__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

OFFICE FOR REGIONAL CONFERENCE MINISTRY IN NORTH AMERICA • •

Telling

Our

Story

FALL 2020 https://adventistregionalministries.org

DR. G. ALEXANDER BRYANT, PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS INNOVATIONS IN OUR SCHOOLS, MEETINGS AND HOW WE CONDUCT CHURCH BUSINESS UPDATES: CORONA, DISASTERS AND LIVES LOST


GONE It’s not IF you’ll experience loss, but WHEN.

T

his ABC Television special, in collaboration with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC),

SECURE YOUR COPY TODAY

features a Christmas message from Dr. Carlton P. Byrd, Speaker/Director of the Breath of Life Television Ministry and Senior Pastor of the Oakwood University Church in Huntsville, Alabama.

Dr. Carlton P. Byrd, Speaker/Director

Watch on ABC • December 25, 2020 256.929.6460 • www.breathoflife.tv

For a list of stations and times, call 256.929.6460 or visit breathoflife.tv


PUBLISHER’S COMMENTARY

Published by the Office for Regional Conference Ministry in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists 7000 Adventist Boulevard Huntsville, Alabama 35896 Telephone (256) 830-5002 Website: https://adventistregionalministries.org PUBLISHER Dana C. Edmond EDITOR Kyna Hinson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Bryant Taylor ART DIRECTOR/DESIGNER Howard I. Bullard COPY EDITOR Clarise J. Nixon CONSULTANTS Phyllis Ware Lee, Elaine Allston, Wanda Lott EDITORIAL For all correspondence and letters to the editors, write: OFFICE FOR REGIONAL CONFERENCE MINISTRY 7000 Adventist Boulevard Huntsville, Alabama 35896 or fax to (256) 830-5078 We reserve the right to publish and edit your submissions and letters.

REGIONAL CONFERENCE OFFICES

ALLEGHENY EAST CONFERENCE HENRY J. FORDHAM III, PRESIDENT LaTasha Hewitt, Communications Director P.O. Box 266 Pine Forge, PA 19548 (610) 326-4610. www.myalleghenyeast.org ALLEGHENY WEST CONFERENCE WILLIAM COX, PRESIDENT Benia Jennings, Communications Director 1080 Kingsmill Pkwy. Columbus, OH 43229 (614) 252-5271. www.awconf.org CENTRAL STATES CONFERENCE ROGER BERNARD, PRESIDENT Brittany Winkfield, Communications Director 3301 Parallel Parkway Kansas City, KS 66104 (913) 371-1071. www.central-states.org LAKE REGION CONFERENCE R. CLIFFORD JONES, PRESIDENT Paul Young, Communications Director 8517 South State Street Chicago, IL 60619 (773) 846-2661. www.lakeregionsda.org NORTHEASTERN CONFERENCE DANIEL LAMARTINE HONORÉ, PRESIDENT JeNean A. Lendor, Communications Director 115-50 Merrick Blvd. Jamaica, NY 11434 (718) 291-8006. www.northeastern.org SOUTH ATLANTIC CONFERENCE WILLIAM L. WINSTON, PRESIDENT James Lamb, Communications Director 3978 Memorial Drive Decatur, GA 30032 (404) 792-0535. www.southatlantic.org SOUTH CENTRAL CONFERENCE BENJAMIN JONES, PRESIDENT Anthony Chornes, Communications Director 715 Youngs Lane Nashville, TN 37207 (615) 226-6500. www.scc-adventist.org SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE GREGORY O. MACK, PRESIDENT Noel Grant, Communications Director 1701 Robie Avenue Mt. Dora, FL 32757 (352) 735-3142. www.secsda.org SOUTHWEST REGION CONFERENCE CALVIN WATKINS, PRESIDENT Taryan Ramsarran, Communications Director 2215 Lanark Avenue Dallas, TX 75203 (214) 943-4491. www.southwestregion. adventistchurchconnect.org 2018 REGIONAL DIRECTORS/COORDINATORS ROSTER Virgil Childs, Director Regional Ministries Pacific Union Conference 2686 Townsgate Road Westlake Village, CA 91361 (805) 413-7100. www.puconline.org Cell: 909-225-6438 Kingsley Palmer, Vice President African American Dept. Arizona Conference Cell: 775-338-0858 | genx58@gmail.com Frederick Anderson, Coordinator African American Ministries | Central California Conference (831) 262-3838 | famar@sbcglobal.net O’Neil Madden, Coordinator African American Dept. | Nevada-Utah Conference Cell 702-875-5979 | pastoromadden@aol.com Byron Dulan, Vice President North Pacific Union Conference 5709 N. 20th Street Ridgefield, WA 98642 (360) 857-7000. www.npuc.org Robert Edwards, V.P. Black Ministries Southeastern California Conference (909) 202-0147 | kinggm@seccsda.org Royal Harrison, Director G.L.A.R. | Southern California Conference (503) 819-1498 | hroyal2@yahoo.com

What Do You Want Us To Do?

W

e were both frustrated. We could not agree. I thought that the way they responded to this particular situation was inappropriate and would not solve the problem. Indeed, I thought their response was only making the situation worse. But while I thought their response was inappropriate, they thought my response was inadequate. In their minds, they thought that what I was suggesting had been tried before—repeatedly and without any results—and they were not completely wrong about that at all. I told them that I understood their frustration and that I might well be frustrated too if I were in their place. But what was important was what we did with that frustration. I still remember the question as the conversation came to a conclusion that was not very satisfactory: “Elder Edmond, what do you want me to do?” I understood that this was not a question for directions. They were saying, “We have tried what you are suggesting. It isn’t working. So, what do you expect us to do next?” I thought about that after yet another black person got shot by police—this time, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back, in front of his children. I have not heard all the facts but at first blush, it is hard to understand what circumstances call for someone who does not have a gun to be shot seven times. Did the police think, for example, that he was going for his gun and was going to shoot it out with them, with his children in the car? The shooting was followed by what has become a pattern: First, there are peaceful protests. Then, some of the protests turn violent. Next, the President of the United States condemns the violence, saying this is what will happen if his opponent is elected President (but isn’t it happening now, while he is President?). It occurred to me that I just wrote about the killing of George Floyd by a police officer who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, along with the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, while she was asleep in her bed, in the summer edition of The Regional Voice. I started to title this commentary “Again?”except I used that title, years ago, in writing about another police shooting. It seems to me that not a whole lot has changed over the years. So, my question to President Trump and others of a similar mindset is this: What do you want us to do? There seems to be absolutely no willingness to address the fact that these types of tragedies keep happening. AND, they are far more likely to happen to people of color. AND, the police officers who commit these acts are far less likely to be held accountable for them. When Vice President Pence was running for that office in 2016, he was quoted as saying to a group of pastors in Colorado, “Donald Trump and I believe that there has been far too much talk of institutional bias and racism within law enforcement.” Then he went on to say: “We ought to set aside this talk, this talk about institutional bias and racism.” Once in a meeting with my Caucasian brothers who are also church administrators, I said to them, “Blue lights flashing in my rear-view mirror mean something different to me than it means to you.” There is something wrong with that, but the response of Vice President Pence and those of a similar mindset is, “Let’s not talk about it.” OK, my brothers and sisters of that mindset: What do you want us to do? You don’t want people to kneel when the National Anthem is played, even though that is peacefully protesting. And when the NBA players stopped playing basketball for a few days to protest another black person getting shot by police—another peaceful protest—the Vice President’s Chief of Staff called their protest “silly” and “absurd.” The President’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said that the players should be thankful that they are wealthy enough to be able take time off work. Really? That’s your response? What do you want us to do? The President and the Vice President and those of their mindset really don’t want to hear

anything about Black Lives Matter. Their standard response is that “All lives matter.” They do not seem to hear the fact that Black Lives Matter does not mean that other people’s lives don’t matter. What it does mean is that for too long, black people have been made to feel that their lives don’t matter. Has anyone on the anti-Black Lives Matter side ever stopped to ask, “Why is it that black people even have to say ‘Our lives matter?’” And please do not go down the I-can’tagree-with-everything-that-Black-LivesMatter-stands-for road: What political party or political movement doesn’t have beliefs that are problematic? If I do not believe in abortion (and I don’t), does that mean I do believe in blowing up abortion clinics and killing doctors who perform abortions—since that’s what some people who are against abortion believe? Come on. The real problem is that even though this is a great country, it has tolerated minorities being treated as though their lives didn’t matter. America, what do you want us to do about that? It seems as if a significant portion of this country does not want to do very much. That portion doesn’t want to talk about it or even acknowledge that a problem even exists. And yes, that extends to our Caucasian brothers and sisters who

are practicing Christians. A recent Barna study said that only 38 percent of practicing Caucasian Christians believe that the United States has a race problem. If significant numbers of our Caucasian brothers and sisters don’t want to talk about racism, if significant numbers of them only feel like talking about it is racism and/or socialism, if significant numbers do not think that there even is a race problem in our country, if significant numbers resist or dismiss peaceful protests that do not fit their taste—i.e., we get to decide what’s acceptable for how you protest—while things like what happened to Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor and George Floyd keep happening and nothing really seems to happen to the perpetrators, nothing seems to change—What do you want us to do about that? I can only think of three things: 1. As Black People, We Cannot Give Up the Moral High Ground: Violence done to us can never excuse violence done by us. The right thing is not the right thing because we get the right result. The right thing is the right thing because it’s the right thing. And the wrong thing is the wrong thing because it’s the wrong thing. Killing people and destroying property (though it is hard for me to believe that at least some of the property destruction is not being done by people to discred-

it the cause of the protestors) is wrong. It just is. And let us not follow the examples of certain politicians who, over the last several years, have bent their principles like pretzels and whose spines have gone limp like wet noodles when allowing their voices to become silent in the face of wrongdoing. Let’s stop pretending that something wrong is somehow right because people we like support the wrong. Confront wrong in the right way. There is never a right way to do the wrong thing, but confront it we must. 2. We Have to Get Involved in the Things That Can Change Things: We have to vote, get counted in the census, get involved in the communities where we live and worship. 3. Most of All, We Have to Realize the Importance AND the Limitations of #2: We ought to vote and get counted in the census. That is our duty as citizens of this earth. It’s part of “occupying until Jesus comes.” We do what we can to change things, even if doing those things may not always make things change. It is the same reason why we tell a college freshman to go on to school (if they can do so safely), even though the state of the world suggests that they might not ever get the chance to use the education that they (and/or their parents) are paying enormous amounts to obtain. We occupy until Jesus comes. We do everything we can to educate ourselves and to make the world better even as we know from reading the Bible that the world will only get “worse and worse.” We do this because that’s what Jesus would do. We do this because while the world isn’t going to change, the lives of individuals God allows us to touch, will. So to the question “What do you want us to do?” we have our own answer: We’ll do what Jesus would do if He were here and we’ll do it until He comes back. t

Dana C. Edmond, Director, Office for Regional Conference Ministry REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

5


17

8

34

10

CONTENTS

21

12

4

PUBLISHER’S COMMENTARY What do You Want Us to Do? That’s my question to President Trump and others of a similar mindset—when these types of tragedies keep happening, and are far more likely to happen to people of color. By Dana C. Edmond

8

Dr. G. Alexander Bryant is Voted NAD President Dr. Bryant comes to this office with a wealth of pastoral and administrative experience. We wish him a successful launch. By Dana C. Edmond

10

Regional Conferences, the West Coast and Bermuda Enjoy Virtual Convocation The Regional Presidents Council was led by God to take advantage of existing technology to offer four days and three nights of virtual worship, fellowship and dialog. Coverage by Dana C. Edmond 6

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

23

16 12

16

The NAD Black Caucus Meets Virtually This year’s Caucus was to be in Orlando, Florida, but the coronavirus intervened. So, the Black Caucus went virtual. Coverage by Dana C. Edmond

In Transition Dr. William T. Cox Elected Director of Regional Retirement Plan After 41 years in ministry, and after serving as Allegheny West Conference President since 2012, Elder Cox will follow Elder Joseph McCoy as the next RCRP Director.

