“That all of them may be one.” John 17:21
Crowne Plaza Heathrow-London
15-17 June 2017
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we have hope and life!
“Unity 2017” was convened in a spirit of inquiry, discovery, and unity of purpose, exploring the underlying issues of the unity in diversity within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In the early days of the development of the Adventist faith, believers who had been convicted by the Holy Spirit came together in the Sabbath Conferences of 1848 to pray, to read, and to discuss and deliberate the great issues surrounding the seventh-day Sabbath. What emerged from these conferences were a people more vitally connected to God’s word, to one another, and to the distinctive messages that still resonate as the core of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Those early pioneers set the standard for us. They exemplified the approach followed for the Unity 2017 conference, 15-17 June 2017, at Heathrow, London, UK.
Unity 2017 is organised by Adventist leaders from four of the world divisions—an indication of the global significance of this discussion. It is a true sisterhood of union conferences who have joined hearts and hands in planning this event. We have seen the need to create a forum that provides leaders in our church a special opportunity for prayerful contemplation of this important topic. In the spirit of those Sabbath Conferences of the 1840s, and enthused by God’s Spirit, the conference brought leadership together to explore the important subjects of church structure and authority, unity, and liberty of conscience.
For some time these topics have dominated the conversations throughout the church. It has been a complex conversation, beginning with the work of TOSC and continuing with the current conversations about unity. What would our pioneers have done in this situation? We are pretty sure it would start with serious, intentional, and prayerful conversations.
As leaders of the unions of churches that encircle the world, and as theologians and academics who have studied these topics, we have come together in a spirit of collegiality and discovery that will allow our hearts and minds to be open to God’s leadership and the Spirit’s prompting. As God has abundantly blessed us in the past, we came to the conference believing that His blessings would be poured out again.
The papers presented at Unity 2017 are collected here for those interested in these topics to download, study, reflect upon, and learn from. We hope that the information shared here will find its way into the discussions that shape our future, our personal faithfulness, and our mission effectiveness.
Wim Altink, Ricardo Graham, Thomas Muller, Brad Kemp, and Dave Weigley
Organising Committee, Unity 2017
Crowne Plaza London – Heathrow
15-17 June 2017
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.” Colossians 1:9 NIV
“These conferences were vital, and proved to be a unifying, clarifying, and fortifying force, consolidating the positions of the growing Sabbatarian group, as well as molding and shaping the future course of an emerging movement.”
—Leroy E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 4
As we approach nearer the end, I have seen that in these meetings there will be less preaching and more Bible study. There will be little groups all over the ground with their Bibles in their hands, and different ones leading out in a free, conversational study of the Scriptures.”
—Ellen G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 87.
Australian Union Conference • Columbia Union Conference • Danish Union Conference • Netherlands Union Conference • New Zealand Pacific Union Conference • Northern German Union Conference • Norwegian Union Conference • Pacific Union Conference • South German Union Conference • Swedish Union Conference