Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) Emphasis Day at Holloway
30th July 2019
Leaders, members and visitors came together on a special Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) Emphasis Day which took place at the Holloway Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Sabbath 6th July 2019. Holloway’s PARL Leader, Brother Tunji Aworinde, extended a warm welcome to all who came along.
The first presentation, by Advent Religio-Legal Perspective Assistant – Elder Sonia Monroe – looked at Religion and Belief in the Workplace. She said: “As society becomes more secular the premise is on individualism and autonomy. Such a stance can pose problems in the workplace leading to disagreements, clashes and conflicts of interest with one end result being cases citing discrimination taking place.” Elder Munroe also said that: “We can only manifest our religious beliefs within the framework of the human rights act and the equality act (2010) which therefore can lead to a clash between those who believe in biblical values with those who do not.”
Holloway SDA Church Pastoral Intern - Warren Gillin – introduced guest speaker - Dr. Brighton G. Kavaloh, describing him as an influential and spirit-filled Man of God of whom he is inspired. In his sermon - 'Wise Up! Be Seen and Heard,' Advent Religio Legal Perspective Director, Dr. Kavaloh described how God established two institutions in the Garden of Eden - the Sabbath and the family. He pointed out that both will feature heavily in the end times and be attacked by spiritual forces which work against the God of Heaven and His chosen ones. “The challenging of the Sabbath provides Seventh-Day Adventists with a great opportunity to stand up for Christ as a witness and ambassador of truth,” said Dr. Kavaloh. Continuing, he said: “Jesus sends His disciples out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Persecution will come but you must not invite it by being foolish. Therefore, Jesus calls you to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (See Matthew 10:16). Challenges are to be seen as opportunities. Christ Himself will put into your mouth the words you are to speak (See Luke 16:8). The Lord commends us to become wiser - to be proactive rather than reactive - when challenges come.” Dr. Kavaloh backed up his points by making reference to points by Ellen G. White on Sunday Law Agitation. On the matter in hand she says: "When there is such an effort made to enforce the observance of Sunday, it is the very opportunity to present to the world the true Sabbath in contrast to the false. The Lord in His providence is far ahead of us. He has permitted this Sunday question to be presented to the front that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment may be presented before the legislative assemblies,” (Manuscripts 16, 1890, p.21).
Dr. Kavaloh gave an example of how Christians can be ambassadors for Christ through the sharing of his response to a government-led open consultation on a European Working Time Directive in 2015. MEP's took a Pledge for a work-free Sunday and decent work ahead of the European elections in 2014 which included advocating Sunday rest and decent hours to preserve workers health and safety as well as an emphasis on family life.
Dr. Kavaloh’s response to the consultation highlighted the impact it could have on those who worship and rest on different days such as Seventh-Day Adventists and Jews who worship on the Sabbath and Muslims who also worship on Fridays and Sabbaths. “Not to speak is to acquiesce. We talk much among ourselves but not when called to take a stand for Christ or when presented with opportunities to respond to consultations which impact upon our religious liberty and freedoms,” said Dr. Kavaloh. He concluded his message by warning listeners to be careful of giving much attention to developments in America while being oblivious to the fulfillment of prophecy closer to home as evident within the current European crisis.
Continuing her message from earlier in the day on Religion and Belief in the Workplace - Elder Sonia Munroe encouraged listeners to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.” Elder Munroe made mention of the protected characteristics which form the Equality Act (2010). These are: Age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. Elder Munroe pointed out that while the law does indicate protection for those of all religious beliefs that this has not always been the case in practice. As an example she presented the ongoing case of Darrell Paterson who was sacked by Walgreens (his employers) for his refusal to work on the Sabbath. The case is set to be tried in the Supreme Court early next year. However, Elder Munroe, reflecting on her own experience, said that if you stand up for the truth in the beginning, then God will also stand up for you. “After informing my employers that I would require Sabbaths off – they accommodated my request in accordance with the policy of reasonable adjustment based on religious beliefs.”
Elder Munroe added that employers should treat their staff with dignity and respect. In conclusion she said: “If we practice standing up for Jesus now then it will be easier to do so during times of crisis. You can talk about your faith at work but it must be a word fitly spoken - we must think if what we are saying is appropriate as individuals, in today’s society can quite easily take offence to the slightest view given.”
Addressing the issue of sexuality and gender reassignment was Elder Alex Nsimbi. He said that believers bring persecution on themselves when they fail to separate sin from the sinner and encouraged the church to follow Jesus by being compassionate to the concerns of others while also upholding the truth.
The three guest speakers then took part in a highly informative and engaging Q&A session with members before Brother Aworinde admonished the church to put into practice the counsel they had received throughout the day and see how God takes a stand for them as they stand for Him.For more information on Religious Liberty please visit: www.adventrlp.com
[Darell J. Philip]