14

Official Statement on Disaster Relief The North American Division reveals Community Service plans to help Louisiana in wake of the 2020 hurricanes. By Kimberly Luste Maran

15

17

Southwest Region President Responds to More Police Shootings These two Black human beings certainly matter to their families and should matter also to every decent God-fearing Christian—regardless of denominational affiliation or racial ethnicity. By Elder Calvin L. Watkins, Sr.

In Transition Allegheny West Elects New President and Executive Vice President Elder Marvin C. Brown III has been elected the new President, and Elder Joel Johnson was elected the new Vice President of the Allegheny West Conference.

18

The F. H. Jenkins Preparatory School Excels in Virtual Learning We knew we needed to be prepared to offer our scholars a safe environment for learning. We had to begin developing potential instructional delivery models. By Dr. Summer Wood, Principal

COVER PHTOTGRAPHY BY RICHARD J. GORDON

22

35

36

38

40

42

21, 22. 23

In Memoriam Dr. Artie Smith Melancon, veteran educator and administrator built bridges for her students from classrooms to their professions. Dr. Russell Seay developed a rich ministry as a pastor, scholar and professor, in his words “relating, writing, teaching and preaching.” Dr. Gwendolyn Ward was a musician, teacher and scholar. She modeled pastoral care and evangelism alongside her husband, Elder E. C. Ward. Together they had seven children. Read these stories of dedicated service. Tributes by The Melancon, Seay and Ward Families

26

CORONA Stats The virus has a global reach and the numbers have climbed to staggering heights, especially in the United States. Stay safe, masked and sheltered when possible.

27, 28

REGIONAL NEWS The West Philadelphia Church in the Allegheny East Conference has served as a host test site for COVID-19. Members and leaders of the South Park Church in Birmingham, Alabama, conducted a safe, successful, no-physical-contact evangelistic campaign, and they want to share the good news. LaTasha Hewitt – AEC Report South Park Church Report

32

THE LEGACY SERIES This edition profiles the service of Elder Ira Harrell and a lifetime of contributions. By Samuel Thomas, Jr.

34, 35, 36

TRIBUTES TO CIVIL RIGHTS ICONS Take an inside view into the lives of Joseph Lowery, C.T. Vivian and John Lewis. They made life better for all of us.

38

BLACK LIVES UPDATES We follow up on the cases of George Floyd, Christian Cooper, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We introduce you to Jacob Blake, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude and Elijah McClain—plus three protestors and four police officers who were all shot. Data Compiled by Kyna Hinson

40, 42

NATIONAL NEWS Hurricanes and wildfires in 2020 have been powerful, wind-driven and deadly across the United States and Caribbean islands.

46

HOPE SERIES Churches and Youth, It’s Time to Merge! This Pine Forge student encourages an unbeatable partnership. By Kalin Griffin

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

7


RV FEATURE

Dr. G. Alexander Bryant: Newly Elected President, North American Division BY DANA C. EDMOND

Dr. G. Alexander Bryant as the President of the 1.25 millionmember North American Division (NAD) of Seventh-day Adventists.

8

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

PHTOTGRAPHY BY RICHARD J. GORDON

O

n July 9, 2020, the General Conference Executive Committee voted to elect Dr. G. Alexander Bryant as the President of the 1.25 million-member North American Division (NAD) of Seventh-day Adventists. Dr. Bryant succeeds Elder Daniel R. Jackson, who retired on July 1, 2020. He served two terms as the NAD President. Dr. Bryant previously served in the Number 2 position as NAD Executive Secretary. He worked there for 12 years. Before his election as NAD Executive Secretary, Elder Bryant served as President of the Central States Conference, headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas, for nine years. Elder Bryant was born in Wynne, Arkansas. When he was 9, his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. As a teenager, Dr. Bryant was heavily involved in high school sports, which involved playing on Friday nights. It was with some difficulty that he made the transition from the Baptist Church to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. That transition began when a faithful layman, Rozelle Lawrence, came into Dr. Bryant’s neighborhood and began giving Bible studies to his family. He recognized that what he was hearing was the truth from the Word of God, but there was still the pull from Friday night sports. The deal was sealed, ironically, through sickness. Brother Lawrence fell ill and wound up being hospitalized. Dr. Bryant went to visit Brother Lawrence, who asked him for a favor. Not having any idea of what Brother Lawrence was going to ask, Dr. Bryant agreed to grant the request before knowing what it was. Brother Lawrence asked him to go to visit his church on Sabbath. Not wanting to break his word, Dr. Bryant attended church that Sabbath. His attendance never stopped. He then went to Oakwood College (now Oakwood University). After spending a year in Japan as a student missionary, he graduated from Oakwood in 1982. That degree was followed by a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2011. Dr. Bryant’s administrative gifts were recognized early. He was selected as the AYS Leader at Oakwood and the Black Student Seminary Association President. He was called to the Central States Conference, where he began his ministry in the Coffeyville, Kansas/ Independence/Springfield, Missouri district. In 1990, he was elected Youth Director and Education Superintendent. Once again, Dr. Bryant’s administrative gifts were recognized, as his fellow Youth Directors elected him Chairman of the Black Adventist Youth Directors Association. A United Youth Congress in his adopted hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, was to end Dr. Bryant’s time as

General Conference Executive Committee. By a vote of 153-5, Dr. Bryant became the second AfricanAmerican President of the NAD.

Youth Director. The Mid-American Union voted to call him as Union Executive Secretary. However, before he could assume that role, the constituency of the Central States Conference elected him as one of the youngest Presidents in the NAD. Dr. Bryant’s election as NAD President came at the conclusion of a process that began with the recommendation of his name from the NAD Standing Nominating Committee. From there, he was recommended overwhelmingly by the NAD Executive Committee to the General Conference Executive Committee. This step was necessary because all Division Presidents are General Conference Vice Presidents and the final vote comes from the General Conference Executive Committee. By a vote of 153-5, Dr. Bryant became the second African-American President of the NAD. Dr. Bryant has been joined in life and ministry for the past 37 years by the former Desiree Wimbush of Akron, Ohio. They have three sons—Travis, Traven and Terrence—and three grandchildren. We pray God’s blessing on the Bryants in this new leadership capacity. t ______________________________________________________

Elder Dana C. Edmond is Director of the Office for Regional Conference Ministry and Publisher of Regional Voice Magazine. REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

9


REGIONAL NEWS

REGIONAL CONFERENCES, WEST COAST AND BERMUDA PRESENT

VIRTUAL CONVOCATION Reported by DANA C. EDMOND

O

n July 8-11, 2020, the nine Regional Conferences, the Regional churches in the Pacific and the North Pacific Unions, and the Bermuda Conference came together for an historic virtual convocation. This inaugural event would have been all but impossible without technology. The physical assembly of people from across North America for Regional Conferences and their affiliates on the West Coast and Bermuda, would have been prohibitively expensive—with costs in the millions. COVID-19 has prevented individuals from assembling in their local churches, much less attending a massive gathering. But the Regional Presidents Council [a group that consists of the nine Regional Presidents, the two West Coast Union Vice Presidents and the President of Oakwood University], convened by the Office for Regional Conference Ministries (ORCM) was led by God to take advantage of some of the existing technology to offer four days and three nights of virtual worship, fellowship and dialogue. The idea was not just to come together for virtual worship, though that was important. The broader idea was to begin an honest dialogue on how best to collectively address the issues facing Regional Conferences and people of color in the United States and Bermuda. The plan is for all of this to culminate in a Regional Conference Summit in Dallas (coronavirus permitting; virtually if not) March 5-7, 2021. The issues raised at the Convocation are to be directed to various task forces and subcommittees for policy proposals. The proposals will be sent to the various Regional Conference Executive Committees for their consideration and votes. In light of this, each evening began with what was called a Critical Issues Roundtable. The nightly subjects were “Evangelism, Efficiency and Education,” dubbed by the planners “the three Es.” A lively discussion ensued each night, with questions being taken from the online audience on the final two nights. The conferences were grouped into geographical areas to lead the nightly services. The Midwest/Southwest Region—consist-

10

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

The broader idea was to begin an honest dialogue on how best to collectively address the issues facing Regional Conferences and people of color in the United States and Bermuda.

ing of the Central States, Lake Region and Southwest Region Conferences— opened the Wednesday night session. The Conference Executive Secretaries/Vice Presidents for Administration for each conference collaborated in the selection of platform participants from across the three conferences, while the Conference Presidents selected the evening’s speaker. Additionally, each President gave a brief welcome each night. The idea was to give viewers from across the country an opportunity to see the leaders of conferences other than their own. Additionally, pictures of the administrative officers of the various conferences were scrolled at the end of each service. The keynote speaker for the Convocation was Pastor Tricia Wynn-Payne, Pastor of the Detroit Conant Gardens. She was followed on Thursday evening by Dr. Ainsworth K. Morris, the Senior Pastor of the Kansas Avenue SDA Church in Riverside, California. Thursday night was the one exception to the geographic groupings of conferences for the purpose of platform participation. On this night, the Pacific Union and the North Pacific Union were joined by the Bermuda Conference. While this was an unusual geographical combination, it was designed to ensure the inclusion of entities that are aligned with Regional Conferences. The Friday evening service was led by the East Region—Allegheny East, Allegheny West and Northeastern. The speaker was Dr. Daniel Honore, President of Northeastern Conference.

