La Sierra University Presidential Search

La Sierra University has embarked on a search for the next president of the university.

Following Randal Wisbey’s announcement in January of his plans to leave the office of the presidency effective June 30, the Board of Trustees began the search process for La Sierra University’s fourth president.

This important undertaking is guided by the university’s mission of seeking truth, knowing God and serving others, by its commitment to Seventh-day Adventist faith and values, and by the university’s long-range goals and ambitions.

As directed by the Board Policy Manual, the board chair has appointed a broadly representative search committee to guide this important work. The process is also guided by the Faculty Handbook section on Appointment of the President. The committee will communicate updates on its progress in this important matter.

Read more about La Sierra University Presidential Search

2019-03-04T13:18:02-07:00March 4th, 2019|News|

La Sierra University President Wisbey announces plans to step down

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (http://www.lasierra.edu) Randal R. Wisbey, president of La Sierra University since 2007, announced today that he will step down from the presidency on June 30 of this year.

In a letter to the university community, President Wisbey shared that the decision was a difficult one. “However,” he said, “due to the continuing challenges with my eyes following four eye surgeries within the last 18 months, and after much reflection, prayer, and counsel with my family, I have come to the conviction that this is the appropriate decision for me personally, as well as for the university.”

 

Ricardo Graham, chair of the university Board of Trustees, said, “During the years that Randal Wisbey has served as president of La Sierra University, his leadership has been outstanding. He has led the university in difficult times, providing stability and focus as the leader of this world- class institution of higher learning. His courage, compassion, and educational leadership experience has been a blessing to La Sierra and the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. We wish him all the best.”

 

Faculty Senate Chair Leslie Martin noted that President Wisbey “has led our campus through some challenging waters, always tenaciously advocating for La Sierra University–and always with grace and diplomacy. He leaves us at a time of relative peace and stability, and although he will be sorely missed, we are grateful to have had him as a true partner in shared governance here at La Sierra. We wish many good things for him as he moves into this new phase of life.”

 

During Dr. Wisbey’s tenure as La Sierra University’s third president, the institution has grown and developed in significant ways:

 

  • Total enrollment has expanded from 1,675 in 2007-08 to 2,356 in 2018-19.
  • The financial health of the university grew, as did its endowment, which rose 63%, from $56.77 million in 2007 to $92.6 million in 2018. Net assets also increased by 49%.
  • The 60,000-square-foot Tom & Vi Zapara School of Business building opened in 2013, not only increasing classroom and office space, but adding much-needed event space in the Troesh Conference Center. In addition, facilities across campus have undergone major renovation, including Gladwyn Hall, Humanities Hall, South Hall, Hole Memorial Auditorium, and the Center for Near Eastern Archaeology.
  • The university was recognized by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education as number one in the nation for diversity. And, recognized by the federal government as a Hispanic-serving institution, La Sierra in 2015 received a $2.6 million Title V grant to support innovative learning programs.
  • Among the new academic programs launched was criminal justice, now the university’s largest major. Other new programs included film and television, neuroscience, archaeology, and the Ph.D. in Leadership, housed in the School of Education. It is La Sierra’s first doctoral program.
  • The School of Religion became the HMS Richards Divinity School and achieved accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools, one of only two Adventist theological programs to attain this recognition.
  • The School of Business became the Tom & Vi Zapara School of Business. It is the largest business school in the Adventist system of higher education. Its Enactus team won the World Cup in 2007 and the national championship in 2007 and 2016.
  • University governance, both through the Board of Trustees and the Faculty Senate, were strengthened through careful stewardship and cooperative leadership.

 

Before entering university administration, President Wisbey spent most of his career in Adventist higher education, first as a campus chaplain at Washington Adventist University and later as an associate professor of youth ministry and the creator of the Center for Youth Evangelism at Andrews University. Thus, he was especially proud of the university’s first Spiritual Master Plan, developed and implemented during his tenure. He also oversaw the strengthening of the university chaplain’s office as a critical resource that helps inspire the spiritual care and development of La Sierra students.

