An estimated 22,000 homes are located in the area immediately surrounding the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists headquarters building in Silver Spring, Maryland. But, how many of these neighbors know what Adventists believe?
A new book-distribution project is expected to give residents in the 20904 postal zone an opportunity to learn about biblical prophecy, church leaders announced recently.
During July 28, 2010 worship at G.C. headquarters, employees donated more than $40,000 -- approximately 42 percent more than was needed -- to fund the printing and mailing of The Great Controversy, church co-founder Ellen G. White's capstone volume in her “Conflict of the Ages” book series. Money raised above the basic costs will go toward sending copies of the book to adjacent geographical areas.
The Great Controversy
GREAT CONTROVERSY BOOKS: Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists president (second from left) is among world church officials posing with copies of The Great Controversy that will be sent to homes near the world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. From left: Publishing Ministries director Howard Faigao; Wilson; general vice president Armando Miranda; associate publishing director Wilmar Hirle and Mark B. Thomas, president of the Review and Herald Publishing Association. [Photo: Megan Brauner]
presents a comprehensive view of God’s activity in saving human beings, and particularly focuses on the history of the Christian Church from the first century A.D. forward. Bible prophecies that point to endtime events are highlighted throughout. First published in 1888 and revised in 1915, the book has been circulated worldwide in many editions and translations.
The project is part of a nationwide effort to distribute copies of the book to an estimated 116 million homes in North America, said Mark B. Thomas, president of the Review and Herald Publishing Association, which is responsible for printing, packaging and shipping the books.
"This project has the potential to tell our neighbors what [current] events are all about," said General Conference President Ted N. C. Wilson.
Each paperback copy of The Great Controversy costs $1.25 to print, package and ship, Thomas said -- even less when copies are shared directly, rather than mailed. Church members have personally handed out some 30 percent of copies distributed in the project so far.
The project is a "privilege" for church headquarters and an opportunity to impact the surrounding community instead of leaving witness solely up to area churches, said Armando Miranda, a world church general vice president.
Each copy of The Great Controversy comes with an invitation card for Bible correspondence, an unobtrusive way to encourage Bible study, Miranda said. "There are a lot of people who would never accept a direct invitation to study the Bible, but the Lord has other means, and this is one of them," he said.
In closing comments before a dedicatory prayer for the project, Wilson pointed to the positive impact of the distribution project: "Those who are truly seeking truth will be attracted to this book," he said.
Additionally, Wilson said he hopes the project will serve as encouragement for church administrative offices and individual churches worldwide to participate in similar distributions.
“The Publishing Ministries Department has a plan to engage the whole church and all departments in launching a huge distribution of millions of copies of The Great Controversy around the world in 2012,” Wilson wrote in a follow-up e-mail. “Our people are excited to distribute the book Ellen White said she wished were distributed above all [her] other books.”
The General Conference’s Outreach Committee voted support for the book distribution project earlier this year.