October 27, 2010

Summ(it)ing It Up

On a clear day, you can see West Wilton—or at least where it must be.

From New Hampshire’s Mount Washington (6,288 feet, or 1,917 meters), Poland, Palmyra, and South Berwick—all in Maine—are also visible. On a crystalline fall day atop the highest peak in the northeastern United States, you can see as far as the hometowns of four of the first five editors of this magazine: James White (Palmyra—101 miles); Uriah Smith (West Wilton—100 miles); J. N. Andrews (Poland—48 miles); and W. W. Prescott (South Berwick—75 miles). Gorham, Maine, where Ellen Harmon White was born, is 59 miles to the southeast; Portland, where she grew up, only 10 miles beyond that. Paris, Maine, where the first edition of The Advent Review (now Adventist Review) was published in November 1850, is just 37 miles east across the flaming maples and beeches.
When editors get to the top of mountains, they imagine themselves to be persons of great vision. The extra elevation (and—who knows?—the thinning oxygen) persuades them they have powers of observation not usually available to others. Great thoughts float by like towering cumulus clouds. In the clarity of an autumnal afternoon, the daily fog evaporates.
2010 1535 page6Even after accounting for the grandiosity endemic to my profession, I couldn’t help but smile on a recent Sabbath afternoon as I admired the drama of the White Mountains and surveyed the landscape where God raised up this ministry more than 160 years ago. From tiny text-only, eight-page editions at the start to the bright contemporary journals you read week by week, the scope and scale of Adventist Review and its sister publications continue to amaze a grateful editor:
  • Today, more than 10 million Seventh-day Adventists around the globe are within reaching distance of a copy of Adventist Review or Adventist World every month, not counting the unknown tens of thousands who access both journals on the Internet. By God’s grace, the “little journal” for “the scattered flock” has grown into a worldwide publishing ministry.
  • The languages of this growing ministry—once English only—have expanded in the past five years to include seven major world languages in print and 12 (most recently Romanian, Arabic, and Urdu) on the Web.
  • A human network of dozens of editors, translators, designers, and proofreaders now circles the globe, supported by hundreds of press personnel in eight publishing houses from Indonesia to Korea to the United States to Germany. Except when Sabbath makes its welcome visit in each time zone, someone is working on Adventist Review or Adventist World every hour of every day of every week all year long.
  • Seeking greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness, these two journals have now formally partnered with Adventist News Network to provide a single, powerful news agency for the world church in this ministry. A growing network of international correspondents and communication directors around the globe now have a major new professional ally through whom to tell the faith-building stories of Adventism.
  • After a two-year “freeze” because of global economic conditions, the Hope Project—an innovative program to sell a repurposed Swahili edition of Adventist World to the African public through the Pathfinder network—has been launched. Working closely with media partners Adventist World Radio ?and Hope Channel television ministry, the Hope Project will capitalize on the keen interest of non-Adventist readers in this faith-building magazine. Expect to read much more about this remarkable evangelistic initiative in the months to come.
  • KidsView, the Adventist Review’s publication for children ages 8-12, has a distribution of 50,000 copies a month. This award-winning journal puts the message of Adventism in the language and idiom of our children, and reaches every child in grades 3-6 enrolled in a Seventh-day Adventist elementary school in North America.
More than a century ago, the woman whose 1848 vision predicted all this said it better than any editor ever can: “In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader.”*
And that about sums it up.
* Ellen G. White, Life Sketches, p. 196.
Bill Knott is editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published October 28, 1010.