grinding though tough granite.
The entire community was there, nearly 200 strong. Some to taste the water from the new well, some to lay bricks for the church walls, some to help prepare the noon meal. And some to stand on gray anthills and watch. Hosted by the 35 members of the Runyararo Seventh-day Adventist Church, near Karoi, Zimbabwe, this was the event of the year. Even the headman and his wife had come.
The Maranatha team was welcomed by a dozen excited Dorcas women. Dorcas leader Lucy grabbed our hands and joyfully announced, “Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming soon!”
The brick kiln was opened, and men quickly began raising church walls. Women carried water, tended cooking fires, and stirred vast kettles of sadza and onions beneath the rough thatch of the “old” church.
Lucy pointed to the white ADRA truck and announced, “Today there will be a new church and a water well in Runyararo.”
At 220 feet the drill was still chewing through dry granite. After a brief lunch break, the drillers agreed to go a bit deeper. That brought more singing, praying, and even “calls for repentance” from Lucy and the other Dorcas women.
At 260 feet the drill hit soggy sandstone, and the great celebration began. The old church was now the “fellowship room.” The new church was nearly ready for windows and doors. And the new water well had already become the “gathering place” at Runyararo.
Lucy stood beside the well and pointed toward heaven. “Jesus is coming,” she exclaimed. “Jesus is coming soon!”
ASI and Maranatha Volunteers International fund and facilitate One-Day Church and One-Day School projects. Since the project’s launch in 2009, more than 1,600 One-Day buildings have been built around the world. These stories come from Maranatha storyteller
Top: OLD AND NEW: As the walls go up on the new church building, the old church building stands ready to assume a new role: fellowship hall.
Bottom: EXUBERANT LEADERSHIP: Lucy not only leads the local Dorcas Society, she offers enthusiastic leadership for the entire project.
Adventist Church Launches Breathe-Free 2, a New Stop-Smoking Program
Program creator Daniel Handysides says the key to helping smokers quit is personal relationships.
By Andrew McChesney, news editor, Adventist World
Imagine a designated smoking area outside your Adventist church.
The man seated in your pew quietly slips out of the building during the Sabbath sermon. A few minutes later he returns, the strong scent of smoke clinging to his dark suit.
You smile at him and continue listening to the sermon.
No big deal.
This scenario is part of the vision of Breathe-Free 2, a brand-new stop-smoking program that the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Health Ministries department launched this summer. The program is pinning its hopes for success on a combination of scientific research, an open-source Web site, and the personal relationships that participants develop as they take the course
“We’re very excited to have an updated smoking cessation program,” said Peter Landless, Health Ministries director. “We are aware that initially there will be minor adjustments, but we are working to achieve these as soon as possible.”
The cost-free program has roots in Breathe-Free, developed by the Adventist Church more than two decades ago, and the earlier Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking, first introduced in 1959.
But it uses a completely new approach because attitudes toward smoking have changed drastically in recent years, said Daniel Handysides, who spent several years developing Breathe-Free 2 and tested it in the United Arab Emirates.Unlike in past decades, today’s smokers don’t need to be convinced that tobacco is bad for them, and they cannot be scared or lectured into quitting, he said.
“You cannot find a smoker in the world that does not know that cigarettes cause cancer,” said Handysides, assistant professor of health at Loma Linda University. “So our old model of lecture and fear doesn’t work.”
That meant new methods needed to be found to assist smokers, and Breathe-Free 2 is putting a special focus on personal relationships. While the program has a do-it-yourself version, it encourages smokers to join a local group where they can receive emotional support and, crucially, make new friends.
“If you smoke and your friends smoke, it means you have to give up your whole circle of friends,” Handysides said in an interview. “That’s a huge loss.”
There may be many circumstances that prompt a struggling smoker to light up, but the presence of other smokers, especially close friends, is a nearly irresistible temptation. No one wants to lose friends, of course, so Breathe-Free 2 invites smokers to bring along their friends to quit and to make new friendships. New friends could include the local program facilitator and other members of the Breathe-Free 2 group.
Many people who quit only succeed after seven to 10 attempts, and that’s why it is important to create a place they can smoke outside church, Handysides said.
“It is my goal that every one of our churches will reach the point where they have smoking sections outside the church,” he said. “People should be able to feel comfortable coming to a Seventh-day Adventist Church as a smoker.
“We’re not wanting them to be a smoker,” he said. “But we should accept them right where they’re at, and be ready to work with them so that they can change and have a healthier lifestyle.”
