With a powerfully-worded statement on diversity, the Pacific Union College Student Senate has cast a vision for the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that would make the denomination a much more inclusive and welcoming place. Published on May 24, the Diversity Statement provides the young leaders' stances on five topics: women's equality and empowerment; dignity, humanity and rights of the LGBT+ community; welcoming immigrants; affirming Black lives; and iter- and intrafaith diversity.
The twenty student leaders who signed the statement vowed to hold the "college accountable and ensure that Pacific Union College remains respectful, truly welcoming, and supportive of the full spectrum of human diversity."
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The statement came just over a week after Pacific Union College announced on May 11 that Robert Cushman would succeed Eric Anderson as college president. Anderson served as president from December 2016 through Cushman's appointment, following the end of Heather Knight's tumultuous presidency. Knight often clashed with both students and faculty members. She announced the end of her presidency amid declining enrollment and budget shortfalls, and following protracted upheaval in the college's psychology and social work department.
Placed within the broader context of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, the student leaders' statement both agrees with and departs from statements made by denominational leaders.
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We affirm without reservation the full equality and empowerment of women. We pledge to support women in leadership, ministry and academia. We embrace and support the rights and dignity of all women, regardless of race, class, ability, religion, and sexual orientation.
These sentiments align with statements made by North American Division President Daniel Jackson, who has affirmed the division's aim to "empower and establish our women in pastoral ministry." The student statement goes further than anything NAD leaders have said by affirming all women, particularly without regard to religion and sexual orientation. And, of course, the...
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