Dwight Nelson's MLK-Weekend Sermon Spurs Petition to Eradicate Ethnic Conferences

Your scenario is not uncommon romeocarlos. Your story is why this foolishness needs to stop. When you read the comments through, the resounding reasons for the separation boils down to money and power! I have not read one comment that talks about GOD ordained the separation!

Well stated indeed. And there may be even more issues. We need to look at the issues in a more nuanced way - and at times be very clear as to what we are actually talking about. In the case of Dwight Nelson I perceived a call for unity in diversity - which is different from uniformity (let alone uniformity without diversity). In the case of Chaplain Smith it was about equality - at least that was my reading of it.


Well, I have been sick the past week. Maybe I should get back to you when I’m fully recovered. :slight_smile:

Dear brother,

Your quotation is irrelevant. The church is not the government. Jesus was the originator of the church and stood for justice within its ranks as it was the prototype for the kingdom of God.




Oh… This certainly explains some of your posts…[quote=“blc, post:65, topic:7632”]
I have been sick the past week.


From their website “about us/history” http://sasdac.org/

Southern Asian Seventh-day Adventists started migrating to this part of the world during the late 1950’s. They occasionally met in one another’s homes for fellowship and worship. As the group grew larger they rented public halls and churches to hold meetings.

Towards the late 1980’s, a few of the community members approached the Potomac Conference with a request to establish a church. After much discussion and prayer, permission was granted to establish a company with Pastor Franklin David as the volunteer pastor


“Potomac Conference” is a “white” conference. There is no such thing as an “Asian Conference”.

Some more background from personal knowledge.

I was in the Takoma Park area in the mid-1950’s. At that time there was a LARGE number of Southern Asian Indian members. Most of whom had very dark skin and most of whom wore their native dress… sari’s for the women, and typical Asian “dress shirts” for the men. The reason given was that they did not want to be mis-identified as African-American Blacks.

What those not well acquainted with US Adventist history are apparently unaware of is that ALL ethnic groups other than those who self-identify as “African-American Blacks” have ALWAYS been included in the general “white Conferences” church structure. The distinction applies to the local conference structure ONLY… and only to those conferences east of the Rocky Mountains. And it applies ONLY to those local churches who have elected to be a part of the “Regional Conference” system. There has never been any offical policy restriction that requires blacks to be members of Regional Conferences. In fact, those from the Carribean… and many other places, do choose to go with the local church which most matches their preference in both worhip style and “self-identity”. Which has the result of there being more dark skin than light in some “white conference” churches.

The Official policy as to Regional Conference has next to nothing to do with the problems of racial integration or segregation. As has been noted elsewhere… it was very obvious that the GC itself was still practicing “racial segregation” in its private dining rooms long after it was declared illegal in the US as a whole. It was also true that some local “white” churches were very “segregationalist” while others were very open and accepting of all races.

Nelson’s problem is that he is conflating too many issues into one… and not at all considering the human factor when he comes up with his grand plan to “cut to the chase” and “fix” everything that needs “fixing” immediately if not sooner!

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Your analogy is an interesting one. And brings up a possibility for understanding the situation today that may be the very point that is eluding those who are calling for an instant destruction of the Regional Conference system as an answer to the problem of racial discrimination.

Moving past the “rape victim” now… and realizing that she went ahead and birthed a live child. And that child was accepted by the community and went on to have children, grandchildren, and more. What do we do NOW with all of those great-grandchildren. Will revisiting the “rape” circumstances and identifying the culprits there make any real difference to the families that are now involved? Will declaring all of their families illegitimate and demanding that they “disband” solve any of today’s problems?

The facts of history are that time moves on… and we have to deal with things the way they are at the present moment in which we find ourselves.

Regional Conferences are here. They have been here for multiple generations of member churches… and multiple human beings depend on them as part of their “family” structure. Let’s please realize that… listen to our Black Brothers and Sisters who are living in the now and recognize that this particular “cure” for the problem would be much worse than leaving the family structure alone… and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our midst towards more cooperation between members of the “two families” of Conferences… until such a time… in some future generation, when there has been such an amount of cooperation between them that all in any given area are well content with having them administratively joined together.

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I think there was another difference. I think Chaplain Smith spoke out of his personal knowledge and experience from within the Regional system… and that Dwight spoke out of a utopian pipe-dream concocted from his place of “privilege” as a white pastor with parishoners of all color and nationality looking on from outside the Regional system.

