Store your treasures in Heaven...cuz they might disappear with the Secretary

Store your treasures in Heaven...cuz they might disappear with the Secretary



Former Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

Store your treasures in Heaven...cuz they might disappear with the Secretary

In February, we informed you that Sarah Kurtz, former secretary/treasurer at Village Seventh-day Adventist School in Berrien Springs, MI, was facing a possible charge of embezzlement. The disappearance of funds came to light last summer when the school principal and senior pastor of Village SDA Church grew suspicious after communication with Kurtz became strained. 

Pastor, do you recognize this charge for a new Ferrari?

Kurtz was accused of embezzling $229,000. The school sent letters out to parents last November notifying them of the situation and investigation. The letters included assurance from the principal that the money would be returned and that Village would recover. A recent audit revealed that money was embezzled from the school in a number of ways - including automatic bill payments, the use of the school’s debit card for personal purchases, fund transfers to a personal account, and cash payments. Sarah’s husband, Berrien County Sheriff’s Lt. Martin Kurtz, was also investigated to see if he played any role in the crime or knew of it. He was cleared, leaving Sarah Kurtz to face the charges alone.

Give me the Trial Tea

The trial began on April 30 of this year and was settled last week when Kurtz was sentenced to 120 days of jail time, immediately followed by five years of probation. In addition, Berrien County Trial Court Judge Charles LaSata ordered her to pay $2,628 in fines and costs, $272,787 in restitution to Village Seventh-Day Adventist School, and serve 200 hours of community service after her release from jail. Kurtz admitted to stealing the money over a seven-year period between January 2011 and September 2018. She was originally charged with embezzlement of over $100,000, which is a felony, punishable by 20 years in prison. She accepted a compromise and pled guilty to embezzlement of $50,000 to $100,000, a felony with a maximum of 15 years in prison. However, because Kurtz had no criminal history and agreed to return the stolen funds, Berrien Assistant Prosecutor Rory McBryde recommended no prison time. After sentencing, Kurtz tearfully apologized to those in court, including her family, friends, and husband.

Word on the street is…

Many in the Berrien Springs community are surprised at such a comparatively light sentence. Some commenters expressed concern that the crime would have been swept under the rug by the school or the conference if not for the media spotlight and that the serious nature of Kurtz’s crime demands a more serious punishment. Others question the competence of those to whom Kurtz reported in the school, church, and Michigan Conference, wondering how this illegal activity could have gone on for so long without being caught. 


North Zimbabwe Conference President Under Investigation for Embezzlement

This week’s theme: embezzlement, apparently

Disclaimer: The Sunday Mail is a local paper of Zimbabwe, and the only source to pick up this story thus far. The source contains some grammatical errors due to language barriers.

Pastor Albert Mangwende, president of North Zimbabwe Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is currently under investigation for embezzling more than $20,000. This investigation was confirmed by the executive secretary of Zimbabwe East Union, Pastor Zibusiso Ndlovu. As the audit is ongoing, details could not be disclosed. Pastor Mangwende confirmed he is under audit, but that no one has given him official communication of what he is being accused of. He further denies the allegations he has heard claiming there is a paper trail of transactions. Adventists in the North Zimbabwe Conference have expressed concerns with church politics causing controversy, saying a lot more is happening in rivalries and power struggles, with much being swept under the rug. As this is a developing story, we will keep you posted when more info is released.

Major Lawsuit Filed Against Adventist Hospital 

Employees must wash hands (and tools) before returning to work

On June 15, another lawsuit was filed against Porter Adventist Hospital, a 368-bed acute care hospital in Denver, CO, for exposing patients to infection. In 2016, a doctor nearly lost her life due to a surgical site infection. She sued the hospital for performing surgeries despite a history of poor sanitation and infections. In early 2018, Porter Hospital notified approximately 5,800 patients of the potential introduction of infection due to faulty sterilization of surgical tools. These patients had received orthopedic or spinal surgeries at the hospital between July 21, 2016, and April 5, 2018. The number of individuals suing now totals 67 patients and 20 spouses.

First European Female Pastors Convention

Girl Power!

On June 2, female Adventist Pastors from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Switzerland came together for the first ever European Female Pastors Convention at the Friendsau Adventist University near Berlin, Germany. Organized by the Inter-European Region of the Seventh-day Adventists (EUD), this high-quality program gave these pastors the chance to hear encouraging stories from other women such as Director of the In Ministry Center and NAD Ministerial Associate Director, Esther Knott, and Simone Emmert, an attorney who teaches Law at Friedensau. Topics such as women’s rights and equality, sexual abuse, and the differences between how men and women lead were just a few of the topics speakers presented at the convention. This convention gave women a place to share their stories and struggles as females leading in ministry. Many Adventists are celebrating the convention’s intentional empowerment and celebration of female pastors, while those with a traditional view of women in pastoral ministry do not support events like these.

Crises BUM me out

Crises BUM me out

I said I’d do it...I just didn’t say when

I said I’d do it...I just didn’t say when