The church that Handysides attends at Loma Linda University does not have a designated smoking area. Indeed, the entire campus is smoke-free.
Handysides said he understands that some churches might balk at the idea of smoking areas, and his proposal, in a sense, is metaphorical. “I’m talking more about an attitude shift in which we allow smokers to come into church facilities without judgment,” he said.
Breathe-Free 2 got its start when Loma Linda University asked Handysides to conduct Breathe-Free classes at military high schools in Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates. The university approached Handysides after getting a request for the classes from a nongovernmental organization, the International Commission for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.
Handysides wrote to the General Conference, the headquarters of the Adventist world church in Silver Spring, Maryland, for information about obtaining the course material. He learned that the General Conference was the sole publisher, and it printed the coursework on demand.
In short, the program was “antiquated,” Handysides said.
So with the blessing of the General Conference, he and his wife, Sandra, a family nurse practitioner, led a revamp of the program into Breathe-Free 2 and tested the results for 18 months in Abu Dhabi.
Handysides said the success rate for Breathe-Free 2 is expected to be slightly higher than the 40 percent averaged by its two predecessors. No stop-smoking initiative has a rate topping 50 percent, he said.
Breathe-Free 2 targets only smokers who have a strong desire to quit because they have the best chance of success, Handysides said.
“We want people already in the action phase,” he said.
Part of the advantage of the new program is that all materials are available online at breathefree2.com. In addition, anybody can download, translate, and upload them back to the site for other people to use.
The program initially was released only in English, but a Spanish translation was scheduled for release this year. Tentative discussions have started on translations in Russian, Polish, and Finnish.
Among the materials on the Breathe-Free 2 Web site is a world map showing the locations and contact details of the first 34 program facilitators and videos aimed at fostering group discussion and developing new friendships. The videos are only in English, but their scripts are available for download, allowing non-English groups to act them out or use them in other ways, Handysides said.
The first phase of the program takes eight days to complete and is followed up with a series of meetings over the next days, weeks, and months.
“What’s important is establishing solid relationships that will go back and forth over the time that it takes to quit,” Handysides said.
At Sexuality Summit, Adventist Church President Reflects on “Human Brokenness” Speaking to nearly 350 church leaders at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on March 17, 2014, Seventh-day Adventist world church president Ted N. C. Wilson urged them to recognize that “human brokenness” is ubiquitous, dependent on the healing that comes only through the restorative power of Christ.
At Sexuality Summit, Adventist Church President Reflects on “Human Brokenness”
Speaking to nearly 350 church leaders at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on March 17, 2014, Seventh-day Adventist world church president Ted N. C. Wilson urged them to recognize that “human brokenness” is ubiquitous, dependent on the healing that comes only through the restorative power of Christ.
“Let us make it our personal goal, and the goal of this summit, to speak the truth as Jesus spoke the truth—to remember that every word by His disciples should be a word that helps someone else become a disciple of Christ,” Wilson said. “There is a way to speak the truth that leads to life, so let us talk and share and learn from each other in that way,” he said.
The world church leader went on to define the parameters of the summit. Its goals, he said, did not include revising the Adventist Church’s perspective or statements on human brokenness to match “the changeable spirit” of current social trends and values. “Nor have we come to describe that brokenness in any greater way than the Word of God defines every human sin,” Wilson said.
Sin is not a hierarchy of human failings, he said—with some shortcomings “less dangerous or damaging” than others—but an expression of living life out of harmony with God.
He called it both “inconsistent and morally wrong” for the Adventist Church to isolate practicing members of the LGBT community for discipline “while it ignores those engaged in heterosexual premarital sex or adultery. God’s standard for sexual behavior requires that only in the union of one man and one woman in heterosexual marriage can the gift of sexuality appropriately and biblically be enjoyed. Any departure from that standard must be addressed with similar seriousness and a similar attempt to bring about correction, repentance, and restoration.”
A major goal of the summit, Wilson said, is to develop an awareness of how to compassionately steer those living lives out of harmony with God toward “salvation and recovery.”
“We have come here because we are committed as a people to speaking the truth to each other and to the world around us, and because we are committed to learning how to speak that truth as Jesus did,” he said.
Wilson’s keynote relied significantly on Scripture and the writings of church cofounder Ellen G. White to describe Jesus’ approach to sharing truth. “Christ ‘was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love,’ ” Wilson said, reading a passage from Steps to Christ, White’s classic volume about conversion and spiritual rebirth.
