Jared Wood shows a young patron some of the exhibit materials. Photo: Southwestern Adventist University.

Adventist professors’ cutting-edge paper—20 years of research

Keene, Texas, United States

Every summer, Jared Wood, director of the Dinosaur Science Museum at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU), and Arthur Chadwick, director of the Dinosaur Excavation Project at SWAU, along with Keith Snyder, chair of the biology department at Southern Adventist University, lead a dinosaur dig at the Hanson Ranch in Wyoming, United States. The dig is an ongoing, collaborative research project, and these scholars have gathered a large amount of data over the years.

Their approximately 20 years of research have led to the publication of a paper titled “Over 13,000 elements from a single bonebed help elucidate disarticulation and transport of an Edmontosaurus thanatocoenosis” for PLOS One, a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS).1

The primary research objective of the paper is a taphonomic examination of the deposit. Taphonomy is the study of what animals were doing when they died, how they died, and what happened after they died. High-precision GPS equipment is used to catalog every bone’s location within a centimeter to learn more about how the bones ended up in their final locations.

“Everyone wants to know how thousands of bones ended up in one location. We are finally able to give them a scientific explanation,” Wood said. “This paper will change how bonebeds are studied and remain important for years to come.”

The paper describes the method used for excavation and details the types of bones that have been found on the Hanson Ranch bonebed. The large number of recovered fossils has brought deeper insight into how so many bones ended up in one location. The authors hypothesize that all of the dinosaurs excavated from the main bonebeds were killed in one catastrophic aquatic event and subsequently relocated by a secondary event. Similar bonebeds deposited by flood events have also been documented in Canada.

The Dinosaur Science Museum features bones found during those summer digs and includes a catalog featuring every bone in the collection. SWAU became involved in the project in 1997 and began offering a dinosaur class two years later. Students and members of the community are invited to take part in the research projects. [Brisa Ramirez, Southwestern Adventist University]

  1. To read the research paper, visit https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233182.

Chaplain Gys Seegers with his children. Photo: Adventist Record.

In a first, Adventist chaplains appointed to the Australian Defense Force

Ringwood, Victoria, Australia

Two Seventh-day Adventist chaplains were among those appointed to provide pastoral support for members of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) and their families for the first time in its history.

After an extensive recruitment process, which took more than 12 months, Milijan Popvic was assigned as an air force chaplain and Gys Seegers as an army reserve chaplain earlier in 2020.

An ADF spokesperson stated that, on average, the ADF receives 70,000 applications each year for all available positions in the navy, army, and air force. In the current financial year, they are looking to recruit only 22 chaplains across the ADF.

The first two years in a chaplaincy position are considered an induction period because there are academic requirements to learn about the ADF and chaplaincy. Both Popvic and Seegers are undertaking professional development to enhance their skills and knowledge of leadership, teamwork, ethics, psychology, counseling, and other courses and training programs. They will also be able to bring these skills to their local church ministry.

Popvic is currently posted at RAAF Base Amberley in Ipswich, Queensland, where he provides assistance for spiritual health and well-being, pastoral support, advocacy, and personal guidance to air force members and their families. He also provides advice to commanders on members’ pastoral, religious, ethical, and cultural issues.

Popvic said he understands that “this is not a job. This is a call, and it is a passion. A passion for connecting, support, and walking with people who serve our country and their families.”

Seegers is based at the Australian Army Cadet headquarters in Perth, Western Australia, where he provides chaplaincy support to full-time and reserve personnel. He is also the coordinating chaplain for the chaplains who support 33 cadet units throughout Western Australia.

Originally from South Africa, Seegers feels it is a blessing and privilege to enter into a new mission field on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He explained, “I am humbled by this opportunity to help raise the banner for Christ’s kingdom within the ADF and the beautiful people who I’m getting to know—men and women of courage and respect who understand order and what it means to serve and sacrifice themselves for others.”

Michael Worker, general secretary of the Australian Union Conference of the Adventist Church and the church’s representative on the Associated Protestant Churches Chaplaincy Board (APCCB), said that “it’s important as the Seventh-day Adventist Church that we are involved in all facets of ministry. Being part of the defense force chaplaincy gives us a chance to interact with and provide a positive point of contact for many Australians who would never otherwise come into contact with Adventists. It gives our pastors opportunities to have spiritual conversations with our service personnel.”

Being a military chaplain is a strong ministry, and the Adventist Church around the world has a proud history of pastors serving as chaplains. [Lorraine Atchia, Adventist Record and Adventist Review]

Photos: Wisconsin Southeastern Network

A church district steps in to help fill gaps

Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States

Not long after Kenosha was thrust into the international spotlight after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in the back, triggering protests that sometimes turned violent and destructive, local church leaders began looking for ways to help.

One Sabbath last August, they gathered in downtown Kenosha to pray for the wounded community. Later, they spread out into Kenosha to volunteer in local clean-up efforts.

Since then, Zack Payne, head network pastor for the Wisconsin Southeastern Network (WISEN) Seventh-day Adventist churches, and his leadership team wanted to follow up the successful community outreach. However, with the pandemic raging across Wisconsin, their options for what they could do were limited.

As they scanned the area to see how best to help, they saw that several organizations were already making meaningful change and decided to join forces with them. Armed with donations, the WISEN leadership settled on three groups to assist. A few days before Christmas, Payne and lay pastor George Andrews III showed up on the doorsteps of three organizations with checks for $1,500 each.

The Kenosha YMCA/Frank Neighborhood Project is putting the funds toward an after-school tutoring program at the Frank Elementary School. They are currently helping 72 students improve their math and reading scores. “This [donation] is a tremendous blessing,” says Dr. Rachel Mall, the Y’s Youth and Family director.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Outreach Center offers several services, including providing diapers, personal care kits, and prescription vouchers. However, because of the pandemic, they’re focusing on the immediate need to provide warm clothing. Karl Erickson, executive director of ELCA, said, “We already spent the funds on buying hats and gloves. We needed this!”

The Shalom Center of the Interfaith Network’s mission is to serve the community by providing emergency food, shelter, and support in ways that meet immediate needs and respect human dignity. Through food, shelter, and guidance, they help people maximize their potential for self-sufficiency.

“We are just grateful to be a light to our community,” says Payne. [Debbie Michel, Lake Union Herald]

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