21 Aug

Wildfires Near Pacific Union College and St. Helena Hospital Force Evacuations

By Kimberly Luste Maran — Angwin, California … As of Friday, August 21, 2020, several Adventist entities and institutions in Northern California have been evacuated due to wildfires that began several days ago when an unusual heat wave and storms in the region produced more than 10,000 lightning strikes.

Reports reveal that the LNU Lightning Complex Fire has burned more than 200,000 acres with 7 percent containment. At least four Bay Area people have been reported as dead, and several others have been injured due to the blaze.

Many residents have been evacuated, including those living on and near the campus of Pacific Union College (PUC). St. Helena Hospital, part of the Adventist Health network, has evacuated patients to nearby medical facilities. The LNU Lightning Complex Fire is “group” of fires burning in the same region that were sparked by lightning earlier this week.

PUC is currently under a mandatory evacuation with the surrounding Angwin community in response to the LNU Lightning Complex Fire in Napa County. The evacuation is a precautionary measure as the fire could pose a threat to Angwin, where PUC is located, if it moves south. A statement shared on the college’s website specified that “there is currently no immediate threat to the campus, and all faculty, staff, and students are safe and accounted for at this time.”

Twenty-five students were residing on campus at the time, all of whom were evacuated by 6:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Any evacuated students without a place to go have been placed in housing by PUC deans. Close to 300 PUC employees and their families were also evacuated along with the rest of Angwin’s estimated 3,000 residents.

College officials shared that at least twoPUC families have had their homes damaged or destroyed by the fire.

In its statement, PUC asks others to join them in praying for “our PUC family, our Angwin community, and our Napa County neighbors, as well as the Angwin Volunteer Fire Department and others responding. … Please pray for all those affected by the Lightning Complex fires.”

Adventist Health’s 151-bed St. Helena Hospital was also evacuated Wednesday night, Aug. 19, after Cal Fire issued a mandatory evacuation order. On its website, the hospital reported that “In accordance with the order, all surgical, lab, imaging and other procedures that were scheduled on the hospital campus are cancelled until further notice.”

All patients were safely relocated to other facilities, including Adventist Health Lodi Memorial, Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, Adventist Health Vallejo, Dameron Hospital, and Queen of the Valley Medical Center.

“Our patients are well cared for and safe. Please keep our team and their families in your prayers,” hospital officials said.

In addition to the hospital evacuation, more than 300 associates were evacuated from their homes. Adventist Health is providing emergency assistance to associates in need, and the Adventist Health Rapid Response fund is available. The fund was launched last year to help associates and communities in any devastating disaster or emergency, including the California wildfires. “Together, we can ensure our team of healthcare heroes receive the critical support they need,” officials added. Click here for more information.

Kimberly Luste Maran is an associate director for the North American Division Office of Communication; photos supplied

**This article originally appeared on the Adventist Review website

Patients are evacuated from Adventist Health’s St. Helena Hospital in California as wildfires near the area. Photo provided by St. Helena Hospital
09 Jul

G. Alexander Bryant Named North American Division President

By Kimberly Maran — Columbia, Maryland . . . On July 9, 2020, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s General Conference Executive Committee met virtually to receive the name of G. Alexander Bryant, the recommendation for division president, from both the North American Division’s nominating committee and executive committee. Bryant was confirmed in a vote of 153 to 3.

Ted N.C. Wilson, General Conference president and, as policy indicates for the vote of division president, chair of the NAD nominating and executive committees held on July 6 and July 7, said, “I’m looking forward to a renewed focus on the three angels’ messages and I believe that Elder Bryant can help lead in that great adventure, because that is what is entrusted to each of us. [He] is a mission-focused individual. He is someone who is a careful listener to people. He will take [these cares] to the Lord and ask for guidance. … I believe that God can use him in a very, very special way.”

“I am first indebted to God for His call to ministry and secondly to those who have poured into my life over the years,” said Bryant in response to the vote. “I am deeply humbled by the confidence Elder Wilson, our chair, and the NAD and GC executive committees have placed in me with this assignment. This task is too big for one individual or office. It is abundantly clear to me that it takes all of us working together to advance God’s kingdom and I just deeply covet your prayers.”

He added, “I ask for my wife and for myself — that you would continue to lift us up daily as we will you. … Hopefully, by our efforts together, we can hasten the coming of the Lord through our mission work throughout our territory and beyond; and Jesus will come and we can go home.”