ALLEGHENY EAST HENRY FORDHAM

ALLEGHENY WEST MARVIN BROWN

BERMUDA KENNETH MANDERS

CENTRAL STATES ROGER BERNARD

LAKE REGION R. CLIFFORD JONES

NORTH PACIFIC UNION BYRON DULAN

NORTHEASTERN DANIEL HONORE

PACIFIC UNION VIRGIL CHILDS

SOUTH ATLANTIC WILLIAM L. WINSTON

SOUTH CENTRAL BEN JONES

SOUTHEASTERN GREGORY MACK

SOUTHWEST CALVIN WATKINS

Sabbath was a full day. The services began at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time to avoid conflicting with local services across the nation and Bermuda. First came worship, led by the Regional Conferences in the Southern Union—the South Atlantic, South Central and Southeastern Conferences. The sermon was delivered by Elder Debleaire Snell, Senior Pastor of Huntsville First SDA Church. The worship service was followed by a virtual concert rendered by recording artists Jonathan Nelson and Elder Wintley Phipps. Coordination with the artists, and editing the virtual concert by Stephen Manders of the Oakwood University SDA Church, took an enormous amount of work. We are enormously indebted to him for his dedication and ministry. Between the concert and the final event of the Convocation came the virtual introduction of the new President of the North American Division (NAD), Dr. G. Alexander Bryant. In one of his very first acts as President after his election two days earlier, Dr. Bryant greeted the online viewers and asked for their prayers and support in this new responsibility. Prior to this election, he served as Executive Secretary of the Division and as a Regional Conference President for Central States. After his remarks, a special dedicatory prayer was offered by one of the venerable and iconic leaders of our church—Elder Charles E. Bradford, the first President of the NAD, as well as the only African-American to hold that position prior to Dr. Bryant.

Outgoing NAD President and First Lady, Elder Dan and Donna Jackson, brought a personal touch when they joined the meeting from their home in Maryland and gave farewell remarks. Elder and Sister Jackson—though largely unknown by the average Regional Conference constituent—were great friends and DR. LESLIE POLLARD DR. WINTLEY PHIPPS supporters of Regional Conferences OAKWOOD UNIVERSITY PASTOR and will be greatly missed as they retire. as on the ORThe Convocation closed with a lively CM Facebook roundtable discussion by the Regional Conference Presidents, Oakwood Univer- page. Our enorsity President, Dr. Leslie Pollard, the Bermuda Conference President, Dr. Kenneth mous thanks go to the OakManders, and the two West Coast Vice wood UniversiPresidents, Elder Virgil Childs (Pacific ty Department Union) and Elder Byron Dulan (North of CommuniPacific Union). JONATHAN JOHNSON cation, which A candid and spirited discussion enwas responsible sued on things such as Women’s Ordinafor editing and putting together all of the tion, racial and social justice, and church programming that came in from all over restructuring. The panel was moderated the country and from Bermuda. Withby ORCM Executive Director, Elder Daout the patience and professionalism of na C. Edmond, NAD Associate Youth DiProfessor Dwayne Cheddar, Dr. Maquirector, Elder Vandeon Griffin and South Central Treasurer, Mrs. Sonja M. Crayton. sha Ford Mullins, Mr. Thamar Pericles and Mr. Jonathan Johnson, the Regional The second half featured questions Conference Convocation would not have from the online audience. The questions poured in—so much so that the roundta- been possible. t _________________________ ble was extended by nearly 30 minutes. The day ended with a commitment to an organized follow-up on the issues Elder Dana C. Edmond is raised during the Convocation. The first Director of the Office for Restep in that process was a report by Elder gional Conference Ministry Edmond, which can be found on www. and Publisher of Regional adventistregionalministries.org, as well Voice Magazine. REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

11


NAD NEWS

NAD BLACK CAUCUS MEETS

VIRTUALLY BY DA N A C. E D M O N D

A

nother annual in-person meeting went “the way of all flesh” on July 27-29, 2020. The North American Division (NAD) Regional Black Caucus meets yearly. It precedes the Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industry (ASI) Convention and it uses the same venue. Typically, the Black Caucus (which consists of black administrators in the United States from the Regional Conferences, Union level and up) meets Sunday-Wednesday and the ASI rolls in on the following day and meets through the weekend. The purpose of the NAD Regional Black Caucus is to discuss plans for the work in Regional Conferences and their affiliates on the West Coast and in Bermuda. Black Caucus and ASI using the same venue has made it more convenient for the NAD leadership to meet with Regional Conference leadership. Last year, the Regional Conference leadership extended an invitation to the General Conference President—who was attending ASI—to come in a day early and be a part of the Black Caucus meetings. General Conference President Dr. Ted Wilson gave the morning devotion last year at the Black Caucus meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, the site of the 2019 ASI Convention. He remained for the first half of the Wednesday meetings and just before his departure, the entire Regional leadership laid hands on him and prayed for his ministry as the leader of the world church. This year’s Caucus was to be in Orlando, Florida, but the coronavirus intervened. So, the Black Caucus went virtual. Such is the case with pretty much everything in the Adventist Church since about the first of March 2020. Moving to virtual was not a slam dunk. The in-person meetings began with a morning devotion that had everyone in the same room and then separating into 10 separate breakouts. Those breakout sessions had individual leaders who presented at different times. Also, when the meetings are in-person, the 8:30 a.m. start time isn’t a problem since everyone is in the same time zone. However, virtual meetings meant different time zones. An 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time starting time was perfectly reasonable in Bermuda but not so much in Washington State and Northern California, where the two West Coast Union leaders lived. Thus, the meeting start time was changed to 10:00 a.m. Central Time. 12

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

The purpose of the NAD Regional Black Caucus is to discuss plans for the work in Regional Conferences and their affiliates on the West Coast and in Bermuda.

The Office for Regional Conference Ministries (ORCM) and the Regional Conferences worked together to meet these challenges. It was decided to limit the Caucus this time to the three Administrative Officers in each conference, the ORCM staff, Regional Conference Retirement Program leadership and staff, Pacific and North Pacific Unions’ leadership, and the four Union Conference Presidents in the NAD who are black. ORCM contracted with Ms. Courtney Curtis, from Oakwood University, to handle the technology for this virtual meeting involving approximately 50 people across four time zones who had to be “moved” safely and securely in and out of four different virtual “meeting rooms.” The meeting began on Monday, July 27, with a devotional from Elder William L. Winston, President South Atlantic Conference and President of the Regional President’s Caucus. That was followed by the introduction of two new leaders in the Allegheny West Conference: New Conference President Marvin Brown and new Conference Executive Vice President Joel Johnson (their transition is also covered in this edition). From there, each officer group—the Regional Conference Presidents, the Regional Conference Secretaries and the Regional Conference Treasurers—were all ushered into their virtual meeting rooms by Ms. Curtis and ORCM Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, Ms. Melonie Gurley. After an hour meeting with guest presenters—who included presenters such as newly elected NAD President, Dr. G. Alexander Bryant—the group re-assembled virtually for a meeting with representatives of former Vice President Joe Biden. This meeting was at the request of the Vice President’s representatives. Though it was made abundantly clear in advance to the Vice President’s representatives that there would not be anything

even resembling an endorsement coming from the group, the Regional Conference leadership agreed to listen to the group representing the Vice President. Valuable information was garnered relative to voter registration and potential voter suppression. At the end of the Biden presentation, the group was dismissed for lunch. After an hour lunch break, the groups re-assembled and were directed into their virtual meeting rooms by Ms.Curtis and Ms. Gurley for approximately two more hours of officer breakout meetings. More presenters were ushered in and out of the virtual meeting rooms until the end of the day.

Tuesday and Wednesday were reserved for the ORCM and Retirement Board Meetings, respectively. Devotions were given by Elder Garth Gabriel, Executive Secretary, Lake Region Conference (Tuesday) and Elder Joseph W. McCoy, retiring Executive Director of the Regional Conference Retirement Plan (Wednesday). One more virtual mountain climbed! t _________________________ Elder Dana C. Edmond is Director of the Office for Regional Conference Ministry and Publisher of Regional Voice Magazine. REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

13


NAD STATEMENT

SOUTHWEST REGION NEWS

Adventist Community Services to Provide Storage and Donation Distribution in Wake of Hurricane Laura BY KIMBERLY LUSTE MARAN

BY CALVIN L. WATKINS, SR.

W

hen Hurricane Laura made landfall along the Texas-Louisiana border on August 27, 2020, Adventist Community Services Disaster Response (ACS DR) was ready to respond. Before the storm, the organization reached out to the other partners such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the American Red Cross, and Salvation Army, to plan how best to help those affected by the storm.While Texas was largely spared, Louisiana took a direct hit from the fast-moving hurricane that reportedly killed at least 14 people and caused up to $12 billion in damage.The Southwest Region Conference has several churches available for shelter, but with COVID-19 restrictions in place, evacuees are staying in hotel rooms provided by the American Red Cross and FEMA. “The conference continues to offer food for those affected by the hurricane,” said W. Derrick Lea, North American Division (NAD) ACS DR director. “This distribution is primarily for people who have been evacuated from their homes. This is just one of the many things that we’re doing — and will try to do — for the community.”“Louisiana has confirmed that they want us to operate and manage a warehouse,” explained Lea. “The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference ACS DR is prepared to ensure this takes place in an efficient, professional manner. We have been able to fill the first week with a team for the first round of deployment with the assistance of the Rocky Mountain, Southwest, and Florida conferences.” Lea said that a team of 13 should be operational by Monday, Sept. 7. In much of North America, ACS DR has made a name for itself in setting up 14

REGIONAL VOICE

A Regional President’s Response to the Recent Shootings of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

and operating warehouses during natural disasters. In this particular situation, the donations pouring into the affected area have created a challenge in not only where to put the donations but also how to distribute them as swiftly as possible to those in need. “Fortunately, the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference has a campground in Hammond, Louisiana,” said Lea. “We are trying to get that particular place ready to operate a state warehouse for all of the community here in Louisiana that has been affected. Not only can this place function as a warehouse, we’re going to take those donations and actually get them out through what we call mobile distribution. We will put donated items on one of our vehicles and to take them into the affected communities.” Lea said that the goal of their mobile distribution unit is to drive out to the smaller communities. “Areas that have been in the news, such as Lake Charles and Alexandria, were hit hard. Praise God, they have plenty of help,” he said. “We’re going to the communities that we’ve been told have not received any help thus far. Many don’t have power, and I’ve heard reports that some of these communities aren’t going to have power for the next two months. That is their reality.” COVID-19 has added a layer of precaution and made it more challenging to provide help. “We can’t currently use our churches as shelters. And many of our volunteers are typically older adults who are

O South Louisiana Convention Center

more at risk of contracting the virus, so we’re dealing with that,” said Lea. “We’re going to set up the warehouse in a way that we take advantage of the social distancing guidelines so we can be as safe as possible. We’re going to do everything we can to try to ensure that our team members who are coming in have PPE [personal protective equipment] and maintain social distancing parameters.” t UPDATED Sept. 3, 2020, 9:50 a.m. ET

