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Interfaith Pilgrimage to Silver Spring, Maryland

So, a Catholic, an Episcopalian*, three Mormons, three Hindus, a Sikh, and two Seventh-day Adventists walk into the General Conference…


This week I’m wearing a different hat – representing the Southern California Conference – as I travel with members of the Interreligious Council of Southern California to Silver Spring, Maryland. Periodically, the members of the Council travel to significant religious sites of their member organizations. This week a delegation of about 12 will be touring the General Conference Office, the Review and Herald Publishing Association facility, the Office of Legislative Affairs in Washington, DC.

Betty Cooney is the lead representative for the Southern California Conference and she worked diligently with the people at the General Conference to organize a very interesting tour. We will be hearing from leaders of more than a dozen departments, including Health Ministries, Education, Biblical Research Institute, the White Estate, Adventist World Radio, Children’s Ministry, Religious Liberty and Interfaith Relations, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, among others. We will also be visiting our Legislative Affairs Office in Washington.

Among the highlights I’m most excited about, personally, are visits with Pastor Jan Paulsen and Chaplain Barry Black, both of whom I’ve never met, and touring the Review and Herald. If I can meet up with Dr. Plantak from CUC and a Seminary classmate who is now Director of Editorial Services in the Periodical Division at RHPA, my trip will be complete.

I’m also very interested to see how these church leaders represent Adventism to those who are not of our tribe. In fact, many on the trip are not Christian. I expect to see the best face of Adventism on display this week and I will hold on to that image of the church for my own edification as well.

My role? Something far less glamorous. I’m the van driver, and I couldn’t be happier. It the kind of role that I need right now, requiring little of me, intellectually. I’m just happy to be of service, come along for the ride, and meet some really interesting people.

I plan to blog some fun details from our trip, especially from an interreligious perspective. Stay tuned….


*I am very sad to report that our beloved Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord has been diagnosed with cancer and had to stay home to undergo surgery. She is a Canon at the Episcopal Cathedral in Los Angeles. She is a gift to the interreligious world and I am proud to say she is a dear personal friend. Please hold her in your prayers for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.

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