The summit included testimonies from former members of the LGBT community who wrestled with brokenness and now describe themselves as “redeemed” from that lifestyle.
“We must listen as they tell us about their struggle and their pain; and we must not let our pride pretend that their mistakes are any worse in the sight of heaven than the ones we ourselves have made,” Wilson said.
—Daily news bulletins from the summit provided by Adventist Review and Adventist News Network (ANN) are available at adventistreview.org and news.adventist.org.
“We Come to God and Then We Go for God”
It’s one of the most important holidays in Europe. Shops are closed, sacred concerts abound, and churches report record visitors during the traditional Easter weekend. Over the past eight years Adventist young adults from all over Germany and Europe have met for fellowship, inspiration, training, and outreach at the city of Mannheim.
The motto of this year’s meeting, held April 17-21, 2014, was “Lift Up Your Heads.” Speakers focused on personal readiness within the context of the final events prior to the return of Jesus Christ. “We come to God and then we go for God,” stressed Doug Batchelor, president of Amazing Facts and one of the main speakers, during the Thursday night opening sermon as he took his audience to the moment of Isaiah’s call to ministry.
The organization of this year’s YiM congress was beset with an unusual amount of difficulties and challenges, reported Baden-Württemberg Conference youth ministries director Marc Engelmann during the opening ceremony. Fire marshals of the town had reduced the holding capacity of the school’s main auditorium from 1,200 to 200. City officials had sent a note indicating a changed cost structure, potentially adding €50,000 to the final bill, just weeks before the event was to begin.
Yet in spite of these challenges, participants were able to enjoy fellowship, workshops, and inspirational music and preaching in a quickly erected tent holding more than 1,500. Carrying to the front of the platform a sack full of “burdens” Engelmann shared, “I am so happy that I can lift up my head and look to Jesus—we wish you this experience in the coming days.”
Challenged by speakers throughout the five-day event, the young adults attending YiM responded strongly: 67 decided for baptism; 58 committed to give a year of service to Jesus; and 12 accepted God’s call to prepare for full-time ministry.
Service to others was another important component of YiM. Young adults shared food and hope with people who were homeless on the streets of Mannheim and visited shut-ins and residents of several retirement homes. Friday saw hundreds of youth involved in missionary outreach.
More than 500 volunteers, roughly a third of all participants, demonstrated commitment. They served everywhere—preparing food, cleaning restrooms and showers, helping as ushers and security personnel, working with the audio and video of the congress, and helping in many other ways. Following the final sermon on Monday morning, they, together with other participants, moved 1,500 chairs back into classrooms and containers, swept 129,000 square feet (12,000 square meters) of classrooms, hallways, auditoriums, and other spaces, and returned the school complex back to its original state—all in two hours.
Joachim Broegaard, a medical student from Denmark, traveled more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) to meet old friends and be inspired by the programming. He also was happy to connect with other people interested in medical ministry in Europe. Translation into English, Czech, and Polish of the sermons in the main tent underlined the international nature of the event.
Before the sermon on Thursday evening Michael Dörnbrack, a pastor and one of the founders of YiM, introduced Benny and his two friends John and Elli. A number of years ago Benny, an avid rock climber and passionate Adventist, had brought his rock-climbing buddy John to his Pathfinder group and had later begun to study the Bible with him. John, in turn, had invited his girlfriend, Elli—so a friend brought a friend. Dörnbrack challenged the audience to “not have a submarine faith,” which only shows itself on Sabbath morning for two hours.
Before the 2014 YiM participants packed their backpacks and suitcases on Monday, they once again sang the theme song of the congress: “Lift up your heads, see Jesus our King.” It was a little foretaste of heaven.
—By Gerald A. Klingbeil, associate
editor, with contributions from Marcus Witzig, Baden-Württemberg Conference
Details Released in Cyber Attack That Defrauded Adventist Church of a Half Million U.S. Dollars
New details have been released in the ongoing investigation of a sophisticated cyber theft that defrauded the Seventh-day Adventist Church of approximately US$500,000 during a four-week period late last year.
Church leaders say a compromised password appears to have allowed online scammers to hack into the Gmail account of a church employee authorized to initiate instructions for money transfers. Impersonating the employee—and unbeknownst to him—the scammers sent e-mails to financial personnel at Adventist world church headquarters, approving the transfer of funds on behalf of a denominational entity. An elaborate filtration system set up by the scammers marked all responses from headquarters as “read” and “deleted,” thus bypassing the employee’s inbox.
