by Monte Sahlin

By Adventist Today News Team, January 16, 2014
 
A panel of 20-somethings from with a variety of relationships to and perspectives on Adventist faith will share their views on Sabbath, February 15, at 3 p.m. The event will be held in the Damazo Amphitheater in the Centennial Complex at Loma Linda University.
 
The speakers will include Alfredo Lee, Dr. Keisha McKenzie, Edgar Momplaisir, Pastor Courtney Ray and Syd Shook. There will also be time for questions from the audience. Moderator for the panel will be Ryan Bell, a board member for the AT Foundation. Monte Sahlin, a veteran researcher and executive director of the AT Foundation, will share a summary.
 
Alfredo Lee was born in Mexico to an Adventist family and immigrated to Los Angeles, California, sharing the immigrant experience of many in his generation of Adventists. He served as a pianist every Sabbath for his father's congregations until he left home for college. He identifies himself as a mystic and a queer man of color, and works for a child advocacy organization in Los Angeles.
 
Dr. Keisha McKenzie is originally from London and attended Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica before completing a PhD at Texas Tech University. She is engaged in research about the way scientific information is used in government communications, civic participation and organizational development. She is a consultant to nonprofit organizations, public sector groups and educational institutions. She worships both with a Seventh-day Adventist church and a Quaker group and cohosts weekly Twitter chats on religion.
 
Edgar N. Momplaisir is a writer and film director from northern California. He was born into an Adventist family in New York City and attended Adventist schools for most of his life. He is expecting to graduate from Pacific Union College in June with a BA degree in Film and Television.
 
Pastor Courtney Ray was first introduced to the Adventist faith as a student in Adventist school. She is associate pastor at the Tamarind Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church in Compton, California. She completed an undergraduate pre-medicine program and later studied in the seminary at Andrews University. She has served as a pastor at Adventist churches in Baltimore, Maryland, and Hanford, California, as well as completing a master's degree in neuroscience and psychology at Loma Linda University.
 
Syd Shook joined the Adventist Church in 2010. Since then her church home has been the Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church where she has served an elder and staff assistant. She is currently a graduate student at Fuller Theological Seminary and has worked in faith-based international development organizations for several years. She lives with her husband, the poet David Shook, in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
 
A recent research summit convened by the denomination's General Conference revealed that more than a third of the people baptized in the Adventist Church over the past 50 years later dropped out. Several surveys have shown that about half of the children raised in Adventist families have disconnected from the Church by their mid-20s. The widely-held idea that the Adventist dropout problem is largely related to recent converts has proved to be a myth. It seems to have a stronger correlation with "second generation" church members.
 
The AT Foundation has organized this event not only to help Adventists gain a clearer understanding of inter-generational faith dynamics, but also to celebrate 20 years of publication of the independent news source. The first volume of the journal was published in 1993 and with 2013 it completes 20 volumes. It has grown into a multi-media operation with Web, Email and Facebook editions alongside the print magazine and book publishing activities.
 
No pre-registration is required to attend the event. No attendance fee will be charged, although a freewill offering will be collected. Questions can be directed to atoday@atoday.org by Email by phone at (503) 826-8600.
 
It is cosponsored by the Adventist Today Foundation and the humanities program of the university's School of Religion. It will be open to any interested individual or group.