Unity 2017 Conference Announced

A three-day conference, organized by 10 Seventh-day Adventist unions from across the globe, was announced this week. Scheduled for June 15-17, 2017 in London, the conference is, “devoted to exploring the unity in diversity within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

The 10 unions involved represent four of the 13 world divisions (Inter-European Division, North American Division, South Pacific Division, and Trans-European Division).

Citing the early days of Adventism and the Sabbath Conferences of the 1840s, the conference organizers hope to bring people together to, “explore the important subjects of church structure and authority, unity, and liberty of conscience.”

Per the conference website, the schedule is as follows:

Thursday: Authority and Structure

“The conference opens with a historical look at the creation of Unions, their purpose and original value to the church. The authority of the General Conference and Unions in relation to each other will be examined from different perspectives, and the significance of structure for mission will also be considered.”

Friday: Unity

“We will look at Ellen White’s understanding of unity and disunity and also examine Jesus’ statements on unity in John 17. The third session provides a more comprehensive understanding of the Biblical concept of unity that we hope will give a better foundation for future discussion by the church on this matter and will inform the panel discussion.”

Sabbath: Liberty of Conscience

“The radical reformation has provided us with a rich heritage in matters of conscience and religion. We will also consider what the Bible says about these important issues for the church today. And what of coercion? Is it ever justified? Day three will explore these important themes before asking the question, ‘Justice and Equality: Is God Interested?’ Here we ask the question regarding God’s nature and how this should inform the church’s attitude towards the important principles of justice and equality.”

Keynote speakers at Unity 2017 include:

Radisa Antic, Director of the Ellen G. White Research Centre, Principal Lecturer in Systematic Theology, Newbold College

Jan Barna, Senior Lecturer in Systematic and Biblical Theology, Newbold College

Lowell Cooper, General Vice President, General Conference (Retired)

Olive Hemmings, Professor of Religion, Washington Adventist University

Wendy Jackson, Lecturer in Ministry and Theology, Avondale College

George Knight, Emeritus Professor of Church History, Andrews University

Jiri Moskala, Professor of Old Testament Exegesis and Theology Dean, Theological Seminary, Andrews University

Barry Oliver, President, South Pacific Division (Retired)

Russell Seay, Assistant Professor of Theology, Oakwood University

Registration is open to, “Seventh-day Adventist Church administrators, theologians, and academics.”

More information and registration details can be found at the official Unity 2017 Conference website.

Alisa Williams is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

Image Credit: adventistunity2017.com

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7930
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The tsunamis is coming…embrace for impact!


i agree…i think the lack of representation from africa, asia and s. america is quite conspicuous, as is the fact that only CUC and PUC are representing NAD…neither TW nor dan jackson appear to be scheduled to speak, which is probably even more conspicuous, considering the conference theme…

i really wonder if we aren’t seeing an adventist off-shoot in the making…perhaps the real resolution to san antonio was an invitation behind closed doors for dissenting unions to leave with all their assets, without recrimination or a costly legal battle…or perhaps the conference is a show of strength and resolve on the part of dissenting unions to do just that in the event of GC punitive action…if this is true, then it follows that reidar kvinge’s sudden, unexpected resignation from the norwegian union conference presidency was our first indication that something is amiss…

of course, everything could be perfectly innocuous…perhaps pro-WO unions simply decided to get to know each other better…and england is lovely in june…

I would think that OBSERVERS from other Unions would be allowed to OBSERVE, but not enter into the conversation at this time.
These Unions are the ones who have charted a New Course in Gender Issues. And that is why they
are collectively studying Unity in Diversity as it applies to them, and to the larger world church.
But by OBSERVING and LISTENING [not TALKING] other Unions might discover how to address
Gender Issues in their Unions.

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The wave has been swelling for some time now and is apparent to all who pay attention.



