Dear Members and Friends of Adventist Peace Fellowship,
I am pleased to announce that Ronald Osborn, a co-founder of Adventist Peace Fellowship, has accepted the role of director, effective July 1, 2011. This change came about at my initiative, in consultation with the APF advisory board. While I have mixed feelings about relinquishing responsibility as director, I believe the change will serve to expand and energize the work of APF.
Though many, if not most of you know something of Ron’s work, a brief word of introduction seems in order here. Ron authored the statements of Vision and Covenant that have guided APF since its origins nearly a decade ago. Since then, through publication of numerous essays and his book, Anarchy and Apocalypse, he has become recognized well beyond Adventist circles for insightful analysis of the issues that concern APF, and as one who gives voice to the peacemaking strand of the Seventh-day Adventist tradition. He is currently a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Southern California.
While stepping aside from the role of director I hope to step-up, in whatever ways appropriate, my contribution to APF’s mission of encouraging Adventist action for peace and justice in the name of the Prince of Peace. From the time of our organization in 2002 to the present, we have functioned in a somewhat informal, “ad hoc” fashion, doing what seemed most “doable” on a volunteer basis, as circumstances and opportunities unfolded. This led to a web site, the “Peace Messenger “ email newsletter and then blog; publication of a book, The Peacemaking Remnant; participation in Adventist peace-oriented events such as the “Talking Peace, Making Peace” conference organized by the Adventist Women for Peace at La Sierra University in 2006, and the “Should I Fight?” conference organized by Barry Bussey and the Canadian Union Conference in November 2008; and affiliation with interdenominational coalitions such as the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Christian Peace Witness. In the latter connection, an identified Adventist presence on the program was arranged for the Christian Witness for Peace in Iraq rally in 2007 that packed the National Cathedral and was followed by a march to the White House.
To the extent that these efforts have exerted an influence for peace, I believe they have been, whatever their limitations, more than worthwhile, and I am immensely pleased and grateful that they have been part of my experience. At the same time there has been all along a considerable gap between what we were doing and what would have been ideal. This is true, I suppose, of all of life’s endeavors. However, in the past three years or so, it has seemed to me that the gap has widened, and I have been reluctant to make the sharp curtailments of my “regular” employment and writing commitments that seemed necessary in order to provide the kind of leadership that could help narrow it. So, I am delighted that Ron is ready and willing to take the lead, and I urge you to give him your prayers and fullest support.
Much gratitude – deeply felt gratitude – to each of you for your words of encouragement and counsel, your donations, and all that you are doing as Adventist peacemakers. If you have found APF beneficial in any way, you, like me, owe a large debt of gratitude to the APF advisers. APF would not be possible without their generosity in giving of their energies, expertise, and resources, and their taking the risk of putting their names on the line for this experimental project outside the conventional channels and comfortable thought patterns that hold sway in the church and in society.
Abundant thanks also to the following for accepting crucial assignments on a volunteer basis: Monte Sahlin, liaison with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture; Jeff Boyd, liaison with Christian Peace Witness; Johnny Ramirez, initiator and coordinator of our foray into the critically-important realm of social media; and Ryan Bell, who has been a kind of occasional “ambassador plenipotentiary.”
More than ever, our world and our church need our witness for peace. So, more than ever, may we be “steadfast, immovable, and always abounding” in the work of peacemaking, not assessing its value by some measure that we contrive but by the assurance, grounded in the good news of a risen, reigning and returning Messiah, that in Him our “labor is not in vain.” Now, more than ever, let us “seek peace and pursue it.”