To transform Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) from a service to a ministry, the 3rd Annual Conscience & Justice Council Convention focused on the theme, “Freedom and Equality,” in Houston, Texas. Nearly 175 pastors, elders, PARL directors, and conscience and justice advocates gathered together to identify the issues and ways to strengthen the PARL ministry at the local level.
Wintley Phipps, founder of The Dream Academy and pastor of Palm Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church, inspired the audience with a Holy Ghost message on the persecuted church becoming the persecuting church. As the highest rated evaluated session during the convention, Pastor Phipps concluded his message with a soul-stirring rendition of “God’s Glorious Church.”
Through interactive and engaging general and breakout sessions, participants learned about the challenges of mass incarceration, emasculation of minority males, issues affecting the midterm elections, and community engagement. In addition, participants enjoyed innovative and thought provoking presentations regarding Seeking the Latter Rain, Nike, immigration, how pastors can incorporate and lead a conscience and justice ministry, threats to religious liberty, the impact of abuse and so much more.
“This Conscience & Justice Council provided a spark to reignite the PARL ministry in our area,” emphasized Stephen Brooks, Executive Secretary and PARL Director of Southwest Region Conference. “The speakers provided a wealth of information and practical tips to develop or enhance the PARL ministry for pastors, elders, PARL Directors and their team, and conscience and justice advocates.”
In assessing the evaluations, nearly 90 percent of those who responded viewed their overall experience as exceptional and nearly 97 percent shared they would attend another Conscience & Justice Council Convention. Comments from the evaluation included the following, “Most powerful programming I have experienced in 28 years of being an Adventist.” “Social Justice is the gospel; excellent presentations and knowledge; good music, food and affordable.” “This was a well-planned and orchestrated convention. The topics and speakers were relevant, practical, timely and inspiring. Provided an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet several new friends.”
The Conscience & Justice Council comprises the nine Regional Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Directors, a regional representative from North Pacific Union and Pacific Union Conferences, and representation from Oakwood University. As a conscience and justice ministry, we seek to equip and empower anyone interested in public affairs and religious liberty through the practical application of the Bible.
The 4th Annual Conscience and Justice Council Convention takes place September 26-29, 2019 in Atlanta. In addition to creating a pastor’s track, we seek to provide a Hispanic track as well. For more information about the Conscience & Justice Council, please visit www.cjcouncil.org.
Edward Woods III serves as the Lake Region Conference PARL Director and Chairperson of the Conscience and Justice Council.