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The ASI-UK convention, 31 January - 2 February tackled Adventist identity, who am I, is there an identity crisis in modern Adventism and how to build bridges in multicultural communities.

The biblical command to 'Come ye apart and rest awhile' is one that Adventist business people take seriously.  In the busy pressure of modern life their annual 'rest' took place at the ASI-UK Convention, Staverton Park hotel, Northamptonshire, 31 January - 2 February 2014.

There may have been quality food, excellent fellowship, and even time to relax in the hotel leisure facilities, but 'rest' for this Adventist business community equally meant stimulation for the mind and the soul in a series of worships and seminars led by some of the incisive minds to be found within British Adventism.

Jim Cunningham
Outgoing president, Jim Cunningham, effective and passionate host for the weekend
The overall theme for the weekend focused around discovering our identity – in our church, in our relationship with Christ, in modern-day Adventism.

On Friday evening, Pastor Victor Hulbert, Communication and Media director for the Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland, used his storytelling techniques to share family history, and his own personal history, of coming into a positive relationship with Christ, and then trusting in God even in the 'scary times'.  Relating his own experience to that of the disciple John, he demonstrated that once we have 'beheld His glory' [John 1:14] we become changed ourselves, finding our identity and purpose in Him.  With that accomplished, it is then easier to take the challenge and share the message of Christ with those around us.

Pastor Gifford Rhamie, Lecturer in Pastoral Studies at Newbold College, continued the storytelling theme Sabbath morning as he shared the challenges of identity he sometimes had growing up black British.  Basing his message around the Apostle Paul's theme of becoming 'like' others in order to win them to Christ [1 Corinthians 9:19-23], he noted that Paul 'made himself a servant'.  In other words, he reached out to see life from their point of view.  "You do not become them," Gifford emphasised, "but you find what you have in common with them in order to understand them." Watch the Sabbath morning sermon: 'What identity are you?'.

The highlight was a Sabbath afternoon seminar by Dr Daniel Duda, Education and Ministerial Association director for the Trans-European Division of the Adventist Church.  With his analytical mind and following careful research, he showed how the Adventist Church comes within the strong tradition of Christian thought that constantly rethinks ideas.  That history lesson showed how the enlightenment era challenged the traditional theology, and how that in itself was challenged by the consequences of the Great Lisbon Earthquake when most of those killed in the city were involved in worship at the time. 

William Miller followed the same trend, questioning his world view during the Anglo-American War of 1812-1815 and especially the Battle of Plattsburg (1814) in which Miller participated. Following the 'Great Disappointment' of 1844, there was another need for rethinking as the young Adventist Church moved forward.  The rethinking continued in 1888 with the discovery of Righteousness by Faith, and then in the 20th century with heated discussions around the book, Questions on Doctrine.  Rethinking continues today and causes both progress and fragmentation in the Church with some groups looking back to 'historic' Adventism, others focused around the 'culture' of the Church while still others see themselves as 'mainstream', 'evangelical' or 'progressive'.  Rethinking, Daniel noted, is both healthy and essential.

That fragmentation may be painful for some. However, he noted that the solution may be in remembering that Jesus invites us to show the love of God to all people, in all creation, in all our pain and trouble, right now and until Jesus returns. Watch the Sabbath seminar: 'Overcoming the crisis of identity in modern day Adventism'.

Also download a PDF of the PowerPoint slides, 'Adventist identity', that accompany the above lecture. 

The last seminar of the day brought that love of Christ into practical action as Pastor Obi Iheoma showed how even a simple thing like baking and sharing bread with love and prayer can change lives, overcome barriers, and win souls to the kingdom.  Discussion that carried on long past the benediction, strong evidence that the thoughts of the day were stimulating many minds.  Watch: 'Building bridges in multicultural communities.'


For a selection of photos from the weekend visit the Adventist picture gallery. For more about ASI (Adventist Services and Industries) and their support for students and business professionals contact Christine Manners-Smith on 07790452920 or email


Contact: Victor Hulbert



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