Adventist Church Adopts Stance on Vaccines
Also in brief: $78 million hospital expansion, Hope Channel in Los Angeles, help for the disabled in Jamaica, and ADRA sends gifts to Togo children.
, news editor, Adventist Review
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has issued an official statement on vaccines, saying it “encourages responsible immunization” and has no faith-based reason to discourage believers from participating in immunization programs.
The full statement, titled, “Immunization,” says:
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church places strong emphasis on health and well-being. The Adventist health emphasis is based on biblical revelation, the inspired writing of E.G. White (co-founder of the church), and on peer-reviewed scientific literature. As such, we encourage responsible immunization/vaccination, and have no religious or faith-based reason not to encourage our adherents to responsibly participate in protective and preventive immunization programs. We value the health and safety of the population, which includes the maintenance of ‘herd immunity.’
“We are not the conscience of the individual church member, and recognize individual choices. These are exercised by the individual. The choice not to be immunized is not and should not be seen as the dogma nor the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Adventist Hospital in $78M Expansion
Adventist-owned Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel will begin construction this summer on a $78 million expansion that will nearly double the size of patient rooms, operating rooms and emergency rooms.
“Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel was originally designed with the ability to grow with the needs of the community,” chief medical officer Robert Rosequist said in a statement. “Since opening less than three years ago, the hospital has experienced extremely high volumes of patients seeking care.”
The 200,000-square-foot hospital opened on Oct. 1, 2012, with 83 inpatient rooms, 18 emergency rooms, a catheterization lab, and five operating rooms. The cost of the land and construction of the hospital and adjacent medical office building in Wesley Chapel, Florida, was $161 million.
The expansion involves 111,993 square feet of new construction that will add three additional floors to the hospital's center wing and add an additional three-story wing that will connect the south and center wings.
Construction is expected to begin on Aug. 5, with the expansion opening at the end of 2016.
Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel is an 83-bed hospital owned by Adventist Health System.
Hope Channel Available in L.A.
Seventh-day Adventist Church-owned Hope Channel is now available via free-to-air television in the entire Los Angeles metro area, the second-largest television market in North America.
Hope Channel’s newest broadcast is available on KVMD, channel 31.6, and covers the geographical area between Yuma, Arizona, and Santa Barbara, California, with the potential of reaching more than 14.4 million viewers, it said.
“Hope Channel is excited about its presence in the Los Angeles metro area,” it said in a statement. “This new broadcast will expand its reach in delivering Christian shows that promote a holistic, healthy, balanced lifestyle.”
Hope Channel, which broadcasts in dozens of countries around the world, is already on free-to-air television in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Tampa, and other U.S. cities.
See hopetv.org/watch/local-channels for a complete list of cities.
A Pledge to Jamaica's Disabled
The Adventist leader in Jamaica has promised major changes in how churches are built and worship services are held to better accommodate disabled people.
“A change of thinking, the way we think about each other must take place,” Everett Brown, president of the church’s Jamaica Union Conference, said at a church-organized Special Needs Summit last weekend.
Brown invited a disabled church member from northern Jamaica to assist with the plans by participating in the next business meeting of the union’s executive committee.
Brown also said churches nationwide would recognize the second week of March as Special Needs Awareness Week annually. The second Sabbath of the month will be observed as Special Needs Awareness Day.
About 28 percent of Jamaicans, or 785,000 people, live with disabilities, according to government statistics.
ADRA Sends Toys to Togo
The U.K. branch of ADRA has sent gift boxes to thousands of children in the West African country of Togo as part of its annual ADRA Gift Box Appeal.
Thousands of volunteers across Britain, including many schoolchildren, chipped in to prepare the boxes containing clothes, toys, school supplies, and toothpaste.
The gifts were received with joy in Togo.
Bert Smit, head of ADRA-U.K., said he felt pretty good about the initiative as well.
"I want to say a big thank you to everyone who packed, paid for, and checked a box,” he said. “It is such a rewarding feeling to be involved with the gift box appeal."
The destination for the next ADRA Gift Box Appeal, for 2015, is under discussion.
A report on Togo television about ADRA's distribution of the boxes to children.