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. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history. (Ellen G. White, Life Sketches, p.196.2)
The above much-quoted passage has inspired many of us to keep remembering and gaining encouragement from what God has wrought in our lives and in our movement. Yet for many Seventh-day Adventist young people, the danger is not that they forget the Lord’s leading in our past; the issue is that they’ve never known it.
For others, perhaps more well-versed in Christian and Adventist heritage, the names, dates and figures might have been read, the stories may even have inspired faith and zeal upon first discovery, only to become lost in a sea of facts, or relegated to the list of ‘things I should know,’ or even ‘things I do know, but couldn’t quite relate if needed’.
One way of making church history compelling is to visit the sites in question. The name John Huss probably sticks in my mind more than many other reformers’ names because I have visited the Bethlehem Chapel where he preached, and the quarters where he lived in Prague. As a youth leader I dreamed of taking a church group to the Waldensian valley, hoping the simplicity and solitude of the surroundings would bring home to young hearts the sacrifice our predecessors made for their faith. Years later, I was inspired by reports of PEACE excursions to places of historical relevance here in the United Kingdom.
However, traversing countries or continents in search of these places is not necessarily a possible, or even advisable use of every young person’s means and time. That’s why I was so encouraged to hear of the North England Conference (NEC) Youth Department’s latest initiative: a series called Lineage, showcasing sites of historical relevance. Launched in 2017, the videos are aimed primarily at young people, and take the viewer on a journey tracing our spiritual DNA across the British Isles and Europe. Each 3-5 minute episode highlights a key moment in Christian history; from early Celtic churches nestled in the serenity of remote Scottish islands, to figures such as Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Knox and Wesley.
The series consists of 52 episodes, with one being released each week on social media channels including Facebook and YouTube. In the words of Pastor Alan Hush, NEC Executive Secretary and a former Youth Director, "Youth are engaging with media like never before. Yet they desire identity and purpose in life. Lineage is an excellent production which traces our Christian heritage and Adventist history in a creative, professional and attractive format that our youth will enjoy and benefit from."
The project was conceived when freelance videographer Clive Coutet approached the NEC Youth Director, Pastor Adam Ramdin, with the idea of filming sites of historical relevance in his hometown of London. According to Pastor Ramdin, "The idea was great, but it quickly grew from just London, to Oxford, Lutterworth and Edinburgh. Then we thought, why stop there - we should do some of the sites on mainland Europe as well."
Ramdin added, "More than ever it is important for us to understand what our spiritual heritage is as Seventh-day Adventists. Our church did not form in a vacuum, isolated from the rest of the Christian world; on the contrary, our prophetic identity shows that ours was the culmination of a long journey of truth lost and rediscovered over the period called the Dark Ages. Wanting to make history more real, relevant and easier to access was a large part of the inspiration behind this video series. Understanding our identity today is vital, and a key component of that is understanding where we have come from."
The year 2017 marks the 500th since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg
“At Adventist Review Ministries, we are excited to be collaborating with the Lineage team to share with the world why the flame of the Reformation still burns in many hearts today,” said Jared Thurmon, the ministries’ marketing director and liason for strategic partnerships. “When you see the stunning footage and solid content of Lineage you will see for yourself a variety of places we often just hear spoken of in sermons or read about in books.”
The year 2017 marks the 500th since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, an event that kick-started the Protestant Reformation and forever changed the landscape of Christianity. At a time when many around the world are questioning the validity of that protest, and in light of the great prophetic calling to which Adventists have responded, how crucial that church members young and old have a solid grasp of the beliefs, struggles and sacrifices of those who've gone before us! How crucial that we appreciate the experiences that form the foundations and backbone of who we are as a movement today.
Lineage can be accessed by visiting www.lineagejourney.com where you can subscribe to weekly updates, watch videos and support this project. On social media its handle is @lineagejourney.
 PEACE is a UK Centre of Evangelism sponsored by the North England Conference.