Meanwhile, the scammers laundered funds from 16 fraudulent transactions through the personal bank accounts of five apparently unwitting victims, church financial officers said.
“We have modified procedures to do our best to prevent anything like this from happening again,” said Robert E. Lemon, treasurer of the Adventist world church.
Lemon said incidences of fraud in which scammers troll the Internet for e-mails giving instructions to “pay, transfer, or send” funds are growing in occurrence. In such cases scammers carefully study account holder’s e-mails so they can send transaction requests that closely mirror the tone and content of legitimate e-mails. Some hackers may even include personal comments—often work or family details gleaned from actual e-mails—to make the transaction requests appear more genuine.
“We urge church employees and members to exercise extreme caution when acting on instructions for handling funds that come through an e-mail without a second independent verification through another means, such as phone call, text message, or fax,” Lemon said.
At headquarters, internal controls were in place that church leaders said should have alerted financial personnel of a problem with the first transaction. But several key employees who would have questioned the transactions were traveling or were otherwise out of the office at the time, Lemon said. Additionally, the transfer amounts and explanations were “within the normal scope” for the denominational entity in question, he said.
Church financial personnel discovered the fraud after growing suspicious of the high rate of transaction requests and an alert from one of the banks involved. The scammers quickly discontinued fraudulent activity associated with both the e-mail account and the linked bank accounts.
While the church was able to recover some of the funds that were still in the bank accounts before they were frozen, Adventist financial officers said they’re unsure whether the remaining losses are recoverable. Cooperation with U.S. federal authorities in the ongoing investigation is expected to continue, they said.
“There is no indication that any employees were involved in unethical behavior, and no church e-mail servers or bank accounts were accessed or compromised in the scheme,” Lemon said.
“Having something like this happen on our watch is very difficult for those of us in treasury,” Lemon added. “We would like to thank each church member for their faithfulness and solicit their prayers that God will help us guard His funds in an ever-changing landscape of online fraud.”
—By Elizabeth Lechleitner/ANN
CLARITY AND TACT: Seventh-day Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson delivers the keynote address at the opening of the “In God’s Image: Scripture. Sexuality. Society.” summit at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on March 17, 2014.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Adventist young adults engage people in the community with some of the more colorful aspects of Bible prophecy at the Youth in Mission Congress in Germany.
Bill Knott has been the editor and executive publisher of the Adventist Review and Adventist World since 2007, previously serving as associate editor for nine years. Prior to joining the editorial team in 1997, Bill worked for 18 years as a pastor in congregations ranging in size from 7 to 2000 members in New England, New York, Michigan, and Washington State. He holds the M.Div. degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University (1983), and earned a Ph.D. in History from the George Washington University (2006). Bill is a Sabbath School teacher and elder in his Spencerville, Maryland congregation, and a frequent speaker at retreats, camp meetings, preaching seminars and young adult gatherings. He enjoys walking, reading, and travel. He and his wife, Deborah, a Senior Technology and Systems Specialist in Human Resources at the church’s world headquarters, have two sons: Evan, a pastor in the Chesapeake Conference now studying at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary; and Brady, now completing a doctor of physical therapy degree at Andrew University.
Gerald Klingbeil, associate editor
Gerald is a native of Germany. He brings with him many years of teaching and ministry experience in South Africa, Peru, Argentina, and the Philippines. He holds a doctoral degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and has served as Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at different Adventist Universities in Peru, Argentina and the Philippines. Before joining the Adventist Review staff, Gerald served as the dean of the Theological Seminary of the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines.
Gerald has a passion for research and Scripture and has published widely in academic and popular journals. His latest book focuses on the settlement period of Israel's history.
Gerald is married to Chantal, a gifted author, mother, and homemaker from South Africa, and has three daughters, Hannah, Sarah, and Jemima. Gerald and Chantal enjoy team-teaching. They co-authored the third quarter 2010 Adult Sabbath School study guide. Gerald will focus on biblical studies, archaeology, fundamental beliefs, Adventist heritage/history, and the Spirit of Prophecy.
Lael Caesar, associate editor
Whenever Lael Caesar summarizes his life he tells you three things: “my father is my hero; my family is my pride; and the service of God is my joy.”
Born in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana in South America, Caesar has served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in many areas including, district pastor, in the East Caribbean Union, and as a college professor. He holds a Ph.D in Hebrew from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has taught on many college and university campuses. He was voted teacher of the year once at Montemorelos University School of Theology in Mexico, and four times at Andrews University. His byline appears in scores of articles in many languages. His wonderful wife, Dr Lena Caesar, former chair of the Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology at Andrews University, is now a professor of the same discipline at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. His son, Lloyd, and daughter, La Vonne, are both graduates of Andrews University.
