As President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland I would like to give you a warm welcome to our website. As you browse this site I hope that it will give you an insight into the life and ministry of the more than 34,000 Christians who have made this church their spiritual home. You will also find resources from various church departments, the locations of all our churches and companies, the latest news and events diary, and a picture gallery that traces some of the major events of recent years. You may also be interested in our historical archive, a collection of documents that will take you back to the very origins of the church in this country.
Ours is a very diverse, vibrant and growing church. After visiting these pages I hope that you can also take an opportunity to find a welcome in one of our many congregations. If you need any further information or assistance please do not hesitate to contact us at this office.
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR MESSAGE: 'WE NEED TO TALK'
Nothing strikes me with a sense of panic and fear as when my wife of 25 years now, Jennifer, says to me, "Ian... we need to talk!"
Those 4 words "we need to talk!" are the harbinger of a conversation that I really do not want to conduct and for which I'm not sure when and how I will emotionally recover from the "talk!" I had thought that I was alone in being frightened witless by "we need to talk" until sometime in 2011 I heard a radio news feature that revealed other men were just like me!
When Jennifer states that "we need to talk" I know that I am being taken into a place where an uncomfortable conversation is about to be conducted. Uncomfortable conversations are not where I want to be because they have a way of exposing my deficiencies, inadequacies and need for reform.
Having just watched the children of the Stanborough Primary and Secondary School put on a most wonderful and inspiring nativity musical, my mind was drawn to an uncomfortable conversation that the Nativity story records in Matthew 1:18:-
"This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit." [Matthew 1:18 NIV]
I can imagine the scene when Mary announced to her fiancé in what must have been an extremely serious and solemn tone "Joseph, we need to talk!" For Joseph hearing that his fiancée is pregnant, he most certainly knew that the child was not his. I know how I would have reacted to the revelation in this uncomfortable conversation, "and just who is the father?" Incredulity would not adequately describe my reaction to her answer, "the father is the Holy Ghost."
I have no desire to engage in uncomfortable conversations and yet not only are they at the heart of the Christmas story but the Bible cites a number of uncomfortable conversations such as the one that Jeremiah had with God in Jeremiah 15, where after complaining about his terrible lot as a prophet, God effectively told the prophet to stop talking nonsense and repent or else he was sacked from the prophetic ministry (15:19).
In the book of Acts, Peter had to conduct an uncomfortable conversation with a husband and wife whose secret actions showed them to be liars and thieves (chapter 5). In Acts 6, an uncomfortable conversation was conducted regarding issues of prejudice and discrimination. In Acts 15 an uncomfortable conversation needed to be had regarding issues of theology and religious practice. In Galatians 2, Paul recounted that he had a most uncomfortable conversation with Peter whom he accused of being weak and a hypocrite.
These uncomfortable conversations were necessary because their outcome related to God's mission that His message be shared.
I believe that we must engage in uncomfortable conversations when we understand that the objective is MISSION... that is reaching people with the love and message of Jesus Christ. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland has to engage in many uncomfortable conversations and questions of which one is, "how does our Church, whose membership is largely made up of ethnic minority people, become able to effectively reach the majority ethnic population with the love and message of Jesus Christ?"
Our local churches need to engage in uncomfortable conversations such as "is our congregation serving as salt and light (Matthew 5) in our local community or are we only known in our community by car parking issues on a Saturday?"
Uncomfortable conversations are about listening to one another and finding ways to be more effective in our witness.
After Mary and Joseph's uncomfortable conversation from which he decided he would break it off with Mary, an angel appeared to him and reassured him that Mary's story was true and that she would "give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel" ‒ which means, "God with us."
We need to talk, however, I truly pray Immanuel "God with us!" as we talk.
THE CHURCH IN 2012 AND BEYOND
With the glow of the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee both fading into the distant memory, I still believe there is a 'feel good' factor within the British public and within the Church I love.
However, that 'feel good' factor has to be turned into more concrete action, as I have shared in a video report that I believe gives an accurate portrayal of our church in 2012 and what we have in mind for 2013 and beyond.
This ten minute video is ideal to download and share with your church family, perhaps during the missions spot or an afternoon meeting, or as a basis to talk about mission in your own, local church setting.
WOMEN IN MINISTRY
I recently had the privilege to attend a Women's Ministries Convention. (My wife was the devotional speaker and I was supporting her). While there I was asked about my views on the role of women in Church leadership. I give my positive and affirmative response in this video interview.
REVIVIAL, REFORMATION AND MISSION
There is nothing that excites me more than mission and evangelism. I've recently been traveling around the British Isles and at every location, whether with ministers, elders or church members they are starting to recognize that the main trust of my conversation is going to be, "what is happening at grass-roots level?" While I am overseeing the Adventist church across the British Isles, I fully recognize that it is at local church level where the real impact is made. That is why I challenge every local congregation to "take seriously its reason for being". The aim of every board and business meeting should be "how do we reach the lost?" Do you have ideas and suggestions? Have you tried anything that seems to be working. I'd be delighted to hear from you. You can make a comment and join the discussion on my new blog page.