News Headlines: Kenyan Government Intervenes in Adventist Leadership Dispute (And More!)

Kenyan Government Intervenes in Adventist Leadership Dispute. An Adventist leadership dispute has arisen in Kenya. The Registrar of Societies has intervened after the agency was informed that some of church officials may not be legally recognized. In 2012, the SDA Church East Africa Union was reorganized into the Kenya Union Mission which further split into East Kenya Union Conference and West Kenya Union Conference, and the two conducted their respective elections in September 2015. Contention arose when Mose Nyambega & Company Advocates representing Geoffrey Asanyo, an elder in the church, reported to the Registrar of Societies that some officials were planning to hold a special general meeting on September 20 in Nairobi. Asanyo sought to know whether the officials were recognized by the law. On November 17, the registrar declared that all current officials were in office illegally. “We have observed that the Seventh-day Adventist Church East Africa Union does not have office bearers and is in contravention of its constitution,” wrote the registrar. The church was directed to hold elections within 60 days and amend its constitution. On November 21, the church called for a special general meeting on December 6, but on November 29, Asanyo wrote to the registrar discrediting the meeting which has now been postponed. From Daily Nation, “Infighting threatens to tear Seventh-day Adventist Church apart.”

Adventist Health System Retirement Plan Challenge to Be Heard by U. S. Supreme Court. Adventist Health System has been sued in a class-action lawsuit in Florida federal court by plaintiffs who claim that their retirement plan was underfunded by $134 million and that the company is a business, not a church and should be required to meet the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requirements. In response, Adventist Health System has argued that it is church-related and, therefore, does not have to comply with ERISA because it is religious and that even if it did have to comply, the pensions are adequately funded. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear this and two other cases involving whether the pension plans of religiously affiliated hospital systems are exempt from federal pension funding requirements. From ReligiousLiberty.TV, “Supreme Court to decide if religious hospital pensions are subject to ERISA.”

Northwest Congregants Present Realistic Christmas Setting and Story. The Hermiston, Oregon, and the Yakima, Washington, Seventh-day Adventist Churches both have created their eighth-annual "Journey to Bethlehem" pageant productions. The free productions bring the story of the birth of Jesus Christ to life by recreating the town of Bethlehem in walk-through, interactive sets. Visitors meet costumed characters and view live animals in the 20-30 minute guided tour. "It's so real; it's so live. There are 21 sets. We have a live camel, live animals, and again it's just an amazing experience unlike anything else in the community," said Yakima church member Margo Duke. Jo Ann Rincker, a Hermiston member who has been involved with the project from its 2008 beginning, said, “To me, this is the real meaning of Christmas. There are some people out there who have never heard the story, so I think it’s important to be told.” From Germiston Herald, “Authentic village offers ‘Journey to Bethlehem’” and from KIMA TV, “A local church provides an interactive 'Journey to Bethlehem'.”

Saipan Adventist Students Remove Trash from Beaches to Protect Coral. A group of nearly 70 students and adults from Saipan Seventh-day Adventist School braved the rain to clean up the beaches of Saipan. The project was originally chosen and presented by the SDA School Lego Robotics team as a basis for its research project. This year’s challenge is to choose an animal that humans have had some manner of interaction with and work to make that interaction better. The team chose coral as the subject of its research and is working to remove trash from beaches as a step toward protecting the coral's environment. The team is also striving to introduce a new technology to the waters of Saipan that will help regrow damaged coral reefs. From Marianas Variety, “SDA conducts beach cleanup.”

Big Hearts for Little Hearts Provides Cheer to Hospitalized Children. Big Hearts for Little Hearts Loma Linda Guild held a holiday event in the lobby of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, including performances from local groups, photos with Santa Claus, and toy, book, and teddy bear giveaways. The event cheered hospitalized children and their families, even if for just a few minutes. A teddy bear drive at Alta Vista Credit Union locations helped bring in 3,800 bears for the cause. “Our goal was 1,500,” said Dixie Watkins, chapter founder and current president of the guild. “We found that serving others is one of the greatest ways to find happiness,and there’s nothing more important than helping a sick child. It’s very meaningful for us to be here.” From Redlands Daily Facts, “Lifting Spirits for the Holidays.”

