Inaugural conference remembers missionaries

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Sabeto, Fiji

A conference has been held that celebrates and remembers the contribution of Adventist missionaries, both expatriate and national, at Fulton College, Fiji.

If we can be reminded of God's faithfulness then, we will have the courage and conviction to continue to allow God to lead in unfamiliar and possibly unentered areas.

“Waves across the Pacific: uncovering Adventist Mission”, was run in collaboration with the Journal of Pacific Adventist History from September 9 to 11 and is the first time the conference has been run. 

“The purpose of this conference was to try to capture Adventist history in the Pacific,” said Dr Stephen Currow, principal of Fulton College. “I am hoping that the conference inspires all who attended, including current Fulton students, faculty and staff, to focus on God’s mission.”

Topics included reflections on missiological approaches to evangelism in Melanesia, the Biblical mandate for mission, what happened to the crew of the Advent Herald, Christianise or civilise: a case study from the western Pacific, early Adventist work in PNG and Accounting and Religion.

Much positive feedback was received, including from South Pacific Division (SPD) Education director Dr Carol Tasker, who said “I think Fulton has lit a candle for the Division here” and “one thousand thank yous” for the event.

“It is good for us to be reminded that we need to capture the stories from our pioneers before we lose them,” said SPD Associate Education director Dr David McClintock. “That will surely happen if we don’t make an intentional effort to do so.”

The papers and presenters acknowledged the issues with and criticisms of missionary methods in the past, with Dr Currow stating that while mistakes may have been made and there is no excuse for insensitive mission practices, God has given the Church a mandate for mission and protected, preserved and opened the work ahead of many missionaries, sometimes even bringing good out of bad.

Although this was the first time the conference has been run, Fulton plans to make it an ongoing event. When asked whether the conference will always be held at Fulton or could be supported by other tertiary institutions, Dr Currow responded that while Fulton plans to continue running the conference, there “are too many stories for just one conference at one institution to capture” and that there is space for other institutions to commemorate their history as well. Fulton, however, plans to make this an annual event and an “ongoing feature of Fulton life”.

“If we can be reminded of God’s faithfulness then, we will have the courage and conviction to continue to allow God to lead in unfamiliar and possibly unentered areas,” said Dr Currow.