Lael believes Jesus is coming back quickly and wants to share that splendored event with everybody.
Claude Richli, marketing director and associate publisher
Adams Claude Richli joined the Adventist Review and Adventist World staff in August 2007. His life and career span three continents: Africa, Europe, and North America. Born to missionary parents on the Island of Mauritius, off the coast of Africa, Claude grew up in France and Switzerland. He studied in France, Germany, England and the United States. He earned a Master of Divinity and a M.B.A. from Andrews University in Michigan. He has served as a pastor in Canada and Switzerland, departmental leader, and conference secretary and president of the Quebec Conference in Canada. In his last position, Claude was associate secretary of the East-Central Africa Division. Earlier in his career, he spent seven years as a sales and marketing executive in the high level advertising and signage industry in Montreal, Canada, and as a consultant on corporate identity in Toronto. Claude is married to Beate, a free-lance graphic designer from Germany. They have two children: Lara and Alessia. Claude likes bicycling and learning new languages.
Stephen Chavez, managing editor
Chavez joined the Adventist Review staff in 1994, after serving nearly 20 years in pastoral ministry in California and Nevada. Steve and his wife, Linda, have two grown children. Steve’s passion is practical Christianity, reflecting Christ’s character in both words and deeds. He serves seventh and eighth graders in Earliteen Sabbath School at Sligo Church in Takoma Park, Maryland, and also chairs the church board. A dedicated runner, Steve has completed more than four dozen marathons, and has competed in countless other races of shorter distances. In his spare time Steve enjoys reading, listening to music, and fixing things.
Carlos Medley, online editor
MedleyIn his current position, Carlos oversees the Adventist Review's Online edition, which is available on the Internet. He played a key role in moving the journal onto the Information Super Highway. Before arriving at the Adventist Review in 1986 when he joined the staff as news editor, Carlos worked for six years as a night police reporter for the South Bend Tribune newspaper in South Bend, Indiana. He has a B.B.A. from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in religious communication from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Carlos and his wife, Denise, have two adult daughters. "I'm excited about the new opportunities to reach people through the Internet," Carlos says. "This will give the magazine a whole new audience."
Sandra Blackmer, assistant editor
Sandra joined the Adventist Review staff a little more than a year ago as an assistant editor and edits the weekly news pages. Prior to this she has worked as a copy editor for Pacific Press Publishing Association, communication director for the Michigan Conference, and editorial assistant for the Adult Sabbath School Quarterly (now known as the Adult Bible Study Guide). "I feel privileged to work with the news pages and be part of the Adventist Review team," said Sandra. "The articles provide glimpses of happenings throughout the North American Division and the world. They help readers feel part of a world church." Sandra's husband, Larry, is associate director of education for the North American Division. They have one grown daughter.
Kimberly Luste Maran, assistant editor
Assistant editor for the Adventist Review, Kimberly joined the staff on July 6, 1999. She coordinates the “Cutting Edge” edition, letters, and Give & Take. She is also part of the three-member team who produces KidsView. Prior to this, Kimberly served for two years as managing editor for the Columbia Union Visitor. In addition to regular editing and planning duties, her responsibilities included designing items for publication in the Visitor and other union projects, and conducting writer workshops. Kimberly has bachelor’s degrees in both English and Journalism from Columbia Union College; she received her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2004. Kimberly and her husband are raising three young daughters. In regard to her work at the Review, Kimberly is “so thankful to be doing what I love with such incredible colleagues. God has richly blessed me and my goal is to serve Him through the written word to the best of my abilities.”
Wilona Karimabadi, editorial and marketing director, Kidsview
In January 2007, Wilona joined the Adventist Review and Adventist World staff full time as marketing and editorial director for KidsView, the Review's magazine for children. In this capacity, she works closely with Adventist schools throughout North America on a school subscription initiative that is steadily growing. In addition, she is also working to establish KidsView as a stand-alone publication available to anyone around the world. Wilona also works with online editor Carlos Medley on the Adventist Review Web site. She holds a B.A. in communication from La Sierra University in California, and a masters degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to the Review, she served as an assistant director of the Columbia Union Conference Communication Department. She is married to Hoosh, a marketing and sales executive, and together they are raising a daughter and son in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Merle Poirier , technology projects coordinator
Merle was born and raised in Washington, D.C. area. She has worked in various capacities at the General Conference. Beginning in the Health Ministries Department 16 years ago as a secretary, Merle taught herself graphic design, enabling her to transition into other office duties involving PowerPoint presentations, graphic design, and desktop publishing. She spent several years as editorial assistant and graphic designer for the Publishing Department before accepting a position with the Adventist Review.
