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An Open Letter to "Emma"

An Open Letter to "Emma"

Editorial Note: The following letter was written by Daniel R. Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, to all of the young people (teens and younger) who may be discouraged by the actions of the 2018 Annual Council. Jackson says, "I address the letter to Emma, a young woman, who is very discouraged in light of Sunday’s outcome. My letter is meant for her and for all the Emmas, Judys, Philips and Franks."

My Dear Young Friend Emma,

I am very sad as I write this letter to you. My sadness comes because I have heard that you would like to leave our church as a result of witnessing our discussions last Sunday.

First, let me say that the church is a family and like any family sometimes we disagree. Sometimes our disagreements make us all feel uncomfortable and I want you to know that I get your discomfort. I feel uncomfortable too.

I wish that you could have seen the parts of Annual Council that were heartwarming and inspiring, such as the story of the Amish family that is working within their own community to bless people with a message that I love. I am sorry that you found us disagreeing with each other but sometimes that’s what happens — even in your family and mine.

Emma, I am praying that you will stay with us. The reason is that there is a place for you. God Himself has given you gifts and abilities that He wants to use to bless many. I am praying that you will stay.

Your brother and unknown friend,

Dan Jackson, President, North American Division

kmaran Wed, 10/17/2018 - 09:06

Grammy-Winning Quartet to Headline Washington Adventist University Concert, Master Class

Grammy-Winning Quartet to Headline Washington Adventist University Concert, Master Class
The Parker Quartet

The Parker Quartet will headline a concert series and conduct a master class for select students at Washington Adventist University. Photo provided by Washington Adventist University

The Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet will headline the next Anna H. Wang Presidential Concert Series performance on the campus of Washington Adventist University (WAU) on Saturday evening, Nov. 10, 2018.

The Parker Quartet will also work with selected WAU students during a master class on at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 at The Leroy and Lois Peters Music Center’s James T. Bingham Rehearsal Hall at the university.

Following a busy 2017-18 season that had the ensemble crossing North America for performances and residencies around the United States, including for the Schubert Club, the Parker Quartet finished its fourth year in-residence at Harvard University.

The Parker Quartet has distinguished itself with acclaimed recordings on numerous labels. Its most recent recording featuring Mendelssohn’s Quartets Op. 44, Nos. 1 and 3, was lauded by press around the world.

Inaugurated last year, the Anna H. Wang Presidential Concert Series commemorates the life of a remarkable woman whose great passions were music and education. Anna Wang devoted her life to service, both in nursing and health care administration, and was honored posthumously at the 2017 WAU Visionaries Gala for her Excellence in Benevolent Service to Humanity. Ticket sales for the performances will contribute to the building of the new concert hall, which will complete Phase II of the Leroy and Lois Peters Music Center.

“We are deeply indebted to the family of Anna Wang for making it possible for our school to present these preeminent artists to our neighbors in the Washington-area community,” said WAU President Dr. Weymouth Spence. “This world-class ensemble shines a distinctive highlight of excellence on our growing music program at Washington Adventist University.”

CLICK HERE to request more information about the Anna H. Wang Presidential Concert Series, or to learn more about how to contribute to the new concert hall.

— Doug Walker is the vice president of Integrated Marketing & Communications at Washington Adventist University.

 

kmaran Wed, 10/17/2018 - 08:31

Stewardship Ministries Launches A Five-Month Evangelism Campaign with Featured Film

Stewardship Ministries Launches A Five-Month Evangelism Campaign with Featured Film
Film crew of The Mysterious Note captures a scene involving three of the film’s actors.

Film crew of The Mysterious Note captures a scene involving three of the film’s actors. Photo courtesy of the NAD Stewardship Department.

A film produced by the North American Division Stewardship Department and One Mustard Seed seeks to teach parents and children what it means to be a good steward. The Mysterious Note is available for churches to use October 22-February 22, 2019, as part of an evangelistic and/or fundraising campaign.

The Mysterious Note is about a family from Chicago that is caught up in a self-serving lifestyle. The unexpected happens when the father brings his family on an overnight business trip to a small town in Michigan. A surprising turn of events unfolds when he clashes with a store-owner who runs his business using Biblical principles of stewardship. In the meantime, his mischievous son along with a couple of local kids, discovers a mysterious note that catapults them into a four-day adventure of mystery and self-discovery.

The idea for the film sparked in 2015 when John Matthews, director of NAD Stewardship Ministries, commissioned Richard Aguilera, director of One Mustard Seed, to help produce resources to teach young people about stewardship principles. Aguilera knew that one of the most effective ways of reaching young people is through film. However, he had to go on a spiritual journey to help him create the content.