______________________ Kimberly Luste Maran is an associate director for the North American Division Office of Communication. An award-winning writer, she is primarily responsible for editing Adventist Journey magazine and NAD NewsPoints, the weekly e-newsletter of the division.

nce again, we all have witnessed another senseless inhumane shooting of two human beings—Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by police in front of his children, and Trayford Pellerin, who was killed by policemen. Two Black human beings whose lives certainly matter to their families and should matter also to every decent God-fearing Christian regardless of denominational affiliation or racial ethnicity. I condemn these two atrocities in the strongest terms possible. I ask the question: How long will this nightmare continue for people whose skin is Black or Brown, who are dying for no reason except that they were born with a different skin pigmentation? The blatant disregard for Black and Brown lives is a scourge and stain upon the fabric of America that claims to be great. I call for real police reform and laws that are just and fair for everyone and for swift and fair punishment for those who break the law, even when they wear blue uniforms with a badge on their chests. Too many people are dying at the hands of careless police who do not value the lives of Black and Brown people, as if their lives do not matter as much as the lives of others, because apparently and obviously, in some cases it appears that they are seen as less than human. Our humanity and our Christianity demand that we speak for those who have no voice. Our humanity and our Christianity demand that we speak truth to power regardless of the consequences. Yesterday, they shot somebody’s son, somebody’s father, somebody’s nephew, somebody’s brother, somebody’s grandson. Tomorrow, it could be your son, your daughter, your father or your brother. While it is true that there is a time for everything under the sun (a time to pray, a

Trayford Pellerin

Jacob Blake time to fast and a time to demonstrate, to march, to build up and tear down), there is also a time to demand action—not to ask, but demand that action be taken to stop these senseless, cold-blooded, inhumane shootings and killings of Black and Brown people in America. Yes, Black lives do matter and I say it unapologetically, for all lives do matter, but I emphasize Black lives matter because society seems to take the deaf ear when one says Black Lives Matter. If we do not say it, who will? It’s our sons and our daughters who are being shot disproportionately and placed in jail in this great country. Their lives matter to crying mothers and grieving fathers and they matter to weeping children. We the people, Black, Brown and White, who are called by His name, must speak out against any system and any organization—whether it be secular, governmental or religious—that belittles and takes for granted the life of any human being. Every life is valuable in the eyes of God and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity—regardless of social or economic background. I, therefore, challenge every Bible-believing practicing Christian to forget about political ideals and cultural preferences and ask yourself the ques-

tion: What side would Jesus be on? What would He say? What would He do? Would He dismiss the idea that Black lives matter or would He stand up for the marginalized, the poor, the immigrant, the disenfranchised and the hurting? I boldly declare that it is time for justice and equality to be on the lip of every true believer, but more importantly, that justice and equality be in the heart of every true believer. As a religious leader and a Christian, I am obligated to speak truth in the face of injustice and senseless murders. As a people of truth, we should not and cannot afford to let evil go unchecked. Our voice should never be muted because we don’t want to get involved for fear of causing undue attention toward ourselves and our church. To stand up for human rights is the highest calling that a Christian can have. Let us continue to fight the good fight, march the good march, demonstrate the right way, vote the right vote and serve our Creator with our whole heart. May all men know that we are Christians by the love and empathy that we show toward our fellow man, whether Black, Brown or White. They are valuable in the eyes of God and deserve equal treatment under the law, but more importantly, under God. So, let us march hand in hand, arm in arm, Black, White, Brown, for justice, for peace and for the high ideals that Jesus and Martin Luther King gave their lives for. Hatred is not an American problem—it is a problem of the human heart that only Jesus can fix. t _________________________ Calvin L. Watkins, Sr., is

President of the Southwest Region Conference, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

15


IN TRANSITION

DR. WILLIAM T. COX

Elected New Executive Director for Regional Retirement Plan

A

t a called meeting of the Regional Conference Retirement Plan (RCRP) Board on Thursday, July 2, 2020, Dr. William T. Cox was elected Executive Director for the RCRP. He succeeds Elder Joseph McCoy, who is retiring as of the end of 2020. Elder McCoy has served as Executive Director for 15 years, since 2005. Elder Cox is leaving the Presidency of the Allegheny West Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, headquartered just outside of Columbus, Ohio. He served in that position since January 8, 2012, and was re-elected twice. Dr. Cox has served the Seventh-day Adventist Church for 41 years, beginning as a pastor in his native Southwest Region. He served in this capacity for 17 years, before accepting a call in 1996 to the Southern California Conference as Senior Pastor of the Berean SDA Church in Los Angeles, California. From there, he was called to the Ephesus SDA church in Columbus, Ohio, and from there to the Ethan Temple SDA Church in Dayton, Ohio, his wife’s home church. It was there that he had the privilege of baptizing his wife’s mother. From this pastorate, he accepted the call to become President. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Cox is a graduate of Oakwood College (now University), with a Master of Arts in Education and a Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He is married to the former LaTanya Huffman. They have three adult children—William Jr., LaTisha and Jamaal—and seven grandchildren. He assumes his new responsibility on October 1. t

16

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

AWC IN TR ANSITION

New Leadership Elected at Allegheny West Conference

O

n July 26, 2020, the Allegheny West Conference Executive Committee elected Elder Marvin C. Brown III as the new President. The conference headquarters are just outside Columbus, Ohio. Elder Brown succeeds Dr. William T. Cox, who served as President for nearly nine years. Dr. Cox has accepted a call to become the Executive Director for the Regional Conference Retirement Program. Dr. Cox succeeds Elder Joseph W. McCoy, who is retiring after 15 years as Executive Director at the end of this year. When Dr. Cox assumes the directorship of the retirement office on October 1, Elder McCoy will transition into an advisory role for the remainder of the year. Elder Brown is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a graduate of Pine Forge Academy and Oakwood College (now Oakwood University). He began his ministry as a pastor in the North Caribbean Conference. In 1979, he went to serve in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. He later transitioned to the Allegheny West Conference in 1983, pastoring in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He subsequently became Stewardship and Ministerial Director in Allegheny West. In 2013, he was elected Executive Vice President, where he served until being elected President to fill the remainder of the quadrennial session, which ends in October 2021. He and his wife, Grace, a native of Monve, Zambia, have been married for 35 years. They have two sons: Marvin Christopher and Marsalis Christian. The Executive Committee also elected Elder Joel Johnson to succeed Elder Brown as Executive Vice President. Elder Johnson is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He, Elder Marvin Brown and Elder Dana C. Edmond, the Executive Director of the Office for Regional Conference Ministries,

Ma r vin C. B rown all attended the former Glenville SDA church in Cleveland, Ohio, as teenagers, after Elder Brown relocated there. Like Elder Brown, Elder Johnson is a graduate of Pine Forge Academy and Oakwood College (now Oakwood University). He began his ministry in the Allegheny West Conference in 1979 and served there for 11 years before accepting a call to return to his alma mater, Pine Forge Academy, in 1990. There, he served in a number of capacities, including Chair of the Department of Religion, Religion Instructor, Boys Dormitory Dean and Academy Chaplain. He served at Pine Forge for 19 years. While there, he founded the renowned Pine Forge Creative Arts Drama Ministry. The group traveled extensively, sharing powerful skits and plays. In 2009, Elder Johnson returned to Allegheny West to serve as its Youth Director. He served there until 2017, when he was assigned to the Columbus Beacon of Hope SDA

Joel John son Church. He was elected Executive Vice President from that position. Elder Johnson has been married for the past 41 years to the former Alicia Ellis of Compton, California. They have four sons: Joel II, Auldwin, Erik and Kyel. May the Lord look with favor upon the leadership of these two men as they assume these weighty and sacred responsibilities of leading God’s people in Allegheny West through these last days. t

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

17


REGIONAL VOICE NEWS

VIRTUAL LEARNING 2020

AT F.H. JENKINS PREPARATORY SCHOOL BY DR. SUMMER WOOD

I

t goes without saying that we are living in surreal times. I often scratch my head wondering, “How did we get here?” What we once considered to be “normal” has now become “abnormal.” Seeing two friends shake hands, people gathered in a group, or even seeing someone in public without a mask is startling. Again, you think to yourself, “How in the WORLD did we get here?” Just months ago, we were having potlucks at one another’s homes, and kids were enjoying recess in the school gym. Those activities, at this point, are but a distant memory. When the scholars and teachers at the F. H. Jenkins Preparatory School concluded the 2019-2020 academic year, we felt proud that we did not have a break in educational offerings and that our scholars were able to continue learning and growing until the last day of the school year. We closed off the year eagerly anticipating that by August we would be back to “normal.” However, as the summer progressed, it became quite evident that the coronavirus was not done in the United States, and definitely not in Tennessee. As a school, we had to analyze our present situation and make a determination about what the future would hold. If you have watched any local or national news shows in the last two to three months, or if you have scrolled through a Facebook or Instagram feed, there is no way you could have missed the dialogue about schools reopening. Yet this topic, like masks, became a very divisive and political issue. The government, both local and state, supplied schools with little to no guidance about whether or not schools should reopen. We, as educational insti-

18

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

tutions, were directed to make our own decisions. As one could imagine, this left schools and school systems in a very tight spot. F. H. Jenkins Preparatory School, like the South Central Conference Office of Education, formed a COVID Taskforce early in the summer because we knew we needed to be prepared to offer our scholars a safe environment for learning. We had to begin developing potential instructional delivery models. In other words, we needed a “just in case” model for any plausible scenario that could emerge. This was quite a task. Predicting the future does not reside in our hands, but preparedness surely does. FHJ Prep’s COVID Task Force and School Board, with the approval of the South Central Conference Office of Education, made the decision to start the 2020-2021 academic year with 100 percent virtual learning. This was no easy decision, but after reviewing the COVID case rate in Nashville, we strongly believed that at-home learning would be the best option for keeping our scholars safe. As a School Board, we knew that this type of decision could drastically impact our enrollment. We knew that some families might feel as though virtual school was not worth paying for. We

prayed and we moved forward in faith that God would provide. In caution, the Administration of the school decided that it would be best to adjust our budget to 60 scholars (we ended the previous year with 75 scholars) in the event that our attrition rate increased. We needed to figure out how we could financially manage in the event there was a significant decreased enrollment—again, preparing for the unknown.

T

he first day of school was one like I’ve never experienced. There was not one scholar in the building, but our Zoom Room was packed with 74 scholars. Wow! God clearly exceeded our expectations. We even had scholars “Zooming in” from Texas. Not only did we maintain our enrollment, but people were still making inquiries to our office about enrolling their scholars. We moved in faith, and God provided.

