Even before his state issued a stay-at-home order to curb the spread of COVID-19, Desta Gelgelu, an economics professor, church planter, and pastor of the Oromo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, called his conference executive secretary for advice. Decisive action by local church leaders had an unexpected result — and blessing.
While society at large has taken a metaphorical detour in terms of its normal operation with the closing of businesses and schools, the needs of the marginalized remain — many are still without homes and/or jobs, require medical attention aside from care related to COVID-19, or need food and supplies for their families. Here are glimpses into three services operating within the North American Division that have remained committed to serving the disenfranchised population in their communities as they face daily evolving challenges and the potential dangers presented by the coronavirus disease.
When Stephanie Seay and “Christine” met more than 20 years ago on the job at an Atlanta nursing home, they were young, single, and relatively carefree. They became fast friends. Seay, the facility’s bookkeeper, was a practicing Christian, and Christine, the social activities assistant, was not. Marriage, children, and age rolled in and Christine began wondering about Christ, shared Seay. That’s when Seay sent her Message magazine.
According to the World Health Organization, the United States has 140,640 confirmed cases of COVID-19 disease as of March 31, 2020. Canada has 6,317, Bermuda has 22, and Guam has 58. I can only imagine the turmoil in the lives of those who have been affected directly because they or a family member are or have been sick. And it is concerning to know that all of us are at risk. This hit home when I was under voluntary quarantine after returning from a conference.
COVID-19 has forced everyone to adapt quickly. Many pastors are attempting to hold church online, or post sermons for members to view. Many are using smartphones or a webcam on a computer to get the job done. Here are some simple things you can do if all you have is your smartphone.
Although the coronavirus disease pandemic has shut down evangelistic meetings all across the country, It Is Written will conduct a virtual, online evangelistic event starting April 17, 2020. The event, presented by Pastor John Bradshaw, It Is Written speaker/director, will reach all of North America.
In response to the national shortage of medical supplies due to the spread of COVID-19, this week Southern Adventist University’s School of Nursing donated personal protective equipment to two local hospitals, CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga and AdventHealth Gordon in Calhoun, Georgia.
Have you ever considered starting or joining a small group, but never got around to it? Now that most churches have cancelled their on-site services and closed their buildings, it’s an ideal time to start a small group. Getting two or more families together in virtual small groups is an excellent way to share support and to boost one another’s spirits in these strange and isolated times.
Pacific Press Publishing Association Makes Weekly Children’s Publications Temporarily Available for Free Online
With many church buildings closed because of COVID-19, children aren’t able to pick up copies of their favorite Sabbath magazines. Pacific Press Publishing Association has decided to make its weekly children’s publications — Our Little Friend, Primary Treasure, and Guide — available in PDF format on each magazine’s own website for free. The weekly magazines will continue to appear for as long as the coronavirus threat keeps church buildings closed.
Christian Record Services, Inc., a ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America for people who are blind, invites Kristine Lemons to join its ministry team as communication director. She begins this responsibility on March 30, 2020.