oining the ranks of approximately two dozen entities, the Republic of the Philippine government has released a postal commemoration of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's 100 years in the country.
The stamp depicts "God watches over Manila," a painting rendered by O.T. Navarra in 1967 that was displayed at the Manila Adventist Medical Center. It also includes the Seventh-day Adventist logo, which reflects the core values the church is committed to, and a new Adventist Church in the Northern Philippines.
Alfonso Divina, a longtime post office employee and an Adventist church member, worked on the design and layout of the stamp. Leomer Batulayan, former director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in the Philippines, coordinated the process of seeking approval for this commemorative postal stamp.
"This is a very thrilling but humbling experience to be part of the celebration through the talent God has given me," Divina said. "Now I am happy to retire from government service because I have already rendered something memorable for my church."
The 6-peso stamp (approx. US $0.11), issued February 16, covers the basic domestic letter rate in each of the country's main regions. The full-color stamp issue marked the church's centennial, celebrated March 2 to 5 by the more than 1.3 million Adventists in the 7,100-island republic.
During his recent visit to the country, Pastor Jan Paulsen, president of the Adventist world church, was presented with a framed sheet of the stamps, according to Jonathan C. Catolico, communication director for the church's Southern Asia Pacific region.
In its 100 years of work in the Philippines, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has established 4,190 churches, seven hospitals, and hundreds of schools, including a university, making it the largest Protestant educational system in the Philippines. One of its leading medical institutions is the 75-year-old Manila Adventist Medical Center, formerly the Manila Sanitarium and Hospital, in Pasay City, which is in the forefront of preventive and alternative medicine.
Although adhesive postage stamps have been around for 165 years, it's only within the past 38 years that stamps have depicted Adventist themes. The first was from Madagascar in 1967.
--Adventist News Network
U.S. Senator Clinton Lauds Adventists
for Supporting Religious Freedom
More than 200 clergy, diplomats, legislative personnel, and other special guests converged on Capitol Hill April 7 to attend the third annual religious liberty dinner sponsored by Liberty magazine and the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA).
Held in the historic Senate Caucus Room, the evening's featured speaker was U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. Previous speakers included Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey. President George W. Bush has sent video greetings to the Adventist Church in past years.
In her address, Clinton declared that religious freedom issues are of the utmost importance today. "Those of us who are people of faith are so aware of what that means in our lives that it is sometimes a challenge for us to understand our obligations to make space for nonbelievers," she said.
Calling the Seventh-day Adventist Church a "vital force" for religious freedom at home and abroad, Sen. Clinton lauded the involvement of the church, its 100-year-old Liberty magazine, and the International Religious Liberty Association, which the church organized in 1893. IRLA became a nonsectarian organization in 1946 and has among its board members representatives of many different faith communities.
"With 14 million church members worldwide and 1 million here in the U. S., you understand very well the importance of religious freedom and freedom of conscience," Sen. Clinton said. "It is your work, often, on the frontlines of religious liberty that helps to tell the rest of the world of the story of the oppressed [who are] in so many ways denied their rights to live and believe as they choose."
She added, "I also want to thank the church for the work you do for people in need here in our country and, indeed, around the world. Your health-care system--something I care deeply about--is a great example of you living your faith."
James Standish, executive director of the North American Religious Liberty Association, praised Sen. Clinton as a "true friend" to those suffering religious discrimination. He commended Clinton for promoting religious freedom abroad and at home, the latter as a cosponsor of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA), reintroduced last month by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, a 2004 U.S. presidential candidate, and Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
The dinner also featured awards to several people who have helped in the struggle for religious freedom: Bert B. Beach, former Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director for the world church; Roland Hegsted, retired Liberty editor; R. L. Fenn, a retired religious liberty director for the Adventist Church; and Ambassador Robert Seiple, former head of World Vision and the first United States Ambassador for Religious Freedom. --Adventist News Network
700 UK Participants Go “13 Miles for Good”
More than 700 men, women, and youth walked, jogged, ran, cycled, or skated their way around Hyde Park, London, England, on March 20 to raise money for disaster relief. The ADRA-UK “13 Miles for Good” half-marathon, now in its third year, was organized jointly by the South England Conference Personal Ministries and Youth departments.
Last year more than £20,000 (about US$37,500) was raised by the event to support disaster relief in Darfur (Sudan), Liberia, Zambia, the Caribbean, and Bangladesh. This year’s proceeds will help finance projects in Peru, Nepal, Kazakhstan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Pakistan, and special-needs children programs in the United Kingdom.
--British Union Conference News/AR.
LaSierra University Tops List of Dental School Feeders
According to an article in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of Dental Education titled “Characteristics of Dental School Feeder Institutions,” La Sierra University in Riverside, California, tops the list of schools that send the greatest percentage of their students to dental school. The university is also among the top 50 schools that provide the greatest actual number of applicants for dental school.
The article sites the reason for the high percentage as the Adventist Church’s strong adherence to its health message
--La Sierra University Public Relations Department/AR.
Dell Reinstates Muslim Employees
Who Want to Pray at Work
Thirty-one Muslim contract employees at a Dell, Inc. plant in Nashville, Tennessee, have been reinstated a month after they left work alleging that the company discriminated against them because of their need to pray at work.
The company, together with advocacy groups, announced Thursday, March 17, that a settlement between the workers and the world's largest computer systems company had been reached. The settlement includes back pay for the employees and full reinstatement of their jobs, as well as provisions for religious accommodation.
Muslims are religiously required to pray five times a day, a practice that American Muslims carry into the workplace with them.
In addition to reinstating the workers, the settlement provides that employees be granted paid time away from their work areas to pray, "as long as those requests are reasonable." --Religion News Service
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