North American Division Hosts First Religious Freedom Prayer Event

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 78 percent of the world’s population is unable to worship their God in whatever way they see fit.

On Religious Freedom Day, January 16, 2019, local faith and civic leaders gathered at the North American Division (NAD) Headquarters in Columbia Md., for the NAD’s first Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast. They celebrated the freedoms enjoyed in the United States and prayed for guidance in further fostering and sharing it with others.

“We were just really hoping to bring together a lot of religious groups to pray together as a faith-based community — not worrying about what day we worship [on]or what type of house of worship that we’re in,” said Orlan Johnson, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and one of the event organizers. “Just the idea that we should all pray together and to seek the best that we can seek for our nation, for our community, for all of our loved ones and we think we accomplished that today.”

Zainab Chaudry, Maryland outreach director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, “I feel like it is very important to have these kind of events, especially on days like today — Religious Freedom Day — Because it is a reminder of the work that needs to be done to continue to protect religious freedom and religious pluralism in our country, especially when so many houses of worship and so many faith communities are being targeted by hatred, bigotry and intolerance.…It is an affirmation of our shared values towards one another’s liberty and existence and security.”

Zainab Chaudry, Maryland outreach director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, attends the Jan. 16, 2019 Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast.

The event also provided an opportunity for local ministry leaders to network with civic leaders and strategize about ways they can better serve their communities.

“We were appreciative of the support and affirmation this event received by the attendance of so many of our Columbia Union pastors,” said Melissa Reid, an associate director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the Division. “This was a chance not only to celebrate the religious freedom, but also develop new friendships with fellow community leaders. There were business cards, handshakes, and hugs exchanged throughout the morning.”

“Outreach is the most important thing,” said Obie Chinemere, Baltimore regional director for U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (Md.). “[Make] sure people have a connection with whoever is local. In Baltimore we have some great pastors who do great work and members of the religious community who do great work. [We need to make] sure that people have an outlet or know that this is a place of worship they can come and talk about things and issues they may be having.” He continued, “if local churches have connections with local leaders and organizations, they can better help connect community members to those services.”

Paulo Macena, lead pastor at Chesapeake Conference’s Ellicott City (Md.) church, added, that when the pastors go into their local communities, they need to serve everybody. “They don’t have to agree with us for us to serve them. When we get together in groups like this, [it reminds us] we can serve each other despite of our differences.”

Leaders plan to make the breakfast an annual event.

This article was written by V. Michelle Bernard and originally published by Visitor Magazine, the official publication of the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Main image: Alvin Kibble (left), NAD vice president for Big Data + Social Media, talks with local pastors Mark McCleary and Anthony Medley during the NAD's first Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast.

Photos by Andre Hastick, courtesy of Columbia Union.

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Did anyone ever heard/read a statement from any Muslim defending religious freedom?
Just curious…

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Muslim religious wars have been going on for a long time.
There are at least 2 Muslim “denominations”, if you believe in the wrong one you
are under a death sentence as we have currently seen.
Here in the States we don’t hear about them, all Muslims are considered as One.

Religious persecution and slaughter of Falun Gong practitioners in China:

This has particular parallels to Seventh-day Adventist ethical thinking and boundaries.

Does the State-sanctioned Seventh-day Adventist Church in China take a stand on these atrocities?

Does the world organization of Seventh-day Adventists take a stand on these atrocities?

Are atrocities now normalized in Seventh-day Adventism?

Where is the definitive book written by Seventh-day Adventist scholars on lessons learned from collaborating with Hitler in the German Third Reich?

i wonder of achmed the terrorist (‘i kill you’) was invited…lol

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My Anatomy Professor At Northwestern taught for several years in China head and neck anatomy to Dental students. he obtained his specimens from the Chinese government. He complained that the neck was so mutilated that he couldn’t teach the tissues of the neck. . He called for the next years batch. The guards brought him a group of live prisoners and was told you kill them the way you want. he declined.

There is a universe of information for contemplation there, and enough pain, that were we to begin weeping, could we ever stop?

LLU ethicist James Walters has written a book called What Is a Person that we might do well to re-examine, I believe.

He advocates changing law to allow harvesting organs from live-born anencephalic infants.

God has given you experiences for every occasion, Tom. You are a treasure.

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