While FHJ Prep implemented virtual learning in the Spring, we as a faculty and staff were very aware of some areas we needed to improve. We were determined that in the Fall we would take the virtual offering up a step. We tried to determine what we could do to make this process easier on our families. In addition to what we did during the Spring distance learning period, we implemented the following: • At-home learning kits: These kits pro vide families and scholars with all of the supplemental materials needed to complete projects and assignments at home (e.g. art supplies, student workbooks, textbooks, and more). • 1-1 Devices: Prior to this school year, all scholars in grades 3-9 were assigned a laptop. This school year ALL scholars, K-10, received a laptop to complete assignments. • Canvas Learning Management Sys-

tem: South Central Conference Office of Education has purchased Canvas Learning Management System for all of its schools. This is an online platform where scholars can receive and submit assignments, take quizzes, view lesson modules, communicate with the teacher, and so much more. A complete shift in the instructional delivery model is not for the faint at heart— for teacher, student, or parent—but we at FHJ Prep are committed to pursuing excellence in all that we do. Are there bumps in the road? Surely! Do some days go smoother than others? Absolutely! Ultimately, we take the “good” with the “bad” and work to make it an offering that we think would be pleasing unto God. t _____________________________________ Dr. Summer Wood is Principal, F. H. Jenkins Preparatory School in Nashville, Tennessee.

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

19


IN MEMORIAM

Thank you

for your gift.

You’re All In! give.oakwood.edu 256.726.7508

Pre-need and At-need cemetery services available for burial plots, columbarium niches, and mausoleum services

256-726-8278 OUMemorialGardens.com

Serving Your Family With Compassion and Dignity

Dr. Artie Smith Melancon 1930 - 2020

A

rtie Helen Smith was born August 31, 1930, in San Antonio, Texas. Her mother was a recent convert to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the late Pastor H.W. Kibble, Sr., was her pastor. Upon moving to Los Angeles, Artie completed her elementary and high school education at Los Angeles Academy. Artie received her undergraduate degree from Pacific Union College in 1951, and taught primary grades in the Los Angeles City School System from 1951 to 1969. On August 28, 1955, Artie was married to Pastor James H. Melancon. They became parents of two children: Artie Teresa and James Marc. While her husband James joined the Religion Faculty at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, Artie completed a Master’s degree in education at the University of Nebraska in 1972, and secured a position as a primary grade teacher in the Lincoln City School System. Artie was a truly recognized force among her colleagues and supervisors. She was acclaimed as Nebraska’s premier primary grade teacher. At James’ insistence, Artie began doctoral studies, also at the University of Nebraska, in 1974, and received her Ph.D. in 1978. When James was invited to the Religion Faculty at Oakwood College, Dr. Artie Melancon was invited to teach in Oakwood’s Education Department, a natural fit for her experience and training. She began as an associate professor in July 1976, and served as Chair of the Education Department for several years. During her years of service, she undertook the task of implementing measures that would certify Oakwood graduates in her department to go directly into the public school systems to teach. Dr. Melancon also began the Teacher Education Preparation Program, a very fruitful, high-energy endeavor, in the Oakwood Department of Education.

Declining health precipitated her retirement from employment at Oakwood University in 2008. She continuously gave the best of herself and her abilities to those who came seeking help as they charted their respective paths through life. The Bible and Ellen G. White’s book Education were her well-marked guides throughout her pedagogical journey, which ended on June 3, 2020. t _____________________________________ Regional Voice Magazine offers special thanks to the Melancon Family for this tribute.

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

21


IN MEMORIAM

IN MEMORIAM

Dr. George Russell Seay, Jr.

Dr. Gwendolyn Ward

1958 - 2020

1924 – 2020

G

D

r. George Russell Seay, Jr., was born on March 23, 1958, to George and Ida Seay in Memphis, Tennessee. Russell was educated in Memphis City Schools where he graduated in 1976 from Northside High School. He had been elected Student Council President, won commercial cooking awards, lettered in sports, and was voted as “Most Likely to Succeed.” Russell’s call to the ministry was evident at an early age. He attended Oakwood College and obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Theology in 1980. He completed a Master’s degree in Theology from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in 1986, and pastored congregations in Alabama and Tennessee. In 1997, he became the first local conference-sponsored Ph.D. student, and transitioned from pastoring to administrative work for the South Central Conference. In the role of Ministerial Leader, he and then conference president Elder Joseph McCoy developed the “College for Ministry” to provide training to church elders and deacons. He also served as Assistant to the Conference President from 2002 to 2005. Russell completed a Ph.D. in Theology from Vanderbilt University School of Divinity in 2009, making him the first African American Seventh-day Adventist pastor to earn this degree. Until his health failed, Dr. Seay capably held the position of Associate Professor of Religion at his alma mater Oakwood University. Russell said that he was “born to encourage others to experience their full potential in Jesus Christ through relating, writing, teaching, and preaching.” Without a doubt, he faced death with assurance that this world is not his final resting place. In his last sermon, from his bed, he reassured the congregation that

22

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

it will be just a “blink” until he sees God and is reunited with those he loved. He passed from this life on June 20, 2020. Dr. Seay is survived by his wife, Tara Wilson Seay; his three children, George Russell Seay III, April (Keenan) Toure and Hammond Seay; his parents, George and Ida Seay, Sr.; and a host of extended

family members, students, colleagues and friends. t _____________________________________ Regional Voice Magazine offers special thanks to the Seay Family for this tribute.

wendolyn Burton was born on December 2, 1924, in Los Angeles, California. She attended Los Angeles Union SDA Academy with Eric Calvin Ward, known to many as “E.C.,” who prophesied in the fifth grade that Gwendolyn would one day be his wife. In 1946, E.C.’s path crossed with Gwendolyn’s in Nashville, Tennessee, while she was working for the Message Magazine, at Southern Publishing Association. Correspondence and visits ensued, and they were married on June 6, 1948. They lived happily as husband and wife for 56 years. Their union produced “the perfect number” of children: Carolyn, Prince, Golbourne (deceased in 2019), Nathaniel (who died in infancy), Beverly, Lynda and Della. The Wards modeled a Godly example that has continued to the sixth generation of Seventh-day Adventists. Gwendolyn played the piano for Eric’s “Big Gospel Tent” evangelistic efforts, and stayed by his side in ministry, sleeping in church ‘fronts’ and trailers in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee during the early years. In addition to being her husband’s pastoral partner, Gwendolyn served as secretary in the “Inner College” department (now Center for Student Success) at Oakwood College from 1975 to 1979. She had a passion for learning, and graduated from Oakwood College with her daughter Beverly in the class of 1975. She also served as secretary in Oakwood’s Office of Alumni Affairs from 1995 to 1998. Following her husband’s death in 2004, Gwendolyn returned to California, where she began teaching piano lessons. At the age of 90, Gwendolyn completed her last recital showcasing her students in December 2016. After 12 years in California, Gwendolyn moved in with her youngest daughter Della Ward Gershowitz and her family in

New York. There she became a part of the Northeastern Conference, and was embraced by many of the pastors who had trained at Oakwood while “E.C.” was pastor of the Oakwood College Church (1973 to 1994). Because COVID-19 hit New York especially hard, in March 2020, Gwendolyn went to live with her daughter Lynda Ward Stevenson and her family in Magnolia, Delaware. She took delight in the “spoiling” she received from her children and grandchildren while living in these

households. After a brief illness, Gwendolyn took her last breath on August 29, 2020. She finished the course, and her crown awaits her. Dr. Gwendolyn Ward leaves behind five children, 17 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughtersin-law, two sisters, nieces, nephews and a host of people who loved her. t _____________________________________ Regional Voice Magazine offers special thanks to the Ward Family for this tribute. REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

23


REGIONAL NEWS

C O V ID -1 9 S T AT S

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC THE LATEST STATISTICS • GLOBAL AND USA VIEWS

31,664,104

GLOBAL CONFIRMED CASES

972, 221

GLOBAL CONFIRMED DEATHS

216

COUNTRIES, AREAS OR TERRITORIES WITH CASES Last update: 24 September 2020 DATA PROVIDED FROM THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

USA 6,916,212 CASES

CDC | Updated: September 24, 2020 2:18PM EST

USA 201,411 TOTAL DEATHS (Exceeds 200,000)

CDC | Updated: September 24, 2020 12:18 PM EST

DATA PROVIDED FROM THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

26

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

TOP 20 STATES - CASES Jurisdiction Total Cases California 787,470 Texas 719,599 Florida 682,370 Georgia 309,678 Illinois 281,312 New York City* 242,255 Arizona 215,284 New York* 210,805 New Jersey 200,988 North Carolina 196,501 Tennessee 186,709 Louisiana 163,869 Pennsylvania 152,544 Alabama 147,153 Ohio 146,753 Virginia 143,492 South Carolina 141,686 Massachusetts 136,304 Michigan 131,259 Maryland 121,800

TOP 20 STATES - DEATHS State/Territory Total Deaths New York City* 23,785 New Jersey 16,082 California 15,204 Texas 15,129 Florida 13,618 Massachusetts 9,343 New York* 9,017 Illinois 8,744 Pennsylvania 8,062 Michigan 7,013 Georgia 6,773 Arizona 5,525 Louisiana 5,407 Ohio 4,687 Connecticut 4,497 Maryland 3,909 Indiana 3,530 North Carolina 3,316 South Carolina 3,262 Virginia 3,113

CHURCH BECOMES TESTING SITE FOR COVID-19 BY LATASHA HEWITT

I

n the midst of the pandemic, the West Philadelphia Church in Philadelphia, PA, served as a host site for COVID-19 testing of over 200 people from their community. These efforts were organized by Dr. Ala Stanford, a pediatrician in Philadelphia who observed the lack of testing being done in low-income communities of color. She shared her desire with her pastor, Marshall Mitchell of the Salem Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA), who then began reaching out to various clergy of churches in high infection zones in the area. That’s when Marshall reached out to Nick Taliaferro, pastor of West Church. “I said, ‘Say no more. Crack the whip and we’ll make that trip,’” responded Taliaferro. Testing was to start at 10 AM; however, by 8:15 AM, cars were already lined up down the block and around the corner. Even though the rain posed a challenge for medical professionals to administer tests in a drive-by fashion without getting wet or compromising the testing process, they were able to work around it. The church’s fellowship hall opens up to their parking lot, so the medical staff was able to stay dry while cars drove up to the doors, took their test, and kept driving. Due to the volume of individuals and those not in a vehicle, they also put up a canopy for additional testing in the middle of the parking lot. The call for testing was particularly for those exhibiting symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever, loss of smell and taste, diarrhea, or weakness. Also, anyone who was exposed to someone with the virus was encouraged to be tested. In good faith, Taliaferro was the first to be tested among the group. “It warmed my heart to show up and see that all of these people who knew that

A Black doctor performs a free COVID-19 test in the parking lot of the West Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church. (Christopher Norris for WHYY)

Organizer and founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, Dr. Ala Stanford, prepares for COVID-19 testing at West Philadelphia.

