ATLANTA: Ray Dabrowski, outgoing director of communication for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, gave his final press briefing early this morning.
Largely responsible for modernizing Adventism’s approach to public relations following his arrival at church headquarters in 1994, he was prepared to carry on in the role. But he failed to secure re-election under the new General Conference president.
After running through the day’s agenda with his customary humor, Dabrowski said that he had the privilege of serving the church fruitfully in communications for 38 years, the last 16 of which have been at the General Conference. He received a standing ovation from the assembled press corps.
Dabrowski leaves behind a legacy that should give him a place in Adventist history. He introduced the church’s first standardized logo – the spherical flame that burns above a cross and an open Bible that can be seen all over Atlanta this General Conference session. And he created the Adventist News Network, which, within the parameters that any such denominational service has to work, has established itself as a relatively independent news agency.
Dabrowski is also a founder member of the board of trustees of the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty, a philanthropic organization dedicated to eradicating hunger and poverty in developing nations. The Seventh-day Adventist statement on global poverty issued at this session was a partial result of Dabrowski’s work.
On a personal note I would add that Dabrowski was extremely helpful to my co-author and me when we were researching the second edition of our book on Adventism, Seeking a Sanctuary. He replied to every email that we sent to him and supplied us with every document that we requested. My application for a press pass to attend this session went through his department without a hitch.
There are rumors circulating here, so far unsubstantiated, that the church’s new leadership wants a more restrictive approach to public relations. That would be a pity. As Adventism continues to grow more authors will want to analyze the church and more non-Adventist reporters will wish to cover General Conference sessions.
A policy of withholding information or limiting access, should the new administration pursue such a strategy, would be likely to do the church more harm than good in the long run. ***** Keith Lockhart is the co-author of Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2486