Adapted from an ANN story – 14 July 2019 | From July 9 to July 13, 2019, the Health Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist world church hosted its third Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle at Loma Linda University. The first Global Conference was held in Geneva in 2009 and has grown since. This was the first time the conference was held in the United States.
A number of characteristics distinguished this year’s conference from those in previous years. One of them is the university’s “vision 2020.” Next year, Loma Linda plans to unveil a brand-new hospital building, projected to be one of the most highly-engineered and modern in North America.
This was also the first time a department, such as Health Ministries, partnered with Possibility Ministries, a ministry which works with people who have special needs. Leaders from Health Ministries and Possibility Ministries hope this emphasis inspires people to integrate those with special needs into the everyday life of their church.
Focus This Year
The focus of this year’s conference was to enlighten people about the inextricable relationship of the mind, body, and spirit. The aim was to show how each aspect of our existence influences the other.
People often think of health as something purely physical. However, there’s a strong interaction between mental, physical, social, and spiritual health. Dr. Peter Landless, director of the Health Ministries department for the Seventh-day Adventist world church, holds this comprehensive inclusivity, represented in the Adventist Health message, should be discussed in the Adventist Church more.
Dr. Landless feels a successful conference would mean people coming to the understanding that the Adventist Health message is a wholistic one. It isn’t just the body and what we eat. It is how we sleep, our controlled connectedness to cellular devices and other technology, and how we worship.
It would mean helping the audience grasp that the health message isn’t just a self-centered search for well-being but rather, is about improving our health so we can be of better service to others. E.G. White worded it like this, “The more perfect our health, the more perfect our work.”
Impact and Testimonies
The first two conferences in Geneva have had an undeniable impact on communities globally.
Williams Costa, director of communication for the Seventh-day Adventist world church, said, “It was amazing to see people from all around the world converging to promote preventative health. The reason for most sicknesses is that people are following the wrong lifestyle. Seeing so many nations come together to promote that message was extraordinary.”
On a trip to Europe, some people from the region told Dr. Peter Landless, “We’re sorry it’s not in Europe but it changed our lives and the approach to the way we think about health.”
While having the conference in the United States has an abundance of benefits, including this year’s venue being the beautiful campus of Loma Linda, it is a challenge to get people to attend from overseas due to the difficulty of obtaining visas.
When asked what would happen when the conference finished, Dr. Landless answered, “It’s not going to be finished until Jesus comes. The work continues. We’re not geared for running from event to event; this is a journey. This is a journey to inspire divisions, to inspire institutions, to inspire conferences, to inspire churches to continue this work all year round.”
He added the goal is for every church to be a community health center, and every member a health educator or medical missionary. “It’s important to understand that this is not an event-driven thing, but a journey that continues,” he clarified.
Adventists News Network (ANN) is the official news agency of the Adventist Church