December 4, 2022

Grace in the Journey

I have deeply loved the years of leading this remarkable editorial team.

Bill Knott

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The acclaimed Jewish author Chaim Potok once wrote, “All beginnings are hard.”* 

The good rabbi might just as well have added, “As are all endings.” 

There is no easy way to report the ending of anything you have loved—a much-needed vacation; a cherished relationship; an exquisite concert; or a fulfilling job. 

You may decorate the narrative with fond remembrances; you may underline the turmoil and hardship that attended the journey; you may sum up all the things accomplished and the growth that was experienced. But in the end, there still is the end. 

With this editorial, I will complete 16 years as executive editor of Adventist Review and soon begin another chapter in my ministry career. On January 1, 2023, I will move to a new role as the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s liaison to the U.S. Congress, the White House, and the diplomatic corps based in Washington, D.C. 

Unlike some who leave leadership positions, this is not for me a journey of regret or retirement. I have deeply loved the years of leading this remarkable editorial team, and the full 25 years I have spent shaping the flagship journal of the Adventist Church. But you may call yourself truly blessed if in leaving a job you have loved for 25 years, you move to a job of which you have dreamed for 50 years. 

I was 15 when I first discovered that my church appointed a representative to advance its interests on Capitol Hill and with the political and intellectual leadership of the nation. It seemed then—as it seems now—a remarkable opportunity to work among and with those whose decisions shape the religious and political freedoms of the United States, and collaterally, other nations of the world. My life story—punctuated by an intense interest in government, a doctoral degree in the history of American religion, and a deep awareness of the vigilance required to protect the rights guaranteed in the nation’s founding documents—has quietly moved me to a role I never expected might be mine. 

None of the remarkable growth and change experienced by this magazine and its umbrella organization, Adventist Review Ministries, in the past 16 years would have been possible without the immense contributions of the talented men and women who have worked alongside me. Adventist Review TV, podcasts, video documentaries, book-length publications, websites that serve hundreds of thousands each month, and a social media platform that communicates with millions more all emerged alongside our historic and widespread print ministry because the Spirit brought to us persons of singular talent and focus. 

Many of them came with deep experience in other church ministries or the public sector. Their passion for their church, their extensive professional networks, and their desire to build God’s kingdom stretched both my vision and my comfort. Left to myself, I might have been content to camp within the world of print I have cherished since I first learned to read. 

To the many thousands who value this journal and the way it has shaped your own spiritual journey, I offer my gratitude as well. Your notes of encouragement, your prayers, your phone calls, and even the occasional rebuke have helped to improve and strengthen both the magazine and the movement. 

This journal has been from its inception in 1849 a defining force in God’s remnant church— both the inspiration for its mission and the place where that mission is reported and celebrated. Nudged by that history, I have written in these columns of passion for truth, of witness, of justice, of dialogue, and of civility. The conversation begun in the pages of this journal 173 years ago will continue shaping us until we wake to that day that has no end. 

So stay in grace. 

* Chaim Potok, In the Beginning (Penguin Literary Group, 1975).