The fellowship hall of West Church became a drive-thru treatment center for COVID-19 testing

West Church would be serving them that day and felt safe. Nothing is more rewarding than to know that people trust the spirit of your service,” said Taliaferro. t ______________________ LaTasha Hewitt is Director of Communications for the Allegheny East Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

27


REGIONAL NEWS

South Park Evangelism

Evangelism, Church Planting and COVID-19

S

PROCLAIMING DURING THE PANDEMIC:

ince the COVID-19 Pandemic struck, church experiences had to change, along with evangelism and church planting methods, techniques, and tactics. The idea of evangelism in an environment of face masks, social distancing, lockdowns, and phases of reopening makes it a time of difficulty. It calls to mind Paul’s Spirit-inspired counsel: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and encourage with every form of patient instruction.” As members in the South Park group of Birmingham, Alabama, we have decided to push forward in reaching souls. Here is what the Lord has done, the process of how we went about it, what we have learned, and what we feel can be replicated. The meetings were called the “Shelter in the Power” Revival.

28

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

THE PROCESS South Park, like many other churches, had to move to online streaming of services in order to provide spiritual nourishment to its members. This required us to upgrade our audiovisual equipment. We made an investment of more than $5,000.00 for such equipment. These actions included setting up Zoom meetings and creating a YouTube page. After about a month of streaming Sabbath and Wednesday services online, the team thought they had learned enough skills to stream evangelistic meetings. The purpose would be to place a new campus on the north side of the city, initially called North Birmingham Mission. THE PRE-WORK: We employed two Bible workers. They were tested for COVID-19 once before they started work, once before the start

of the meetings and a third time after the meetings were over. Their task was to contact individuals in neighborhoods that they learned about through someone else. If that was not possible, then they used social distancing Bible work methods to cold call doors. This involved knocking on doors with a face mask, moving back eight feet (two feet further than CDC guidelines), and giving each resident in the home a Bible study in a Ziplock bag or gaining email addresses to deliver the same. Lessons were placed on windowsills and residents were advised to wait a couple of hours before touching the Ziplock bags or even to open them with gloves. The residents who had cold calls had the option to get the next week’s lesson by us simply placing it on the windowsill without contact or by email. Contact was continued by smartphone communication through calls, texts, Facetime, or Google Duo to build relationships. Residents who did not mind social distanced in-person interaction were given that option, granted they wore masks and kept distancing at all times. The residents gained through the contact of other people were engaged by smartphone, and social distancing interaction was only done at the points they requested. THE RESULT More than 1,000 residents were signed up for Bible studies. After four weeks of interactions, there were about 200 students primed to engage in viewing the online meeting. There were no reports of any of the students testing positive for COVID-19, nor did either of our Bible workers. THE MEETING The meetings took place online for one week. Participants were given the information to get online at the time of the Livestream. Each Bible worker was able to determine their students by their names or knowing their online nicknames for various platforms. Those who were not known were either engaged during the Livestream by a Bible worker or attempts were made to determine who they were afterward by asking the other students. The format of the meeting was simple. First came an introduction of the speaker. Next came questions from the previous

night’s sermon or other Bible questions received. There was no music except what was streamed through the audiovisual department. After the third night, appeals were made, and each night afterward. Those who accepted the invitation to a social distanced profession of faith were told to put in the comments section “I want to follow” and then told to text that same phrase to their Bible worker. The topics were Salvation by Faith, Law and Grace, Sabbath, Baptism, Health, Death, and True Church. An average of 200 viewers watched each night. The audience included a mix of members and guests. THE RESULT Forty prospects agreed to join the church. As of this report, 31 have gone through with their commitment. Of the 31, 15 live on the east side of the city and will go to the east campus. Three live in the South Park main area and will go there. The rest (along with the other nine still engaged) will form the new North Birmingham Mission site. The Profession of Faith was made by going to the home and performing a socially distanced service that involved wearing masks and being at least eight feet apart. The profession was short, and the response was minimal to reduce any potential aerosols. WHAT WE LEARNED: Evangelistic meetings can be conducted in this environment under strict protocols and guidelines. Bible workers must be trained, adept with smartphone technology (i.e. Facetime and Google Duo) and able to perform Zoom calls on their phones. Bible workers must be trained on how to data-mine information to get into different neighborhoods. That mining entails contacting someone who lives in a specific community and getting an agreement to interact with them and have them provide information about people in the same community who would be willing to engage. All must understand that communities and people in them are at different levels of caution as it relates to COVID-19. Some were incredibly careful, and some were not. Bible workers need to be consistent in their protocols to protect those they will encounter on their daily route.

People in communities also have different levels of technological savvy. Some residents were able to get on the Livestream very easily, but some were not able to Livestream. Some residents had family to help them and some of the Bible workers had to help. Workers MUST make sure they ascertain every day whether students were able to Livestream to determine progress. Zoom was not remarkably successful at the meeting; it seemed to be difficult for people to use and the security protocols were too complicated. Many who were not familiar with Zoom found it easier to use YouTube. This may be a result of socioeconomics as it relates to people who would use the platform in other venues. Also, you must come online on time and have a polished and exciting presentation or students will log off. Attention spans can be short. It is advised to make sure there are NO glitches. If there is a glitch, it might be difficult to do a reboot and have people come back on. You also must have slides prepared and be able to share them virtually. This helps in learning and keeps the people engaged. Realize that this process gives the workers and evangelists “less” control over students. In conventional meetings, students were picked up and dropped off. Those who drove themselves could be called during the meeting to see if they were on their way or if they had been visited earlier in the day. With online meetings, people simply will come on if they want to and not come on if they do not. It is exceedingly difficult to control their choice. However, this created positives. Some students who worked at night could watch the rebroadcast later. Bible workers often commented that they would receive texts from students saying, “I want to follow” in the middle of the night or early in the morning. With the online material, the meeting could go on as long as

the people were engaging the rebroadcast or watching the videos. Students who did not watch or missed a service could be encouraged to go back and watch. Another positive is that students who would never come to a church were often watching with our students in the home and receiving the gospel. This resulted in some of them accepting Christ and following the message. It is also possible that going an extra week might have yielded more results. RETENTION AND GROWTH Because the meeting lasted only one week, we believed we needed to do more teaching. Each student is now on a threemonth Amazing Facts program of studies. As of this report, all students are still engaging in this program. They receive weekly, bi-monthly and monthly visits. Also, some have started their life goal plans. These are one-year plans students are given that include socio-economic issues which reveal possible barriers to success earlier in their lives. We also make sure they can take advantage of food resources and financial assistance for COVID-19 employment issues. Because of the pandemic, we have no physical place to meet. Once we reopen, we plan to get everyone to either the main campus or a satellite campus once a month. We anticipate the expense of a physical site at some point. t REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

29


Make Your ou Next

Move

GRADUATE SCHOOL Your graduate degree pursuit can be the best move to your career success. That’s why Oakwood University provides affordable, accessible (100% Online), flexible, winning options for your next big move. • Master Of Public Health • Master Of Urban Ministries • Master Of Business Administration • Master Of Pastoral Studies

Individualized attention, highly qualified faculty, small class sizes, and you can graduate in as little as 18 months to 2 years. All the pieces are in place at Oakwood University.

Contact OU today: w gradadmissions@oakwood.edu # graduate.oakwood.edu 8 256.726.8091

Believe. Belong. BeHere. ✆ 256.726.7356

Green If you have not attended OU for five or more years and have outstanding debt, you may benefit from our Debt Amnesty Program. Contact us today!

LEAP.Oakwood.edu 256.726.7098 Spring registration now open!

is the new

green Store Hours R

Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. MONday - THURSday 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 P.M.

a

FRIDAY 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. (summer) 8:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. (fall/winter)

k

Saturday Closed

Fresh, Local, Chemical-free Produce Now Open (and more) at Great Prices!

rm a F r Ou From ur Table to Yo

STORE ADDRESS

X

5001 adventist blvd. HUNTSVILLE, AL 35806

256.726.7121

YourOakwoodFarms.com


LEGACY SERIES

I REMEMBER. . .

ELDER IRA HARRELL By SAMUEL THOMAS, JR.

M

Elder Harrell and Mrs. Cherry J. Sally, dressed for Community Services.

emories often make leaders larger than life. Our rear view of people sometimes alters realities, diminishes deficiencies, and exaggerates proficiencies. We view those we knew with an inherent bias, attributing to them traits colored by circumstance. It happens. Yet, there are some who come along in our lives who leave an indelible impression; who mark our lives with the qualities of their characters. We remember where we were, what we were, and what we hoped to be, by their stalwart, Christian presence. Such are my memories of Elder Ira Harrell. Exceptional men are made from extraordinary circumstances. The times of Ira Lee Harrell were trying and challenging. Born in Pittsburgh, December 5, 1928, Ira was the only son of three children born to Elice and Mabelle Harrell. The climate of western Pennsylvania conflicted with Ira’s health. At the age of five, Ira’s challenged physical condition prompted his father, Elice, to entrust his care to his grandmother in North Carolina, following the death of Ira’s mother, Mabelle. In western North Carolina, Ira’s grandmother, Golden Harrell, came into the Seventh-day Adventist Church family through the evangelistic ministry of Elder F. S. Kitts. Ira would follow his grandmother’s Christian maturation into her new faith. He attended evangelistic meetings conducted by Elder E. E. Cleveland in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and was baptized in 1949. Ira had already served his country during World War II. Like many G.I.’s returning from the military, he invested in a college education afforded him through military service benefits. His choice was Oakwood College, where he completed a degree in Theology in 1954. The South Atlantic Conference was his first place of ministry, working with Elder E. C. Ward in an evangelistic series in Wilmington, North Carolina. Following his first assignment was a four-church district in Kinston, North Carolina. The compelling evidence of Ira’s early life reveals tenacity, endurance, strength, and resilience. Seldom are people thrust between the tensions of health and relocation; loss and endurance;

32

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

Elder and Mrs. Ira Harrell

Young church volunteers pitch in to help.

