40 Years Young - Celebrating ADRA-UK

40 Years Young - Celebrating ADRA-UK

Catherine Anthony Boldeau and BUC Communications

After a successful event in the Houses of Parliament, ADRA-UK continued its celebrations on Sabbath 25 and Sunday 26 May at the Stanborough Park church and the grounds, respectively. 


At the heart of ADRA's work is the mission of Christ. Based on Matthew 9:36, "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd," the theme for the weekend was 'Call to Compassion'. 

Sabbath School attendees were invited to participate in discussions centred around 'the least of these' with guest teachers Dr Steve Currow, Newbold Principal and Pastor Raafat Kamal, ADRA Norway. 

'Seeing the Invisible' was the sermon's title delivered by Dr Zivayi Nengomasha, recently appointed Chief Impact Officer, ADRA International. In the short but powerful message, she invited the audience to reflect on their treatment of marginalised groups in their communities around the world. 


Throughout the day, stories of ADRA's reach were shared. Representatives from Ukraine, Syria, Zambia, South Sudan, and Sudan, and ADRA International shared current data on the impact of ADRA's development and humanitarian work around the globe. 

A pop-up exhibition detailing ADRA-UK's work over the past 40 years was created. Curated by then Interim CEO Helia Mateus in collaboration with Howa Avan Nomayo, Chief Programmes Officer, it highlighted the 2.5 million plus people reached over the past 40 years from 120 projects with over £50 million in grants, with the reach spanning 47 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and UK with partners, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, UK Aid, European Union, the UN and Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA).

The Sabbath School Mission Report, delivered by Jose Orcozo, Programmes Officer and Programmes Intern Alicia Middleditch, focused on Nepal. The two spoke about their recent visit to the country and the livelihood project that ADRA-UK has implemented with ADRA Nepal and JOA. 

Personal Stories

Through the Children's Story in the morning worship, Audrey Huzzey, supported by her granddaughter, Caitlin, related one of the stories of her late husband, David Balderstone, who was shot at while driving his truck through Eastern Europe delivering needed supplies. She showed the children the safety helmet and bulletproof vest that he wore. She encouraged them not to be afraid to do good for those in need.

The second of the personal stories was about romance, which was pre-recorded as an audiovisual presentation; it was played during the afternoon concert and featured the love story of Pastor Nathan Stickland and his wife, Emma, who met through her working for ADRA-UK and him being a volunteer driver together with David Balderstone. 


As part of the celebrations, awards were given to institutions that had supported ADRA-UK over the 40 years, including the two Conferences, Missions, ADRA CEOs, board chairs, and ex-officio trustees.

Only two personal awards were given for outstanding contributions to ADRA-UK.

The first was to Ruth Arthur for the legacy she continues in memory of her late husband, Pastor John Arthur.

In 1981, he was elected British Union Conference (BUC) Vice-President, Director of Communications, Religious Liberty and Welfare and served in these roles until his appointment to President in 1985. During this time, the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church decided to reorganise their Welfare work as more humanitarian demands were developing across the world.

They requested suggestions for a new name. John submitted the acronym ADRA, standing for Adventist Development & Relief Agency. To his surprise, his recommendation was adopted.

John then applied for British Government recognition of this new Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). After extensive interviews and form filling, ADRA-UK became a registered Charity in 1984. From that date, the annual Ingathering Collection each April, which was known as Worldwide Advent Missions, was changed to the ADRA Appeal for humanitarian aid around the world.

In 1985, John was voted President of the BUC and held this role alongside being the first ADRA-UK Director (now CEO).

John went on to serve ADRA at the Division level as the first Director of ADRA-TED in 1989. His work was recognised by Buckingham Palace, and he received an OBE for his services to International Development.

The second award was given to Audrey Huzzey for the legacy of her late husband, David Balderstone.

David's first experience of Humanitarian Aid work was before ADRA was formed. In 1968, under the auspices of the Trans-European Division and the Red Cross, he went as a volunteer to Nigeria during the Biafran War. His experiences there shaped the rest of his life and gave him a burning desire to help those who needed help in any way.

When war broke out in Bosnia in 1992, David and others were keen to help ADRA-UK. Several friends purchased a cab and trailer. There was no money, so Audrey, his wife, organised a Flower Festival to raise funds for transportation. Over many years, we also collected many boxes of food, clothing, medicine, and goods. David often told stories of how our 'Boxes for Bosnia' helped families stay alive when food was scarce.

Trips in those days took him away from his business for about three weeks at a time, and Audrey ran the business in his absence. She remembers one of the early trips. "It was a Friday evening, and we expected him home soon. He rang, and instead of saying when he would be back, he asked, 'How would you feel about me going into Sarajevo?' My heart sank. The fierce fighting around Sarajevo was on the news every day. All I could say was, 'We will pray for you every day.'"

When David was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in 1998, he chose to tell only the family and a few people who needed to know because he wanted to carry on with his work without people being concerned about his health. God gave him eleven years, during which he continued his trips for ADRA-UK while having cancer treatment. In December 2009, he packed the last truckload of Christmas shoe boxes to send to children in the former Yugoslavia. A month later, in January 2010, his ADRA-shaped heart ceased to beat. His work was done.


Music featured extensively throughout the weekend, particularly on Sabbath. Guests included the award-winning London Adventist Chorale led by Ken Burton, who delivered, 'The Lord's Prayer' and 'Rest' in the Worship Service with upbeat negro spirituals in the afternoon fundraising concert, the male quartet, Tessera (Songs of Praise) whose rendition of, 'Make Me a Channel of Your Peace', immediately preceded the Sabbath message, The Levites, a British Zambian Choir, where one of the leading singers, is Brian Nsonga, a former Chief Financial Officer of ADRA-UK. 

Local musicians included classical pianist Ian Redfern from the St Albans church, Jieun Ahn (violin 1), Gabriella Pedditzi (violin 2), Sangbin Jung (viola/violin), Jihee Ahn (violoncello), Jiaa Ahn (piano), and Yui Hanada (organ) from the Stanborough Park church. The ensemble for the day was formed, and Amy Cornwall (accompanied by Matthew Herman) delivered a beautiful and meaningful performance of 'The Compassion Hymn'. 

The afternoon's surprise was the solo 'Call to Compassion' sung by ADRA Ambassador Bobby Carr. The piece was composed by Catherine Anthony Boldeau, outgoing Communication and Engagement Lead for ADRA-UK, and superbly arranged by Ken Burton. Based on the scripture for the day the words spoke of the 'mighty call of the Father', the 'tender call of Jesus', and the 'silent call of the Spirit' to compassion. 

Party in the Park

To end the celebrations, ADRA-UK collaborated with various church entities to host a special 'Party in the Park', inviting the local community to join them. Despite the intermittent showers, characteristic of the late May Bank Holiday weekend, members of the public were entertained by music, quizzes, football competitions, invitations to participate in community games, health checks, and walking around the many stalls on display around Stanborough Park. 

Commenting on the celebrations, incoming ADRA-UK CEO Sandra Golding said, "It was heart-warming to recognise the work of ADRA-UK over the past forty years. Thanks to the team at ADRA-UK for planning and hosting the event in Parliament and the celebratory weekend. 

"As I take up the mantle of leading the organisation, I believe that together, with the help of God, we will be able to say together, WE ARE ADRA, and we are here to make a difference."

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