| Program: || Seventh-Day Adventist Diversity Initiative, Silver Spring, MD |
| Contact(s): || Rosa Taylor Banks, Director of Human Relations: (301) 680-6410 |
| Purpose: || To create a wholesome, inclusive environment where members respect differences, reflect love and oneness, and maximize the full potential of all |
The North American Division of Seventh-Day Adventist (NADSDA) has a rich mix of diversity within its large congregation which makes it vulnerable to many human relation challenges, such as racial and cultural conflicts, employer and employee problems, and issues regarding the role of women. The Office of Human Relations (OHR) was established in 1978 to deal with specific social problems.
The OHR Program consists of four major components: 1) the diversity initiative which creates a social ambiance that includes and empowers all groups; 2) the Conciliation and Dispute Resolution Procedure which provides methods for resolving internal disputes; 3) the Center for Human Relations which keeps administrators abreast of social changes and allows solutions to be considered before problems arise; and 4) a policies procedure which keeps the organization aware of current legislation that may affect or be of concern to members of the congregation either at home or in the workplace. In the past the OHR has created committees which act as political advocacy groups working with local, state or national governmental leaders on issues of common concern.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
The Diversity Initiative was previously directed towards building bridges across the lines of gender and physical disability. As a result, appreciation, respect, and the involvement of women and the disabled in the life of the Church have all increased. This inspired the establishment of the Women's Ministries and the Disabilities Ministries at all levels of the 11-million member, worldwide Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Partnerships formed with community agencies, programs and individuals through the North American Division Diversity Initiative continue to work together identify common solutions for achieving unity and oneness, which are also valuable to other communities engaged in similar efforts.