 

Dr. Wisbey served in a presidential role for 21 years, first at Burman University in Alberta, Canada, and then at Washington Adventist University in Maryland, before coming to La Sierra University. “I have loved my work here,” he said. “Without a doubt, I could not have asked for a more invigorating place to conclude my 34 years in Adventist higher education.”

 

“La Sierra has not only been good to me professionally—it has been good to my family,” he added. President Wisbey and his wife, Deanna Clay Wisbey, were delighted that their son and daughter-in-law, Alexander and Leslie, both graduated from the La Sierra University Honors program in 2011.

 

As he looks toward his conclusion of service, President Wisbey says he has assured the board chair “that I will do whatever I can to be of assistance as the search for the next president begins.” President and Mrs. Wisbey plan to move to their home in the state of Washington in early July.

 

Letters from Dr. Wisbey to La Sierra University employees and students are available at this link, at the bottom of the news article: https://lasierra.edu/article/la-sierra-university-president-wisbey-announces-plans-to-step-down/

 

 

 

 

About La Sierra University

La Sierra University, a Seventh-day Adventist institution nationally acclaimed for its diverse campus and its service to others, offers a transformational experience that lasts a lifetime.

 

U.S. News & World Report for six years named La Sierra University the most racially diverse university in the western United States. In addition, in September 2016 and 2017, the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education top colleges ranking named La Sierra University the most diverse campus in the nation. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 Best Colleges guide listed La Sierra ninth in the 15-state western region for best value. This follows the July 2015, Money magazine list which ranked La Sierra University eighth in the nation for providing value-added education that helps students surpass expectations. Each year, from 2008 to 2014 the Corporation for National and Community Service included La Sierra in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll awards. These awards include La Sierra’s receipt of the prestigious 2013 Presidential Award, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. The corporation’s awards recognize La Sierra’s students for providing thousands of hours of service including international economic development projects by La Sierra’s world cup-winning Enactus team, and community projects through La Sierra’s campus-wide, Service-Learning program.

 

In December 2008, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching included La Sierra on its 2008 Community Engagement Classification lists consisting of 119 colleges and universities around the United States. La Sierra University achieved re-classification status in 2015.

 

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination established La Sierra University in 1922 on acreage formerly part of the Rancho La Sierra Mexican land grant. Today the 150-acre campus provides more than 120 bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees for about 2,300 students. Programs are offered in the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business, the School of Education, the H.M.S. Richards Divinity School, the College of Arts and Sciences and in the Evening Adult Degree Program.

 

“To Seek, To Know, and To Serve” is the key to the mission that drives La Sierra University, with all areas of campus encouraging students to develop a deeper relationship with God.

 

 

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2019-01-09T11:39:26-07:00January 9th, 2019|Blog, News|

Relief for Sabbath Observers Seeking Jobs?

The number one problem faced by those who observe Sabbath when seeking jobs is having to disclose their schedule limitations on the job application and in the hiring process. Routinely, Sabbath observers are screened out. Help is on the way! At least in California.

The Fair Employment and Housing Commission unveiled its proposed new regulations this week, addressing what are known as “pre employment inquiries” and making it clear that companies must inform applicants they don’t need to disclose their schedule unavailability if it is due to the need for accommodation on account of religion, disability, or medical condition.  These regulations were revised at the urging of Church State Council Executive Director Alan J. Reinach over a multi-year period, and supported by the California Employment Lawyers Association.  When implemented, the new regulations are expected to greatly reduce the problem of Sabbath observers being rejected out of hand.  This is good news for employers as well as workers, since the job market is tight in this robust economy, and companies can ill afford to reject otherwise qualified applicants.  Companies will still be permitted to inquire about specific scheduling needs, if the job requires it.  But generic requests for open availability as is commonly practiced today should become a relic of the past.  More than 50 years after passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Sabbath observing workers may finally obtain something approaching equal employment opportunity.

