Near the end of 2020, the Lake Union president at the time, Maurice Valentine, and I sat down virtually to map out our Herald themes for the year. We scanned the horizon for a mix of relevant topics that covered a major issue and pointed our readers toward Jesus. I don’t think any of us imagined that the new year would include a worsening pandemic and a reported 800,000 U.S. deaths to date.
We began this year by revisiting 12 of the stories we reported on in 2020 to learn how these members grappled with a year unlike any in recent memory. We bookended the year with an exploration of how our youth and young adults receiving Youth Congress funding fared with their evangelism ideas during this unprecedented period. (Spoiler alert if you haven’t read the article yet, they were resilient!)
In between those issues, we were consumed with stories impacting us as a band of believers clinging to the promise of Christ’s return. In my view, these were all classic Herald stories—perceptive and redemptive.
Dr. Michael Horton’s powerful essay used the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill as a backdrop to highlight the value of an Adventist Christian Education.
Becky St. Clair profiled a group of inspiring Adventist-layman’s Services and Industries (ASI) women leaders bound together in mission and dutifully following in Jesus’ footsteps.
Dr. David Sedlacek examined the mental health crisis through the lens of the gospel, articulating the need to look outwardly to Jesus rather than dwelling on our problems.
Danni Thaw vividly chronicled the power of prison ministry to effect change in the lives of the often-overlooked inmate population. (This was one example of an issue that, while the theme was set months in advance, we found ourselves pivoting to report on the freshly overturned conviction of Gilbert Poole.)
The topic of diversity continues to loom large. We spotlighted a bold initiative involving Detroit pastors from Lake Region and Michigan conferences who led their congregation in a deep study of how the Bible addresses issues of ethnocentrism and cultural superiority among believers.
As the year draws to a close, we want to thank you for being with us and supporting our work during a year of challenges. If it’s one thing we have learned, our God remains the same, even in the midst of uncertainty.
Debbie Michel is the Lake Union Conference director of Communication.