Village Church to Host Humanitarian Agency Speaker
Jonathan Duffy, President of ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) International, will be the 11 a.m. guest speaker at the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church, 715 SE 12th Street, College Place, on Saturday, September 14, 2019.
According to its website ADRA is a global humanitarian organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church created as a means of expressing God’s love and compassion. “We strive to follow the Biblical admonition for Christ’s followers to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty and provide shelter for the stranger,” a spokesperson explains. “As needs arise and challenges grow we are tasked every day with finding new ways to realize our mission—reflecting God’s love through compassionate acts of humanitarian service around the world.”
Duffy came to ADRA in October, 2012, from his previous post as CEO of ADRA Australia. Before joining ADRA on that continent he served as the denomination’s Director of Adventist Health for its South Pacific Division, where he had extensive experience in health promotion and community health development.
Established in 1956 by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the agency underwent two name changes before becoming ADRA in 1984. Originally called Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS), it became Seventh-day Adventist World Service in 1973.
While the name changed throughout the early years, core principles remained. In 1958, SAWS reported disaster relief shipments to 22 countries with a total value of $485,000. Four years later the number of countries increased to 29, totaling $2.3 million worth of supplies. During this period sites of major disasters in South America and Middle East countries were recipients of immediate emergency relief.
By the mid-1970s the mission broadened from disaster relief to long-term development projects in vulnerable communities. From an initial international staff of approximately 600, programs expanded to include building health clinics in parts of Africa, assisting hurricane victims in Central America, teaching hygiene and health to children in Asia, and supporting women and girls through education.
In 1997 the United Nations granted ADRA General Consultative Status, the highest status given to nongovernmental organizations, which allowed them the opportunity to participate in the international community on a broader scale.
Today ADRA, through an international network with main offices at the Seventh-day Adventist denominational headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, is a leading humanitarian agency with a dedicated team of 6,000 staff and volunteers operating in more than 130 countries without regard to ethnicity, political affiliation or religious association. With offices often miles and oceans apart, they still work together as a unified whole, partnering with communities, other relief organizations and governments to improve the quality of life for millions and bring positive transformation to a world in need.