The Commission will be receiving public comment on Friday, August 17th, and will eventually either revise or finalize these proposed regulations. We certainly hope and pray for a steady course.

2018-08-13T16:00:24-07:00August 13th, 2018|News|

2018 NAD Teachers Convention in Chicago Includes 950 Teachers from the Pacific Union

The 2018 NAD Teachers Convention took place August 5-9 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, offering Adventist teachers and educators from across the North American Division the opportunity to come together for inspiration, instruction, networking, and professional development. The expected attendance of nearly 6,000 included more than 950 teachers and administrators from the Pacific Union.

The theme for the 2018 event was “Encounter Jesus, Experience Excellence” and featured a rich and diverse mix of general sessions, worship experiences, concerts, workshops, networking opportunities, and exhibits.

Dr. Berit von Pohle, Pacific Union Conference Director of Education, spoke about the importance of the convention and why it is valuable to teachers and educators: “It’s an amazing experience to see 6,000 Adventist teachers together in one place and focused on learning, spirituality, curriculum—all of the things that go with school, but in an Adventist context.”

Dr. von Pohle values the professional support the convention provides for teachers. “Too often as teachers, we feel very isolated,” she says. “We walk into a classroom in the morning, we shut the door, and we’re in that classroom for the total of the day. It’s great to get together with teachers from other classrooms at our school or from other schools, and maybe even at the conference level, but to see that we are a system this large is really affirming to every teacher. It helps them know that they are not alone. There are other people who do exactly what they do every day to help students. And it helps remind us that we are part of an important ministry that is very valuable to the future of our church.”

Elder Ricardo Graham, President of the Pacific Union Conference, attended the event and expressed his personal support for it. “My story is that I came into the Adventist Church through education, and so education will always have value for me,” he says. “My kids, from K through college, were educated in Adventist schools because my wife and I knew that this is the way the values of Adventism are not only repeatedly transmitted but underscored and re-anchored. You need to give the message over and over again, in varied methods and varied ways, through various teachers and approaches.”

Dr. Von Pohle—whose father was a teacher and whose daughter, Brooke Lemmon, is a classroom teacher in Southeastern California—affirmed the professional development the convention offers teachers, “Educators are professionals. And as professionals, they continue to grow and develop,” she says. “They’re not stagnant. They continue to learn. They continue to grow. Coming to a convention, taking a summer school class, reading a professional journal or a book: those are all ways that they continue to sharpen their edges, making sure that they’re as prepared as they can be so every student has the opportunity to learn.”

#nadsdaconvention

2018-08-13T15:59:59-07:00August 13th, 2018|News|

Alto a las detenciones infantiles

Pastor Ricardo B. Graham

«Dejad que los niños vengan a mi», dijo Jesús, «porque de ellos es el reino de los cielos». Pero, aparentemente, los niños no son más bienvenidos en los Estados Unidos.

Los Adventistas del Séptimo Día consideran cuidar y proteger a los niños como una encomienda sagrada. Todos los americanos, y particularmente la gente religiosa, deben de elevar sus voces para condenar la demonización de esas familias inmigrantes como criminales. Muchos están huyendo de la violencia y procurando legalmente la condición de refugiados. Jesucristo declaró que  la manera como tratamos a quienes consideramos «los más insignificantes» es como tratamos a Cristo. En su trato con los inmigrantes y con las familias procurando refugio nuestros líderes están demonizando a Jesús mismo. Muchos en nuestra nación proclaman que América es una nación cristiana. Pero una nación que rechaza la enseñanza fundamental de Jesús de dar un vaso de dar de beber al sediento, alimentar al hambriento, vestir al desnudo y dar refugio al forastero se mofa de Dios y pierde el derecho de pretender el nombre de Cristo.

