Seventh-day Adventist Congregants Comfort Heather Heyer's Parents. On August 19, 2017, members from local Charlottesville, Virginia, Seventh-day Adventist churches were returning from the Free Speech Wall, after a day-long peace gathering. Their path intersected with Susan and Kim Bro, Heather Heyer's parents, who were visiting the site where, exactly one week earlier, their daughter had died. Staring at the flowers, candles, and other tokens left on the pavement to honor Heyer, Susan Bro invited everyone—the churchgoers and anyone standing nearby—to come together, and they talked, hugged, and prayed. “I dreaded it, but I just needed to be here on the moment she died, and I had to come,” Bro said. “Love is what’s keeping me going.” From The Daily Progress, “'Love is what's keeping me going:' Susan Bro visits site of daughter Heather Heyer's death.”
Canadian Adventist Church Vandalized with Racist Graffiti after Charlottesville; Local Business Owner Offers to Remove Graffitifor Free. The roof of the Guelph Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ontario, Canada, was vandalized with hateful graffiti scrawled in black spray paint. "I was horrified when I saw it,” said Pastor Selburn Fray. The Guelph SDA Church is multi-ethnic, including people of all colors and of all backgrounds. Every Sabbath about 40 members attend worship services, Fray said. In his 24 years as a church leader, he had never seen something like this hit so close to home. "We’re putting people on high alert here,” he said, adding he is concerned that eventually the disturbing violence seen in Charlottesville, Virginia, could end up crossing the border into Canada. “We don’t want to be the first church that is attacked here on a Saturday." Fray said the church head office, the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, is now looking at installing cameras at all its churches around the province. He said if the church community ever finds out who vandalized the church, members would not show anger toward them. Instead, the church would welcome the individual or group with love and forgiveness. “Even though someone may do this, we’re open to forgive and to welcome them with open arms.” From the Guelph Mercury Tribune, “Hate-filled graffiti stains roof of Guelph church.”
The owner of a Guelph restoration business offered to clean the roof of the church marred by theracist graffiti at no charge.Paul Schmidt, who owns WinMar franchises in Guelph and Orangeville, said he made the offer to the pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guelph. “What bothered me, is it’s a congregation of 40—so money is tight. There’s no way they could afford (the cleanup). The funds that they take in are not to clean up (graffiti),” said Schmidt. Paster Fray accepted the offer, and Schmidtexpects to complete the work next week. From Guelph Today, “Business owner makes offer to clean racist church graffiti for free.”
Adventist Churches Provide School Supplies to Needy Children. Two Seventh-day Adventist churches are providing school supplies to children in their communities. Volunteers from the Macedonia Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chester, Delaware, will be handing out 1,000 book bags filled with school supplies to help area families prepare for the upcoming school year. Better Living Center, a community organization, provided the bags worth $36,000. “The Better Living Center is dedicated to empowering the community,” said event coordinator Blane Stoddart. “So the community can empower themselves to better their lives.” Sponsors for the event include Keystone First, Cradles to Crayons, Andrew L. Hicks Jr. Foundation, UPS, Chester Community Charter School, the Brookhaven Shop Rite, Genesis Health Care, and Adventist Community Services. From the Daily Times News, “Better Living Center to give away 1,000 filled bookbags today.”
Daughter of Zion Seventh-day Adventist Church in Delray Beach, Florida, provided school supplies and groceries to local children and their families following a community March For Hope. Community members marched side by side with Delray Beach police officers. Organizers say the rally was not only about creating change but about joining together as a community. From WPTV, “2nd annual March for Hope held in Delray Beach.”
Cayman Island Pathfinders Continue Drumming Tradition through Mentoring. The Savannah Seventh-day Adventist Church yard in the Cayman Islands provides space for drum practice when the Pathfinder drummers, ages 10 to 15, gather. The group is part of the church’s youth program, aimed at keeping youngsters together and out of trouble; to do something positive and wholesome; and to prepare them for upcoming events, said Merle Watkins, director of the Pathfinders Club. There are currently 22 members in the band. Its membership changes every few years as some go off to college, Watkins said. “The teens build their own beats and learn from each other,” Watkins said. She explained that the group mostly plays songs that are sung at church, during Pathfinder program events, and occasional church marches. Students completing university often return to the band and assist in teaching others. From the Cayman Compass, “Drum practice ends with a bang.”
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.
Image Credit: Ryan M. Kelly / The Daily Progress
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