N E W S B R E A K
George Vandeman Dies
George Vandeman, 84, passed away in
his sleep early November 3 at his home in Newbury Park, California, Vandeman
founded It Is Written television ministry and served as primary evangelist and
director for more than 30 years.
The Seventh-day Adventist evangelist
and author was born in 1916. The It Is Written ministry was established in 1956
in California, and was a pioneering force in the Adventist Church's use of communication
technology for public evangelism.
For 2,000 consecutive Sundays, Vandeman
was a guest in the living rooms of millions of Americans for a half-hour
look into the window of Christianity. As a pastor in Fresno, California, he
began the ministry as a 13-week experiment. Today It Is Written is seen
via broadcast, cable TV and satellite in more than 5,000 cities in the United
States and Canada and in eight languages in more than 150 countries around the
Vandeman's warm voice defined a new
approach for religious television. Instead of preaching, he quietly shared
insights from God's Word to meet people's needs. Taped in a homelike setting,
his programs used a semi-documentary format, illustrated with footage
from current events, history, and science. Vandeman was also a pioneer in the
tele-seminar format, in which groups in many locations around the country
could study together via satellite downlink. He founded the New Gallery Centre
in London to serve as a metropolitan headquarters for city evangelism and community
It is Written received 10 Angel Awards
from Religion in Media. In 1980 Vandeman received the Religious Heritage of
America Faith and Freedom Award for Television Religious Personality of the
Year. He was a member of Religious Heritage of America, the Strategy for the
Elevation of People Foundation, and the Year of the Bible Committee. Vandeman
was invited to presidential briefings during both the Reagan and Bush administrations.
One of his most popular TV miniseries
focused on different faith groups: "What I like about ..." The series
then described the common aspects of faith between Seventh-day Adventists
and Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Charismatics, and others.
"George Vandeman was a visionary
who often was far ahead of time," says Mark Finley, who became leader of
the ministry in 1992. "He had the unique ability to see possibilities where
others saw only problems. George had the ability to communicate to people at
all levels, but he especially ministered to people who are highly educated,
affluent, and in upper echelons of society. He seemed to understand their heartaches,
their longings, and their basic human needs."
Vandeman's family has expressed its
appreciation for the prayers and support of their Adventist Church family, both
locally and around the world. He is survived by his wife, Nellie, who lives
in Camarillo, California, nursing facility, and by three children, sons Ron
and George Jr. and daughter Connie.
Edited by Monti Sahlin, this report includes material from the
Adventist News Network reported by Bettina Krause, an obituary written by Elwyn
Platner, communication director of the Pacific Union Conference, and Betty Cooney,
communication director of the Southern California Conference.