Elder Ira Harrell, award-winning leader.

separation and thriving; global conflict and a new religious community. Ministry is not a performance but a commitment to thankless service and endless sacrifice. Ira was crafted by these core values, and then returned them to our Savior and the communities he served. A descriptive phrase conveys the man I came to know: “quietly courageous.” Elder Harrell’s ministry was marked by dedication and determination. I never saw him when he was not focused and committed to the work at hand. Stretching beyond assignments and building ministry, he ploughed through doubters, skeptics, and

cynics to craft ministry for the newly formed Southeastern Regional Conference in 1981. Elder Harrell worked tirelessly to multiply the established presence in Florida through training, equipping, and mentoring laity in Personal Ministry, Community Services outreach and Sabbath School Ministries. His steps in defining the work assigned as the first Personal Ministry and Community Services Director of the Southeastern Conference were ever guided by the Holy Spirit. His strong hand and determined manner expanded the work of the former South Atlantic territory that had been firmly established by Elder Joseph Hinson’s evangelistic efforts. Elder Harrell was also recognized for outstanding support of Message Magazine,

for pioneering Better Living Centers in urban communities, and for coaching laity to believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to attain great exploits for Christ. Men like Elder Ira Harrell should be remembered. He contributed to the work of the Lord during times when resources were minimal. He invested hours in crafting a vision of both opportunities and responsibilities assigned by Christ, sometimes through the stresses and strains of life, but he prevailed. He is an unsung ministry hero. Perseverance was central to Elder Ira Harrell’s legacy. He never tired, nor was he ever heard to doubt the possibilities of the power of the Holy Spirit. Elder Harrell and his wife, the late Sadie Mae (Richardson) Harrell, married in De-

cember 1952. They instilled the same values in their children: Elder Frank Harrell, Kamala Harrell-Gilleylen; Ira Harrell, Jr. (deceased); Jonathan Harrell and Ingrid Harrell-Palmer. Elder Ira Harrell’s life stands a testimony today, a legacy of great men, who tirelessly gave themselves to the development and expansion of Seventh-day Adventism among African Americans within the North American Division. t _________________________ Elder Samuel Thomas, Jr., is Senior Pastor of the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Columbus, Ohio.

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

33


RV TRIBUTE

RV TRIBUTE

Joseph Echols Lowery

Cordy Tindell (C.T.) Vivian

1921 - 2020

1924 - 2020

J

C

oseph Echols Lowery was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on October 6, 1921. As a Huntsville native, he came to know Oakwood College in a real and personal way. He even took music lessons from Oakwood professors—for a time. He later shared an incident of boyish mischief with a congregation at the Oakwood College Church. His father had enrolled him in the lessons, but young Joseph didn’t see the point, so he “represented” his father by telling the music teacher that he wouldn’t be back. And that was that—except he did not go on to explain the consequences! A rough blow from a law officer’s nightstick to his midsection when he was still a young boy—just because he was there—was enough to propel him into the work of ministry and civil rights. After he finished college and received his ordination from the Methodist Church, he pastored congregations in Alabama and Georgia. He once confided to friends that he didn’t know if he would stay in active ministry in his years long after “the age of retirement,” but he did. He pastored the Central United Methodist and Cascade United Methodist churches in Atlanta for a combined term of almost 50 years. Often called the “dean” of civil rights activists, he worked shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Revs. Ralph David Abernathy, Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young. He was one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with Dr. King. This work was foundational in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. Lowery went on to head SCLC as president for more than 20 years, taking the message of peaceful protests around the world. He married Evelyn Gibson in 1950. She joined him in activism and marches all of their lives together, and preceded him in death in 2013. The couple had three daughters, and Lowery had two sons from a previous marriage. Lowery championed the cause of poor black men in the face of racial injustice to the end—along with gay rights, voter registration and empowerment for people. He gave the invocation at President Barak Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, and President Obama presented him the Medal of Freedom later that year. Upon receiving word of his death on March 27, 2020, Dr. Bernice King, youngest child of Dr. Martin Luther King, posted this message: “It’s hard to imagine a world or an Atlanta without Reverend Joseph Lowery. I’m grateful for a life well-lived and for its influence on mine. I’ll miss you, Uncle Joe.” So will all of us he worked so hard to help. t _____________________________________________________________

ivil rights leader Rev. Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian died of natural causes at age 95, at his Atlanta home on Friday, July 17, 2020. Rev. Vivian, one of the pioneers who worked along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was also a Freedom Rider, integrating interstate public bus travel in the American South. He also participated in lunch counter sit-ins from the Midwest to the South. Vivian had a strong religious upbringing and convictions. He felt called to a life in ministry, then enrolled in the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville in 1955. That same year, he and other ministers founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, an affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The group helped organize the city's first sit-ins and civil rights march. By 1965, Vivian had become the director of national affiliates for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference when he led a group to attempt voter registration in Selma, Alabama. Local Sheriff Jim Clark blocked the group. Vivian said in a fiery tone, "We will register to vote because as citizens of the United States we have the right to do it."

Clark beat Vivian until blood dripped off his chin in front of rolling cameras. Those bloody scenes took on biblical proportions, capturing Vivian bravely talking through his injuries after the blows, to a stone-faced sheriff and his staff. Vivian went on to create a college readiness program with the goal of helping students protesting racism, like the ones he backed for years. In that same spirit, he also made a visit to Oakwood University as a chapel speaker, to share his perspectives with contemporary students. He also founded the Center for Democratic Renewal to address pulling the whole culture into democracy. President Barack Obama awarded Vivian the highest civilian honor in the nation, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2013. Vivian was born in Boonville, Missouri, on July 30, 1924. He and his late wife, Octavia Geans Vivian, had six children. t _________________________________ Facts for this tribute based on the July 18, 2020, report “Civil Rights Icon Rev. C. T. Vivian Dies at 95,” by CNN’s Kelly McCleary, with Alta Spells contributing, CNN interviews with daughter Kira Vivian and Rev. Vivian’s remarks to students at the Oakwood University Church.

The facts of this tribute are based on the March 28 report “Joseph Lowery, Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 98,” by Amir Vera and Tricia Escobedo, CNN; Rev. Lowery’s personal recollections while preaching at the Oakwood College Church, and a conversation shortly thereafter with Kyna Hinson, Regional Voice Editor, and her mother, Mrs. Carolyn Hinson.

34

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

35


RV TRIBUTE

John Robert Lewis

J

ohn Robert Lewis spent a happy childhood full of hard work with his parents and siblings as sharecroppers near Troy, Alabama. Many who knew him heard his “preaching to the chickens” story when he felt that God called him to the ministry and practice to overcome a speech impediment. There was a call, but his “pastoral care” would be global. As a teenager, he told of being inspired by the gentle but resolute Mrs. Rosa Parks. Her arrest sparked the historic and successful Montgomery Bus Boycott that ended segregated public transportation in that city and later, the nation. John had a second hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose powerful speeches and nonviolent strategies resonated in his heart.

36

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

He longed to attend college, but attending nearby Troy University was unthinkable then. So he packed up to go to the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee. He also packed away just enough toughness learned from Mrs. Parks and enough strategy from Dr. King to do just what his mother told him not to do—to get into trouble! He soaked up nonviolent protest techniques and became an expert at organizing and participating in sit-ins—and in getting arrested. He didn’t care—at least not enough to stop. At age 21 in 1961, he became a Freedom Rider with groups of other courageous students, black and white. They were often beaten bloody, foretelling what was to come. He helped organize the Student Non-

1940-2020

violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), built on their backs and flowing with their lifeblood. By 1963 he was one of the Big Six,* leaders who planned the March on Washington. At age 23, John found himself the youngest speaker at that march— revolutionary tone and all. A year later came another heart-stopping moment. This time when he led a group across Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge to fight segregation, they were met with state troopers on horseback, in full battle gear, with clubs and gas. John’s beating was severe enough to fracture his skull. He was back days later to complete the march to Montgomery. He finished college. He continued the good fight and “good trouble” of civil rights work. He squared off against good

He finished college. He continued the good fight and “good trouble” of civil rights work.

friend and fellow Atlanta activist Julian Bond in a race for the Fifth Congressional district in Georgia. John Lewis won that seat and held it for more than 30 years. He was our voice in the U.S. Congress. Warm. Smart. Shrewd. Accessible. At his first inauguration, he asked Barak Obama for an autograph. The President signed— “Because of you, John. Barak Obama” He received the Medal of Freedom from this president in 2011. In 2015 the two would join forces with thousands to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge together in a 50th year commemoration. One year later, he would rail against the style and substance of the Trump administration and refused to attend that presidential inauguration. He also joined

a sit-in on the House floor and with other leaders in protest over gun control after the mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He was the Conscience of Congress.

Washington, D.C.—wearing his mask. He died hours after fellow civil rights patriarch Rev. C. T. Vivian, July 17, 2020. What a Mighty God he served. t _____________________________________

e had lost his wife Mrs. Lillian Miles Lewis on December 31, 2012. Seven years later, in late 2019 he learned he had pancreatic cancer. Stage IV. He would live to celebrate one more momentous birthday, number 80, on February 21, 2020. He would live to see a global pandemic close in and choke out the lives of thousands. He would live to see a police officer choke out the life of George Floyd. He mustered his strength for one more rebellious protest, standing in the Black Lives Matter Plaza,

*The Big Six: A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Bayard Rustin, Randolph’s deputy director and chief march organizer, James Farmer, president of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Martin Luther King, Jr., SCLC, Whitney Young, executive director of the National Urban League, and John Lewis of SNCC. The facts forming the core of this tribute primarily come from the book and video series, “Eyes on the Prize,’ by Juan Williams; from the recollections and encounters with Rep. Lewis over his long years of service.

H

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

37


BLACK LIVES

UPDATE

WHEN LIVES STILL DON’T MATTER George Floyd, 46 – Killed May 25,

2020 – Neck crushed by officer’s knee. Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Officers Derek Chauvin – Charged Second-degree murder; Second-degree manslaughter Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng - Charged Aiding and Abetting Second-degree murder

uuu

Christian Cooper – May 25, 2020 Threatened with false police report by Amy Cooper (no relation) Central Park, New York City Christian recorded the encounter after asking Amy to leash her dog, as outlined by park rules. Police answered the false call and did not make any arrests. Amy had already leashed her dog, who yelped repeatedly in her tight grip. The phone video went viral. Amy Cooper apologized, but was immediately fired from an investment firm. Her dog, formerly from a shelter, was taken back, then later returned to her care. Christian Cooper has written a graphic novel about racism for young people titled, “It’s a Bird.”

Breonna Taylor, 26 – Killed March 13, 2020 – Gunshots from officers eight. REGIONAL VOICE

|

uuu

Ahmaud Arbery, 25 – Killed Febru-

uuu

38

Louisville, Kentucky September 24, 2020 – Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced: Police Officers Brett Hankison – Charged Wanton Endangerment (for firing into near-by apartments, not for Breonna Taylor’s death.) Myles Cosgrove, Jonathan Mattingly – No Charges Officer Mattingly was shot by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after bursting into the apartment. Walker – Charged with Assault and Attempted Murder of a Police Officer Charges dropped “without prejudice.” Meaning: They could be re-filed. September 16, 2020 Family of Breonna Taylor awarded $12 million settlement (for wrongful death) from the City of Louisville, with announcements of changes to police policies in executing search warrants. September 24, 2020 – Two Louisville police officers shot in aftermath of AG Cameron’s announcement. Names of officers were not released.