“Like many, when I heard the word ‘stewardship,’ I assumed the words ‘tithe and offerings’ were soon to follow,” said Aguilera, also known as the “Mud Guy” from Guide magazine. “I soon discovered how much bigger stewardship really is. I also discovered that, at its core, stewardship is about acknowledging God as Owner of everything we have, and that we have been placed as managers of these things

“How we manage the important things can be divided into two basic choices. We can manage them ‘God’s way’ or ‘society’s way.’ The choice we make will have a profound impact on how we live our life,” continued Aguilera.

Biblical stewardship principles are subtly weaved throughout the story. The film will help both children and adults learn to trust God with everything that has been entrusted to them. The storytelling platform provides a fun and visual representation of what it happens when one trusts and remains faithful to God.

The film also emphasizes the importance of contentment and how God will bless and reward those who are faithful to Him with all the important things in their life.

“I pray this tool will give glory to God and be a discussion starter that may help people see that trusting God with the important details of our lives will be a rewarding decision that we will never regret,” said Aguilera.

The licensing fee to show the film is $299, but the fee can be waived if the film is screened in a non-religious venue for evangelism, such as a theater, or auditorium. Visit TheMysteriousNote.com to learn more.

mylonmedley Tue, 10/16/2018 - 13:42

The Conflict Beautiful: A New, Yet Classic Look to an Ellen G. White Book Series

The Conflict Beautiful: A New, Yet Classic Look to an Ellen G. White Book Series
The Conflict Beautiful is the newly designed Ellen White's Conflict of the Ages

The Conflict Beautiful is the newly designed Conflict of the Ages book series written by Ellen White. Photo by Types & Symbols

Types & Symbols, a creative studio that designs Adventist experiences, is partway through a Kickstarter campaign, launched Oct. 1, 2018, to fund The Conflict Beautiful, a new, beautifully-designed, hardcover edition of Ellen G. White’s Conflict of the Ages series. “We are thrilled to have finally launched this project,” said Mark Cook, project lead.

Speaking on the motivation for the project, Cook said, “Up until a few years ago I held a completely inaccurate view of Ellen White and her writings. I thought she was negative and critical, and her writings were another set of rules we needed to follow. But once I opened her books and started reading for myself, I was blown away by her persistent focus on God’s loving character. We think a fresh, high-quality design, can help communicate the value of her words, and we can’t wait to make these books a reality.”

The studio created this project as an independent initiative, and then launched the Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding platform for creative projects, which means that project creators only receive funds if they meet or exceed their goal. The goal for The Conflict Beautifulis $144,000, what is needed to cover the minimum production volume required to print and bind these books.

As of today, the project has reached a little more than 20 percent of that goal through the pledges of more than 130 backers. The campaign ends on Nov. 15.

The studio, which has created materials for a range of Adventist ministries, including the current design of Adventist Journey, Adventist Review, Adventist World, and Libertymagazines, is excited about sharing White’s writings in beautifully-designed books. “Anyone that loves Jesus and the Bible is in great company with Ellen White, and will receive a huge blessing from reading her work,” said Cook.

The text of the Conflict of the Agesbooks is in the public domain, but Types & Symbols took the initiative to meet with the Ellen G. White Estate when they were first developing this project. Cook said, “We have maintained communication with them at different points of the project, but, officially speaking, there is no approval or oversight from the White Estate.”

Inside the Books

Asked about their reason for designing a print book when many people use digital reading materials, Types & Symbols shared that one major reason is the experiential quality. “The experience of reading a beautiful, physical book for focused, long-form reading is different and, we think, preferable, to the experience of reading from screens,” said Cook.

“Digital tools can be helpful, and preferable, if you’re trying to gather specific quotes, support an argument, or quickly look up a quote someone else shared. But for the process of actual reading, research [shows that] experience is significantly better with physical books.”

Types & Symbols shared that some updates to the language will be incorporated into The Conflict Beautiful.  While they deeply appreciate the original 19th century language, they want to create the best reading experience possible. One minor change, for example, is replacing a few specific words whose meaning hasn’t aged very well. They’ve also decided to use the New King James Version in place of the King James Version in all cited biblical passages. “We are currently working through flowing the text in, and will provide a full report on changes once we are through,” Types & Symbols explains on their FAQs page.

Project Timeline

The overall design intent for The Conflict Beautifulis complete, and Types & Symbols is now in the process of meticulously updating biblical passages cited within White’s books.

