Adventist Peace Church in Chattanooga works for racial and economic justice (by Lisa Diller)

(The Well in Chattanooga is one of five Adventist congregations currently working toward certification as an "Adventist Peace Church".  Lisa Clark Diller, a professor of history at Southern Adventist University and the APF coordinator for the The Well, shares this update of recent Well activities focused on racial and economic justice as well care for creation.) One of the Well’s ( core values is that it must strive to be an incarnational community. This means the Well is very intentional about being present in the physical space of our immediate neighborhood.

Well tree planting NovWhen the community is celebrating, mourning, building, or dialoging, we at the Well want to be there alongside our neighbors. We host the local Jefferson Heights Neighborhood Association meetings at our facility. Our once-a-month Deep Well Sabbaths take our worship into the neighborhood through fellowship, education, service, or small group worship.

It is this commitment to being part of the Kingdom of God in the Southside of Chattanooga that leads us to connect with the mission of the Adventist Peace Fellowship. Becoming an Adventist Peace Church, when we discovered this network, was a very obvious move for us to make. The APF campaigns that we are most deeply involved with as a natural part of our life and ministry on the Southside are racial reconciliation, care for creation and economic justice.

We appreciate the vocabulary and the language of APF in helping us root our peacemaking activities in the theology and history of the Adventist Church and its local congregations around the world. Thinking intentionally about what we are doing helps give greater meaning to it. It is also true that being part of the network of Peace Churches helps us stay accountable to what we are doing.

For instance, in the months of November and December we helped the Cowart Place Neighborhood Association plant dozens of trees in the industrial landscape of the Southside as they turned an empty lot into a park. Our children/family group collected quarters and handed out Christmas greetings with rolls of quarters and small quantities of laundry detergent at local laundromats on the Southside. While this small activity does not go far towards achieving lasting economic justice, it does educate our children and families about the realities of many people in the urban core and the challenges they face in going about the most mundane elements of everyday life, such as doing laundry.Group Tree Plant

Finally, members from the Well joined several urban peace workers and the Chattanooga Police Department on a march for peace and reconciliation in one of the most challenged of our Southside Communities, Alton Park. This was a way of recognizing, in a peaceful way, the national conversation we are having in the U.S. about the police violence and racial reconciliation. The march consisted of a very diverse group of people, and it was an educational experience for the Well members who participated.

We look forward to more inspiration from our sister churches and for more ways to be part of the Kingdom of God and as we grow the followers of Jesus in Chattanooga.

AR: Dutch Politician Marianne Thieme Continues to Lead the Party for the Animals

rsz_mariannethieme_2 The Adventist Review recently ran a story on Marianne Thieme, the Dutch Politician who co-founded the Party for the Animals.[1] Despite criticism, the party has thrived in the Netherlands and has spread to other countries. "Thieme said her secret for success has been to live what she teaches, stand by her convictions, and determinedly press ahead despite opposition, remembering that heated emotions can be a catalyst for change." Thieme shares, “I have experienced that one can be successful by sticking to your ideals and by practicing what you preach.”

Although she is a Seventh-day Adventist, "never expect to see Thieme preaching on the job. The Party of the Animals is secular, and Thieme keeps matters of church and state strictly separate." A colleague reveals, “She doesn't believe in 'Christian politics'; therefore, she started a secular party. She strongly believes in the separation between church and state.”

Naturally, Thieme is a vegetarian, as is her husband, Jaap Korteweg (aka, The Vegetarian Butcher). The Adventist Review article looks into this part of her story:

While studying vegetarianism a decade ago, Thieme learned about Adventists and began to read books by Ellen White. She said she was struck by White’s message of compassion toward animals and her passionate plea for vegetarianism.

“I dare say she was an animal rights activist,” Thieme said.

One passage that particularly impressed her came from a chapter titled “Flesh as Food” in White’s book “Ministry of Health”: “Animals are often transported long distances and subjected to great suffering in reaching a market. Taken from the green pastures, and traveling for weary miles over the hot, dusty roads, or crowded into filthy cars, feverish and exhausted, often for many hours deprived of food and water, the poor creatures are driven to their death, that human beings may feast on the carcasses.”

“Together with my beliefs and my animal advocacy, the Adventist Church appealed to me and I became an Adventist in 2006,” Thieme said.

Her joy was short-lived, however. As she began to talk with other Adventists, she found that some downplayed White’s writings as old-fashioned.

“Old-fashioned? I was so surprised,” she said.

Thieme said she saw nothing 19th century in White’s writings about a healthier life with no animal products, her compassion toward animals, her advice not to smoke cigarettes, and the fact that Adventists were the first religious group with health programs to stop smoking and provide vegetarian products.

“Right now, at this moment, it’s a most relevant and current message,” she said.

She said Adventists should be more visible in ongoing global discussions about the impact of meat on climate change, obesity, animal welfare and a looming food crisis.

Read the entire story here. Note the additional resources at the end of that article, as well as these three:

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[1] Andrew McChesney, "Dutch Politician Finds Success in Practicing What She Preaches," Adventist Review (24 July 2014);

NOTE: See other APF articles about Thieme here.

Adventist Pilot Gary Roberts Supports Conservation Efforts in Chad

Herd_of_Elephants Spectrum reports that Gary Roberts was included in a Smithsonian article on elephant conservation--"Christians and Conservation" (Sterling Spence, 21 July 2014). Roberts "flew to the aid of local conservationists to investigate reports of a mass killing and attempted to save the life of a single 9-month old calf."

Spence concludes, "As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to look at the world through the lens of the gospel. What conversations do you think the community should have when addressed with issues of conservation, consumption, and climate change?"

Spectrum Article

Smithsonian Article

Joanna Darby on the Basis for Creation Care

greenJoanna Darby recorded a short video on creation care for Brad Rea's YouTube channel, Seventh-day Adventist Fans of Jesus--Toward an Adventist perspective on Christian Environmental Ethics. Brad asked Joanna to share her thoughts on camera because she often preaches about a Christian approach to sustainable living and because he values her belief that Christians should be Environmental activists in their own way.


Here is the video's YouTube description:

Published on Jan 31, 2014

"Creation Care" - An Adventist's perspective on Christian Environmental ethics, and the need to look after God's natural creation - the world around us.

Popular SDA speaker Joanna Darby talks about a Christian environmental ethic in light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Joanna Darby (Jo Darby) is a popular Seventh-day Adventist speaker at youth rallies, church services, SDA Summer Camps, The One Project, and church retreats. Joanna is also a writer and artist.

Visit Joanna Darby's website at -

Video title: Toward an Adventist perspective on Christian Environmental ethics - Joanna Darby "Creation Care" Music by Mark Robinson.


Loma Linda Study Links Diet and Climate Change

West_Show_Jersey_July_2010_11 A Loma Linda study finds a beneficial connection between a vegetarian diet and climate change, reports the Adventist Review ("Vegetarian Diet Is Effective Tool Against Climate Change, Study Finds," June 26, 2014, link).


The research, published in the upcoming July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that a vegetarian diet results in nearly a third less greenhouse gas emissions than a diet with animal products.

"To our knowledge, no studies have yet used a single non-simulated data set to independently assess the climate change mitigation potential and actual health outcomes for the same dietary patterns," said Joan Sabaté, a study co-author and a nutrition professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health.

The study argues that a global shift toward plant-based diets would help protect people against food shortages by increasing food security and sustainability.

The complete article is available on the Adventist Review website.