In this week’s news round-up, a British Adventist grandmother miraculously received donor liver, a deacon’s past disturbs his fellow Jamaican citizens, Australian Adventists argue over plans for church-owned land, a pastor speaks out against same-sex ruling in Trinidad & Tobago, an Adventist administrator in Florida and a teacher in Maine both accused of sexual assaults on students, and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education expresses concerns about Atlantic Union College closure.
British Adventist Grandmother “Miraculously” Receives Donor Liver. Nina Jaggers, a Seventh-day Adventist grandmother whose family was told she would die from liver failure, survived after miraculously finding a transplant donor in just 24 hours. She said she was so yellow that she “looked like Marge Simpson….My whole congregation went into our church and prayed for me at 1 a.m. for it all to go fine.” But with just hours left, her distraught family got the call saying a suitable organ had been found, and surgeons performed the life-saving operation. “The doctors told me my recovery had outstripped all expectations. Dr. Sharma said, ‘You’re not supposed to be alive.’” Jaggers hopes to find her donor to be able to thank them. She said: “I’m just so grateful that I was given this chance to live. My daughters were told I was going to die, but there’s always hope.” She added: “I feel like an old Ford Anglia. Nobody wanted to take it out because it was rusty and embarrassing, but now it’s got a brand new Porsche engine. From The London Economic, “Grandmother miraculously survives liver failure after finding matching donor in 24 hours.”
SDA Deacon’s Murderous History Disturbs His Fellow Jamaican Citizens. Linton Stephenson, a 59-year-old Adventist deacon of Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, was being sought in connection with the recent murder of 25-year-old Khyhymn Campbell. Jamaicans across the island were questioning how a man with a deadly criminal past was allowed to become a Seventh-day Adventist deacon. Pastor Everett Brown, president of the SDA Church in Jamaica, said that the Church “must not give up on the people who are in need of healing and salvation….We must not shrink back…because some of our leaders and members have failed God and the Church….Let us not allow our failures in the past or the unwarranted criticism being levied at the Church sidetrack us and cause us to lose our focus and dilute our message and thwart the mission.” Though he did not make direct reference to last week's events, Brown's comments were coming on the heels of the suspected suicide of Stephenson. It is believed that Stephenson, who was also known as “Jaw Bone,” murdered Campbell at his Manchester home on August 28. Stephenson was on parole following his release from prison for killing a woman in St. Mary previously. He was also wanted for illegal possession of a firearm. He was found dead at his home last Friday. From The Jamaica Gleaner, “Adventists Won't Shrink Back - Church Leader Urges Members To Stay True To Mission Despite Distractions.”
Australian Adventists Argue over Plans for Church-owned Land. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is at loggerheads with members of its own congregation and other locals over a proposed residential development around the Wahroonga Adventist School. The church plans to build up to 175 apartments in four buildings, six stories high, which pastor David Swain and church clerk Coralie Batchelor said would have “irreversible adverse impacts” on the school and two churches on the Wahroonga Estate. In a strongly worded letter to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, they also labelled the proposal “a gross over-development of the site.” However, Pastor Glenn Townend, president of the church's South Pacific Division which has jurisdiction over its work in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and other nations in the region, said the development must proceed. “We are deeply disappointed this proposal has caused our community so much concern, especially as so much effort has been invested over the years to ensure the very best outcome for everyone,” he said. A large parcel of land owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Wahroonga Estate, was purchased in 1898 and features the Sydney Adventist Hospital (the San), an aged care facility, church administrative offices, and bushland. Pastor Townend said the residential component of the plan, which also includes upgrading the hospital, was designed to provide housing for workers and to raise money to offset the expenses of the rezoning, infrastructure, and maintaining bushland. From The Sydney Morning Herald, “Church at war with itself and locals over residential development.”
Trinadad-Tabago Same-sex Ruling Defies God’s Plan, Says Adventist Pastor. Temporary Independent Senator and Seventh-day Adventist pastor Clive Dottin yesterday expressed deep concern about the ruling that sex between consenting male adults was no longer illegal, saying it goes against God’s plan. While Dottin expressed uneasiness and worry, the T&T Guardian learned that several religious leaders were engaged in a closed-door marathon meeting to discuss the decision handed down. Weighing in on the issue, Dottin said such a decision will open the floodgates for immorality and wrongdoing because it would go against God’s will. “It’s a Godless package. I totally disagree with it. I am sure there will be a response from different religious groups, including mine, as we intend to meet shortly.” Dottin said his church, which has a special task force, will examine the ruling while two inter-religious groups will give their responses next week. “We would definitely be looking at different strategies. I have always been concerned that our major response should be a more biblical model for the family…which means that a marriage should always be between a male and female. Going against this would have serious consequences.” He called on “right-thinking” people to stand up for what is right, noting such a ruling can destroy the fabric of our society. From Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, “Ruling goes against God’s plan—Dottin.”
Adventist Administrator in Florida and Teacher in Maine Both Accused of Sexual Assaults on Children. A former Ocala school principal is accused of repeatedly trying to kiss a 16-year-old student, even offering to "buy her" so he could kiss her, according to Ocala police. Murray Ramnarine, 67, is the former principal at Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church School in Ocala. He was working at the school as an administrative assistant when the victim told detectives the behavior occurred. Ramnarine is charged with lewd or lascivious conduct and sexual offenses against a student by an authority figure. From Click Orlando, “Seventh-day Adventist school administrator offered to 'buy' student to kiss her, Ocala police say.”
Derek Michael Boyce, 37, a teacher at Pine Tree Academy, has been charged with gross sexual assault for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student, Lisbon police say. He admitted to police that he had a sexual relationship with the student after her mother caught them having sex. Boyce has been placed on leave by Pine Tree Academy in Freeport, Maine, a private Seventh-day Adventist school owned and operated by the Northern New England Conference that has 126 students in grades K-12. According to the state Department of Education, Boyce is not a certified teacher with the state, but private schools are not required to hire certified teachers. From Press Herald, “Teacher at religious school in Freeport charged with sexual assault.”
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Voices Concern about Atlantic Union College Closure. A representative for the Department of Higher Education this week said staff in her office were concerned about how Atlantic Union College’s shutdown played out over the past year. According to Katy Abel, a spokeswoman for the state’s higher education department, Atlantic Union never finalized a closing plan with the state. While the school did submit a plan, the state was never completely satisfied with it, she said. Some instances of Atlantic Union’s handling of the shutdown worried department representatives assigned to oversee the process, she added. ″(They) were concerned about the lack of clear communication with students about the closure, and the fact that AUC did not seem to understand the Board of Higher Education’s statutory authority regarding institutional closures in general,” Ms. Abel said in a statement. As of Wednesday, however, it was not clear what repercussions Atlantic Union’s operators would face. From telegram.com, “State voices concerns about Atlantic Union College’s closure.”
Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Redlands, California.
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