by Adventist Today News Team
A year ago Adventist Today reported the widespread special events in Seventh-day Adventist churches across North America celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ at the traditional Easter time observed in most Christian denominations. Within the living memory of many middle-aged and older Adventists this was not the practice, but it has evidently become common enough that this year the official Email newsletter of the North American Division—NAD NewsPoints—has published a listing of 40 such events in churches large and small, with reports from seven of the nine union conferences in the United States and Canada.
For local congregations that have not planned something recognizing this key date in the traditional Christian year, at least two of the denomination’s media ministries will provide programming that could be projected on a large screen. “The Seven Last Words of Christ” will be live-streamed from the Oakwood University Church on Friday evening (March 29), starting at 7 p.m. Central Time (8 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Mountain and 5 p.m. Pacific). Seven preachers will each take one of the seven phrases that Jesus spoke from the cross as he died with music between the homilies by the university’s four choirs, including the Aeolians, winners of the global choral Olympics. Produced by the Breath of Life television ministry, the event will be live-streamed at www.oucsda.org and more information is available at www.breathoflife.tv.
Hope Television, the denomination’s official global cable channel, will broadcast “He Is Risen,” a 45-minute special with Pastor Dan Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, Connie Vandeman Jeffery from the Adventist Media Center, and the Family Reunion music group. It will be rebroadcast several times throughout the coming weekend. Local times can be found at www.hopetv.org and it will be live-streamed at that same web address.
The listing of events includes passion plays, Tenebrae services, Passover Seders, concerts and preaching services in churches from Baltimore, Maryland, to Alhambra, California. Included are Hispanic, historically African American and suburban and small-town white churches. The White Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church in Los Angeles, built in memory of denominational cofounder Ellen G. White is among the listings.
“Adventists in many places, but especially in North America, Europe and Australia, are unashamedly identifying themselves as Christians,” a retired theologian told Adventist Today. “That is a good thing. I can remember a time when Protestant friends asked me if Adventists considered themselves Christian. It is a maturing of our faith to be able to joyfully express affirmation for the resurrection and join in that fundamental idea with all other Christians.”