Wilson affirmed the decision for NAD president, saying, “Alex, we will place you in prayer — that God will be with you and Desiree and your family as you take up these new responsibilities in a powerful way. … I know he will have a tremendous evangelistic imprint on North America for the future and it’ll be a privilege to collaborate with him on that.”

All world division executive officers serve as elected officers of the GC and their nomination and election by the region they represent must be approved by the General Conference Executive Committee. The division’s nominating committee is termed a standing committee. It was appointed by the NAD Executive Committee in 2015. During the past five years the nominating committee has recommended the names of individuals to the executive committee for vote in order to fill division vacancies.

Following an outlined process disclosed earlier, the division’s nominating committee met on July 6 and selected the name of Bryant, which was presented and voted on by the NAD Executive Committee on July 7. Bryant’s name was sent as a recommendation to the GC Executive Committee. All meetings were held virtually via Zoom with a previously-used electronic voting process.

Bryant replaces Daniel R. Jackson, who served at the NAD headquarters since his election in June 2010 at the GC Session in Atlanta, Georgia, and reelection in 2015 in San Antonio, Texas, until his retirement on July 1, 2020. The search process for a new executive secretary has begun.

Glenward Alexander (“Alex”) Bryant most recently served as executive secretary of the NAD and associate secretary of the GC, positions he’s held since October 2008 when elected at the GC Annual Council in Manila, Philippines. Bryant was reelected at the 2010 GC Session. While serving as the division’s secretary, Bryant conducted leadership seminars, training and orientation of conference executive officers; organized a division-wide diversity summit; coordinated the digitalization of the NAD Secretariat; and conducted annual evangelistic series.

Before coming to the division, Bryant served as the president of the Central States Conference in Kansas City, Kansas.

Bryant graduated with a double major in Theology and Business Administration from Oakwood College (now Oakwood University) in 1982.

He began his ministry that same year in Springfield, Missouri, and Coffeyville and Independence, Kansas. In 1986, Bryant was ordained, and he continued his education by earning a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University in 1988. The Central States Conference voted Bryant to serve as Youth/Pathfinders/National Service Organization director, Temperance director, and superintendent of Education in 1990. He became president in 1997.

In addition to pastoring several churches early in his career, Bryant also served as a student missionary to Japan for one year. During his college years, Bryant’s administrative abilities helped him serve as the Adventist Youth director at Oakwood College and the Black Students Association of the Seminary (BSAS) president at Andrews University.

Bryant is the second African American elected to serve as NAD president. Charles E. Bradford, the division’s first president, was also African American. Previous division presidents include Alfred C. McClure, Don C. Schneider, and Daniel R. Jackson.

He is married to the former Desiree Wimbish, who served as superintendent of education for Central States Conference as well as former principal of the V. Lindsay Seventh-day Adventist School in Kansas City, Kansas. Desiree currently serves as assistant director and projects coordinator for Adventist Education in the NAD. The Bryants have three adult children and three grandchildren.

Click here for the video interview with Bryant about his education, early years in ministry, and his hopes for his current role as NAD president.

–Kimberly Maran is an associate director for the North American Division Office of Communication. Photo supplied.

This article was originally published on the NAD website.

01 Jul

North American Division Bids Farewell to Its President and First Lady

By Kimberly Maran — Columbia, Maryland . . .On July 1, 2020, under a big white tent on the grounds of the North American Division (NAD) headquarters, more than 200 in-person and online guests bid a fond farewell to Daniel R. and Donna Jackson during a two-hour celebration of their ministry and leadership. Each ministry, service, and entity of the division had the opportunity to share memories and messages for the Jacksons, who officially retired on July 1.* Vice presidents of the division, union presidents, and special guests General Conference (GC) president Ted N.C. Wilson and his wife, Nancy, also spoke at the event, which concluded with final thoughts from the Jacksons and a closing prayer by Ivan Williams, Sr. NAD Ministerial Association director.

After opening prayer by Office of Volunteer Ministries processing and communication coordinator Andrea Keele, humor — one hallmark of Dan Jackson’s presidential tenure — was on display as employees read clever poems, and a modern-day parable on a scroll. Others presented posters, personalized teddy bears including COVID-19 face masks, an individualized working policy book, a special Canadian law book, and two bobble-head dolls of the Jacksons. Many shared funny stories; and several groups performed musical parodies to several of Jackson’s favorite songs.

