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The rich sounds of an accordion filled the ballroom as Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders and AdventHealth Board members, executives and team members came together in Maitland, Florida, for the organization’s 29th annual Conference on Mission. More than 300 people attended the three-day event which centers around AdventHealth's mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ and serves as a platform for attendees to share ways to make an even greater impact in communities going forward.
The theme of the 2019 conference was “Whatsoever You Do…,” based on Christ’s words in Matthew 25:35-36 and 40, and was focused on the role that faith-based health care plays in society at large.
“We had a different kind of mission conference this year,” said Ted Hamilton, MD, senior vice president and chief mission integration officer for AdventHealth. “We gathered not just to talk about mission, but to demonstrate it and to wrestle with the kinds of questions we may not necessarily have answers to.”
The conference began with a banquet and keynote address by David Brooks, a well-known commentator and author of “The Second Mountain: The Quest for Moral Life.” The opening program also included an awards ceremony, during which various team members from across the system were recognized for their exemplary service and commitment to mission. Jennifer Poole-Wood of AdventHealth Ocala and Cristina Grys of AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Bolingbrook received the Christian Service Award, Norm Stein of AdventHealth Wesley Chapel and Marshall Gray, Jr. of AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center GlenOaks received the Trustee of the Year Award, and Debbie Thomas of the Central Florida Division – North Region and Joe Johnson of AdventHealth Ocala received the Crystal Angel Award.
On day two of the conference, AdventHealth President/CEO Terry Shaw set the stage for the morning’s conversations, followed by a devotion by Ron Smith, AdventHealth Board chair and president of the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Throughout the day, AdventHealth leaders and board members participated in various panel discussions that focused on faith-based health care and its role in communities now and in the future. In the evening, a vespers service featured compelling stories that showed how AdventHealth’s mission can impact an individual, a team, a community and even the world.
The conference ended on Saturday with a Sabbath morning worship service, including special music by the Men of Markham Woods singing group, a mission spotlight on AdventHealth’s Global Mission Impact program and its current Bahamas relief efforts, as well as a powerful sermon by Jimm Bunch, president/CEO for AdventHealth Hendersonville.
“I’ve been a part of AdventHealth for 30 years and the entire time our mission statement has been ‘Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ,’” said Bunch during his sermon. “It’s an inspired, God-given mission statement. And up until the last two days, I’ve paid the most attention to the words ‘Healing Ministry of Christ.’ This conference made me think of the first word, ‘Extending.’”