Adventist Book Centre managers and staff from across the South Pacific Division recognised the contributions of five of their long-serving colleagues during their Sales and Marketing Seminar at Jumbunna Lodge, Victoria, from February 24 to March 1.
Max Lassah served as chief financial officer of the Central Papua Conference; Emily Lassah and Dellas Naime will soon finish their service as Adventist Book Centre (ABC) managers in Port Moresby and Madang, Papua New Guinea; Tina Gilchrist served as ABC manager in Victoria, Australia; and Sonia Knight served as resource department manager at Signs Publishing Company.
“Between these five people, we have about 150 years of service to God, the Church, and their customers and communities. That is significant and it is important to say thank you,” said Nathan Brown, book editor at Signs Publishing. “Those from Papua New Guinea—Max, Emily and Dellas—have worked in often-difficult circumstances and have truly pioneered the work of Adventist bookshops across their country.”
“There were four of us who came to an ABC seminar at Signs Publishing in 1991,” Mr Lassah recalled. “This year we have 15 representatives from Papua New Guinea.”
According to Mr Lassah, today the ABC shops are the only Christian bookshops in most areas of Papua New Guinea. “The idea of establishing a small warehouse planted seeds that have now grown,” he explained. “There have been so many good things over the years, but it’s very rewarding for me to see Papua New Guineans breaking through a kind of cultural hesitation. Many thought it would not work to have our people managing bookshops, but with strong support from church leadership and Signs Publishing, it has grown very positively and it has helped to change perceptions of leadership by our local people.”
The ABC seminar also saw the launch of Nathan Brown’s new book, Thinking Faith. “This book has been written in response to various issues and questions in our church and our world over the past few years—and it was a privilege to be able to share it first with our ABC team,” Mr Brown said.
“In a time when so much around us is superficial and so many are disconnected, our faith calls us to go deeper and to do the hard work of responding to these issues with our brains, with our hearts and with courage. When we do so, we have something unique to offer that will be attractive and genuinely reflect the God we claim to serve.”
The ABC seminar included presentations from Dale Galusha, Pacific Press Publishing Association president, and authors Peter Roennfeldt, Sukeshinie Goonatilleke, Bruce Manners and Nathan Brown, along with presentations of new books from Signs Publishing, Pacific Press and Stanborough Press.
“It is good for our team to come together for spiritual enrichment and to share as book managers around the Pacific,” said Mr Lassah. “We learn from each other, get to know new products and plan how we can promote those products to our church members.”
The seminar was the team’s first in-person meeting since February, 2020. “It was encouraging to be able to get together again and to celebrate how God has been with us in challenging times—individually and as a team—and to work through our books and bookshops,” said Mr Brown.
Thinking Faith is available now from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand, and online.