3,500 Commemorate Great Controversy Vision
By Celeste Ryan Blyden
Photos by Marcellus de Oliveira
Some 3,500 church members and leaders gathered in Kettering, Ohio, recently for a special event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the vision that sparked Ellen G. White’s writing of The Great Controversy. Sponsored by the Ohio Conference, Kettering Adventist HealthCare, and the Columbia Union Conference, the Sabbath event was packed with inspiring messages, a variety of music, and well-planned programs for all ages.
“Today we have gathered to remember a vision---a distinct message---given by our Lord to a brand new movement a century and a half ago,” said Columbia Union president Dave Weigley opening the adult program. “Many years have past since that vision was given and all of the pioneers have since gone to their rest awaiting its final fulfillment. But the vision and the mission of that young movement have not changed. It is still our mission and purpose to give the clarion call of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 and prepare the world for the return of Jesus Christ.”
Like Weigley and the attendees, Raj Attiken, president of the Ohio Conference, which spearheaded the event, relished the opportunity to fellowship and share solidarity and hope in the long-awaited advent of Jesus Christ. “It’s good for us to tell the story and to recognize that our lives and what we do are part of the larger story of God, His universe, and this controversy that’s going on,” he said. “Events like this give us a sense of the movement of history within the church and a future we can embrace and shape as we remain faithful both to the gospel and to the mission that God has given us.”
Jan Paulsen, president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church and speaker for divine worship at the adult program, commended the organizers on their efforts: “This is a wonderful occasion,” he said. “Apart from the fact that we’ve come together to remember and celebrate, what a spiritual fellowship this has been, what a wonderful experience of nurturing the family in the faith that we share.”