LLUMC to Open Indio Pediatric Clinic. Loma Linda University Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new pediatric clinic in downtown Indio. It will be able to handle up to 60,000 patient visits a year and provide pediatric specialty services like pulmonology, neurology, cardiology and endocrinology. “This is a game changer,“ said Representative Raul Ruiz, whose district includes the valley. Only a handful pediatric specialists serve the area’s roughly 135,000 children. The need is greatest on the eastern side of the Coachella Valley, home to a large concentration of immigrant laborers who work farms up and down the state. More than 80 percent of the students there require government meal assistance. Officials hope to open its doors by the end of 2017. From New York Times, “California Today: A Clinic for Children Is Planned for the Desert.”

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.

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Lots of interesting stories. Good finds! I’m tickled about the Saipan students trying to benefit corals. As the oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, the corals are experiencing massive die-offs, though other anthropogenic causes are also to blame. And sadly, we are losing valuable ecosystem services as a result–services valued at up to $375 billion per year.

If you don’t know what “ecosystem services” are, it’s time to educate yourself:; it only takes a couple of minutes. We benefit enormously from these services, given to us free by God, to the tune of >$100 trillion per year–yet we are destroying these services by failing to appreciate and manage them as God expects us to do so. Here are more details about the causes of coral reef destruction and the ecosystem services we are losing as they perish:


Good overview. Just to clarify, the Adventist Health ERISA case is separate from the religious hospital ERISA cases that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear although the issue of religious exemption from ERISA is very similar to what the hospitals in those cases have argued, and Adventist Health has maintained, as reported in various media publications, that it’s pension plan was in fact adequately funded.

The case involving Adventist Health was recently filed and was mentioned in the ReligiousLiberty.TV article given the overlapping issues.

Michael Peabody

1 Like

I wonder if this Kenyan confusion is an effort to gain control of church finances rather than fighting over power and position. Chief operating officers have access to vast church resources.

I wonder who minding the store? Population below poverty line is 43.4% (2012 est.), commercial bank prime lending is 16%, unemployment is 40%, per capata income $3,200.00. Sadly, although the country is 83% Christian, it has little effect on the massive corruption and high levelof narcotics-associated activities. [CIA Factbook]


this is all just a little tempest in a little tea pot…obviously SDA Church East Africa Union didn’t have office bearers in nov, 2016…this would be because it no longer exists…it split into East Kenya Union Conference and West Kenya Union Conference in 2012…

what appears to have happened is that the government registrar wasn’t informed of this change, and so therefore didn’t legally register it…

but this looks to me like a trap waiting to be sprung…perhaps geoffrey asanyo, knowing about this trap, decided to spring it because he wasn’t elected as executive director or secretary, or treasurer, of either EKUC or WKUC in the 2015 elections, and saw that he wasn’t included in the planning for the special dec 6, 2016 general meeting …perhaps an investigation would reveal whether he campaigned for office in 2015, and has simply not gotten over the fact that he lost…the fact that he’s been willing to drag the church through the mud suggests the possibility that he’s been on an increasing losing end of a long power struggle, and felt he had nothing to lose…

in view of this and other stories of church corruption, one really does wonder whether the tens of thousands of baptisms that seem to occur in africa on a routine basis is really a bid at economic self-improvement, as opposed to a response to real conviction of divine truth…are africans really more spiritually-minded than westerners…

1 Like

Have you heard of the term “rice Christian”?


If church membership in Africa is seen as an avenue to a better life, I wish new church members well. I hope it is. As it has been to many in first world countries.

1 Like

That was most certainly an overgeneralization of a people, and frankly, though likely unintended, it appears to be a broad brush painting of a color of people… because Africa is a continent and Kenya is a country within the continent. A citizen of each individual country within the African continent identifies himself/herself as a native of their own country; not as an African. Each country within Africa must be considered on its own merits; not as a continent. I also see your comments as a subtle jab on the hardline position on WO taken by most African countries at San Antonio. If this is so, I would say that internal problems within one country of Africa should not determine the spirituality of an entire continent. If this was not your intention, please accept my apology.

Additionally, I can point to many compromises of our faith within “the Western territory” that speaks volumes about our spiritual temperature.

1 Like

I have and I wonder if there have been any studies done on membership retention and if they echo the stats in NAD…would be interesting to see.

I don’t see a significant difference in this case in that country.