Glendale City Seventh-day Adventist Church has become the first church to complete all of the steps to become an APF certified "Adventist peace church." Todd Leonard, who is the congregation's senior pastor, was recently interviewed by Adventist Today about why Glendale City chose to join the APF network. An accompanying news story highlights the church's community outreach and activism.
The values of peace and justice were not new to the Glendale church, so joining the APF network seemed like a natural step, Leonard told Adventist Today. Even though members of the congregation have a range of political views, they are unified in their desire to serve their community. "We took it to our church board and shared the mission of Adventist Peace Fellowship," Leonard said:
"One of the comments on the board was, 'This already seems to be the values of our congregation. This doesn’t seem to be a stretch or different from who we are.' So it was probably one of the easiest decisions we’ve ever made as a church. In our congregation there are people all along the political spectrum about how we should address issues in American politics, but we’re united about this. In the context of what our church is doing, this is who we’ve been as a church—about healing brokenness, being inclusive where others exclude."
Over the past year, the Glendale congregation has co-founded two nonprofit agencies to focus on different areas of service. The Caesura Youth Orchestra will provide musical instruments and lessons for youth who could not otherwise afford to participate in extracurricular musical pursuits. The Glendale Communitas Initiative is a collaboration between public and private sector organizations to care for families at risk of becoming homeless. The goal is to reduce poverty in Glendale by 10 percent over the next five years.
Leonard explained to Adventist Today why the Glendale City church board sees joining the APF network as strengthening the church's work in the Glendale community. His congregation “would love to have the collaboration and collegiality of networking with other churches who have the same mission and vision for their congregation. We can share ideas, share what’s working in our local context, find resources that would be beneficial for one another. There’s that connection where the sharing and the interaction can happen more effectively and much easier.”
Leonard says he hopes that the Adventist peace church movement will "catch fire" and "would be something that more and more Adventist churches would want to be a part of" as they see "our heritage of not only preaching about the kingdom to come but actively working in society to make life better for the world we’re in".