Un número en aumento de cristianos y de líderes religiosos están hablando en contra de la crueldad que se inflige a los hijos de inmigrantes y refugiados por la nueva política de «cero tolerancia» del Departamento de Justicia. Otros han hablado acerca del abuso de las Escrituras para justificar tal crueldad. Ciertamente Romanos 13 no solamente ha sido usado en el pasado para animar el cumplimiento de la ley sobre esclavos fugitivos, requiriendo que los esclavos que huyesen de su cautiverio fuesen regresados al mismo, sino que Romanos 13 fue también usado para obtener la sumisión de la iglesia cristiana en Europa durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Dios ha establecido a nuestros líderes y a nuestro gobierno, sostiene la fallida lógica, y es nuestra obligación obedecer y acatar. El abuso de las Escrituras para justificar el infligir daño a los niños es verdaderamente un pecado abyecto.

Los Adventistas del Séptimo Día valoran la libertad religiosa pero nos sentimos compelidos a erguirnos y pronunciar rotunda y claramente cuando la religión es usada para dañar a otros. Nuestro papel como creyentes y ciudadanos es hacer a los líderes de nuestra nación responsables ante un elevado estándar moral y ético en la interpretación de nuestras leyes.

Todo creyente debería de condenar el abuso de la ley que apoya una política oficial de detención y abuso infantil. El mismo pasaje bíblico que ha sido agredido para justificar esta política declara que «el amor no perjudica al prójimo, así que el amor es el cumplimiento de la ley». La función apropiada de la ley es preservar el bienestar de la sociedad, su paz y los derechos de su gente. Usar a la ley como un medio para oprimir, como lo está haciendo el Departamento de Justicia, es degradar a la ley misma, socava las bases de nuestra democracia y pone en vergüenza a toda nuestra nación.

América es una nación de inmigrantes y siempre ha sido una nación compasiva. Ya sea medida por las aportaciones caritativas en asistencia a desastres, desarrollo o asistencia al extranjero por nuestro gobierno, los americanos siempre han sobrepasado a las demás naciones en su demostración de misericordia y compasión hacia quienes sufren de escases, de hambre y otras carencias. Los Estados Unidos han sido campeones de la democracia, los derechos humanos y la libertad civil y religiosa en todo el mundo.

Pero en este punto no somos campeones más. Una política que procura establecer un objetivo social y político al separar a familias y dañar a niños es una mancha en nuestro carácter nacional que será difícil de borrar. Así que estamos compelidos a ponernos de pie y procurar aliviar el sufrimiento de esos hijos de inmigrantes que están languideciendo en centros de detención, separados de los brazos de sus madres.

Nuestros pensamientos y nuestras oraciones tienen que tornarse en acciones y hechos. Todo aquel que aprecie los valores que caracterizan a América deben demandar acción del congreso para poner fin a esta política. Le pedimos a todos que escriban o llamen a sus representantes en el Congreso, que hablen por sí mismos o como comunidad en contra de la injusticia, que usen su voz en los medios sociales y que usen todo derecho con que cuentan como ciudadanos para desafiar y cambiar las políticas que inhumana, desconsiderada e innecesariamente apartan a los niños de sus padres.

Ricardo B. Graham

Presidente, Pacific Union Conference

 

Notas:

Los Adventistas del Séptimo Día tenemos en muy alta estima a los niños. A la luz la Biblia, los niños son dones preciosos de Dios que han sido confiados al cuidado de sus padres, de su familia, de la comunidad de la fe y de la sociedad en general. Los niños cuentan con un enorme potencial para contribuir de manera positiva a la iglesia y a la sociedad. Es de vital importancia prestar atención a su cuidado, protección y desarrollo. La Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día se reafirma e insiste en sus históricos esfuerzos de cuidar y salvaguardar a los niños… La Iglesia Adventista considera que el cuidado y la protección de los niños es un cometido sagrado. (Esta declaración fue aprobada por el Comité Ejecutivo de la Conferencia General de Adventistas del Séptimo Día en sesión en Utrecht, los Países Bajos, 29 de junio-8 de julio, 1995.)

