Unity 2017
Crowne Plaza Heathrow-London
15-17 June 2017


*Registration for this event has closed.


Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we have hope and life!

In a spirit of inquiry, discovery, and unity of purpose, you are invited to participate in Unity 2017, three days devoted to exploring 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 exemplify the approach being followed for the Unity 2017 conference, slated for 15-17 June 2017, in London, UK. Please accept this as your personal invitation to attend.

Unity 2017 has been 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 seeking to provide 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, we will come 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, can we 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, so we believe that His blessings will be poured out again as we seek His will and a greater understanding of how we might serve His church and advance its mission.

Unity 2017 will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel adjacent to Heathrow Airport. The Crowne Plaza promises to be an excellent environment for our time together (and there will be opportunity provided to visit Windsor and local attractions).

Eligible registrants are Seventh-day Adventist Church administrators, theologians, and academics. Registrants will receive confirmation of the acceptance of their registration from event planners after completing registration.

We look forward to seeing you at Unity 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Heathrow-London on 15-17 June.

With Christian greetings,

Wim Altink, Ricardo Graham, Thomas Muller, Brad Kemp, and Dave Weigley
Organising Committee, Unity 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.

Host Unions

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<

Panel 1


“Come now, and let us reason together.” Isaiah 1:18

Authority and Structure
Liberty of Conscience
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. 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. 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.

“Not a hand should be bound, not a soul discouraged, not a voice should be hushed; let every individual labor, privately or publically, to help forward this grand work. Place the burdens upon men and women of the church, which they may grow by reason of the exercise, and thus become effective agents in the hand of the Lord for the enlightenment of those who sit in darkness.”
–Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, July 9, 1895

Panel 2


“…in honour preferring one another.” Romans 1:10

5.00 — 8.00 pm Check in and Registration
6.00 – 7.30 pm Dinner
7.00 – 7.50 Breakfast/Registration
8.00 – 8.45 Worship
9.00 – 10.00 Session 1 Early 20th-century Restructuring of the Church and Implications for the Church Today Barry Oliver
10.00 – 10.30 Discussion
11.00 – 12.00 Session 2 History of Authority in the Adventist Church George Knight
12.00 – 12.30 Discussion
12.30 – 2.00 Lunch
2.00 – 3.00 Session 3 Ellen White and her Attitude to Theological Continuity and Change and how this Impacted her Thinking on the Church and its Structure Rolf Pöhler
3.00 – 3.30 Discussion
3.45 – 4.45 Session 4 Issues in Church Policy Lowell Cooper
4.45 – 5.15 Discussion
6.00 – 7.30 Dinner
7.30 – 8.30 Writing Group
FRIDAY, 16 JUNE 2017
7.00 – 7.45 Breakfast
8.00 – 8.30 Worship
8.45 – 9.45 Session 1 Ellen White and her Understanding of Unity/Disunity Wendy Jackson
9.45 – 10.00 Discussion
10.15 – 11.15 Session 2 What is Jesus Saying in John 17? Roy Adams
11.15 – 11.30 Discussion
11.45 – 12.45 Session 3 (Panel)
Moderator: Barry Oliver
Unity in the Church: Response to GC Unity Documents; Unity and Fundamental Beliefs; Hierarchy of Priorities Regarding Belief and Practice Lowell Cooper, Barry Oliver, George Knight, Olive Hemmings, John Brunt, Wendy Jackson, Roy Adams, Ray Roennfeldt, Reinder Bruinsma
12.45 – 1.00 Discussion
1.00 – 2.00 Lunch
2.00 – 6:45 Excursion (Optional) Windsor; Eaton; London; Evensong Book when registering
6.45 – 7.45 Dinner
7.45 – 8.45 Session 4 Towards a Theology of Unity John Brunt
8.45 – 9.00 Discussion
7.00 – 7.45 Breakfast
8.00 – 8.45 Worship
9.00 – 10.00 Session 1 Liberty of Conscience and Freedom Olive Hemmings
10.00 – 10.30 Discussion
10.45 – 11.45 Session 2 The Church’s Reformation Legacy Reinder Bruinsma
11.45 – 12.15 Discussion
12.15 – 1.45 Lunch
1.45 – 2.30 Session 3 (Panel)
Moderator: Barry Oliver
Coercion and the Church Lowell Cooper, Barry Oliver, George Knight, Olive Hemmings, Ray Roennfeldt, Wendy Jackson, Reinder Bruinsma, Roy Adams
2.30 – 3.00 Discussion
3.15 – 4.15 Session 4 Justice and Equality: Is God Interested? Ray Roennfeldt
4.15 – 4.45 Discussion
5.00 – 6.00 Executive Session
6.00 – 7.30 Dinner
7.30 – 8.30 Recommendations and Closing Remarks
SUNDAY, 18 JUNE 2007
7.00 – 7.45 Breakfast
8.00 – 10.00 Check out of room
Panel 3

Keynote Speakers

Roy Adams (PhD)
Teacher, pastor, theology professor (Systematics), administrator, author, Associate Editor, Review (Retired)

John Brunt (PhD)

Reinder Bruinsma (PhD)
Pastor and church administrator (Retired)

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

Olive Hemmings (PhD)
Professor of Religion, Washington Adventist University

Wendy Jackson (PhD)
Lecturer in Ministry and Theology, Avondale College

George Knight (EdD)
Emeritus Professor of Church History, Andrews University

Barry Oliver (PhD)
President, South Pacific Division (Retired)

Rolf Pöhler (ThD)
Professor (Systematics), Theological Advisor of the North German Union Conference

Ray Roennfeldt (PhD)
Professor (Systematics), President, Avondale College

Panel 5

Accommodation & Meal Costs

We have arranged a good rate with Crowne Plaza Heathrow. Your options are:

Bed & Breakfast

£100 single occupancy (you will need to care for your evening meal with this option)

£110 double occupancy (great value for those who wish to bring a spouse or share a room with a colleague)

Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

£120 single occupancy

£150 double occupancy

NOTE: Bookings are to be made directly with Crowne Plaza Heathrow-London, using the corporate booking code: A36

Log onto www.cpheathrowairporthotel.co.uk or phone: +1 44 871 942 9140.
Email to: groups@cpheathrow.co.uk

Checkout time is 10.00 Sunday morning.

Optional extras: per person


We are offering a Friday afternoon trip to Windsor Castle and attendance of Evensong in St George’s Chapel. Price includes coach fare and entrance into the Castle. This price is based on a minimum number of 45 persons.
 £35   US$45

Please book this tour when you register.

Transport to and from airport

Click here for an overview of Heathrow ground transportation. Transportation from the airport to the hotel in a Black Cab is around £30£35. To save money, you can use Millennium Cars (0208 573 8305) or a hop on/hop off shuttle service which goes directly from all terminals to the hotel for £4.50. Download a Hoppa Bus timetable or click here for more information.