FA L L 2 0 2 0

ary 26, 2020, while jogging Brunswick, Georgia Charged - 73 days later Gregory McMichael, 64, former Glynn County, Georgia Police Officer and son

Travis McMichael, 34, Arbery’s shooter. Felony murder; Aggravated assault. Their neighbor followed the father and son, taking video of them chasing Arbery and then the shooting William (Roddie) Bryan, 50 Charged – Felony murder; Criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

uuu

Jacob Blake, 29 – August 23, 2020 Shot seven times in his back Kenosha, Wisconsin Though unarmed, after scuffle with police, Blake was shot while attempting to enter his car, also occupied by three of his young children, ages 3, 5 and 8. (See our Publisher’s Commentary for more coverage.) Blake – Paralyzed from waist down – Possibly permanent No charges filed against police officers. Meanwhile. . . Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, August 25, 2020 He took a rifle to Kenosha to protect property there. When he encountered White protesters who were for Jacob Blake, he brandished his weapon. Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph D. Rosenbaum, 36, gave

chase. Kyle turned, crouched, aimed his rifle and shot, killing the two protesters. He later confronted and shot Gaige P. Grosskreutz in the arm. Still, Kyle was able to walk toward a line of police vehicles with arms upraised and his rifle at his side. He went through the police line without detection and returned to Antioch without any interference. The next day he voluntarily turned himself in to his hometown police. Now he is in the Lake County, Illinois, Hulse Juvenile Detention Center without bond, according to court records. President Donald Trump visited Kenosha September 1, 2020, offering praise (for police and property owners). He announced $41 million in grants to the state of Wisconsin to address recent unrest around the state. He termed violent protests “domestic terrorism.” He did not visit or contact the Blake family. The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at a peaceful Kenosha gathering that included Jacob Blake’s family during Trump’s visit to the city.

uuu

Rayshard Brooks, 27 – Drunk and asleep, then disorderly – Killed June 12, 2020 Atlanta, Georgia Garrett Rolfe – Shot Brooks twice in the back; made third shot into car of three onlookers. Charged Felony murder Police Chief Erika Shields resigned shortly after shooting. Wendy’s Restaurant, scene of shooting – Burned to the ground.

uuu

Daniel Prude, 41 – Mental break –

Ran away at night while visiting his brother, March 23, 2020. Rochester, New York Brother called emergency services. Daniel ran, undressing in cold, out in the street. Police answered call and found Daniel, now naked. They asked him to get on the ground. He did. They asked him to put his hands behind his back. He did, but then Daniel began spitting at officers. They covered his head with a spit hood and he scuffled with them. Two officers got him to the ground again, holding his legs and pressing into his back. Officer

Mark Vaughn mashed his head into the cold pavement for more than two minutes. Before Daniel lost consciousness, he told the officers, “You’re trying to kill me.” His heart stopped. He was resuscitated on the way to the hospital. But he would never converse again. He was removed from life support and died on March 30, 2020. Police Bodycam video was released months after the death. Police Chief La’Ron Singletary initially called for calm from protesters. But as incidents increased, the chief announced plans for his retirement, along with six officers in his command staff. No charges pending against Officer Vaughn. Case surfaced in light of other deaths at hands of police.

uuu

Elijah McClain, 23 – Choked Au-

gust 24, 2019 Aurora, Colorado Unarmed. Detained by police while walking home after unidentified citizen called. Placed in police chokehold; given ketamine by paramedics. Suffered heart attack on the way to the hospital. Died August 30, 2019. No police charged. Case surfaced in light of other deaths at hands of police. t _____________________________________ Data compiled by Kyna Hinson, Editor, Regional Voice Magazine. Based on ABC, CBS, NBC TV, NPR, and CNN.com reports,with Police and News Reports from locations.

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

39


2020 HURRICANES

DISASTERS

DEADLY STORMS WASH AWAY

LIFE AND PROPERTY UNITED STATES 2020 A record five storms churning in the Atlantic have not reached islands or the North American continent as yet. Landfall projected locations for the various storms range from Bermuda to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard to the Gulf of Mexico (at time of publication).

HURRICANE SALLY

Category 2 - Winds – 105 mph Storm Surge 6 to 11 feet Landfall – Wednesday, 9/16/2020 - Gulf Shores, Alabama (Landfall was exactly 16 years to the day of Hurricane Ivan, at the same location.) Loss of Life – 1 dead, 1 missing (at time of publication). Property Damage Estimates - $2 billion (at time of publication).

HURRICANE LAURA

Category 3 - Winds – 150 mph Storm Surge 9 to 12 feet Landfall – Thursday, 8/27/2020 – Cameron, Louisiana, with heavy flooding and damage in Lake Charles, Louisiana. One third of the state was declared a disaster zone. Loss of Life – 29 victims; 25 in Louisiana and four in Texas. Property Damage Estimates - $8 to $12 billion including crop losses _______________________________________________________________ Data Based on ABC TV, CBS TV, NBC TV and CNN.com News Reports

40

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

41


2020 WILDFIRES

DISASTERS

71 WILDFIRES BRING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION TO WESTERN UNITED STATES UNITED STATES ALL WESTERN COASTAL STATES 2020 Loss of Life - 37 Deaths (at time of publication). Two deaths include Wyatt Tofte, 13, who his family believes died trying to save his grandmother Peggy Mosso, 71, who had a broken knee, and the family dog. Wyatt’s mother, Angela Mosso, had tried to drive them away from their home in Lyons, Oregon, but the fires melted their tires and ignited the car. Angela ran on the hot asphalt and told Wyatt to follow. She made it out with injuries. Her son did not follow and was later identified with his grandmother and their dog. Firefighters also lost one of their own. Charles Morton, 39, was a member of an elite squad, the Hotshots. They are dedicated to fighting wildfires. He died in a mountain fire east of Los Angeles that was set by accident. Property Damage Estimates – Possibly $20 billion Acres Burned – 5 million and climbing Cities Affected: Seattle, Washington Portland, Oregon San Francisco, California Los Angeles, California Worst Air Quality in the World (Smoke drifted into Canada and across country all the way to New York.)

42

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

43


Cliff Harris DAP Co-Director

The miracle God worked for this man, God has worked for others. He can work a miracle for you. Call Us Anytime: 256.232.4400 Email Us at:

dapcalif@aol.com

Visit Our Website:

www.drugalternativeprogram.org

Christ leads Us to Help You, We’ll lead You to Christ for Help. DrUg AltErnAtiVE PrOgrAm


HOPE SERIES

Churches and Youth—

It’s Time to Merge! BY K ALIN GRIFFIN

Q

uarantine, virus, and pandemic, all considered ancient history for students, or at least it was. Most students learn about the 1918 Influenza outbreak and study that subject in depth along with some other widespread diseases that happened long before our time. Others may even recall the H1N1 outbreak of 2009, which was nothing like what we face today. The reality is nothing in the history books can truly prepare one for what is happening around us. There is no guide to early dismissal from school, virtual learning, and this “new normal”. This has truly been a new and frustrating experience for students. Students at Pine Forge Academy highly anticipate home leaves and breaks. So do members of the staff! They allow us to breathe and decompress from our highly active lifestyle. Early dismissal from school in Spring 2020 was like music to our ears. Little did we know, this early dismissal was the end of the school year. Two weeks turned into two months and we all began to realize how reliant we were on our community. We missed our “normal.” Reality set in as teachers taught their first online classes and Zoom study hall sessions became a regular item. Virtual Learning was just the beginning, followed by online church, virtual choirs, and what we never anticipated—virtual graduation. Even in denial, we realized that our world was flipped upside down, and normal was taking on a whole new meaning. Some students found an opportunity

46

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

in this time to meet their friends and family. That was until masks, social distancing, and global shutdowns came about. Others looked for creative ways to keep their sanity, creating Tik Tok videos with each other, Zoom and FaceTime calls, even Instagram live feeds. Still, none of this replaced the long-desired fellowship we miss. Being a student in these circumstances is a taxing and unbelievable experience. Students began “teaching” themselves and parents working from home attempted an alternate career in teaching as well. Plenty of challenges arose as the Internet failed and teachers became computer techs. Sometimes it was a truly frustrating experience for students, parents, and teachers. Speaking from personal experience the presence of a teacher is very valuable when it comes to my learning. So I struggled tremendously in this setting. I spent a lot of time constantly texting, emailing, and calling teachers attempting to resemble that familiar classroom presence. I spent the other part of my time on FaceTime with my classmates completing work and looking for accountability. No one was prepared for this new way of learning and I must commend all students, parents, and especially teachers for your hard work, diligence, and perseverance in this difficult time. Even harder

to grasp was the idea of online finals and virtual graduation. As students began studying information and preparing for finals the overwhelming thought and concern was sending off the Class of 2020. Due to our school’s regional diversity, it was impossible to bring us together to celebrate the class of 2020 safely. So I say congratulations to Pine Forge’s Quintessential Class of 2020, and congratulations to all 2020 graduates. Now more than ever I have found it important to stay connected, especially for youth. With little bias, I commend the North American Division Youth Department on their exceptional efforts to connect with students and leaders across the country. They have allowed me to be involved in my church and they have given me the privilege of putting my school on

the map. My experience with their ministry has opened doors for me to meet and interact with students across the country, doing small groups, Sabbath School, and just getting to know each other. I could not be more grateful. I am learning what this experience is like for people outside of my circle. I have learned that I am not the only one who found online school frustrating, but moreover, I am learning that other students wonder where their church is when we look to address how we can contribute to the racial pandemic our country is experiencing. I am not the

only person who seeks guidance on how to survive an economic pandemic, and I am not the only one who longs to see our church stand with us as we face times no one could’ve anticipated. There are so many students across the world searching for a space to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Some students wish they had a prayer line where they could come together and pray for and with each other, students who wonder if they matter to their church. I encourage each student to just “bust down” the walls and barriers between you and your church. Help them to hear your cries, and join them in the work they seek to do. I encourage church leaders to hear your youth and MERGE with them in this journey. To those who have made an effort to reach out to their youth and those youth who have made an effort to partner with your church family, I commend you. Continue to seek God’s guidance as you MERGE! t ______________________ Kalin Griffin was a Pine Forge Academy student at the time of this writing.

REGIONAL VOICE

|

FA L L 2 0 2 0

47


KIA ANNOUNCEMENT: DO YOU NEED A CAR? IF YOU HAVE FINISHED A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY WITHIN ONE YEAR, OR IF YOU ARE IN YOUR LAST SEMESTER AT A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY, YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP TO APPLY TO AN AUTO PURCHASE FROM KIA MOTORS OF AMERICA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT YOUR LOCAL KIA DEALER.

Profile for ORCM

2020 Fall Issue  

2020 Fall Issue  

Advertisement