Justice & Mercy

The great controversy theme is the soul of Adventism. Within this theme we find the answer to why there is so much death and destruction in the world. God said, “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Rev 12:12) And what pain we have experienced because of our experiment with sin. Encapsulated within this theme; Satan divided heaven, Eden, and up until this very time, us as a people and the world in which we live. This document has been written to detail the destructive nature of sin and how the Adventist Church was providentially birthed at a transitional time in history, not just prophetically, but socially and how the Adventist church viewed that pain at its inception, but also responded and is still responding to it.  


Because the official birthplace of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is in the Lake Union territory and our first General Conference president, John Byington along with other pioneers such as Joshua Himes and Joseph Bates, were abolitionist, we should not be surprised that they were socially conscious as they were living at the crossroads of a war that had just ended and a country that was looking to find its footing as it looked forward.  And if being socially aware of the needs of those around us was important to them, should it be part of our thinking too? Certainly, today there is a strong interest on the part of the Lake Union Conference and that of many others to address social ills that exist in our country and in our region. Like a crimson thread that traces its way through an embroidery of blue, improving race relations is woven into the fabric of the Lake Union Conference as well as that of the Adventist Church. It is a natural result of belonging to a church whose Divine calling is to reach all people for Christ.  


That said, while supporting our local conferences, hospitals and schools and university through the COVID-19 crisis, the Lake Union officers are exploring new ways to address the needs of the underserved of every people group who cannot afford technology necessary for distance learning and also currently prayerfully entering into the early planning stages of hosting a Diversity Summit.

Moving forward, as the official birthplace of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and stewards of the ministry of reconciliation that Jesus Christ has committed into our hands to reconcile man to both God and each other, we are committed to be conduits of Christ-like behavior and catalysts for change as we pray regularly and take actions to undergird three Lake Union executive committee strategies of leadership development, discipleship training and starting a movement of the Holy Spirit in our churches and communities in this quinquennium. We will continue to engage the Adventist faith community by continuing to resource our local conferences and schools, and engaging and encouraging our health systems to continue to hire employees of diverse backgrounds, especially those persons of African descent who are sparsely represented at the leadership level of our multiple health systems.
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Thank God for the not-so-little boat that could — and did because, at our inception as the movement of God,  the people of God reflected the heart of God by taking risks, even as Jesus did to save mankind because of God’s love for all people.  My prayer is, “Please, come, Holy Spirit, help us lay aside every weight especially avarice, division and confusion and revive us again.”  Then, as the quote above expresses, do bring about a reformation of our practices relative to the way we treat one another that is as sustained  and as everlasting as the gospel, because it began, not in our heads, but rather, within our hearts. (Eph 1:9-10) 

Maurice R. Valentine 
Lake Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist