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Religious news from around the world.

Religious news from around the world.

Hope for Today's Families book launched in Poland

Thirty thousand copies of the 2019 missionary book of the year, Hope for Today’s Families, will be distributed across Poland following a launch at the Polish Union Camp Meeting on Sabbath, July 20, 2019.

Ryszard Jankowski, president of the Polish Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, introduced the book to the 1,100 participants who gathered on the final Sabbath of the 10-day event, encouraging them to share the book and its message with friends and neighbors.

Victor Hulbert, Trans-European Division Communication and Publishing Ministries director and one of the speakers at the camp, shared that he was taking copies back to England because his next-door neighbors are Polish.

Jeffrey Brown, Ministerial Association associate secretary at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and nightly guest speaker for the camp meeting, expressed how delighted he was to see this book translated and in print. “I am personal friends with the authors, Willie and Elaine Oliver,” he said. “I sent them a message this morning to tell them that their positive family message is being shared across the country and beyond.”

Marek Micyk, Polish Union youth director, said that Poland has just under 6,000 Adventist Church members in a population of 38 million. While the church faces many challenges, the annual camp meeting held in Zatonie, western Poland, provides unparalleled inspiration, mission focus, and nurture for members and guests of all ages. Almost half of all baptisms across Poland happen either at this site or as a result of guests coming to visit the place.

Jarosław Dzięgielewski, president of the West Polish Conference, offered a prayer of blessing on the books before they were distributed from a table outside the main tent. They join a rich collection of books that Polish Adventists have published on health and family life issues.

[Victor Hulbert /TransEuropean Division]

Pastors help restore families at the Mexico border

On July 24 and 25, 2019, a group of pastors and church administrators visited a center in Ciudad Juárez, México, where migrants refused entry into the United States are housed, pending asylum interviews at the border.

Northeastern Conference president Daniel Honore reported, “The conditions are heartbreaking. Poor housing and sanitary conditions, without medical care.” He continued, “[Officers] herd two or three families in[to] two-bedroom cabins with no beds, only thin mattresses on the floor. These families cook their meals outside on improvised grills of stone and bricks. We saw children with skin and ear infections but no medication.”

Honore said that according to what he saw, the migrants they visited are primarily from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

“We met an Adventist family whose dad was an ordained deacon in El Salvador. They told us about giving up everything and fleeing when gangs threatened to kidnap their daughter from her Seventh-day Adventist school unless they made regular ‘protection’ money payments,” Honore wrote.

In addition to Honore, Southwest Region Conference president Calvin Watkins and 13 Seventh-day Adventist pastors from that conference delivered six carloads of hygiene and grooming supplies, for which the migrants expressed great appreciation.

“We’ve got to separate politics from people, especially the vulnerable and feeble,” R. Clifford Jones, president of the Lake Region Conference, said. “We’ve got to see people the way God does, especially the stranger and alien. We’ve got to work at restoring families, especially those fleeing inhumane conditions and persecution.” [Debbie Michel, Lake Union Herald / Adventist Review]

Adventist Conference on Family Research and Practice

BERRIEN SPRINGS, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES

The 2019 Adventist Conference on Family Research and Practice (ACFRP) took place July 18–20 in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, on the campus of Andrews University. The conference themed “Families Then and Now: 100 Years of Family Research and Practice,” began with the presentation of the inaugural Spalding Medallion for Lifetime Service to John and Millie (posthumous) Youngberg for their exceptional service in the field of family ministry.

The Youngbergs began Family Life International in 1975, and it evolved over the years into the current Adventist Conference on Family Research and Practice.

Trevor and Edith Fraser from Oakwood University, family life authors and professors of theology and social work, explored the history of families over the past 100 years through cultural and societal lenses and provided excellent strategies for processing conflicts in healthy, growth-filled ways.

David Sedlacek, professor of discipleship and family life in the seminary and his wife, Beverly Sedlacek, facilitated a stimulating discussion of the varied meanings of Sabbath as it relates to relationships, especially to those who are hurting, in bondage, or oppressed.

Willie and Elaine Oliver, directors of Family Ministries for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, thoughtfully reviewed the history of family ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, in a message entitled “Hope for Today’s Families,” presented tools that pastors and family ministry leaders can use to bring healing. In the session “Adventist Family Ministries: Who? What? Where?” pastors and family ministries leaders listed the top five concerns they face in their local churches. Ministry to LGBT persons topped the list. Recognizing that family issues are often complex, defying simplistic solutions, discussion ensued regarding our foundations being biblical and our responses being Christian, marrying strictest standards with greatest grace, highest holiness with foremost forgiveness, and perfect purity with marvelous mercy.

The GC Spalding Medallion award was presented to Claudio and Pamela Consuegra, directors of Family Ministries for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. The NAD Family Ministries Distinguished Service Award was presented to Buford and Carmen Griffith for their 30 years of service as Family Ministries directors within the North American Division.

Participants in the conference, with its 16 workshops, testified that they had been challenged. Julius Everett, a pastor, commented, “Now it’s time to take this information and make real changes.” All pastors and those with a passion to help singles, marrieds, parents, and children are invited to attend next year’s conference, July 23–25, 2020, at Andrews University. For more information, visit the “Adventist Conference on Family Research & Practice” page on the Andrews University website, https://www.andrews.edu /sem/reled/acfrp_conference/, or call the General Conference Family Ministries department at 301-680-6175.

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