June 24, 2015

My Take

When I was a child growing up in Texas, my world was filled with songs and stories about San Antonio, best known to my brothers and me through “The Ballad of the Alamo,” a 1960s Anglo-Texan version of the important 1836 battle that happened at the historic mission. As a 6-year-old who didn’t yet understand the complex issues of territorial claims, imperialism, and ethnic conflict, I just wanted to be like Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, or William Travis, the Texan heroes of that conflict.

When I first learned nine years ago that the site of the 2015 General Conference session would be just a half mile from this icon of Texas history, I couldn’t resist a smile. I murmured to one of the Adventist Review staff in the room, “That means we’ll be having our own Battle of the Alamo.”

That’s what is known as an “inside joke”—a bit of humor among those who share a common experience largely unknown to those outside the group. But there is, as my grandmother would have said, “more truth than poetry” about the line.

Producing the eight daily Bulletins of the Adventist Review amid the sights and sounds—and distractions—of a world gathering of the Adventist Church qualifies as “heroic,” at least in journalistic terms. It’s an immense job, made more challenging by the fact that our entire operation is uprooted from our home offices at the church’s world headquarters and moved for two weeks to an unfamiliar place with new equipment, new logistics, and processes that don’t always work as planned. But no one on our team will be wearing coonskin caps or carrying muzzleloaders to defend anything. We’re a peaceable group, drawn from Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Americas to tell an international story of faithfulness that deserves its own ballad.

During the 10 days of the session this team produces more than 400 pages of high-quality news, photography, and features—as well as carrying the daily Proceedings of the business meetings at which more than 2,500 delegates from around the world make the important leadership and mission decisions that will guide the church for the next five years. A team of regulars and volunteers numbering almost 35 persons—journalists, photographers, designers, editors, copy editors, and administrative staff—works at an amazing pace to make certain you have the information and inspiration you deserve as a participant in this special gathering or a reader of the Review.

The team of this magazine has been reporting on General Conference sessions since we printed the account of the very first one in May 1863. Seventh-day Adventists and friends—at the session and around the globe—expect us to give timely, up-to-date reports of the important decisions reached by delegates, profiles of newly elected leaders, and summaries of new mission initiatives to which the world church commits itself. They also expect that the sights, sounds, and viewpoints of 60,000 believers will shine in all that we produce.

The print Bulletins are a first resource, but only a first: hundreds of thousands of Adventists around the globe will access our reports and stories through www.adventistreview.org, www.adventistworld.org, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Millions of Adventists who know nothing else of San Antonio or its history will find themselves invested in the vital business the church conducts here.

As always, you may expect accurate reporting, thoughtful commentary, inspiring features, and faith-building stories in all that we produce. And even though our ministry was recently renamed “Adventist Review Ministries” (ARMies), don’t make too much of the apparently military reference.

We’re here to serve because we love and follow the Prince of Peace.