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9-24-14 Dr. William Loveless Leaves a Large Legacy

By Enno Müller
Director, Communications
Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Dr. William Loveless, 1928 - 2014
Dr. Bill Loveless passed away early Monday morning, September 15.  He leaves behind a large legacy. Although he was the senior pastor of the two largest Adventist churches in the U.S, Sligo and Loma Linda University church, his impact on Adventism reaches far beyond those two congregations. Bill’s innovative leadership will be missed throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Some of the modern ministry practices find their origins in his advocacy and work. Some of the innovative ideas that we can thank Bill for are:
•          Student Missionaries: He urged the Church to accept college students to serve as short-term missionaries during his time as president of Washington Missionary College (now Washington Adventist University). Though it went again the current denominational policy at the time, this program is widespread throughout the North American Division and continues to grow in other parts of the World Church.
•          EXCELL Program/Urban Service Corps: He started a ministry that partnered at-risk inner-city teenagers with church members. This mentoring program helped teenagers and church members alike. The program was molded at Sligo church and is still currently running at Loma Linda University church.
•          Loma Linda Broadcast Network: Bill was a driving force behind establishing LLBN. According to Ganim Hanna, president of LLBN, “If Bill Loveless would not have encouraged me, I would not have pursued to establish the network. He stood behind us since the first day. He has always been an inspiration. In 20 years, he always attended our board meetings.” (Read a Tribute to William Loveless from LLBN President Ganim Hanna)
•          Adult Evening Program: During his time as president of Washington Missionary College (now Washington Adventist University), he launched an evening adult program for people employed during the day. This program was one of the first in the nation at large.
•          Preaching: Bill revolutionized preaching for several of his churches by removing the traditional pulpit and preaching without notes. Although this caused quite a bit of uproar, he did this in order to engage his audience on a more personal level. Homiletic classes now teach this approach.
•          Advocate for women in ministry: During his tenures at Sligo and Loma Linda University churches he was known for being a strong advocate for women who felt called to ministry by God, to find a place for them to live out their calling. He worked with many female colleagues.
Bill is survived by his wife, Edna Maye, and his two daughters, Marti Olson, married to Eric, and Marilynn Howard, married to Frank.
In reflection, one of his former colleagues, Marvin Ponder, associate pastor at LLUC, said this about him, “Bill believed in affirming people. He elevated people around him and took time and was available.” Bill was a leader ahead of his time. During his years of service (51 years of denominational employment) he made people nervous with his innovative ideas, but his impact and leadership was lasting because he was a devout and dedicated follower of Jesus and Adventist.
A memorial service will be held at the Loma Linda University church on Sunday, September 28, at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. The service will be live-streamed on www.lluc.org and shown on Loma Linda Broadcasting Network (LLBN). The family has requested no flowers, please, but if anyone would like to make a contribution to honor William Loveless’ memory, please consider giving to the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (Office of Development 909-558-4754), Calexico Mission School, or Loma Linda Broadcasting Network (or PO Box 550, Loma Linda, CA 92354). 

North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
9705 Patuxent Woods Drive
Columbia, MD 21046-1565 USA
Telephone: 443-391-7200
Fax: 443-391-
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