Los Adventistas del Séptimo Día defendemos la dignidad y el valor de cada ser humano y condenamos todo tipo de abuso físico, sexual y psicológico, así como de violencia Doméstica… Aceptamos nuestra responsabilidad de… escuchar y atender a los que sufren de abuso y violencia familiar, de señalar las injusticias y de pronunciarnos en defensa de las víctimas. (Esta declaración fue aprobada y votada por el Comité Ejecutivo de la Conferencia General de los Adventistas del Séptimo Día [ADCOM] y fue emitida por la oficina del presidente, Robert S. Folkenberg, durante la sesión de la Conferencia General en Utrecht, los Países Bajos, 29 de junio-8 de julio, 1995.)

La salud y la prosperidad de la sociedad se encuentra directamente relacionadas con el bienestar de la unidad familiar, que es su célula constitutiva. Hoy más que nunca antes, la familia se halla en peligro. Los sociólogos denuncian la desintegración de la familia moderna. El concepto cristiano tradicional del matrimonio entre un hombre y una mujer está en la cuerda floja. En esta época de crisis familiar, la Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día exhorta a todos los miembros de la familia a que fortalezcan su dimensión espiritual y sus relaciones familiares mediante el amor, la honestidad, el respeto y la responsabilidad mutuos. (Declaración presentada por Neal C. Wilson, presidente de la Asociación General, el 27 de junio de 1985, tras consultas con los dieciséis vicepresidentes, en la Sesión de la Conferencia General de Nueva Orleans.)

 

2018-06-19T16:43:30-07:00June 19th, 2018|News|

Stop Child Detentions

Pastor Ricardo B. Graham

“Suffer the little children to come unto me,” said Jesus, “for of such is the kingdom of God.” But apparently, the little children are no longer welcome in the United States.

Seventh-day Adventists regard the nurture and protection of children as a sacred trust. All Americans, and particularly people of faith, must raise their voices to condemn the demonization of these immigrant families as criminals. Many are fleeing violence and lawfully seeking refugee status. Jesus Christ declared that the way we treat those we regard as “the least of these” is how we treat the Christ. In their treatment of immigrant and refugee families our leaders are demonizing Jesus himself! Many proclaim America to be a Christian nation. Yet those who reject the fundamental teaching of Jesus to give a cup of cold water to the thirsty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give shelter to the stranger mock God and lose any right to claim the name of Christ.

A growing number of Christian and religious leaders are speaking out about the cruelty being inflicted on children of immigrants and refugees by the new “zero tolerance” policy of the Department of Justice. Others have spoken out about the abuse of scripture to justify such cruelty. Indeed, Romans 13 has not only been used in the past to encourage compliance with the fugitive slave law, requiring the return of runaway slaves to their bondage, but Romans 13 was also used to obtain the compliance of the Christian church in Europe during World War II. God has ordained our leaders and our government, the flawed logic holds, and our duty is to obey and to comply. The abuse of scripture to justify inflicting harm on children is truly a heinous sin.

Seventh-day Adventists hold dear the value of religious liberty, but we are compelled to stand up and speak loud and clear when religion is used to harm others. Our role as believers and as citizens is to hold our nation’s leadership accountable to a high moral and ethical standard in the interpretation of our laws.

Every believer should condemn the abuse of the law to support an official policy of child detention and abuse. The same biblical passage that has been abused to justify this policy declares that “love does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” The proper function of law is to preserve the welfare of society, its peace, and the rights of its people. To use the law as a means of oppression, as the Department of Justice is doing, is to degrade respect for the law itself, to undermine the foundations of our democracy, and to bring shame upon our entire nation.

America is a nation of immigrants and has always been a compassionate nation. Whether measured by charitable giving in support of disaster relief, development, or foreign aid by our government, Americans have surpassed other nations in showing mercy and compassion to those suffering famine, hunger, and other deprivations. The United States has championed democracy, human rights, and civil and religious freedom around the world.

