Image Credit: Khloe Bucknor

Pick Up Your Sword

On Jan. 13, 2024, a gathering of 305 people braved the cold and snow to convene at Federal Way Performing Arts and Entertainment Center for Days of Celebration, hosted by Washington Conference regional ministries.

The event spanned two days, encompassing Friday night vespers, Sabbath School, church service, afternoon workshops and a Sabbath vespers program. Distinguished speakers, including Edward Woods III, Carmela Monk-Crawford, Cryston Josiah and Jerome Hurst, presented thought-provoking sessions throughout the two-day event.

A notable addition to this year's program was the involvement of the Conscience and Justice Council. This council actively promotes vibrant public affairs and religious liberty ministries at the local church level through comprehensive training and ministry initiatives. Embracing an intergenerational and interfaith approach, the council seeks to sustain and foster a conscience and justice ministry.

"A heart that lacks compassion will not be saved in God's kingdom," Josiah said during the worship service keynote presentation. "If you want to cultivate a heart of compassion, you need to identify with the oppressed, acknowledge that inaction is not an option and recognize you are a foreigner traveling through this world with a heavenly identity and purpose."

The highlight of Days of Celebration was the series of four workshops offered to attendees. Each workshop, featuring a different guest speaker, aimed to empower participants to integrate Christian values with advocacy for social justice. Woods, guest speaker, emphasized this point: "God did not come to bring peace. He came with a sword."

The workshops included Adventism and Our Roots in Social Justice (Woods), The Bible Speaks to Social Justice (Josiah), Communicating the Message of Social Justice (Monk-Crawford) and Moving the Church to Social Justice (Hurst). Each session underscored the significance of the church's active involvement in social justice causes.

“My biggest takeaway was being willing to look past the systems we’ve created inside Seventh-day Adventism and break free of those so we can do what Jesus came on this earth to do,” said one participant. “To not just spread the gospel, but to heal others outside our community, outside the temples and outside the churches.”

Days of Celebration unfolded as a crucible of enlightenment. Woods's proclamation of a divine call with a sword resonated, leaving attendees spiritually enriched and committed to breaking free from institutional structures.

The Conscience and Justice Council's intergenerational mission catalyzed a charge, urging participants to advance social justice. This transformative movement sparked a newfound commitment to societal healing.

Featured in: May/June 2024

Author