As mentioned, Kickstarter campaign has launched to fund the initial production run. The goal is to have production files completed by November, and books delivered by the first quarter of 2019.

About Types & Symbols

Types & Symbols was founded in 2015 by Mark Cook and Ivan Ruiz-Knott. Since its beginnings it has always had a goal to develop self-initiated, design-centric projects. With the inclusion of Bryan Gray (partner as of January 2017), Brett Meliti, and Ellen Musselman, the team has been able to invest additional resources into this project and more fully pursue this vision.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the project.

kmaran Tue, 10/16/2018 - 08:50

Document Voted at Annual Council Outlines Process for Dealing With Non-Compliant Church Entities

Document Voted at Annual Council Outlines Process for Dealing With Non-Compliant Church Entities
G. Alexander Bryant address the Annual Council meeting on Oct. 14, 2018

G. Alexander Bryant, North American Division executive secretary, addresses the Annual Council meeting on Oct. 14, 2018, during the discussion on the compliance document. Photo by Dan Weber

On Oct. 14, 2018, after more than five hours of presentations and discussion, the General Conference Executive Committee, at its Annual Council meeting, approved a recommendation from the church’s Unity Oversight Committee: the creation of a new compliance process to assist with the need to implement church policies and voted actions.

In a vote of 185 to 124, with two abstaining, the document, entitled "Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions," follows upon the October 2017 vote by the GC Executive Committee, that referred an earlier compliance proposal back for further study and revision.

Ron Smith, Southern Union Conference president, addresses the Annual Council business session on Oct. 14, 2018

Ron Smith, Southern Union Conference president, addresses the Annual Council business session on Oct. 14, 2018. Photo by Dan Weber

Voted Process

A joint Adventist News Network/Adventist Review report outlines the voted process. Below is an excerpt from this report:

"The process begins with perceived non-compliance being reported to the administrative level of the Church closest to the matter. ...  As part of the process, the non-compliant entity would be asked to provide evidence of compliance or a plan to 'achieve sustained compliance.'

"If no resolution is reached at the closest administrative levels, the General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM) may refer the matter to one of five advisory committees. These committees, termed “compliance committees” had earlier been endorsed by ADCOM."

During the Discussion

GC Executive Committee Members and invitees from the NAD spoke to the body during the discussion period before the vote.

NAD officers and union conference presidents spoke to the proposed document, saying it added in an unnecessary level of administration when current church procedures already define a process to deal with disagreements in church policy. Comments also expressed the need to bridge the differences between church entities on non-doctrinal issues. Questions were also raised on the challenge of policy interfering with mission objectives.

Dan Jackson comments during the 2018 Annual Council discussion on Oct. 14, 2018.

Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president, comments during the 2018 Annual Council discussion on Oct. 14, 2018. Photo by Dan Weber

Ron Smith, Southern Union Conference president, was the first delegate to speak to the compliance document, saying, "We are particularly frustrated because of what is in this document. New machinery continues to heighten mistrust of world church leadership. If this is passed, who will be in/out of compliance next? We are distracted, hurt, and demoralized."

More than 70 delegates spoke on the document; some for and some against. G. Alexander Bryant, NAD executive secretary, told the GC Executive Committee gathered on Oct. 14, 2018, that "I’m an avid supporter of the policies of the church; but policies don’t hold us together. The Spirit of God holds us together. The document threatens to tear [the church] apart."


Jiří Moskala, dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, commented, "This document violates Sola Scriptura. ... This is the first time in history of the church that we punish our leaders on non-biblical grounds."

[CLICK HERE to read the NAD statement on the voted document.]

Article updated 18:52, Sept. 16, 2018

kmaran Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:19

NAD Statement on 2018 General Conference Annual Council Vote

NAD Statement on 2018 General Conference Annual Council Vote

This is a very challenging time for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. Actions taken at the 2018 General Conference Annual Council meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan, did not have the outcome for the church that we had strived toward. Many of us are dealing with fear, disappointment, and even anger.
 
We believe that this voted document, which outlines a system of governance to address church entities perceived not in compliance with church policy, does not follow the biblical values proclaimed by the Protestant reformers and the founders of the Adventist Church. This document, as voted, has made centralized power possible, and seeks to create a hierarchical system of governance.
 
In a collaborative effort, leaders in the NAD are discussing how the church in North America will move forward. Although this is difficult, amid the rancor we must keep our faith in Jesus. He is our Leader, and it is our trust in Him that will light our way. The mission, the work of the church, must and will go forward.
 
