Religious Liberty Leader Adrian Westney Dies
Raised profile of freedom issues via weekly radio program

BY CELESTE RYAN BLYDEN, Editor, Columbia Union Visitor
 
drian Theophilus Westney, 82, a pastor, chaplain, educator, and administrator, who had served the Seventh-day Adventist Church with distinction for more than 60 years, died Dec. 14, 2009, following a brief illness.
 
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY LEADER: Adrian T. Westney, 82, an immigrant from Jamaica whose ministry flourished in the United States, died Dec. 14. He was a longtime religious liberty leader in the Columbia Union Conference, hosting a weekly radio show on the subject. [Photo: C UC]
A native of Jamaica, Westney planted churches and pastored in his homeland, as well as in Barbados and Guyana, before coming to the United States in 1960. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) in Takoma Park, Md., a Master of Arts in Religion from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., and a Doctor of Divinity from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He subsequently pastored in Virginia and directed Youth Ministries for Allegheny West Conference.
 
In 1969, Westney accepted a call to serve as principal of Pine Forge Academy in Pine Forge, Pa., where he hosted the first alumni homecoming weekend. From 1976-89 he served as associate director of education for the Columbia Union Conference, and then went on to direct the union’s Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department until his retirement in 1995.
 
Though retired, Westney continued his advocacy of religious liberty in an associate capacity for the Union. He helped many members in the Columbia Union obtain workplace religious accommodations and organized a number of religious liberty rallies that informed church members about their constitutional rights. Westney also started and faithfully hosted “Talking About Freedom,” a weekly radio program addressing religious liberty issues that aired on WGTS-FM 91.9, a church-owned radio station in Takoma Park, Maryland.
 
“We appreciated Dr. Westney so much, and will remember him for the lasting contribution he made by assisting and protecting the religious freedom of so many church members across our union,” Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference, said.
 
“Dr. Westney will be sorely missed,” added Walter Carson, Union vice president and general counsel. “He was a Christian, a gentleman, a champion of religious freedom, and a dear friend.”
 
Westney is survived by Lizette, his wife of 56 years; three adult children, Adrian “A.T,” Gloria Westney Hughes,  and Marcel;  and five grandchildren. A funeral service is scheduled for December 18 at 10 a.m. at the Metropolitan Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hyattsville, Maryland.
 
 





 
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