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An Open Letter to "Emma"

President of the Adventist Church in North America writes to a teen discouraged after Sunday's Annual Council vote.

Editorial Note: The following letter was written by Daniel R. Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, to all of the young people (teens and younger) who may be discouraged by the actions of the 2018 Annual Council. Jackson says, "I address the letter to Emma, a young woman, who is very discouraged in light of Sunday’s outcome. My letter is meant for her and for all the Emmas, Judys, Philips and Franks."

My Dear Young Friend Emma,

I am very sad as I write this letter to you. My sadness comes because I have heard that you would like to leave our church as a result of witnessing our discussions last Sunday.

First, let me say that the church is a family and like any family sometimes we disagree. Sometimes our disagreements make us all feel uncomfortable and I want you to know that I get your discomfort. I feel uncomfortable too.

I wish that you could have seen the parts of Annual Council that were heartwarming and inspiring, such as the story of the Amish family that is working within their own community to bless people with a message that I love. I am sorry that you found us disagreeing with each other but sometimes that’s what happens — even in your family and mine.

Emma, I am praying that you will stay with us. The reason is that there is a place for you. God Himself has given you gifts and abilities that He wants to use to bless many. I am praying that you will stay.

Your brother and unknown friend,

Dan Jackson, President, North American Division