How well do you know the history of how the Adventist Church started in your country? I confess that even after spending six years studying for the ministry I have never gone into too much detail about how the Church started where I was born, raised and have pastored for the past 25 years.
My interest however was galvanized by reading an old centenary Messenger magazine that celebrated A Century of Adventistism in the British Isles. This followed an in-depth search on the internet and the Adventist archives which brought out a wealth of documents, articles, pictures and information about the pioneers who were responsible for providing the solid foundation of Adventism that we have today. Their story is an amazing one.
Reading of their perseverance, faithfulness and tenacity amidst the most challenging circumstances, made me realize this story needs to be heard in a visual way. We think evangelism may be hard today but in my estimation it's nothing compared to how it was for a very few faithful group of workers for God, who had a desire and a passion to start an entirely new denomination in a country that would have been steeped in Anglicanism and opposition to foreign ministers.
So how did these pioneers make inroads into spreading the Adventist message within these shores while having to face so many barriers?
What challenges did they encounter along the way?
What were their mistakes which ultimately led to valuable lessons that inspired them to keep pressing on and to finally gain the first baptism after a year of hard work "softening the fallow ground?"
It was not easy for them with financial constraints and introducing a new Sabbath-Saturday message that cut against the grain of poverty and social ridicule. So, we have much to learn from our pioneers, lest we forget.
A Story of Perseverance, produced by the British Union Conference (BUC) Media department, seeks to highlight their story through a timeline of events and provide valuable lessons for us today as Church leaders and lay members about the attitudes we ought to have about evangelism, church services and our work in the local community. Let their story be told.
[This article was first published in BUCnews 1 February 2019]