SILVER SPRING - During a meeting of young adult delegates at the 2014 Annual Council, young church leaders received first-hand information about the upcoming women's ordination discussion and several more agenda items.
Approximately twenty young adults (numbers shifted slightly as some came and went), serving as members of the General Conference Executive committee for the 2010-2015 Quinquennium, gathered in a small room on the General Conference building's second floor to talk with Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) chair and GC General Vice President Artur Stele.
Annual Council Diary II
While the members of the General Conference Executive Committee have gathered to attend to church business at Annual Council, the meetings began with what could best be described as continuing education. Known as the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Conference, this year the sessions were very personal, beginning with the health talks on Thursday evening. Friday’s topic continued that personal slant as speakers, case studies and skits focused on appointments and disappointments.
New Pacific Union College chaplain and PUC Church associate pastor Jonathan Henderson took the university’s week of prayer as an opportunity to deliver a message that has resonated deeply with LGBTQ Adventists and their allies.
On Wednesday night, October 8, Pastor Henderson took the PUC Church stage for the third night in a row in a series on relationships. Monday night he highlighted Adam and God; Tuesday focused on Adam and Eve; and on Wednesday, Adam and Steve were the focal point of the conversation.
Annual Council Diary I
Every five years the Seventh-day Adventist church holds a General Conference session to elect officers, vote changes in the policies and practices of the church, and review beliefs and mission statements. The Annual Council session of the General Conference Executive Committee that vets all items for that meeting opened Thursday evening. Speculation about how the issue of women’s ordination will be handled has been swirling about since the completion of the Theology of Ordination Study Commission ended in a three-way divide over the issue.
I suspect that many readers will approach Osborn’s Death Before the Fall within the framework of the creation versus evolution debate that has long exercised churches and classrooms across the globe. Indeed, Osborn devotes more than half of his book to describing how the biblical literalism with which he was raised leads to scientifically incredible claims of a young earth and a prelapsarian deathless natural world, among other difficulties. While I affirm the importance of these and other “religion and science” discussions, my review will proceed in a different direction.
Adventists in Northern California called for prayers Wednesday evening for Weimar Institute. A rapidly-moving vegetation fire posed a possible threat to the Adventist education center in Colfax, Northern California. According to Cal Fire, the Applegate Fire broke out in dry woodland at about 1:30pm local time and was only 10% contained as night fell. Mandatory evacuations remained in effect for surrounding areas as the fire threatened some eighty structures. Several media outlets showed images of burned out buildings as crews battled five separate blazes that spread to over 380 acres.
Just days before the 2014 Annual Council, where women's ordination will be a topic of discussion, Gerard Damsteegt, professor of Church History at the Adventist Seminary at Andrews University, has spearheaded an effort to persuade seminary members to significantly revise their statement on headship. The Seminary's statement began "We, the faculty of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, affirm that Christ is the only Head of the Church (Eph 1:22; 5:23; Col 1:18).
The Sabbath morning “church service” portion of the 2014 Adventist Forum Conference in San Diego, “Singing Through Our Tears: Adventist Music and Great Disappointments,” began with music provided by Dr. Elvin Rodriguez, chair of the Music Department at La Sierra University, and his wife, Linette. This talented couple performed both solos and duets on the piano and accordion as well as accompanied each other’s vocal renditions.
Among Adventism's Great Stories is the story of the Advent Hope. It has in turn thrilled, comforted terrified and inspired generations of Adventists. Is there still hope for the Advent Hope? Where does it find expression today in the life of our faith community. Four speakers at the 2014 Adventist Forum Conference provided their approaches to the parousia, the Hope of God's Appearing.
Seventh-day Adventist leaders from around the world are on their way to Silver Spring, Maryland for the 2014 Annual Council. The meetings span six days, from October 9 to 15. Women's ordination, which current policy allows for deacons and elders, but not ministers, will come up on Tuesday, October 14.
Sunday morning in San Diego began with fellowship in the Fairbanks room as 2014 Adventist Forum Conference attendees gathered around tables and enjoyed breakfast and good company.
Laughter and merriment punctuated by lychees, strawberries, melons, chocolate truffles, fruit tarts and Worthington breakfast-patty biscuits and gravy prefaced Spectrum editor Bonnie Dwyer's taking the stage to recite poem “VI” from Wendell Berry’s This Day: New and Collected Sabbath Poems 1979-2012.
Turn to metaphor and ambiguity.
Address the disappointments of others.
Don’t think we determine the time of Christ’s return.
Left out won’t do; never give up.
Late Sabbath afternoon at the Adventist Forum’s conference on “The Great Adventist Stories,” four speakers addressed the ongoing experience of a community familiar, from the very beginning, with disappointment.
If you’ve ever attended the Sonscreen Film Festival, you’ve likely been impressed by the creativity and ingenuity on display.
Sabbath morning at the 2014 Adventist Forum Conference began with sunrise over San Diego’s South Bay, color seeping into the marina, barely illuminating the city skyline. With the day beginning outside large picture windows that way, Elvin and Linette Rodriguez led a participatory singing of Joseph Addison's "The Spacious Firmament" with a melody inspired by "The Creation" by Joseph Haydn. Elvin Rodriguez brought Haydn's magnum opus to life brilliantly before the audience joined together singing.