Congregational Compilation: Finally a New, Improved Church Encyclopedia
Story by Dawna-gene Milton
Have you ever wanted to learn more about a particular topic related to the Seventh-day Adventist Church or its history? With the new and greatly improved Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists (ESDA) being developed now—the work’s first update since 1996—members across the globe will be able to access the new encyclopedia's pages in one, quick, easy step.
According to Benjamin Baker, ESDA managing editor, “The ESDA will be born and live online, with entirely free content available to all with the swipe of a fingertip on just about any device.” He says the compilation will be a great tool, not only for those seeking to learn more about the church, but will aide those looking to witness to others.
You Can Help
Douglas Morgan, professor of history at Washington Adventist University (WAU) in Takoma Park, Md., is serving as assistant editor for the North American Division section of the project. “Dr. Morgan welcomes your suggestions about articles to include on people, schools, organizations, ministries and iother subjects. Writers and proofreaders for articles will also be needed,” reports Baker. Contact Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below, Baker explains a bit more about what to expect from the project:
Visitor: Why is this such an important project for the church?
Benjamin Baker: The ESDA will be the first reference work about the church available for free online. Because it will be written by thousands of Adventists around the globe, those with expertise in particular subjects, the Encyclopedia will be the authoritative source for information about our church. When Adventists want historical information—be it about a person, conference, hospital, school, ministry or issue—they will find a comprehensive article written by an expert, and reviewed and edited by another group of experts.
The general public will be able to consult the encyclopedia for information about our church that is accurate, honest and up-to-date. For years we have needed an online Encyclopedia about our international movement; now we will finally have it.
V: Where is/will the encyclopedia be most utilized by our denomination?
BB: The new ESDA is a five-year project. The website will debut in 2017, although the completed version will be unveiled at the 2020 General Conference Session. One of the advantages of having an online encyclopedia is that, even after 2020, it will continue to be developed, enhanced and expanded.
This Encyclopedia can be used by everybody, everywhere, on any tech device, social media, TV, radio and websites, as well as in classrooms, churches for personal reading and enrichment—you name it.
V: How will our church best use it as an outreach tool?
BB: It’s no secret that Adventists have been largley misunderstood throughout the span of our existence. The ESDA will have more than 10,000 articles that represent the church as it is today: a Christian movement of more than 19 million believers across the globe who are seeking to reflect Christ to humanity and living in anticipation of His soon coming. It will set the record straight, not by whitewashing the past, but by providing a clear and honest account of our history. In a way, it will be like the Bible’s history of ancient Israel. We believe this will be a superb outreach tool.
Read about the ESDA launch earlier this year by clicking here.
Feature photo: Benjamin Baker, ESDA managing editor, and David Trim, editor, discuss the project at their first editorial meeting.