G. Alexander Bryant, NAD executive secretary, opened the occasion by sharing the process that went into planning the retirement event. “When we were thinking about this celebration we thought about Elder Jackson and Sister Jackson and their spirit, and the spirit that he has exemplified has always been accompanied with laughter,” said Bryant, who then quoted Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (KJV).

“The Lord has given him (and Donna) a tremendous sense of humor that he has utilized in his ministry and administration in a very effective way; this event is intended to be a ‘thank you’ and appreciation, but done in the spirit of Elder Jackson,” Bryant explained. “So you will see some parts that are funny, some parts that will make us laugh, and hopefully some parts that will lift our spirits as we say goodbye to our leader and first lady.”

Not only did the Jacksons bring laughter, song, and encouraging smiles and support to employees personally as they made special effort to spend time with coworkers, Jackson grew the mission and ministry of the division. And added to the moments designed to cheer the honorees were poignant parts of the program as appreciation was shared for the many contributions Jackson made during his 10 years of service at the division, including the building up of the NAD Ministerial Association, Multilingual Ministries, and Stewardship department; the creation of a missional strategic plan; and the addition of the Guam-Micronesia Mission, Oakwood University, Pacific Press Publishing Association, AdventSource, and Christian Record Services for the Blind.

In addition to the division moving to its own headquarters in Columbia, Maryland, in 2017, record tithe came in annually during Jackson’s tenure, almost 1,000 churches were planted; more than 300,000 people were baptized; the legacy Adventist media ministries (Breath of Life, Faith For Today, It Is Written and Escrito Está, Jesus 101, La Voz de la Esperanza, Lifetalk Radio, and the Voice of Prophecy) found their own homes and identities; the number of women working as pastors and chaplains doubled; the Adventist Learning Community, a robust digital ministry resource, was created; both the Young Adult Life initiative and Big Data + Social Media department came to fruition; and the division started the magazine Adventist Journey.

In a special presentation, Donna Jackson was thanked for her tireless work for and with the Ministerial Spouses program. During her tenure as an associate director of the NAD Ministerial Association, she developed resources and programming for ministerial spouses across the division. She also brought joy with her thoughtfulness around the building, shared Desiree Bryant, Adventist Education assistant director and projects coordinator, as she represented the NAD’s ministerial spouses. “Love is who you are as a person. It was a foundation to everything you did and we want you to know that we have appreciated so much all the love, the genuine care and concern that you’ve had for us over these past 10 years,” she said. “You’ve given us a voice, you’ve cared about not just us, but our families as well, the entire ministerial family.”

After this presentation, the couple was presented with a gift vacation from donations across the division’s field. Earlier in the program they received a leather-bound photo memory “yearbook,” notebooks of Jackson’s published articles, plaques, gift baskets, monetary gifts, and a Maranatha One-Day Church donation, located in the Dominican Republic, in their name from Seminars Unlimited.

Near the close of the celebratory event, union presidents, NAD officers, and others who worked especially close to the Jacksons shared their sentiments of appreciation via video.

Bryant thanked Jackson for being a Christian role model. “You’ve modeled leadership, but not only that, you have modeled Christianity and what it means to be a part of the body of Christ and to feel like a brother and a sister. You and Donna have always felt and will always feel like a part of my family,” he said. “We wish you Godspeed and God’s blessings as you move to another phase of your life. You will be missed and never forgotten. God bless you.”

Randy Robinson, NAD treasurer, said, “Dan and Donna, It’s been my privilege to serve with you in the North American Division. I know I haven’t been here too terribly long, but it’s really clear to me that your leadership will leave an indelible mark on this division for many years to come. I will miss your leadership and wish you God’s blessings as you make this transition.”

“I’ve been so thankful to be able to work with the two of you the past 10 years, [Dan] as my boss, the both of you being my mentors, and especially the both of you being my friends,” said Janet Aldea, Jackson’s administrative assistant. “You and Donna have taught me so much about prayer in the workplace, and especially in my personal life. I know if you didn’t have that kind of a relationship in your own lives, the close relationship to the Lord, that you could not share that with all of us. My prayer is that you both do not lose that relationship with the Lord, and that it becomes even stronger as you enter the next phase of your life together.”

