Adventist Youth Musicians Killed in Moldova Crash
Three Seventh-day Adventists from Moldova, along with another young musician, were among those killed June 1 when the small bus in which they were riding collided with a tanker truck on a rural road. The truck driver also perished.
Deceased are Tatiana Catana and Viorica Ciobanu, two young musicians; Olga Jentimir, a spouse of one of the musicians and mother of another musician. Her son, Andrei Jentimir, was also a passenger in the minibus, and suffered a broken leg and arm, among other injuries. The tragedy also took the life of 12-year-old Artur Barba, who was not an Adventist but played in the orchestra.
The victims were from the Seventh-day Adventist church in Ivanovca Nouă, Moldova, and were returning from a funeral that had been held in the city of Ialoveni.
On Monday, June 4, a crowd of 1,500 gathered at the Adventist chapel in Ivanovca Nouă to pay their final respects to those who perished. Musicians from the adjacent village Singereii Noi also saluted the victims.
A rescue team and eight emergency cars arrived at the accident scene and transported 11 wounded musicians to the hospital, four of them in very serious condition days after the crash. Moldova was stunned by the severity of the crash, and media reports were filled with details for several days.
Moldova, officially the Republic of Moldova, is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. The country has a population estimated at 4.1 million, and according to world church statistics there are 10,748 Seventh-day Adventist Church members worshipping in more than 150 congregations.
—Brent Burdick, Euro-Asia Division, with Adventist World staff
In Israel, Adventist Scholars Meet to Plan New Bible Commentary Series
More than 60 Seventh-day Adventist biblical scholars came together in the lands of the Bible to integrate thought and strategy as they planned a new reference series, to be known as the Seventh-day Adventist International Bible Commentary (SDAIBC).
Senior project editor Jacques Doukhan, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament exegesis at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, identified three conference goals. The event was held at Kibbutz Maagan, on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee, from June 6 to 11.
“We are here,” Doukhan said, “to enjoy the land where Jesus walked as we taste again of the land of promise. We are also here to think, to reflect, and to clarify our responses to the hermeneutical and methodological concerns related to our project. Most important of all, we are here, not just to meet with each other, but to reconnect with the Lord, who is and will be the fulfillment of our best dreams.”
Doukhan also introduced the executive committee that planned and will administer the project. Committee members include professors Fernando Canale, Richard Davidson, Jiri Moskala, Teresa Reeve, and Tom Shepherd, all of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary; Paul Petersen, of Andrews University’s College of Arts and Sciences; Kwabena Donkor and Ekkehardt Mueller, associate directors of the General Conference Biblical Research Institute; Ed Zinke, former BRI associate director and senior advisor to the Adventist Review; and Scott Cady, committee liason with Pacific Press, publishers of the new commentary.
Basing his devotional remarks on Ecclesiastes 7:8, Doukhan said notwithstanding the compelling importance of linguistics and exegesis, or prayer and the Holy Spirit, no student should disregard the compelling importance of time spent in God’s Word to a proper exposition of the text.
Davidson, who is the seminary’s J. N. Andrews professor of Old Testament interpretation, urged all scholars to respect their own finitude and the unassailable authority of Scripture, bearing in mind the words of Isaiah as they work on their commentaries: “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isa. 66:2).
—Lael O. Caesar, Adventist World associate editor, reporting from Israel, with AW staff
Kenya’s President Opens New Adventist University Library
The Seventh-day Adventist Church was praised May 28 for its leading role in promoting quality education to all in Kenya and the entire African continent. Kenya’s president Mwai Kibaki made the declaration at the opening of the Adventist University of Africa’s (AUA) Judith Thomas Library on the school’s campus in the Nairobi suburb of Ongata Rongai.
“I commend the Adventist University of Africa for championing one of the flagships of the social pillar by facilitating and promoting provision of education,” Kibaki said.
