As a General Conference Institution of higher education representing students from at least 55 countries (47 countries are... read more >
Statement of Support for our Asian Community
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!
The PhD in religion program is pleased to announce the oral doctoral dissertation defense of Jolive Chaves titled... read more >
Doctoral Dissertation Defense: Jolive Chaves
The PhD in religion program is pleased to announce the oral doctoral dissertation defense of Jolive Chaves titled "A Study of the Nones in Brazil and USA in Light of Secularization Theory, With Missiological Implications."
The defense will be held on Monday, March 15, 2021, at 2 p.m. via Zoom by personal invitation only.
Quickly scanning my gallery view, I noticed that there were seminary professors and fellow seminarians in attendance. It... read more >
Seminary Town Hall Forum Series on Race 2
Quickly scanning my gallery view, I noticed that there were seminary professors and fellow seminarians in attendance. It was in that moment I could not help but notice out of the 30 plus individuals in attendance there were only a handful of my white counterparts. Nevertheless, Dr. Teresa Reeve and Dr. Sedlacek provided context and went over the agenda for the forum. We were at a tipping point because the past few months had been filled with uncertainty and anxiety. Everyone was facing individual and collective battles in protecting themselves and their loved ones from the COVID-19 virus. However, there was one incident in the news stories about an injustice in our society that overshadowed it all, the murder of George Floyd. As the conversation began to take shape I slipped further away as I reflected on the murder of George Floyd and questions filled my mind. I started to feel the palpitations of my heart grow stronger and felt shortness of breath while sweat tried to ease its way down my clenched fist. I began to drift even further away as more questions invaded my mind: how does one accurately define suffering when language misses the mark?
I was quickly snapped back into reality as I heard a familiar voice share similar feelings. I resonated deeply with feeling trapped by all the social unrest in the news but also in my own life. Although, words failed to express the extent of my pain, listening to fellow seminarians share somehow gave me the courage to speak. As I was given a chance to speak, I chose to avoid cheap cliches and eloquent speech and spoke from the heart. I shared with the group that I was still processing and have not been able to fully reflect. I listed the names of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Gardner, Kenneth Chamberlain, John Crawford, Philando Castile, Brianna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. It was in that moment that I realized the question that was staring me in my face every morning: how do I protect my unborn child from the world he would soon enter?
The first forum ended with participants emotionally spent from sharing and listening to one another’s expression of grief, pain, and hope. Due to the obvious need, a second forum was held virtually on July 14, 2020 at 12pm. There is a particular segment from this second forum on race that is important to highlight. If people in our Andrews University Seminary community hear nothing else, this is what I want them to hear. To hear someone that expresses your worldview and looks like me but is a professor share the wrongs and ills that they experienced in the seminary just broke our hearts. I watched as another professor showed compassion in the most altruistic form and just begin to cry as his heart was breaking for his friend. It was then that I came to realize that tears do not discriminate based on color, ethnicity, gender, doctrine, creed, or belief but seeks, rather, to reach the heart. Just for a moment we held space where we were seen, heard, and valued. Although some had to relive traumatizing experiences to help some of our colleagues in understanding the pathos of the black experience, the cognitive shift was beginning which one could observe from the head nods followed by the phrase “Thank you for sharing!”.
It has been difficult, to be honest, but I have not lost--and will not lose--my hope. Yes, I am tired of having courageous conversations BUT what holds me up is this simple truth found Lamentations 3:24, “The Lord is my portion, says my soul." The issue is a strained one; nevertheless, we need to move forward. I believe there is going to be a continued resistance; however, I am more hopeful for future change in the world because it is happening in our Seminary.