By Pr. Rhoda Klein Miller
While en route to a destination most of your focus should be on the road ahead. But it is good practice to occasionally check the rearview mirror too and know what is behind you. It’s important for us individually and as a church to do the same in the course of our journey. This February OAC celebrated 60 years at its Baillie street location but there was a congregation of Seventh-day Adventists in Vancouver for decades prior. That chapter followed another milestone moment which occurred 160 years ago. On May 21,1863 twenty passionate visionaries met to officially organize the Seventh-day Adventist church. Emerging from the Great Disappointment of 1844, when Millerites were convinced Jesus would return, this group of devout believers focussed on diligent study of Scripture, the centrality of the fourth commandment and Spirit-led prophetic revelation. Within two decades they amassed 3,500 members in 6 regions. Many of Adventistism’s early leaders began their work while teenageers. At the time of the 1963 meeting in Battle Creek Michigan, J.N. Andrews was 34, Ellen White was 36, Uriah Smith and John Norton Loughborough were both 31. In the decade that followed the first Seventh-day Adventist church was established in Quebec and from there the movement spread across Canada and all over the world. Today there are 22 million members in 212 countries. Many more lives have been nourished by 22 food factories, encouraged by the content from 57 publishing houses and 2972 radio stations, educated at one 9589 schools (our own Deer Lake Academy being among them), or received care from one of the 2,000 hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. While I don’t think our denomination’s pioneers would have guessed we’d still be waiting on Jesus’ second coming in 2023, the global growth and reach would not surprise them. They were driven in unity and identity to take the everlasting gospel to all who dwell on the earth, every nation, family, language and people group (Revelation 14:6). Now it’s your time to catch the vision and mission and proclaim the excellence of the One who called you from darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).