This week on ANN: A new report calls attention to religious liberty trouble spots, the church in Denmark votes to suspend all ministerial ordination until two thousand fifteen, and Adventist volunteers in Ecuador break the country’s record for blood donations
This week on Adventist News Network ... celebrating religious freedom in Indonesia - Humanitarian aid for a refugee community in Uganda - And what a generation of retiring pastors could mean for ministry in North America
This week on Adventist News Network, celebrating religious freedom in Indonesia
… humanitarian aid for a refugee community in Uganda
… and what a generation of retiring pastors could mean for ministry in North America
These stories and more, coming up.
This is Adventist News Network, a service of the Seventh-day Adventist world church. Thanks for joining us this week.
First in the news, a new distance-learning university is expanding education options for students whose work, family or financial situation put strains on further study. Herbert Fletcher University is based in Puerto Rico and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students can choose from administration, leadership, instructional design, educational technology and Adventist teaching. Classes are available in English and Spanish. The school operates through an affiliation with Griggs University. Griggs University is the Adventist world church’s distance-learning hub operating from the campus of Andrews University in the U.S. state of Michigan.
A recent festival of religious freedom in Indonesia cements the Adventist Church as a leading religious liberty advocate in the country. An audience of two thousand advocates gathered in Manado this month to thank government and faith leaders for their efforts in promoting freedom of belief. The Adventist Church held a similar festival in Jakarta two years ago. Since then, interest in religious liberty has grown in the country. Right now, religious groups enjoy a climate of tolerance and respect in Manado. Elsewhere in the country, however, tensions between faith groups remain a challenge.
Adventist humanitarian workers are helping hundreds of Congolese refugee families adjust to life in neighboring Uganda. Thousands of Congolese fled their country after unrest broke out between government forces and armed militia late last year. Now, many of those families are living in refugee camps in Uganda. Adventist Development and Relief Agency officials are distributing supply kits to help these families feel more at home. Kits include blankets, cooking supplies and mosquito nets. ADRA is collaborating with the United Nations, the Red Cross and refugee camp staff to prioritize at-risk refugees first, including children and expectant mothers.
In South America, church leaders are noticing a spike in traffic on Spanish and Portuguese websites promoting The Great Hope. An electronic version of the sharing book has been downloaded more than ten million times in recent months. The book is available for Web and flash viewing, as well as versions formatted for iPhone, iPad, other tablet computers and smartphones, and as an iTunes podcast. Readers can also request a digital copy of the book via email. The Great Hope is an abridged version of church co-founder Ellen White’s classic, The Great Controversy.
English speakers can find a digital audio version of The Great Hope from Christian Record Services for the Blind. The Adventist supporting ministry serves the blind and low-sight community, but Christian Record officials say the new audio book will reach a broader audience. You can download a free copy at Share The Great Hope dot com.
Adventist ministry leaders recently took a look at retirement statistics among pastors in the U.S. What they found is that about half of the pastors will reach retirement age in ten years. Now, they’re considering ways to address what could be a coming dilemma – whether there’ll be enough younger ministers to replace an aging workforce. Ministry leaders could redouble efforts to train and hire younger pastors. Or, they could ask older pastors to stay on past retirement. As ministry leaders continue to explore solutions, they’ll also take a look at better ways to educate and train pastors in general. Earlier today, I sat down with Dave Gemmell, who is examining this issue with other ministry leaders in North America.
How are you Dave? Dave, why are ministry leaders addressing this issue now?
Well we discovered that within ten years, 50 percent of the pastors will be eligible for retirement and that is not a crisis yet, but if we don’t do something about it now, it will be a crisis.
Well it is certainly turning that way. What are some potential solutions to this challenge?
Well one solution is to encourage our pastors, our experienced pastors to stay longer than 65, 66, 70, 75, 80 but that creates some challenges to it, they bring the wisdom to the field but the downside is that they are separated from the new generations that are coming up. So that is one of the solutions, I think probably a better solution would be to try to begin training younger pastors right now.
What is being done to develop this training for younger pastors or younger potential pastors?
Well it just hit us, this statistic, just a couple of months ago so we are just going through the whole educational training process to see what we can do to be ready for this when it comes. It takes about ten years for a pastor to become fully experienced. It is not like flipping burgers where it takes thirty seconds to get trained. We’ve only got ten years to work on it, we need to get working on this ASAP.
This sounds like a very significant and serious issue, thanks so much, Dave.
When we come back after the break, we’ll find out what’s inside this week’s issue of Adventist Review.