Ted N. C. Wilson, General Conference president, hosted the Kenyan head of state at the Advent Hill compound that is home to AUA and the East-Central Africa Division, underscored the Adventist Church’s commitment to equipping the university to enable it advance high-quality education as espoused by the universal Adventist beliefs in the context of education.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes and remains committed to offering an education that is socially, morally, and spiritually enriching. The opening of this magnificent library is an attestation to that focus,” emphasized Wilson.
The colorful event was also attended by local administrators, politicians, and cabinet ministers that included Sam Ongeri, a Seventh-day Adventist Church elder; higher education minister Margaret Kamar, and member of Parliament George Saitoti, who is also minister for internal security. (Tragically, Mr. Saitoti sustained fatal injuries in a helicopter accident a few days after the event.)
The foundation stone for the Judith Thomas Library, a three-story building, was laid in 2005 by Kenya’s then-vice president Moody Awori with the initial US$1 million for the construction being a donation from Thomas, an American philanthropist. A further $1 million was mobilized through a special book project initiated by the late James Cress, then-secretary of the church’s Ministerial Association, with the General Conference providing the rest of the funding to complete the US$6 million facility.
The library will be home to an E. G. White Research Center that will house a special collection of books related to Adventist Church heritage; an African Heritage Center with relevant literature, art, and cultural artifacts as well as other related materials to aid research about Africa.
“The [library] subscribes to a number of online databases that provide full-text access to thousands of journals and books with a view to enhancing student research,” added vice chancellor Brempong Owusu-Antwi.
The library is furnished with fiber optic Internet connectivity, enabling wireless Internet access in all areas within the university campus to provide access to information and resources.
—Milton Nyakundi, Adventist Media Center, reporting from Ongata Rongi, Nairobi, Kenya
Former GC President Receives Norwegian Honor
It was a reunion of longtime friends—Pastor Jan Paulsen, a Norwegian Seventh-day Adventist, and two civic leaders, ambassador Knut Vollebæk and Ole Christian Kvarme, bishop of Oslo for the Lutheran Church of Norway.
The June 2 encounter was a joyous event: Paulsen, now-retired president of the General Conference, received the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, one of the highest forms of royal honor given to civilians, presented by Vollebæk on behalf of King Harald V of Norway. The Order of Merit was founded by King Olav V, Harald’s father, in 1985 and is conferred on foreign and Norwegian nationals as a reward for their outstanding service in the interest of Norway or in service for humanity.
Paulsen told the audience at the Sabbath evening program during the East Norway Conference camp meeting at Norwegian Junior College that the short reason given by the royal palace for appointing him a commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit meant a lot to him: “Service for the good of humanity.”
“What matters is what we have done for our fellow men,” Paulsen said in his address. He paraphrased Jesus’ words in Matthew 25: “I was in prison, you did not visit me. I was struggling with HIV/AIDS, why did you shun me?” Paulsen then stated what may well be termed the philosophy of his ministry: “Serving our Lord is not about what we have said; it is about how we treat other people.”
Mark Finley, a former general vice president of the world church, represented the General Conference at the ceremony. He read a letter from current GC president Ted N. C. Wilson, thanking Paulsen for his outstanding leadership. “Your commitment has inspired the church in its mission to reveal the loving character of Christ to all peoples” the letter from Wilson said.
Bishop Kvarme, who was one of the people behind Paulsen’s nomination for the honor, came to know the Adventist leader during the bilateral dialogue between the Lutheran World Foundation and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which took place between 1994 and 1998, where both Kvarme and Paulsen were part of their respective delegations.
“These consultations brought us together and formed our friendship,” said Kvarme, who noted Paulsen had been a catalyst in developing educational institutions in West Africa. Paulsen’s contribution in developing Adventist-owned Babcock University in Nigeria to become a well-respected university not only in Nigeria but the whole region is well known, he added. The bishop also mentioned Paulsen’s initiative in establishing the church’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the foundation of the Adventist AIDS International Ministry with an office in South Africa as well as the cooperation with the World Health Organization in an effort to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals.
“You have performed your leadership as a committed Adventist, a devoted evangelical Christian, and a distinguished international citizen of Norway,” said Kvarme.
—Tor Tjeransen, Norwegian Union Conference