In a video message, Lake Union Conference President Don Livesay has invited members of the conference to join him for “A Journey to Healing and Understanding.” The event, slated for October 1 at the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan, is an opportunity for union members to share personal experiences with racial tension in the church and a chance for attendees to listen closely.
The special meeting follows feedback Elder Livesay received after apologizing last summer for the racist roots of the Lake Region Conference. Livesay stated during the conference’s 70th anniversary celebration that it was racism in the 1940s that led to the creation of the conference. The Lake Region Conference is one of five conferences that make up the Lake Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota.
After this apology last summer, people came to him with their personal stories, Livesay said in the video. The stories opened his eyes to the journey that African Americans and other minority groups have experienced in the United States. “It led me to believe that those stories must be shared to a wider audience,” he said. Livesay explained that the meeting is “designed to hear the stories that exist in those of color as they live in this country and even as they worship in the Seventh-day Adventist church.” He highlighted the importance of listening: “It’s a time that we pray that, of telling the stories, healing can take place.”
Livesay urged white members of the union in particular to come and listen to the stories being told in order to better understand the historically multicultural membership of the conference. As racial tensions become clearer in our society, Livesay added, it is the time for the church to come together and “rise above the culture around us and come together to hear each other, to find each other spiritually and journey forward for the mission of this church.” The Village Seventh-day Adventist Church is located at 365 St. Joseph Avenue Berrien Springs, Michigan. The Journey to Healing and Understanding is October 1 at 3 p.m.
Hallie Anderson is a student intern for Spectrum and a senior communications student studying journalism and public relations at Walla Walla University.
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