Photo credit: West-Central Africa Division

A stately visit to Nigeria

Uyo, Nigeria

On October 26, 2023, Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference, came to participate in the centenary celebration of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Eastern Nigeria. Ahead of the November 4 celebration in Aba, Abia State, church leadership organized visits to Nigerian authorities.

In a special address, Pastor Wilson gave the formula for effectiveness in leadership and government as doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God. Speaking directly from Micah 6:8, he noted that every decision made by leaders in government or spiritual affairs should be grounded in justice and mercy and done in humility before God and the people. He expressed words of commendation: “Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you for the hospitality of your people and your commitment to be a government that truly serves the people.”

Pastor Wilson also appealed to Governor Umo Bassey Eno to use the instrumentality of his office to encourage state institutions to provide alternative opportunities for Seventh-day Adventists and other Sabbath keepers to partici-pate in elections, examinations, and community clean-up exercises outside Sabbath hours.

Pastor Wilson acknowledged the graciousness of the governor and his cabinet in waiting to visit with him. He prayed God’s blessings and wisdom for the governor and his team.

Governor Eno thanked Pastor Wilson for dropping by with his team. “It is not all the time that the world leaders of Christian organizations come calling. We’re only about five months in office, so as world leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, your visit is very significant for us, and we do not take it for granted,” he enthused.

Pastor Wilson was in Nigeria to lead the grand finale of the year-long celebration of 100 years of Adventism in Eastern Nigeria. He has, among other commemorative activities, attended the Year-End Council of the West-Central Africa Division, visited the uplink center of the Hope Channel International–led satellite evangelism in Port Harcourt, and presided over the worship rally and Festival of Baptism on November 4, which was the climax of the celebrations.

The Adventist Church in Nigeria has three union conferences with 312,175 members worshiping in 1,378 churches and 1,577 companies. The country has more than 223 million people, the largest population in Africa. [Chigozi Eti/Nigeria, ANN]

Maurice R. Valentine II

Heather-Dawn Small

Remembering two world church leaders

Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

On October 20, 2023, Maurice R. Valentine II, a dedicated servant of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, unexpectedly died, leaving a legacy of unwavering commitment to his faith and an impressive career of leadership within the Adventist Church. He was 63 years old.

Valentine was a general vice president of the General Conference (GC) of Seventh-day Adventists at the time of his death. Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Adventist Church, shared, “Pastor Maurice Valentine’s death is a tragedy for the World Church. He was a very godly leader and an important part of our World Church leadership team. Our hearts are broken with this tragic news.”

Valentine served as a pastor in various churches across Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska over 28 years. Valentine’s life of servant leadership led him to become ministerial director of the Mid-America Union Conference, president of the Central States Conference, and president of the Lake Union Conference before his call to vice presidency at the North American Division.

Valentine was known for his cordiality, integrity, and deep-seated missional consciousness. His election as vice president of the GC at the 2022 GC Session was a testament to his exceptional gifts.

He is survived by his loving wife, Sharon (née Livingston), from Birmingham, UK, and their three adult children. His life and contributions to the Seventh-day Adventist Church will be remembered with deep respect and gratitude.

On the evening of January 2, 2024, Heather-Dawn Small, a dedicated leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, died, leaving a legacy of faith and togetherness. She was 66 years old.

Small began her journey working for the Adventist Church as the administrative assistant to the president of Caribbean Union College. She later served as the Children’s Ministries director then Women’s Ministries director for the Caribbean Union Conference.

In 2001, Small was called to serve her World Church family as associate director of Women’s Ministries, then became director in 2005, which at the time of her death she had held for over 18 years.

Small felt a burden to help women understand who they were in Christ, and wrote, “Helping . . . women realize that in God’s eyes they are valuable and that He has a purpose and calling for their lives is an important part of my ministry.”

In October 2009, Small partnered with ADRA, to launch enditnow®, the Adventist Church’s most ambitious initiative to mobilize members to learn and speak out against abuse and violence globally.

Small is survived by her loving husband, Pastor Joseph Small, and their two children. Wilson expressed the global church’s deep sorrow: “May the Comforter come especially close to her husband . . . and the entire Small family as well as those who are part of Women’s Ministries worldwide.” [Adventist News Network]

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