Policies don’t hold us together. The Spirit of God holds us together. We urge you to pray for the Church; pray that we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work, to let the Holy Spirit keep us united.
 
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9, NIV).
 
— North American Division Officers; updated 17:28, Oct. 15, 2018.
 

kmaran Mon, 10/15/2018 - 08:48

“Side By Side” Adventist songwriter, Jeff Wood, Passes Away

“Side By Side” Adventist songwriter, Jeff Wood, Passes Away
Jeff Wood (left) poses with Tom Hillman, actor from the film Hell and Mr. Fudge, and LLT co-founder Pat Arrabito.

Jeff Wood (left) poses with Tom Hillman, actor from the film Hell and Mr. Fudge, and Pat Arrabito, LLT co-founder. Photo provided by Pat Arrabito.

After six years of declining health that included two bouts with cancer, Jeff Wood, Adventist song writer, screenwriter, producer and director, passed to his rest on Oct. 11, 2018, in Angwin, California. He was 67.

Wood made a significant contribution to Seventh-day Adventist Church media during the course of a career spanning several decades. As one North American Division (NAD) officer stated, “Jeff’s fingerprints were all over almost every media project from the church before, during, and after the days of the Adventist Media Center in California.” Wood was the producer and director of at least two NAD video reports for General Conference sessions.

Wood helped create the Lifestyle Magazine television talk show, and his latest project was the writing of the 2018 Breath of Life Christmas special that will air on major television networks across the U.S. this holiday season. As producer and director, Wood also put his heart and soul into the 2012 film Hell and Mr. Fudge, the story of an eccentric stranger hiring Edward Fudge, a small-town preacher, to investigate hell.

A musician and prolific writer, Wood authored songs with members of the Heritage Singers, and wrote the Pathfinder song “We Are His Hands.” He may best be known for his song “Side By Side,” originally recorded by the Heritage Singers — and sung in thousands of churches around the world. Max Mace, founder/director of the Heritage Singers, commented on Facebook that his heart “is broken. Jeff and I really became good friends — we would email in the middle of the night when we both could not sleep. We had big plans; now will have to wait ’til we meet in heaven.”

Mike Tucker, speaker/director of Faith For Today broadcast media ministry, wrote this on Facebook in response to news of Wood’s death: “God blessed me immensely by allowing me to work with this gentle, kind man. I trusted him implicitly. He fully understood the goals and vision of Faith For Today and Lifestyle Magazine. He made our television programs great! Because of his attention to detail, Lifestyle Magazine has won an incredible number of high awards against productions with much greater budgets and better on-camera talent. And, by the way, Jeff was instrumental in the creation of Lifestyle Magazine in the first place. He produced probably 90 percent of the shows that have aired since its creation more than three decades ago.”

Tucker went on to share that visionary Wood was an important part of the small team that created Mad About Marriage. “Because of a creative session that included Jeff, we have television programs, live seminars, small group curriculum, impressive FB and Twitter sites, weekly marriage tips via email, and a webpage that boasts more than 400 articles and numerous short videos on marriage.”

Jeff Wood directs Hell and Mr. Fudge.

Jeff Wood directs Hell and Mr. Fudge. Photo provided by Dave Brillhart

“Jeff was an answer to my prayers for a producer when we were ready for production on The Seventh Day series [with Hal Holbrook], and we benefitted from every one of his many talents — producer, director, musician, writer, organizer,” said Pat Arrabito, co-founder of LLT Productions, a California-based, non-profit organization dedicated to producing documentary films on religious and historical subjects. “He had an amazingly creative mind and an innate ability to structure a project well. Jeff had this quiet, kind manner that always brought out the best in talent and crew.” Wood, who started work with LLT in 1998, produced and directed The Seventh Day, Hell and Mr. Fudge and The Wandering Day.

Jim Wood, who collaborated with his brother on many projects and currently works as a writer and associate producer at LLT, said that “Jeff finally won his six-year battle with disease. … He slipped out of his enemy’s grasp and into peace and rest just 17 days short of his 68th birthday. Those of us whose lives are intertwined with his are stunned, grief-stricken, heartbroken, and bereft. This is the price of love — the price we are willing to pay for his freedom.”

Jim added that Scripture gives humanity good news [see 1 Thess. 4:16, 17). He said, “We grieve, but we have hope.”

Wood is survived by his wife, Gerry; son, Jeremy; daughter, Jill; sister, Jan Wood; brothers James (“Jim”) and Jon Wood; and nieces and a nephew. A memorial service date and time will be announced soon.

kmaran Fri, 10/12/2018 - 22:15