| WORLD REPORT
Adventists Organize in Channel Islands
One of the few places in the United Kingdom without a sustained Seventh-day Adventist presence is now finding one, thanks to the migration of members to the region—and the help of Britain’s South East Conference.
The Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey are among the world’s most desirable—and expensive—places in which to live. The islands, about 12 miles off the northwest coast of France, were annexed to the Duchy of Normandy in 933, according to online references. In 1066, William II of Normandy, a vassal to the king of France, invaded and conquered England, becoming William I of England, also known as William the Conqueror. Since 1204, the loss of the rest of the monarch’s lands in mainland Normandy has meant that the Channel Islands have been governed as separate possessions of the British Crown.
Noted for their tourism and off-shore banking centers, the islands, whose combined population is about 160,000, now count about 14 Seventh-day Adventists between them, as well as at least two people interested in the church’s message.
“A few young islanders in Jersey and Guernsey had been praying that one day they would once again be able to experience the vibes from a good old Sabbath school gathering,” Tambu Muoni told the British Union’s news service.
According to Muoni, “We were all very encouraged when the South England Conference contacted us and, last August, Pastor Aristotle Vontzalidis, [the conference’s church growth] director, along with his wife, visited us and had a meeting … in Guernsey.”
Vontzalidis returned to the Channel Islands in May 2008, and this time a hospital chapel on Jersey was the setting for Sabbath worship and a communion service.
Muoni wrote, “Alternating between the islands, members now plan to meet more often on a regular basis and fellowship together. We believe that one day through God’s grace the church will continue to grow and that soon there will be established churches on both islands.
“The South England Conference has long wanted to establish an Adventist presence on the islands,” Muoni noted. “Over the years literature distribution and even [literature evangelists] have played their part. However, it is the global village of immigration that is helping bring the dream to a reality.”
The Channel Islands have a rich and storied history. Victor Hugo spent many years in exile, first in Jersey and then in Guernsey where he wrote Les Misérables. Guernsey is also the setting of Hugo’s later novel, Les Travailleurs De La Mer (The Toilers of the Sea). The islands were the only part of the British Commonwealth to be occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War. The five-year occupation was marked by extreme privation and cruelty. Today, the islands are prime tourist destinations for many in the United Kingdom and Europe.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is seeking to engage in partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations, including the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Health Ministries, as part of its effort to connect with FBOs that deliver as much as 40 percent of health care in many developing nations.
Representatives from both organizations met at the Adventist Church’s world headquarters recently to explore ways of implementing the UN’s Millennium Development Goals through the church’s structure, including its health leaders and health care institutions.
“I was very impressed in learning how much health is an integral part of what the Adventist Church is all about, and I thought that was fascinating,” said James Hill, PAHO external relations officer.
PAHO is the World Health Organization’s regional office in North and South America and predates its parent organization.
Church leaders said partnering with such organizations and receiving international standards of care would give even more credibility to its work.
“We would like to see Adventist health professionals and churches that are interested in health to perhaps align some of their activities to ameliorating some of these problems like childhood and infant mortality in South and Inter-America,” said Dr. Allan Handysides, the church’s Health Ministries director.
He said a collaboration might offer Adventist students more internship and missionary opportunities: “We usually think of missionaries as going to our own institutions, but it would be possible that if we place some of our Adventist students with organizations like this, it would help them in their understanding of global health issues and create natural networking among the young people that would lead to lifelong partnerships,” Handysides said.
The world’s text-messaging capital will soon have the option of a distinctly Adventist voice.
Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Philippines are teaming up with Globe Telecom, Inc., a major telecommunications provider in the Philippines, to create a cell phone chip, or SIM card, unique to Adventists.
A SIM, or Subscriber Identity Module, is used to connect a mobile phone to the subscriber’s selected network and reload airtime. SIM cards are used in cellular devices as a removable card/chip that stores the personal identity information, mobile number, phone book, text messages, and other data.
Jonathan Catolico, communication director for the Adventist Church in the Southern-Asia Pacific region, is hoping the card will be used by some 250,000 Adventists, or about a quarter of the church’s membership in the Philippines.
Part of a church project called “Committed to Tell God’s Love,” Advent SIM card users can minister to others by using the unique features of the card: Bible verses, daily prayer, prayer requests, Bible trivia, news, a directory of Adventist churches in metropolitan cities and towns, and abbreviated versions of the church’s core doctrines.
“If one church member sends an inspirational message already incorporated in the SIM card to someone he wishes to inspire, he or she is already actively involved with the soul-winning program of the church,” Catolico says.
A percentage of each text message charge will also be donated to special church projects.
Rodolfo Bautista, Jr., a part-time professor of Bible and History at the Manila Adventist Medical Center and Colleges, helped spearhead the project. He says the Advent SIM will be a useful tool to reach a generation hooked on sending short cell-phone messages to their friends.
“A young person can have at least 300 persons in his phone book who are not Adventist, so the card makes it easy for them to do personal evangelism,” Bautista says.
In 2002, the Adventist Church in the Philippines started a “mobile ministry,” a simple procedure of sending inspirational messages to any mobile phone subscriber, Catolico explains. But the project went into high gear in 2007 when Bautista heard that Globe had already created community-specific SIM cards for six other religious organizations in the Philippines.
In March, representatives from several Seventh-day Adventist health food businesses from around the world held a three-day conference in Sydney, Australia. Sanitarium Health Food Company in Australia, the largest producer of breakfast cereal in the country, was host for the gathering of the International Health Food Ministry Conference.
The theme of this world conference was “Together Sharing Health and Hope.” Opportunities for sharing and collaboration were enriched by seminars on “The Philosophy of the Health Food Ministry”; “The Role of Branding and Marketing”; “Innovation and Growth: New Product Strategies”; “Building Supply Chain Efficiency”; and “Nutritional Components of Soy Milk and Meat Analogues.”
“It has been our privilege to host the recent International Health Food Ministry Conference,” said Barry Oliver, president of the Adventist Church’s South Pacific Division. “I would like to commend [Sanitarium] chief executive officer, Kevin Jackson, and his team for the professional manner in which the conference was convened. There is obvious benefit in meeting together to exchange ideas and strategies. The health food companies can forward the mission of the church by being actively involved in mission-focused activities.”
Stoy Proctor, associate director of the Health Ministries Department of the General Conference and presenter of one of the seminars, commented, “The health food ministry is far more complex and important than I realized. The ministry permeates the workforce and consumer with the mission of Christ, while being on the cutting edge of production.”
Collectively, the food factories around the world contribute millions of dollars to the mission of the church each year.
Making and marketing vegetarian foods—a business related to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s health-promotion message, yet one of the movement’s “best-kept secrets,” as it has been called—is having a positive effect in many nations. With more than 40 health food companies scattered in various parts of the world, the church’s International Health Food Association oversees this “major player” in what is becoming a worldwide health-conscious trend.