Adventist principles propel growth in northern California
Weimar, California, United States
During the May 14–16, 2021 graduation weekend, leaders from Weimar Institute, a self-supporting educational and health institution in Weimar, California, unveiled the institution’s official name change to Weimar University. The way the principles of health and service are interwoven in the Bible-based curriculum captured the attention of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accreditation evaluation team in 2019.1
In the two years since receiving WSCUC accreditation, the institution was approved for and then began offering its bachelor’s degree in Nursing in August 2019 and a graduate program in Counseling Psychology and Wellness in fall 2020. This master of arts program has two tracks: Marriage and Family Therapy and Licensed Professional Counseling. Another graduate-level master’s program in Religion, Biblical Mission, and Wellness has recently been submitted to WSCUC for approval. More graduate-level programs are under consideration.
Noting the institution’s focus on both physical and mental health within a uniquely Adventist framework and its expansion into graduate-level education, a WASC peer reviewer thus suggested the name change. Leaders felt the name change more accurately reflects the organization’s mission and purpose. “It indicates that this is an institution of higher education for those seeking to obtain an education modeled on Christ’s educational methods,” said Phil Mills, chairman of Weimar University Board of Directors.
Weimar University uses the HEAL acronym for health, evangelism, academic excellence, and labor and service. Regarding the service aspect, Weimar University has run a weekly service program called Total Community Involvement (TCI)2 for the past four years. Every week, students and faculty visit individuals in the community who need help with yard work, decluttering, moving, health education, and healthy cooking tips.
When COVID-19 protocols restricted the TCI teams from visiting their friends in the community, students and faculty stayed in touch remotely. They also began work on a trail last semester to be used by the community. Along the trail, 36 etched stones sequentially share the Adventist belief of the seventh-day Sabbath and together are a walking Bible study.
Additionally, Weimar University students and faculty recently coordinated an in-person evangelistic series. Approximately 350 people attended the nightly meetings, and over 59 have been baptized to date, with more baptisms scheduled and numerous Bible studies in progress.
Students point to TCI as an integral part of their decision to come to Weimar University. Increasing numbers of international students and students from missionary families have come to the campus, drawn by the mission focus. This diversity has helped create a unique global culture. University leaders are committed to maintaining this mission-mindedness and a purposefully large faculty-to-student ratio to better nurture students.
Weimar Institute was founded in 1978 by a group of Seventh-day Adventists. “Its mission remains to provide higher education that is unapologetically biblical and uncompromisingly scientific where students can learn hands-on with patients who have come to Weimar for healing, to the NEWSTART™3 program, Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program™, and the medical/dental clinics on campus,” noted Neil Nedley, Weimar University president.
Weimar University offers a variety of undergraduate majors. Graduates of the preprofessional natural science program have been accepted to medical school, dental school, graduate-level engineering schools, or other allied health fields. In addition, a one-semester certificate program for health coaching, “Health Evangelism and Leadership Training for Him” (HEALTH), is available both on-campus and online.
Weimar University also operates an academy, natural food store, inn, NEWSTART™ program and lodge, cafeteria, and a K–8 grade school.
According to a campus climate survey this academic year, Weimar University has a 99 percent student satisfaction rate regarding educational quality. For more information about Weimar University, go to Weimar.edu. [Weimar University Media]
- Weimar Institute Media, “Weimar Institute Granted Accreditation for Six Years,” Adventist Review, March 26, 2019, https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story13516-weimar-institute-granted-accreditation-for-six-years.
- Heather Quintana, “Adventist Institute to Launch Initiative to Reach the Community,” Adventist Review, June 23, 2017, https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story5215-adventist-institute-to-launch-initiative-to-reach-the-community.
- NEWSTART is an acronym trademarked by Weimar Institute that stands for nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest, and trust in divine power.
Andrews University Launches Certificate in Global Leadership
BERRIEN SPRINGS, Michigan
The Andrews University Department of Leadership is offering a new certificate to nurture professionals, students, entrepreneurs, and organizational leaders into world changers with a spiritual mission.
The Global Leadership Certificate, which will be offered online beginning September 2021, was established to empower people “to be catalysts for social reformation, soul healing, and spiritual regeneration.” Erich Baumgartner, director of the Global Leadership Institute at Andrews University, shares further, “The Global Leadership Certificate was created as a laboratory to equip professionals for their spiritual calling to be world changers. It is designed for the marketplace.”
The curriculum consists of five online classes over five semesters, followed by a “World Changer” capstone event. The set of classes is available as a Professional Leadership Certificate or a Graduate Leadership Certificate for credit that can later be transferred into the Andrews’ master of arts or doctorate in leadership. For more information, please visit the “Certificate in Global Leadership” page on the Andrews University website at andrews.edu/go/global. [Jeff Boyd, Andrews University]
In Brazil, school for YouTubers trains Adventist teens for mission
A new Seventh-day Adventist–sponsored school in Brazil is set to train a new generation of Adventist young people to become YouTube evangelists, leaders in the South American Division (SAD) said. Feliz7Class is a project born of a partnership between the Adventist Church and Brazil Adventist University (UNASP). The initiative seeks to teach audio and recording techniques and content creation tips to talented young people who want to use their skills to share the gospel with new audiences.
The content is targeted especially at young audiences. “Many teenagers and young people who visit Feliz7Play [the SAD video streaming site] send messages expressing their desire to participate in the series, movies, and mission to share Jesus through video content. Seven Class is a response to these requests,” Carlos Magalhães, SAD digital strategy manager, said.
The goal is “to train and prepare a generation, which already knows a lot about technology and social networks, to serve as missionaries and positive influencers in the digital world,” Magalhães said.
Classes will be offered periodically, leaders said. Students will learn how to plan content for a YouTube channel, receive technical instruction on audio and video, and learn how to distribute and share their channel’s content. The plan is to offer 166 video lessons plus 13 extra classes.
The first lesson will be available for free on the Feliz7Play YouTube channel so everyone can get acquainted with some of the content. Those who register will have access to classes through Next, UNASP’s distance learning platform.
There are also local pastors and church leaders who will learn and improve their gifts for preaching on the internet. An additional digital ministry initiative will be launched in the coming months.
With content focused especially on leadership, the proposal is that church leaders learn to communicate better using new technologies, occupying spaces on social networks, and creating content for YouTube and other platforms.
For former SDA communication director Rafael Rossi, this is a much-needed step. “It is essential that leaders are ready and get involved in this new and growing way of speaking about Jesus,” he said. [Anne Seixas, South American Division, and Adventist Review]