As a General Conference Institution of higher education representing students from at least 55 countries (47 countries are represented on the main campus plus many on our MA and DMin international sites), the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary joins the Andrew’s University Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in condemning the recent act of racial violence that has taken place in Atlanta, GA, in which six persons of Asian descent were killed. We express our firm solidarity with and support for our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) faith community and beyond. We understand the anger, fear, anxiety, and despair of the AAPI communities across America and at the Seminary in particular, which is home to many Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
There are 22.6 million people living in America who are part of the AAPI community, according to the 2018 census report. Many of them are immigrants who have come to this country in hopes of finding better equality, opportunities, and justice. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have become targets of ugly aggression and violence though it has been repeatedly stated that they bear no responsibility for starting or spreading the pandemic. There has been an alarming trend of under-reported but steadily rising anti-Asian aggression and violence in America, especially against Asian women. This disturbing trend, which actually has a long history behind it, has gotten the attention of the media and the U.S. lawmakers. But it is Asian Americans, many of whom, feeling the sting of the aggression toward them, no longer feel safe to go about their daily lives without feeling vulnerable and insecure. There are currently 80 AAPI students studying at our Seminary.
The Seminary is committed to providing a safe and caring space for every person connected to it regardless of color, ethnicity, gender, or nationality. We will remain vigilant to ensure that every person studying and working at the Seminary is treated with dignity, justice, collegiality, and compassion, so they can succeed in fulfilling their God-given mission for their lives unhindered. The Seminary will not tolerate any harassment or violence of any type toward any person for any reason. Please promptly report all incidents of harassment and violence to the Deans’ office.
Condemnation and vigilance alone will not root out racial and ethnic prejudices and hostilities, which are endemic to sinful human nature regardless of race. Only Christ can heal us from this terrible spiritual disease. We are a community that has been called to bring healing and redemption to this world plagued with racism, xenophobia, sexual and substance addictions, mental disorders, violence, anger, division, and despair. We urge every faculty, student, and staff to draw close to Christ in this intense time of suffering and crisis by giving themselves to the study and meditation of the Word and to special seasons of prayer for each other and for the communities they each represent. Please pray that Christ will send the Holy Spirit as He promised (John 14:26; 15:26) so the Spirit can pour out the love of God the Father and Jesus Christ in our hearts (Rom 5:5). We need a genuine healing and transformation of hearts. Let us pray that everyone will take this opportunity to recommit themselves to becoming God’s change agents who see in each person humanity created in the image of God, marred by sin, and in need of our compassion.
Praying for those families who were directly affected, but also for all our Seminarians, AU students, and faculty!
May our loving Lord of peace give you rest and new assurance of His Present during the sacred hours of the coming Sabbath!