Hi. I’m Deanna Simeone, Director of Human Resources. One of our Core Values here at Southern California Conference is Unity in Diversity“We recognize that the local church is the hope of the world, and we are confident we can accomplish infinitely more together than apart.”

In 1970, the musical artist Ray Stevens recorded the song, “Everything Is Beautiful.” I remember as a young teenager how it immediately caught my attention because of the way the song started, with a familiar children’s song I had sung in Sabbath School as a little child.

     “Jesus loves the little children

     All the children of the world

     Red and yellow, black and white

     They are precious in his sight

     Jesus loves the little children of the world”

I am a music lover. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing. I’ve sung in choirs most of my life. The summer I was 9, my dad took our family to hear a concert by the Navy band. My dad, having been a Navy musician, was delighted to share his love of music with all of us kids. I was intrigued by the musicians in the percussion section who were constantly moving about, playing lots of different instruments; snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, glockenspiel, you name it. It just looked like they were having so much fun playing all those different instruments. I decided that’s what I wanted to play, the drums. That year at our local church school my dad started a band. That’s when I started playing the drums. My interest went beyond just snare drum, and the trap set my folks gave me for Christmas that year to include timpani, chimes, marimba and just about every percussion instrument you can think of. If you can bang it or strike it with a mallet—I’m your girl. Eventually, as a young adult, I discovered English Handbells, another instrument that involves clappers and mallets, and getting to move about a bit.

I quickly went from ringing bells to teaching/directing handbells. Something I did for nearly 30 years. One year while teaching at San Gabriel Academy we were performing at a church one Sabbath morning. The service was running a bit long, so rather than preach the sermon the pastor had prepared, he asked the bells to help him out with an object lesson. He asked the bell choir to replay a song we had just performed but he asked for the ringers who played G and C to sit down and not play. Well, this reduction in force didn’t mean we just lost those two notes but the person who played middle C also play the B4 bell. The ringer who played C6 also played D6 and the person who played G5 also played A5. This meant we were missing more than just 2 notes, which would have sounded a little strange, but with so many additional notes missing, the song simply didn’t sound right without everyone doing their part, it was unrecognizable. When a bell choir plays a song, they must all work together, they need to move together, they even need to breathe together. We have a saying in bells, “Like motion creates like sound.” The big bells that often ring only a few times, the bells in the middle that carry most of the melody as well as the little bells that are easier to shake and do fancy techniques, all are necessary to play their notes at the right time and in the right way. It took all of us working together to make the beautiful music we had heard when everyone was working together, doing their individual part. 

It’s that way in the church. We all have different jobs to do. Some jobs seem big and important and  their work is seen by many, just like the bells that play a lot of notes. Some people do simple tasks behind the scenes not even noticed by most just like some bells don’t get rung as often as others, but they are just as vital and necessary for the performance to be a success. Just as it takes each bell ringer playing their notes at just the right time and in just the right way to make beautiful music, so is takes each member, each of us with our different personalities, and talents and strengths, to make the church a success.

You are not an island but a member of the body of Christ.

In his book “The Pursuit of God,” AW Tozer said this: “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to the standard to which each one must individually bow. So, one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking to Christ, are in heart, nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to come in ‘unity’ focused not on God, but on trying to ‘work things out’ on their own among each other.”

1 Corinthians 12:14-16 (ESV): “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.”

Each Sabbath the nearly 40,000 members of the Southern California Conference gather together in churches all across the greater Los Angeles area to worship. Our members come from many different walks of life and social standing. With more than 25 different ethnic groups and languages, some are old, some are young, some are rich and some not so much, we have one of the most diverse people groups of any conference in the U.S., yet in our diversity we can be united in Christ.

Romans 12:4-5 (KJV): “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” You are not an island but a member of the body of Christ.

Blessings to you and thank you for joining us today. We invite you to like and subscribe, and we’ll see you in the next video.