With bitter cold, snowy conditions outside in Columbia, Maryland, discussion of ordination heated up a hotel conference room not far from the Seventh-day Adventist World Church headquarters. Representatives of the Church's thirteen divisions presented reports from their respective theology of ordination committees to the 103-member General Conference Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC).
Within the span of two short weeks, Ryan Bell's announcement that he would spend 2014 without God went from a single blog post to the subject of major, international news coverage. It's a trajectory, Bell says, he couldn't have predicted. Within the first two days after Bell announced the project in an article on the Huffington Post, people flocked to the project's website and flooded the blogosphere and social media with comments.
Kinship International, whose misssion is to provide a safe spiritual and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists, issued a statement in response to the Ugandan Parliament's so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would make certain sex acts punishable by life imprisonment.
The Napa Valley Register reports that Pacific Union College is suing its former partner, Sustainable Community Partners LLC, to prevent the company's use of a procedural maneuver to block the sale of land PUC owns. The college agreed in early 2013 to sell off a large portion of its Angwin, California property for development. Sustainable Community Partners was to be the developer.
"I believe. Help Thou my unbelief." Except in this case, without the "I believe." And without "Thou."
For former Hollywood Adventist Church pastor Ryan Bell, 2014's motto could well be "Help my unbelief." Bell published an article New Year's Eve on The Huffington Post announcing that he would live a year without God. His plan was to eschew Christian sacred texts and instead look to non-religious thinkers for insight in a new season of unbelief.
The Adventist Church's religious liberty arm, the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department, released a public service announcement video in concert with COMFILMS (www.comfilms.com) entitled "Discrimination Destroys People."
Accompanying the video came the following description:
"In 1893 the Seventh-day Adventist Church has founded the 'International Religious Liberty Association' (IRLA). This NGO promotes religious liberty for all people to this day. In 1901, the Adventist Church has installed the department 'Public Affairs and Religious Liberty' (PARL) to defend and promote religious liberty."
"This film clip deals with the universality and indivisibility of religious liberty and has been produced in six languages for the church's internal Religious Liberty Day in January 2014 by young Adventists together with COMFILMS."
On September 13 at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington, two young ladies, Rande McDaniel and Britney Moss, joined in marriage under the state’s recently-enacted same-sex marriage bill. The occasion was an intimate dinner in a modern, minimalistic event room with some forty to fifty close friends and family members. After a catered meal and stories about the couple, Rande and Britney exchanged vows.
Seventh-Gay Adventists: A Film About Faith on the Margins is now available Online to anyone with an internet connection, its makers announced. Daneen Akers and Stephen Eyer, the couple who created and produced the film, have released it digitally on their website just in advance of the Holiday Season. It can be streamed from the site, and DVD and Blu-ray copies will be shipping on December 10, Akers said in an email notification to the film's followers.
In a unanimous vote, the Trans-European Division Executive Committee affirmed the 730-page Theology of Ordination report from the division's ad hoc Biblical Research Committee. Chief among the committee's recommendations was that "the Church should allow for an inclusive and gender-neutral ministry, which means that credentials will be granted to men and women on equal terms for all offices which require ordination, presently the gospel minister, the elder, and the deacon/deaconess."