But in this matter we are champions no more. A policy that seeks to accomplish a social and political goal by tearing apart families and harming children is a stain on our national character that will be difficult to erase. Thus, we are compelled to rise up and seek to relieve the suffering of these immigrant children who are languishing in detention centers, torn from their mothers’ arms.

Our thoughts and prayers must turn into actions and deeds. All those who still cherish the values America stands for must demand action from Congress to end this policy.  We ask all of you to write or call your congressional representatives, speak out in your own personal and community settings against injustice, use your voice on social media, and use every right you have as a citizen to challenge and change the policies that inhumanly, carelessly, and needlessly take children away from their parents.

Ricardo B. Graham

President, Pacific Union Conference

 

Notes:

“Seventh-day Adventists place a high value on children. In the light of the Bible they are seen as precious gifts from God entrusted to the care of parents, family, community of faith and society-at-large. Children possess enormous potential for making positive contributions to the Church and to society. Attention to their care, protection and development is extremely important. The Seventh-day Adventist Church reaffirms and extends its longstanding efforts to nurture and safeguard children…. The Church regards the nurture and protection of children as a sacred trust.”  (This statement was approved by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee on June 23, 2010, in Atlanta, Georgia.)

“Seventh-day Adventists affirm the dignity and worth of each human being and decry all forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and family violence…. We accept our responsibility to… listen and care for those suffering from abuse and family violence, to highlight the injustices, and to speak out in defense of victims.”  (This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) and was released by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg, at the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 29-July 8, 1995.)

“The health and prosperity of society is directly related to the well-being of its constituent parts—the family unit. Today, as probably never before, the family is in trouble…. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, in this time of family crisis, encourages every family member to strengthen his or her spiritual dimension and family relationship through mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility.” (This public statement was released by the General Conference president, Neal C. Wilson, after consultation with the 16 world vice presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, on June 27, 1985, at the General Conference session in New Orleans, Louisiana.)

2018-06-16T22:49:00-07:00June 16th, 2018|News|

Walla Walla University Condemns Racism in Statement, Investigates Social Media Incident

President John McVay addresses racial issues during campus-wide assembly.

On March 27, 2018, Walla Walla University administrators and officials met to discuss the ongoing investigation of reports that a small group of Walla Walla University students distributed photos of themselves in blackface on social media.

In a same-day statement published online, the university condemned racism, saying that it “takes seriously our mission to value all people and to provide safety and security on our campuses. As such, the university enforces policies and processes related to student conduct. This incident will be thoroughly investigated by the Student Conduct Board, which will determine appropriate sanctions.”

In response to the hurt and anger felt by many in its campus communities and beyond, Walla Walla University has scheduled listening sessions to facilitate sharing of concerns about the incident, which took place once the students returned from spring break on Monday, April 2.

Additional campus resources, including counseling and spiritual support, are available. The Donald Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture is also considering opportunities to engage and support students in conversation, and the university is planning other opportunities to educate and remind “our campus community about our values and the impact of how we treat one another.”

In a release on March 26, Walla Walla indicated that just before the university’s spring break, administrators learned of an anti-black, racist social media post involving six students on the College Place campus. The release stated that Walla Walla was actively investigating this incident.

“As soon as we became aware of the post a special task force was formed and met with five of the students involved, and the administration alerted our campus family to the investigation. Our Office of Diversity and Student Life Office are working closely together throughout this process, which is still ongoing,” read the release.

The Walla Walla University administration, according to the March 27 release, “recognizes the imbalance of diversity on our campuses and for many years has worked carefully to promote diversity and inclusion. These efforts have been facilitated through the WWU Office of Diversity, the assistant to the president for diversity, a Diversity Council, committees to promote events and activities related to diversity, employee and student clubs that celebrate diverse backgrounds, the Donald Blake Center, the Center for Educational Equity and Diversity, the Associated Students of Walla Walla University Inclusive Committee, and ministries to provide diverse worship experiences.”

