February 19, 2019
One of the great opportunities we have in February is the celebration of Black History Month. For me personally, this occasion has been very instructive and insightful. In recent years, I have been reading books and watching movies/documentaries on this subject, but I didn’t find something in connection with the Seventh-day Adventist Church until I read the brand-new book “Protest and Progress” by Dr. Calvin Rock, former GC Vice President. I also found the website blacksdahistory.org by Benjamin Baker, Ph.D., currently contracted by GC Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. Both works are awesome, and I highly recommend that you read them. I can say that I have grown — not just in knowledge, but also in my understanding of this subject matter.
I will dare to say something that I’m fully aware I may be criticized for, but I’m choosing to risk being criticized for saying it than for not saying it.
Since the Southern California Conference is a very diverse community of believers, I consider it imperative for every employee (not just ministers) to be more informed about this heinous portion of history we have seen as Americans and SDAs. We definitely cannot change the past, but I’m convinced that we can learn a lot from it to avoid making the same mistakes. On this topic, Ellen G. White is very clear in her book “The Southern Work” and other references.
On the other hand, the current climate in our country demands that we become conscientious and sensitive toward this topic of diversity and inclusiveness.
The first week of this month, I attended the annual NAD Conference Presidents Retreat in Palm Springs. This event has a three-fold purpose:
- Provide professional orientation in areas pertinent to our roles as Executive Officers
- Foster the fellowship and camaraderie with others church administrators who face similar challenges in church leadership
- Seek counsel about church organization from others who have more experience and look for new ways to approach challenges in church management
During the second week, we met to prepare for our upcoming Executive Committee meeting on the 20th. The two major items were finances and education.
On a personal note, this past weekend, Esther and I traveled to Mexico City to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. I want to say how grateful to God I am for the blessing of having a God-fearing mother who was devoted to passing the SDA Christian values to my brother and I. Since she accepted wholeheartedly the SDA message 70 years ago, she also embraced a few American customs that the American missionaries took with them, such as Corn Flakes and oatmeal with raisins for breakfast and baked casseroles for lunch on Sabbath — replacing my chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, and chiles rellenos. (I’m not complaining, just highlighting the impact of the missionaries in our daily home lives.) She has been a devoted Christian lady, a pastor’s wife, who took care of a couple of rascal sons who by the grace of God now serve His church. Thank you, Lord, for my mother!
- 65th SCC Constituency Session: This important meeting will be held on Sunday, September 22, 2019, at the White Memorial SDA Church from 7:55 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Your fellow traveler,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference