British Peace Garden Dedicated by Conscientious Objector's Son and Adventists Leaders. Garth Till, the son of Willie Till, one of 14 Adventists who were imprisoned and severely beaten for their convictions at Military Prison No. 3 in Le Havre, France, cut the white ribbon officially opening the Watford Peace Garden in England. During WWI, 130 Seventh-day Adventist conscripts, many from the Watford area, refused to bear arms during the war. This memorial in part recognizes the suffering of these men along with others of many different faiths or no faith at all who stood firm to their principles, taking severe ridicule, beatings, and punishment while upholding the value and dignity of human life. Victor Hulbert, now Trans-European Division communication director, did research three years ago revealing that 130 Seventh-day Adventist conscripts refused to bear arms during World War I and at the same time observed the biblical seventh-day Sabbath. “I set out in 2013 to do some research and tell a story of Seventh-day Adventist men who refused to bear arms,” Hulbert said. “That resulted in a documentary film (titled A Matter of Conscience), lectures, and numerous journal articles. I never expected it to result in a beautiful lasting memory [a garden] like this.” Ian Sweeney, president of the Adventist Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland, first proposed the creation of the Watford Peace Garden between the Stanborough Park church and the Adventist Church’s British Union Conference headquarters where he works. From St. Albans & Harpenden Review, “Memorial to peace opened in Garston.”
And from TED News Network, “Watford Peace Garden a living tribute to those who ‘stand for right though the heavens fall’.”
VIDEO: Watford Peace Garden Dedication Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting
Adventist Health Organization Leads Out in Protecting Young African Mothers. Traditional Authorities Wasambo and Mwilang'ombe of Karonga district in northern Malawi have been commended for the "Reaching Mother and Child for Maternal Health," run by the Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS). The program leads efforts to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths and protect youths from early and pre-arranged marriages that affect the social-economic development of the southern Africa nation. FOCUS is implementing the project in Wasambo area together with Malawi Seventh-day Adventist Health and HIV/AIDS Program (MASHAP), Adventist Health Services (AHS) through UK and Christian Aid as a grant holder funded by Scottish government. From Capital Radio Malawi, “Primeval Habits Thwarting Modern Health In Northern Malawi”
Idaho Church Joins Other Faiths Caring for Local Refugees. Many Boise, Idaho, churches and mosques are caring for refugees. The Oasis Seventh-day Adventist Church is providing a spiritual home for refugees from Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. African refugees now make up about half of the 150 to 200 attendees at weekly services at Oasis, said Mark Peel, one of the members delivering sermons as the church searches for a full-time pastor. Last year, Oasis started holding a service in Kinyarwanda, a language spoken in Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo, following the regular service so that refugees could worship in their native tongue. From Idaho Statesman, “Boise churches, mosques welcome refugees, help them adjust.”
South Dakota and Oregon Hold Free Health Clinics. Chadron, South Dakota, Seventh-day Adventist Church and its members organized Caring Hands Chadron, a free “mini-clinic,” offering a range of services from dental and vision exams to massage therapy and car detailing. About 40 volunteers offered the event in an effort to share Christ’s love by caring for others. Tony Owen and wife Brenda, Crystal Brooks, Joni Behrends, Tori Wild and Jessamyn Voss were inspired by having volunteered at a Los Angeles event that was sponsored by various Adventist entities, which provided $40 million in free services to approximately 8,500 people in two days. When they returned home, they were so moved by what they had taken part in, they began to wonder “Why not in Chadron, on a smaller scale?”An estimated 75 people from Crawford, Chadron, and Hay Springs received $30,000 in free services.
