380 News


Ignore the Church to Your Detriment – National Leaders Cautioned


Leaders of African nations have been warned to not overlook the advice and assistance the church can provide.  At a recent meeting of the All Africa Conference of Churches, AACC, in Nairobi, Kenya, delegates spoke of the immense impact the church can have in fighting AIDS and poverty, as well as the potential political influence of the church due to its large number of members.  General Secretary of the AACC, The Rev. Dr. Mvume Dandala, cautioned African governments not to repeat the mistake of ignoring the church, but rather to allow the church to cooperate in fighting AIDS, poverty and starvation.  The AIDS epidemic across Africa was a central theme of the conference with churches being urged to coordinate prevention efforts and to organize youth programs which promote sexual abstinence.



Bishops’ Plea Over Suicides


The Catholic Church in Ireland is mailing letters to households across the nation to encourage prevent efforts against suicide.  The letter, endorsed by the Bishops of Ireland, says economics success has caused a downfall in faith and emotional support, resulting in a high suicide rate.  According to the World Health Organization, suicide has recently become the second highest cause of non-disease deaths among younger people across Europe.  One Irish bishop, who spoke on BBC Radio Ulster, said that society must look into helping people who are “on the edges.”



Turkmenistan: When Will Seventh-day Adventist Worship be Permitted?


Reporting on religious freedom conditions in Turkmenistan is AWR’s Vasili Markatchouk


“Members of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the Turkmen capital city of Ashgabat are still waiting for government permission to resume public worship four months after receiving official status as a registered church.  According to the Forum 18 News Service, a July 11 ceremony meant to celebrate the official registration of the Adventist church in Turkmenistan was cancelled because no letter of official permission from the government was issued.  Since that time, Forum 18 reports that the Adventist church has been unable to receive official permission to worship publicly.  Other religious groups, including the Baptist church, have also encountered alleged government stalling amidst their efforts to obtain official registration.  The Turkmen government continues to stress that religious freedom is moving forward in the nation and that more time is needed to completely sort out the religious registration applications.”


That report from AWR’s Vasili Markatchouk










Pope Says African AIDS Victims Need Moral, Spiritual and Medical Help


In his annual message delivered for the World Day of the Sick, Pope John Paul II called for Good Samaritans to assist the millions of people suffering from AIDS in Africa.  According to the Catholic News Service, the pope laid blame for the scourge of AIDS across Africa on several factors, including poor health care facilities, political instability and sexual promiscuity.  The pope was quick to encourage chastity as the best means of combating the spread of AIDS but also stressed the need for governmental action as well.



TAGnet and Hart Research Combine


In the United States, two organizations supporting the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Three Angels Global Networking, Inc,. or TAGnet, and Hart Research Center, will combine forces in an effort to improve the presence of the Adventist church across the Internet.  TAGnet provides Internet services and support to Adventist institutions around the world while Hart Research specializes in publishing.  Gordon Harty, vice president and chief of technology at TAGnet comments:


“Effectively there’s been a lot of interconnection between the two organizations since 1994.  And this system makes that official and makes it so that, for the two organizations, we don’t have conflict of interests.  TAGnet bring to Hart Research software development and web design, and Hart Research brings publishing and marketing and other projects for us.”


Gordon Harty, vice president and chief of technology at TAGnet.



WCC’s Kobia Says Poverty and Weapons of Mass Destruction in Same Camp


In Canada, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Sam Kobia, recently declared poverty to be a form of violence and claimed indifference to poverty is weapon of mass destruction.  According to Ecumenical News International, ENI, Kobia made said statement during a multi-denominational service in the Canadian capital of Ottawa.  ENI quoted Kobia as saying, “Our task as churches is to become a community that will say no to violence.”



Botswana Health Official and Adventist Hospital Head Encourage AIDS Action


In Botswana, a senior official from the Ministry of Health and a medical officer from the Seventh-day Adventist Hospital in the city of Kanye recently encouraged increased AIDS testing as well as frank discussion concerning sexual health.  Ministry of Health deputy permanent secretary Patson Mazonde reminded churches not to ignore health care in favor of preaching the word.  Kanye Seventh-day Adventist Hospital chief medical office Arthur Lasta went on to stress the need for expanded AIDS testing and thorough sex education for all people in Botswana.  Both men spoke after a 5 kilometer walk sponsored by the Kanye Seventh-day Adventist Church.


And, finally…


World Methodist Leaders Adopt Statement on Witness to Muslims


In South Africa, leaders of the World Methodist Council recently approved a document concerning witness to Muslims including a call to lovingly accept Muslims as “persons of faith.”   The document, which officially recognizes the differences and similarities between Christianity and Islam, was adopted during a three day meeting in Port Elizabeth South Africa.  Above all, the statement calls on Christians and Muslims to follow their respective teachings by submitting to the will of God.  The document was described by one leader as a “clear call to bear witness to Jesus Christ, graciously.”