Ken Denslow, NAD assistant to the president, shared a special memory: “I will always remember that day when the Jacksons and the Denslows were riding together to an appointment in Florida and you were talking to me about your needs for a new assistant and you kept asking questions and kind of nibbling around the edges, when finally Donna said, ‘Just ask him, Danny!’ and you asked me to come and be your assistant. That changed my life. Thank you for the opportunity; thank you for the great memories of serving together. God bless you both as you enter into retirement.”

Before the Jacksons shared their final thoughts and closing prayer was offered, GC president Wilson spoke. “I want to bring very special greetings on behalf of the world church family, the General Conference. And we thank both of you, Donna and Dan, for your willingness to serve God in Canada, in Sri Lanka, in India, in the United States, and around the world as a vice president of the General Conference. … We want to thank you for your commitment to God’s message and the proclamation of the three angels’ messages and Christ’s soon coming. And thank you, Dan, for your consistent effort to lift up Jesus in all that you do when you’re speaking to people in sermons and encouraging people. The salvation of Christ is absolutely the rock foundation of our message and the soon coming of Christ, what He has done on the cross and equally what He is doing for us as our High Priest in heaven interceding for us.”

Wilson proceeded to share Hebrews 10:19-24. He concluded by saying, “What a privilege to be part of the great Advent Movement, and on behalf of the world church family of Seventh-day Adventists, we wish you, Donna and Dan, a wonderful retirement and continued work for the Lord until He comes.”

Nancy Wilson presented the Jacksons with a decorative gift basket that included fresh fruits, homemade crackers, roasted nuts and other healthful snacks for the couple’s long road trip to Canada, where the Jacksons will be retiring. She said, “Wherever God puts you, you will be ministering. But this we thought can be a picnic basket so … please do take time to just relax.”

With emotion she added, “In particular, Donna, I want to thank you for your prayer ministry for our family. You have been so faithful in reaching out. … You have written beautiful emails to reach out and have promised us your prayers, and we thank you so much for that. God bless as you continue serving God in the wonderful ‘Land of the North.’”

As the celebration drew to its conclusion, the Jacksons spent a few moments giving their remarks. “I woke up this morning, in the first day of my retirement, and the first thing I did was asked Elder Bryant if I could have permission to go into the NAD building because, you see, today I’m a layperson,” Jackson laughed. “God has blessed. We started our ministry 280 miles north of the city of Edmonton, and the first winter we thought we would freeze to death.”

“You know, the Lord has bourn with me so many years and I just can only praise His name. I just praise God for the privilege to serve in ministry,” he continued. “What I said yesterday [during worship] I want to repeat today: for me the greatest blessing of leadership is the blessing of being with people; to dream, to pray, to cry, to laugh, to work in the name of Jesus is a wonderful, wonderful blessing. It has been such a tremendous opportunity.

“We had, when we went to Atlanta in 2010, absolutely zero idea that we would wind up here, and to get to know each of you, to get to work beside you, to be able to move through the building and talk with you and sometimes share your dreams and your pain and to rejoice together. This has been such a marvelous blessing. … Thank you and God bless you. We will never, ever, ever forget our privilege here and the time that we shared.”

In laughter Donna said, “Dan and I will have all these gifts representing you, and we will treasure them — and we’ll just have to get a U-Haul truck.”

She echoed her husband’s words: “I have had this great privilege of being here with you and you worked very hard. I know that what we do, we do in love for Jesus Christ. And I can see it in everything, in every department and in every worker. Thank you for sharing your lives, … and to each one of you: God bless you. It’s not going to be long until we see Jesus.”

* The NAD nominating committee will meet on July 6 to select a name to be presented and voted on by the NAD Executive Committee on July 7 and sent as a recommendation to the GC Executive Committee. Both of these committees will be chaired by Ted N.C. Wilson, GC president. The meetings will be held virtually via Zoom and a previously used electronic voting process will be utilized. On July 9, the General Conference Executive Committee will meet virtually to receive the recommendation and elect the new NAD president. During the interval, G. Alexander Bryant, NAD executive secretary, will serve as interim president, according to NAD policy. Click here to read more.

Kimberly Luste Maran is an associate director for the North American Division Office of Communication; photos supplied

This article was originally published on the NAD website.