At the Portland Adventist Academy Gym, about 200 people waited for the 7:00 a.m. each day at the opening of the free, two-day "Impact Your Health PDX" clinics. During those two days, doctors, dentists, and clinicians provided care to people with limited or no access to health care – with medical, dental, and vision services for Portland’s homeless and low-income populations. Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church lead pastor Jonathan Russell said that although this clinic, which helped some 900 of most vulnerable residents in outer East Portland, was put on by three branches of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, no patient was subject to any sermon or proselytizing effort. As the clinic’s chaplain, Russell said he listens to the patient’s stories about their life’s journey and prays with them – but only if they request it. There are absolutely ‘no strings attached’ to our service here at the clinic,” Russell added. “We don’t screen people; we serve them, and everybody is welcome." The clinic’s Assistant Medical Director Dr. Rick Westermeyer MD, from Adventist Medical Center and Coordinator Jenny Jin also lead out in the event. Impact Your Health PDX was supported by Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN), Adventist Health, and 11 local churches and other groups. From Rapid City Journal, “Caring Hands provides thousands in services.” And from East PDX News, “Free medical clinic helps hundreds in need.”
God's Closet Expands to Turlock, California. The local Turlock, California, chapter of God’s Closet, a ministry of Adventist Community Services(ACTS) throughout North America, recently opened. Christine Briggs, the director of Turlock's chapter, said, “Most kids outgrow their clothes before they wear them out, so it’s a good way for parents to have quality clothing for free.” The organization collects gently used or new children’s clothing for all youth, from the age of newborn to 18 years old. “Instead of donating clothing to organizations that resell the items, we can help out each other,” said Briggs. At the beginning of each season and after receiving enough donations, God’s Closet will hold a Free Shop Day Event where the donated clothing is handed out for free to families in need. A small entrance fee ($1) is charged per family, and depending on the amount of children in the family, bags will be provided to be filled with clothes. Day care in the form of a “Kids’ Corner” is also provided at each shop day. “We don’t care if the families who come in to pick out clothes are wealthy or poor,” said co-director Mary Eckert. “This is a community-based program.” From Turlock Journal, “God’s Closet accepting donations for children in need.”
Adventist Health Partners with Oregon entities to Aid Poor and Mentally Ill. Adventist Health Portland is partnering with five other Oregon health organizations and Portland's Central City Concern in funding 382 new housing units in response to Portland's homeless crisis. The new units will be located in three sites across the city, and they'll serve the very poor, medically fragile, people with mental illness and substance use disorders, and those displaced by gentrification. The healthcare organizations are investing $21.5 million toward the project. From Oregon Live, “Oregon health organizations invest $21 million in affordable housing, medical services.”
Adventist Medical Missionary Remembered for Cruelty to Local Korean Boy in 1925. C. A. Haysmeir, a Seventh-day Adventist medical missionary to Korea in 1925, is being remembered for an act of cruelty that ended in his leaving Korea. Current historical research reported by Robert Neff, an historian and columnist for The Korea Times, about the history of apples being introduced to Korea has resurrected this story of Haysmeir punishing a local boy he deemed to be stealing apples from his orchard. Records show that he put acid on the boy's face permanently disfiguring him. According to historian Donald N. Clark, “the Seventh-day Adventist Mission put up a weak defense of Dr. Haysmeir, pointing to his otherwise spotless record as a doer of good.” Haysmeir claimed that he thought the boy would suffer no permanent damage and that the scar would fade after a few weeks. Eventually, Haysmeir was found guilty of harming the boy, was ordered to pay a 620 yen fine to the family, and was sentenced to a three-year prison term. The sentence was appealed which allowed the Seventh-day Adventist Mission to “hustle Dr. Haysmeir out of the country.” From Korea Times, “American doctors imported apples to Korea.”
Washington State Pastor Conquers Cancer and Climbs 14,000-foot Mountain. After his recovery from brain cancer, pastor Mike Aufderhar, joined by his wife, Brenda and friends made a 10-hour trek to the top of the 14,048 Handies Peak in southwest Colorado and back. Through his ordeal, he turned to God for comfort. “I have to lean on that trust in him. . . .” Still, "I needed something to motivate me to keep moving and improve,” Aufderhar said. He had recently moved to Spokane to take a job as a family life pastor. The cancer forced him to step aside, but he is still getting support from church members. His wife and sister-in-law helped design a vegetarian nutrition program to give him nutrients for healing. From The Spokesman Review, “Brain cancer survivor turns to mountain climbing to help recovery.”
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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