The South Pacific Division (SPD) hosted a Symposium on Ellen White and Contemporary Adventism on November 6—an all-day, online event that featured six keynote presentations, four short videos about Ellen White’s life in Australia, and live Q-and-A sessions with the presenters.
“The event addressed the role of Ellen White’s writings in Adventism,” said Dr. Darius Jankiewicz, field secretary of the South Pacific Division. “The relationship between Scripture and White’s writings was well defined by the Adventist pioneers; however, over time, we have tended to neglect or forget the guidance of early Adventists regarding the role of Ellen White’s writings. Consequently, we need frequent reminders of the responsible use of Ellen White’s writings in the life of the church.”
The symposium was the result of close collaboration between four entities: the SPD’s Field Secretariat, the Ellen White Research Centre, the Adventist Heritage Centre, and Adventist Media.
“Despite some serious technical issues that initially impacted the symposium, viewers rated the symposium as an outstanding success,” said Dr. Jankiewicz.
Viewers tuned in from around the world, including places as diverse as Nigeria, California, and Portugal. Students and faculty gathered together at Pacific Adventist University, Fulton Adventist University College, and Sonoma College to watch.
Topics included “The nature of inspiration and how it works,” “Reading Ellen White’s writings responsibly,” and “The Godhead in the writings of Ellen White.”
The short documentary pieces featured interesting anecdotes and reenactments from Ellen White’s life in Australia, including her impact on the local community and the legacy she left on the church in this part of the world. The videos were produced by the Adventist Heritage Centre and filmed at Ellen White’s former home, Sunnyside, in Cooranbong, New South Wales, by Adventist Media. One of the organizers of the conference and instrumental in pulling together the videos, David Jones, director of Adventist Heritage, had his staff supporting the moderation of comments.
Hosted by Maryellen Hacko, a creative writer and artist, and Jarrod Stackelroth, Adventist Record and Signs of the Times editor, the question-and-answer segments were enjoyed by the viewers and guests, who could unpack and explore their topics beyond what was covered in their presentations.
On-call local experts, who had helped to organize the program, were on hand to help pass along audience questions: Mark Pearce, director of the Ellen G White and Adventist Research Centre at Avondale University; Dr. John Skrzypaszek, his recently retired predecessor; and Dr. Jankiewicz.
Brett Donald, from Adventist Media, was key in helping with the technical side, running the livestream and providing technical support.
The symposium was the first of three planned events and is available to watch online.