Adventists aside from those at the General Conference have a stake in the proposed topics! The very name ‘General Conference’ is a promise to its worldwide constituency that it will promote and facilitate a conferring together. They achieved this general conferring to a significant degree during the TOSC process. The present proposed topics are likewise urgently in need of world-wide discussion. Such discussions will not always arise from within the heart of the General Conference nor must we expect that it be so.

The General Conference has promoted an approach to the topic of unity, authority and liberty of conscience that may well be improved upon. It would be wonderful if scholars and others from all divisions of the world field could be involved. This may well happen in the future! For the present let us be content that such a beginning to this much needed discussion is being made.

Let’s promote these discussions as a spiritually mature and responsible search for a way through the current impasse. Organizational leaders from whatever sphere of influence they occupy would do well to welcome such discussions.

From what I know of the keynote speakers, all of them are specialists in the specific topics they handle. They all are committed to expressing and discussing the central topics in a thoroughly informed, mature and responsible way. How others react to the proposed conference remains a test of character!

Since the 2015 GC Session I have been awaiting further world-wide discussion of subsequent issues rising from decisions made there. I am convinced that an issue such as the ordination of women will not be progressed by returning it to a GC Session whatever the anticipated outcome of any vote. Instead, Adventists must commit themselves to working toward a high level of consensus within the denominational body and only when this is achieved should we hand the issue back to our widest deliberative forum. To do otherwise is to run rough-shod over one’s individual liberty of conscience!

I really believe that Adventists made a mistake in anticipating that the heavily divided ordination vote of the 2015 GC Session could promote either unity or liberty of conscience. Perhaps it is time to clearly and in unmistakable tones frankly acknowledge that the denomination prior to the vote was not well positioned to receive or act on the vote, whatever outcome it may have yielded.

Adventists must initiate mechanisms that promote unity on directions and basics but latitude in specifics. Perhaps the Unity 2017 Conference will seek to cover such mechanisms.

Will the presentations at the Unity 2017 Conference be available at the time or subsequently?


While the Conference is ostensibly convened under " unity " issues, the real precipitating and propelling problems are gender issues, specifically the status of women in the Adventist church and women’s ordination.

How exceedingly appropriate that the conference should take place in London, England.

The Supreme Governor of the Church of England, is not the Archbishop of Canterbury, but QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND.

Ninety year old, much revered Queen Elizabeth, is now in her sixty fifth year of reign. She is not only the queen of the United Kingdom, but of the Commonwealth – fifteen other nations, of which the largest are
Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

All who have followed her distinguished reign, agree that it has been marked by dignity, charm, poise, and a firm moral sense.

When I visit my London grandchildren for Christmas, it is a joy to hear the Queen’s Christmas message, broadcast to the Commonwealth. It is always a very spiritual sermonette splendidly spoken in "the Queen’s English ".

The United Kingdom is now presided over by Prime Minister, Teresa May, following in the footsteps,of the first female head of British government, Margaret Thatcher. The Scottish government is headed by a FIRST MINISTER, currently a woman, Nicola Sturgeon.

What better venue to celebrate the dignity, accomplishments, and contributions of women than in this land which values the female sex!

The "good old boys " who espouse the heinous heretical "headship " dogma, will have a difficult task denigrating women to " second class status " in this British venue.


I went to church today in Manila. It was refreshing to hear a sermon about being awake and aware of the time we are living in, and telling others about the second coming and giving them the Three Angels’ messages. There’s probably a reason some divisions will be absent from this conference. They’re getting on with the job, rather than fiddling with women’s ordination when Rome (Babylon) is about to burn.


Brethren , To hold a Conference to discuss unity without inviting Elder Neil Wilson is wrong . We elected him to head the world wide church , and to go around him in this fashion is not right .The topics to be discuss don’t unite us .Even the GOSPEL does not unite us. IT IS ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT UNITES THE CHURCH . Get that wrong , and then we are on a very slippery slope .There is the revival of a old spirit that is attempting to distract us from our mission. We are absorbed with social issues. Not one topic listed should cause a split in the church .Is Jesus still Lord ? Only if we are promoting to stand under another’s banner , than we will have trouble .These attitudes and power plays can only be settled when the ground opens up. Tread softly .