My question about Asian conferences was asked ‘tongue in cheek.’ :slight_smile: I am aware that there are no Asian conferences in North America. I agree with you that unlike what people are stating here, the “regional conference has next to nothing to do with the problems of racial integration or segregation.” Here in the midwest there are Korean churches that are part of the Illinois Conference and Korean churches that are part of the Lake Region conference. Similarly with Hispanic churches. There are, also, predominantly African-American churches that are part of the ‘white conference!’ The members through their churches choose which conference they want to be a part of (?).

We each have our preference about worship styles or even sermons by different ministers . . . and people of like culture, not necessarily skin color! Irrespective of the history of regional conferences, I think, in today’s world, it is the choice of members on where they choose to worship. The church I attend is attended by others of many cultures . . . even as there are churches of their particular ethnicity in the area.

Perhaps, as we are attempting to be politically correct in wanting to ‘do away’ with regional conferences, we may be choosing to do away with an individual’s freedom of choice to worship the way one chooses to, at their comfort level. Is there a problem with that, as long as it is not contrary to the Bible?

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Tanya, I don’t know where you live. I have lived on both coasts: Maryland, Virginia (southern), Washington (state), Northern California, and Southern California over the last 40 years. In each of those places I have belonged to integrated churches that clearly demonstrated that all are welcome. In each of those areas there were also Black churches that were not integrated. From that viewpoint, I find it hard to believe that you can’t be part of an integrated church so long as you live in an area where there is a significant population of Adventists and you have a choice of churches. I’m sure there are churches that wish to be segregated, but there are many that highly value being integrated.


I too live in the Midwest. The segregation of conferences based on race is embarrassing. I commented on this site a few months back as the NAD issued a press release on race relations. Very ironic given their promototion of segregation.

I have no regard for the church administration in Illinois. It adds no value to my church experience and is a product of history full of generational Adventists who run through the motions. I would disband them all and start again. Elect positions based on ministry and service regardless of race. Compliance and financial reporting can be centralized to save costs and we could have an elected body in the church who are sincere Godly people who are passionate about spreading the good news. Race is irrelevant when you have a message worth sharing.

The current administration has no desire to change and are simply not capable of initiating this. The only way something will be done about this embarrassment is from the grassroots members or if the system runs out of money.


You are suggesting that a call for repentance and reconciliation is needed, rather than a political restructuring. With the historical evidence provided in some posts here (which for me are still hard to fathom, not hard to believe) you probably are right on target.

But then … repentance is something we like to call others to … when, in fact, we can only start with ourselves - i with myself.


This preference refers more to other sociological features rather than “skin pigmentation,” e.g. language, culture, worship style.

Perhaps you missed this context, which exists also in the US:

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Good point, Bille.
I think I also saw where you think the idea of “immediate destruction” of Regional Conferences is not desirable. I agree.

Someone spoke of some Island Blacks preferring the White worship style. A Black couple from the Islands, whom we became well acquainted with, confided that they were chided by the Pastor of a Black church since they were not demonstrative during the services.
A march by Nelson or anyone else is not a reasonable effort to change the status quo. In fact, the status quo may be with us for a long time.
In The Grip of Truth

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That is one the destructive aspects of political correctness. Certain of those, often on the left (not always), seem to believe that they know what is best with respect to various cultural aspects of speech and conduct and wish to enforce their version. Hence speech codes and other restrictions that deprive others of the right to free speech, for example.
In The Grip of Truth Not PC

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You & @mahut7 are misunderstanding something basic here. Even without separate conferences, churches themselves are unchanged. The absence of regional conferences in much of the US nevertheless includes a wide variety of ethnic congregations.


Whatever the reasons for the existing structure that is in place, and whatever the objections to blowing it up and starting all over again, I just ask one question. How does this present arrangement reflect the statement, " There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, but all are one (echad/unified) in Christ Jesus? " A second related question would be, how does this present state of things reflect Jesus prayer for his followers that they all be one (echad/unified), as he and the Father are one?

I’m not pretending to have the answers to how such proposed change could happen, but neither can I sit and blithely accept that what we have in place is a reflection of what Jesus and Paul laid out so succinctly and clearly. Please convince me otherwise from the NT.




Wisdom in what you say, Billie. More damage than good can be done if there is an attempt to shove an ideal down people’s throats. But, change can and should be aimed for, even if it’s done incrementally.



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If you are a US citizen are you promoting also the abolition of the Black Caucus in Congress? One must be consistent

In The Grip of Truth

Yes, I’m a US citizen. The Congress and the Black Caucus, and how political affairs of state are negotiated, have nothing to do with the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing to do in the sense that they are not part of the body of Christ, and are not called to reflect the truth of the gospel as the church is called. To me, this is a conflation of scenarios that don’t belong together.

Just convince me from the NT how the present state of affairs in the SDA church is positively reflecting and fulfilling what Jesus and Paul said about the oneness and unity of the gospel.