Walla Walla also recognizes that “this recent incident has the potential to undo our diligent work to promote diversity and inclusion, and we are determined to not let that happen.”

— Click here to read the original Walla Walla University release; Walla Walla has also provided a video response and answers to questions about racism and diversity issues on its campuses (available through this link).

2018-04-05T18:42:47-07:00April 4th, 2018|News|

A Quiet Witness

Adventist teen and shooting survivor, Samantha Grady, decides not to participate in weekend demonstrations.

On March 24, 2018, it is estimated that 800,000 protesters* attended the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C. Others attended large sibling rallies in cities such as New York, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Pittsburg, Minneapolis, and Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed during a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School. During the D.C. demonstration, victims of school shootings and celebrities spoke and/or performed while thousands of teens and young adults attended as advocates for gun-control. Many Christians, including Adventists, attended demonstrations across the U.S., undoubtedly feeling called by Christ to participate.

But one Parkland shooting victim and survivor who has gained some notoriety through numerous, televised interviews wasn’t in D.C. Or in Parkland, for that matter. On that March day, Samantha Grady was a state away from the Florida demonstration.

While Grady is still healing from wounds from two bullets, and even though she has participated in rallies in her community and at her high school, she decided to quietly stay out of the spotlight, not watching the CNN special that aired Friday night, nor attending any marches on Sabbath. That weekend, Grady traveled to Georgia with other Pompano Beach Seventh-day Adventist Church members to participate in a regional Pathfinder Bible Experience event.

“After CNN filmed me [for a profile], a group offered to pay our way to the march,” said Grady. “Hotel, airplane, everything. But going just wasn’t the right thing for me to do.”

Instead, she worshiped, prayed, and studied the Bible. A gifted soloist, pianist and viola player, Grady also took time to praise God with her supportive church family.

“My faith has brought me through this trial,” said Grady. “It’s a big part of who I am and I’m not afraid to talk about it or share it.” Grady is also not afraid to live it. For her—and her family—that meant, while casting no aspersions toward others, declining to participate.

“It’s not for us to decide what’s right for others,” said Sally Grady, Samantha’s mother. “For us . . . we will do what we always do on Sabbath. How could we do anything less?”

The Grady family, clear in their faith and reasoning, declared that it wasn’t luck that protected Samantha as the gunman fired shots into her fourth period classroom. “God intervened in her life and that is why she was saved,” said Mrs. Grady.

Samantha’s father agreed. “That’s the reason Samantha can carry on. God’s got plans for her and she knows it,” James Grady said. “It’s our faith in God that brought us here and our faith that will continue to keep us going on.”

“We don’t understand why God permits these things to happen, but He’s still in charge and He loves us,” said Mrs. Grady. “It was a very difficult time and still is, but I know with God’s grace we will get through it. I told Samantha that when darkness comes to her, remember Philippians 4:8.”

For Grady, she will continue to pursue her goal of being a pediatrician. And she will continue participation in her school’s Christian club, in her singing ministry, in Pathfinders and the Pathfinder Bible Experience, and with teaching kids at church.

As the Grady family, and a community, continue to heal in body and spirit, these words come to mind: “God’s people are neither to fear nor to despise their enemies. Putting their trust in God, they are to go steadily forward, doing His work with unselfishness, and committing to His providence the cause for which they stand” (Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 645).

* This figure was reported by March for Our Lives organizers; other groups have estimated the D.C. gathering to have been anywhere from 200,000 to more than 500,000.

— Kimberly Luste Maran is an associate director for the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Office of Communication; material for this article came from a video interview and conversations with the Grady family; video of the interview coming soon.

2018-04-05T18:43:12-07:00March 29th, 2018|News|

Del Delker, Adventist Music Icon, Asleep in Jesus

Del Delker, longtime soloist for Voice of Prophecy, passed away on Wednesday morning, January 31, 2018, in Porterville, Calif., at the age of 93.