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Certain Unions are hosting the conference, but attendance isn’t limited to them. The invitation is for administrators, academics, and theologians from everywhere. And there are discussion periods scheduled with each presentation, We can be sure there will also be discussion outside the formal times…


Unity has only one foundation. “Come unto Me” Everything else is a barrier.


The speaker list suggests there is reason to be encouraged! Perhaps it’s too early to say thanks to the organizers, but I’ll risk it. Thanks. Chuck


I am personally opposed to unity. I do not want to be any part of the lukewarm Laodicean crowd.

Hey plobdell3.
Institutional & religious organizations usually promote and/or implement methods that counter the words & approaches of Jesus.

Think of the religious leaders in Jesus’ time, the Catholic church, the Protestant church which also trashes the 4th commandment, the SDA church which minimizes the input of SOP and exposure to the bible through the traditional homiletic approaches & Sabbath school teaching/ discussion methods.
Look at Hos 4:6…

Unity needs to start with Amos 3:3 to launch…


So Elder Neil Wilson is THE HOLY SPIRIT?
Guess I didn’t play my cards right.

Come out of her My people that ye be NOT partakers in her sins.


It’s “we the people” being heard and administrators taking action. Not those bogus conferences at the GC where the only goal is to show off power and keep people sitting and listening orders to “obey the GC.”

BIG THANKS to the organizers. It shows that there is some independent leadership in the SDA Church, which gives us some hope.

I find it interesting that it will happen in LONDON… almost like a government in exile planning on actions that can eventually result in banning any “top leader” who is not actually representing “we the people!” This was most needed since 2015 - and, of course, before 2020…

Now there is hope that women will soon be treated as a 100% human beings (not only 85%) and that, finally, discrimination of women will end in more Unions around the world. I wish we could know who was the person who had this idea in the first place. Kudos to her/him!


Actually it’s just the natural flow of things…

People who establish and cling to power through manipulation, fear tactics (grave consequences) and blind fundamentalism will always be bypassed eventually.

Wish I could go.

@bronwynreid @tony


Let’s see, what was that Jesus prayed - “That they all may be ONE”. I’d call that unity. So, if you’re opposed to unity…


The iconic identity brand name such as, “The Seventh-day Adventist Church” should remove GC personality of vague promises replace with policy of fairness, simplicity, and growth. We must radically change the structure of a tithe system that still treats our World Local Conferences as Service Collection Agency access earnings submit them as the personal property of the North America General Conference Choosing Spent Revenue.

Unity or Union? Why? The GC never seem have enough of our money? Why doesn’t GC ever ask if we have enough? Yeah. A system that still treats local church memberships as mouse.

The baits in the mouse traps smell no Unity or Union.

A worthwhile event and an interesting list of presenters ( theologians, administrators, historians and E.G. White people), but with neither a sociologist nor psychologist in plain sight.

What additional light might the latter group shed on:

  • the structures, goals, policies, identity of, and power and authority within an organization,
  • the underlying processes that determine the complexity of human behavior,
    within the context of the specified challenge (Unity in diversity) that the SDA world church presently faces?
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‘C OPTION’ of women’s ordination lingers on
the sub culture in our church that can not make a decisions is the most dangerious in our church
I have had many debates with a elder in our region never will he be transparent in giving a answer YES OR NO
this zone they sit in casting doubt on both sides

there seems to be this theme of in the middle with all our pastors as well most of church issues stem from pastors
of bridging yes/no without defining anything just smoke screens
sanctuary all our doctrine is thrown out

Cain and Abel there was no C option
at least with Cain god still tried
what you people don’t understand Lucifer would rather everyone be in a state of doubt and disorientated
beware folks
its better to be hot or cold - yes or no. this grey area may have 40 shades of grey very disorientating
this was my biggest campaign during women’s ordination C option was dangerous

Cain wanted unity with god with his diverse thinking thus his chosen sacrifice