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May 21 in the Adventist History

Robert E. Costa Evangelism and Church Growth Minist. Ass.

May 21, 1863

The General Conference was organized in Battle Creek, Michigan, where the headquarters remained until 1903. Twenty delegates were in attendance, four from the state of New York, two from Ohio, 10 from Michigan (eight ministers and two laypersons), one from Wisconsin, two from Iowa, and one from Minnesota. Of the conferences then in existence, only the Vermont Conference was not represented. Committees on constitution, credentials, and nominations were duly appointed, and the constitution of the General Conference was adopted. It consisted of nine articles setting forth the usual features of organization and provided for representation from the constituent conferences to the yearly sessions.

May 21, 1888

The Arkansas Conference was organized with 10 churches and 226 members. J. P. Henderson, the only ordained minister on the staff, was president; licentiates included E. B. Young, secretary; William Martin, treasurer; and W. J. Kerr. A camp meeting was held at Rogers, Aug. 20‑27, 1889. Ellen G. White attended a meeting at Springdale in March 1890. In 1932, when the economic depression necessitated adjustments in administration, major territorial changes were effected in several union conferences. Louisiana, after its 12‑year union with Mississippi, was transferred to the Southwestern Union Conference and joined to Arkansas. The Louisiana Conference was reluctant to break its ties with Mississippi and the Southern Union, but once the transfer was effected, a good spirit of solidarity developed.

May 21, 1895

A church was organized in Norfolk Island by J. M. Cole.. SDAs first visited Norfolk Island late in September 1891, when the missionary vessel Pitcairn brought a party of missionaries headed by E. H. Gates. In the party were also several recently baptized Pitcairners who had come to visit their relatives. A minister, A. J. Read, and his wife were left on the island and stayed from September 1891 to March 1892. A territory of Australia, lying in the Pacific about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) northeast of Sydney. The island has an area of 13.3 square miles (34.4 square kilometers) and a population (1990) of 1,800. In 1788 Norfolk Island became a British convict settlement, and served as such until 1855. In 1856 all of the nearly 200 inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, descendants of the mutineers of the Bounty, were transferred to Norfolk Island. (Within a few years about 40 returned to Pitcairn Island; from these are descended the present islanders.)

May 21, 1911

The first 10 Luo believers were baptized in Kenya. The first Seventh‑day Adventist missionary to Kenya was Canadian‑born A. A. Carscallen, who arrived from Britain in 1906. With the assistance of E. C. Enns, a German missionary from Pare in Tanzania, he chose as the site for the first mission station a five‑acre (two‑hectare) plot at Gendia Hill, about two miles (three kilometers) inland from Kendu Bay of Lake Victoria. This site was among the Luo people in what is now South Nyanza. Working with Carscallen was Peter Nyambo, a Seventh‑day Adventist worker originally from Malawi who had come with him from England. Within 14 months Carscallen reported that he had erected the basic mission buildings and had learned the Luo language, which had never before been reduced to writing. Later, he made a Luo translation of the Gospel of Matthew, which was accepted for publication in 1913 by the British and Foreign Bible Society of London.

May 21, 1913

Fifty years to the day from the time that the General Conference was organized, aconstitution and bylaws for a European Division Conference were submitted to the General Conference delegates and accepted the next day. The division conference was an administrative unit intermediate between the union conference and the General Conference, with unions as its constituency and the source of its authority. The territory of the General Conference was to be composed of the North American and European Division conferences, the Asiatic Division Mission, and all other union and local conferences and missions. In the same year the South American Division was authorized.

May 21, 1950

Faith for Today telecast was launched, and it enjoys the distinction of being the longest‑running nonnews program aired on television for many years. Only Meet the Press has had a longer run. In the spring of 1950, at the urgent request of the Atlantic Union, a committee was appointed by the General Conference to investigate the possibility of telecasting on one of the New York City television stations. With the signing of a 13‑week contract with WJZ‑TV for release of an SDA telecast at 9:30 each Sunday evening, William A. Fagal, a pastor in New York City, who had conducted a successful six‑year program of radio and public evangelism in the area, pioneered this project. After wide counsel both within and without the denomination, the "parable approach" program format was adopted, which allowed for a wide latitude in subject matter to be presented in story form: the portrayal of everyday problems of life, followed by the Bible's solution; then a five‑minute sermonet by the pastor to solidify the discussion in the story. Several gospel songs were included, the program ending with an invitation by Mrs. Fagal, along with her husband, to enroll in the Bible correspondence course. The year 1980 marked a major transition for the program. Pastor Fagal continued to be active, but turned the leadership of the organization over to Daniel G. Matthews. Pastor Matthews had broad experience as a pastor, public relations director, and conference administrator. He hosted an entirely new format in 1985 entitled Christian Lifestyle Magazine, featuring interviews and mini‑documentaries of people who put their faith into action to make a difference for good in a needy world.

May 21, 1956

Benghazi Adventist Hospital was formally opened by Dr. Roy S. Cornell, who had arrived Feb. 2, 1955, and had supervised the remodeling of a war‑damaged hotel building secured for the hospital, purchased equipment, and arranged for a staff, while assisting the Libyan government as chief surgeon at the government hospital in Benghazi. The hospital was operated by the Nile Union Mission, until, at the end of 1958, it came under the direct control of the Middle East Division. A 32‑bed general hospital formerly operated by the Middle East Division in Benghazi, Cyrenaica, Libya, immediately east of the main commercial section of the city. It was administered by a medical director. The institution operated Medical, Surgical, and Obstetrical departments, and provided laboratory, X‑ray, and pharmaceutical services. In 1964 a school of nursing was opened for training registered nurses and nurse's aids. On Nov. 23, 1969, the new Revolutionary Command Council, whose policy required that all medical services be owned and administered by the government, nationalized the hospital. The expatriate staff, consisting of 48 families and single workers from the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, and several Arab countries of the Middle East, were relocated outside the country.

May 21‑25, 1973

The Seventh‑day Adventist Theological Seminary (Far East) at Philippine Union College was granted membership in the Association of Theological Schools of Southeast Asia at an accreditation meeting. A coeducational boarding school on the senior college and graduate level operated by the North Philippine Union. The school is situated at Puting Kahoy, Silang, Cavite. Plans to establish a training school in the Philippines were laid as early as 1915, when Arthur G. Daniells visited there. In 1916 L. V. Finster, president of the field, did the preparatory work, and I. A. Steinel and O. F. Sevrens arrived. The school's first building, costing approximately US$4,000 (P6,500), was erected near the outskirts of Manila, in Pasay, Rizal Province, on a five‑acre (two‑hectare) plot of land, on which were situated also the publishing house and three homes.