Del, as generations of listeners and fellow believers knew her, spent much of her life and ministry in the Pacific Union and ministered to listeners around the globe with her rich and deep vocal talent.

Though known for her musical career, Del is also treasured for the friendship she offered those who knew her. “Del truly loved people,” said Ken Wade, writer and former executive producer of Voice of Prophecy. “She was a much-admired and emulated woman of faith, courage, fortitude, and compassion.”

For more than five decades, Del Delker was the Voice of Prophecy soloist. She traveled the world with Elder HMS Richards, Sr. and Elder HMS Richards, Jr.—and at thousands of events, she shared the musical billing with Brad and Olive Braley and The King’s Heralds. Adventists around the world fell in love with her contralto voice, and her quick-witted humor and dedication to ministry impressed her associates and audience alike.

Her music career began in 1947 when she joined the Voice of Prophecy as a secretary and musician. Despite feeling inadequate due of her lack of training in music, Del blossomed in her role. In 1948 she learned to sing in Spanish, opening a door to reach out to the Latin-American and Hispanic community. Del later learned to sing in Vietnamese and 12 other languages, and she sang of the love of Jesus in countries around the world, including the Philippines, Australia, and Brazil.

By 1951 she was finishing her first of over 40 albums. In 1958 Del graduated from La Sierra University​ with a Bachelor of Arts degree, after which she devoted her life to a ministry of music to others through song and her work with the Voice of Prophecy. She was a favorite artist at camp meetings and convocations, and she frequently collaborated with other musicians and groups.

“Perhaps Del, along with the HMS Richards family and the King’s Heralds, helped bring out the softer side of Adventism by talking and singing about the goodness of God,” Wade said.

Though she retired in 1990, Del Delker continued to travel with Voice of Prophecy as her health permitted.

Many employees of the Pacific Union remember Del fondly and were inspired by her work. “Del Delker touched more people around the world with her music and her testimony than any other single person I know,” said Connie Jeffery, associate communications director for the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

More details about Del Delker, the independent spirit and musical visionary who graced the world with her poise and sincere devotion to Jesus, were shared in the Friday, February 2, 2018, episode of All God’s People.

 

2018-04-05T18:43:39-07:00March 21st, 2018|News|

Court Reverses Decision in Favor of Sabbath Observers

In a ruling issued Wednesday morning, January 17, 2018, the Tenth Circuit US Court of Appeals reversed a summary judgment for Kellogg’s, sending a Sabbath discrimination case back to the lower court for trial.

Richard Tabura and Guadalupe Diaz worked at a Morningstar Farms plant in Clearfield, Utah, until they were both fired in 2012 for accumulating attendance points, largely on account of their Sabbath observance.

Kellogg’s had argued that their religion-neutral scheduling system, which permitted employees to use vacation or sick leave or to find swaps to obtain religious accommodation, satisfied its legal obligation. The Appellate Court rejected that argument. The Court concluded that “an employer cannot take refuge behind a neutral policy if something more is required reasonably to accommodate a religious need.” Even so, the Court declined to adopt a “per se” rule that a reasonable religious accommodation must “eliminate” the conflict between the religious practice and the job requirement. As a practical matter, the decision makes it very difficult for employers in future cases to avoid jury trials on the reasonableness of any accommodation. The Court clearly said: “Determining what is reasonable is a fact-specific determination that must be made on a case-by-case basis.” Fact determinations are reserved for the jury.

The Court also expressed doubt about Kellogg’s claim that providing the accommodation would result in an undue hardship, citing the lack of evidence in the record. The Court reminded Kellogg’s that it had the legal burden to prove undue hardship.

The case was filed by the Church State Council, with local counsel Eric Strindberg of the law firm of Strindberg & Scholnick. Appellate expert Gene Schaerr handled the appeal on behalf of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

 

2018-04-05T18:44:06-07:00March 21st, 2018|News|