Merle is one of a team of three who developed KidsView, the Adventist Review for children. She is the main designer of this publication. KidsView has won two prestigious awards for content and design since its beginning in 2002. Merle's husband, Tim, works as vice director of the Ellen G. White Estate and they enjoy their two daughters Ellen, and Lisa.
Rachel Child, project coordinator
Rachel joined the Adventist Review staff in 2004. She assists the editor/executive publisher with management direction, relationships with publishing partners, and financial administration, as well as coordinating the translation and distribution of the annual Week of Prayer readings throughout the world church.
Growing up in northern New York, Rachel attended Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Massachussetts, majoring in business administration. Shortly after marrying her college sweetheart, they moved to the Washington, D.C. area. She began working at the General Conference in 1977 in the treasury department, and has also worked in the youth, human resources, and chaplaincy ministries departments.
Rachel and her husband, George, have two adult sons, Ryan, and Brad.
Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste, editorial assistant
Marvene joined the Adventist Review team in September 2007. After obtaining a degree in elementary education from the University of the Southern Caribbean (formerly Caribbean Union College), she spent several years teaching in Adventist schools in Trinidad and Tobago. She then attended Howard University, pursuing an additional coursework in speech pathology. Having had the experience of working in Washington, DC’s Deed and Title arena prior to joining the Review, Marvene employs her unique abstracting and editing skills in the Adventist Review and Adventist World publications in manuscript tracking and obituaries. She is also responsible for ensuring the clean-copy production of written works by various authors and associate editors, as well as processing author honoraria. A member of Burnt Mills Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, she has been a notable soprano in the choir, often lending her voice for leads and solos. Marvene and husband, Valentine, live in Takoma Park, Maryland, and have four children.
Sharon Tennyson, assistant to the marketing director
Sharon Tennyson joined the Adventist Review and Adventist World staff in December 2011. Prior to that, she and her family were missionaries in Thailand for five years, teaching at Mission College in Singapore, now known as Asia-Pacific International University. Life on the campus was a wonderful opportunity for their family’s daughters, who are from China, to experience living in Asia. Working overseas for the church was a meaningful opportunity for Sharon, who was not raised Adventist but was baptized into the church as an adult. A graduate of the University of Colorado with a BA in Fine Arts and a BS in Recreation, she later became a certified public accountant. God has used Sharon in many ways.
She is married to Mack Tennyson, a special assistant to the treasurer as director for the Church’s SunPlus Accounting Software Project. They have five daughters ranging in age from 12 to 31. Their oldest has a MPH and works in Asheville, North Carolina, another also lives in Asheville and is a college student, works in Australia. The youngest two are students in Spencerville Adventist Academy in Maryland.
Judy Thomsen, correspondence editor
Judy joined the staff at the end of 2007 for specials projects and as correspondence editor. She also works with the many prayer requests that come every day. She is from Washington State and is a graduate of Walla Walla College. Judy has experience in a variety of positions--grade school teacher, church secretary, document secretary in the Trust Department (Northen California Conference), associate communication director (Southern New England Conference), and communication director for Adventist-laymen's Services and Industries in the NAD. "I feel blessed by my life as a pastor/curch administrator's wife. There is nothing like working for the Lord and the feel of the Adventist family. I am especially fortunate to be able to communicate with so many readers of Adventist Review and Adventist World. Your letters let us know you are reading--and what you and what you don't!"
Judy enjoys people, reading old books, playing the piano, walking and being with family. Her husband Hal is the assistant to the president of Adventist Risk Managment. They keep the airlines busy with trips to Tennessee and California for frequent visits with their three grown daughters and favorite little children, Isabel and Nicholas, and baby Victoria.
Jeffrey L. Dever, art director
Jeff received his BFA degree from Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Massachusetts in 1976. He is founding partner and creative director of Dever Designs, a graphic design studio, and its FreshArt illustration subsidiary in Laurel, Maryland. He served on the contract/adjunct faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art for over twenty years, where he taught illustration and graphic design. He has also taught classes at Columbia Union College and Southern Adventist University.
Jeff’s wife, Kay Rosburg, is vice president and partner of Dever Designs. They have two college-age children, Kyle and Lindsay.