Current and Archived News Stories
2015 News Archives
By Brian Mungandi with Doug Hardt
|Pastor Doug Hardt [Photo by Jutta Karin Schultz, Wild Trillium Photography]
Local communities joined together at the Greenway Auditorium in Coleraine, Minn., on November 5th to raise awareness and donations for the growing Syrian refugee crisis. It is estimated that between 7- 9 million Syrians have fled their homes and entered into neighboring countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq since the break of the civil war-2011. Pastor Doug Hardt of the Iron Range District (which includes the Blackberry, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Northome and International Falls Seventh-day Adventist Churches) saw firsthand the challenges faced by refugees on his visit to Iraq last year.
|Russian Quartet of the Minnetonka SDA Church [Photo by Jutta Karin Schultz, Wild Trillium Photography]
So the Blackberry church invited local musicians from the churches and schools in their area for a “Grand Collaboration” to take part in a benefit concert to aid the refugee work. Choirs from the Deer River, Grand Rapids, and Greenway high schools participated, along with the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus, the St. Andrew’s Men’s Choir, a quartet of Russian teenagers, and the pastor’s daughter, Nicole Hardt.
Pastor Hardt spoke and showed pictures of the refugee crisis situation. Many of those who came to the concert were moved to leave a donation designated to the UNICEF charity which is working specifically with the children affected by the refugee crisis. The program was full of inspiring music which pervaded the auditorium with a sense of hope.
|Grand Rapids Area Men's Chorus [Photo by Jutta Karin Schultz, Wild Trillium Photography]
We think that this in a small way is what Elder Dan Jackson talked about in his “Grand Collaboration” message given at the NAD Year-end Meetings. The point was if every person can actively be involved in helping in some way, a lot of good can be accomplished. As Christians, and Seventh-day Adventists in particular, we need to learn to collectively express Adventism throughout our territory. No one method is more important than another. We are stronger if we work as a team, collaborating with the forces of good to do good. We must all live out our lives in Christ, seeking out the good of others.
The concert-goers showed their appreciation for the talents of the performers and contributed to the cause. Because of the generosity of attendees, over $4,500 was raised at the benefit, far exceeding Pastor Hardt’s expectations. Pastor Hardt was inspired to organize another benefit concert at the Hibbing First Presbyterian Church. The grand total that was raised through both concerts, along with some matching funds, was approximately $5,500.