Story by Edwin Manuel Garcia
The worldwide refugee crisis is prompting the United States to open its immigration doors to a larger number of people from regions in turmoil. According to the United States Department of State, nearly 70,000 refugees came to the U.S. last year—the world’s top resettlement location—yet recent political instability in Asia, Central America, the Middle East and Africa will boost admissions to 85,000 this year and 100,000 in 2017.
This dramatic increase will undoubtedly enhance the chances that families fleeing persecution may move into our communities in the near future. How should Seventh-day Adventists respond when refugees from Syria, Burma, Iraq, Honduras, Guatemala and other nations become our neighbors?
Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning WGTS 91.9 listeners stepped up to impact the lives of children around the world with a Compassion drive. By the end of morning show on Friday, listeners had sponsored a station record of more than 860 children, primarily in Haiti and South America.
“When I think of my kids, I can’t imagine putting them to bed crying because their tummies hurt from hunger. When I think about all our listeners did through Compassion the last couple days I think about the parents who now have the assurance that their child won’t go to bed hungry tonight,” says Kevin Krueger, general manager.
For more than 60 years Compassion has been working to release children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty. They work in 26 countries to empower today’s children to be tomorrow’s responsible and fulfilled adults.
We found nine amazing ACS volunteers—including a trio of motorcycle “ministers”—who go the extra mile year-round to help those in need in their mid-Atlantic neighborhoods.
Story by Mark Tyler
Eight women gathered for a prayer group in Battle Creek, Mich., more than 140 years ago with a central idea: the church should provide food and clothing to needy families, minister to the sick and care for the fatherless and widows. Born from that 1874 meeting came the Dorcas Society, an association of female members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that grew to assist countless people in need throughout North America and beyond.
“Those volunteers did such amazing work that almost anywhere in the world, even today, people remember the selfless women of the Dorcas Society,” explains Minnie McNeil, Adventist Community Services (ACS) coordinator for the Columbia Union Conference and director for the Allegheny East Conference.
Today the work of those service-minded ladies continues through ACS, and has expanded to include men, teens and whole families who volunteer together to extend God’s love to others. The Columbia Union is currently home to 14 official ACS centers run by Adventist members who dedicate their time to spread Jesus’ love in ways the early Dorcas ladies may have only imagined.
Story by Elena Cornwell / Cover Image by iStock Photography
It’s a debate that seems to continue to crescendo since the first accidental discovery of saccharin by Constantine Fahlberg in 1879. Since then most would agree that the fascination and need for sweet foods has become a national problem.
And, although it appears that the addictive and health-related issues induced by sugar has only recently received more national attention, Ellen G. White counseled on that very topic before many even knew it was a problem. In Counsels on Diets and Foods, White admonished, “Sugar clogs the system. It hinders the working of the living machine” (p. 327).
Now her words ring true more than ever, but there is a new player in the sweets aisle—non-nutritive sweeteners—that requires some attention. The American Heart Association describes non-nutritive sweeteners as sweeteners that offer no nutritional benefits, like vitamins and minerals. They also contain low amounts or no calories at all. They are often used to replace sugar because of their low caloric levels.
Three professionals in fields of health across the Columbia Union weigh in on different types of non-nutritive sweeteners and compare them to natural sugar. Understanding how non-nutritive sweeteners affect the body is important to properly manage your diet, they say:
Story by Sam Belony/ Photos by Krystal Irrgang
Union administrators team with Pastor Tara VinCross to start the REACH Columbia Union Urban Evangelism School, where young adults are not only staying in the church, they are transforming it—as well as the many lives they touch through boots-on-the-ground ministry.
The unprecedented venture was born like so many God-inspired projects—thoughts planted in the minds of those seeking to be used by the Lord in ministry. This particular idea started developing in 2010 when Tara VinCross, then pastor of Pennsylvania Conference’s Chestnut Hill church, wrote a ministry development plan as part of her doctorate in ministry. She hoped it would result in an urban evangelism school in Philadelphia.
Unbeknownst to her, Columbia Union Conference leaders had hatched a similar idea and were also planning to launch an evangelism school. Eventually, the plans coalesced. “After completing my doctoral program, I thought, ‘Well, that’s the only piece that hasn’t been completed,’” VinCross recalls. Then one day, the union called to discuss a collaboration, and together in 2013 they formed a task force.