I Must Be Moving On

Some Adventists “stay put” longer than others. God doesn’t mind stability—of that I’m certain. My Prussian ancestors would still be in Germany today, but for Kaiser Frederik Wilhelm.

You see, those Lutheran Schwiesows (original spelling) were happy farmers, pacifists all. But one by one, as 10 brothers came of military age between 1835 and 1870, they bought tickets to America rather than add their sabres to the Kaiser’s sword-rattle. Permanence is good. But tides change and winds shift.

On September 9, 2001, the North Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee voted to seek a new editor for the GLEANER. I had told my colleagues at the North Pacific Union Conference that I was willing to continue serving as editor, but would be comfortable stepping aside after some 25 years in this office.

During those years, the GLEANER has developed from a part-color to full-color magazine, from a bi-weekly to a monthly, and from an average of 28 pages per issue to one of 48 or more.

And during these 25 years, I’ve been guided by three strong convictions. First, as a strong advocate of the reliability of Ellen G. White’s counsel for our Church, I have tried to broaden the subject matter in the GLEANER (even to controversial topics), believing that Adventism encompasses all personalities, all age groups, all intellectual levels, and is destined by God to be a thought-leading culture in the world.

Second, I believe one of the greatest hazards of an institutional paper is irrelevance—to be seen as packed and narrowed by forces of personality, preference, and agenda. Yes, the GLEANER has a mission—to glorify God for His wonderful blessings to His Northwestern Adventist people. But within that mission statement lies an almost infinite horizon of possible content. Only to the extent we cover all or most manifestations of this movement will the GLEANER remain relevant.

And third, I’m conscious that far more than half of our readers are either non-attending Adventist members or non-Adventist family members. So, we’ve edited this publication with a heavy emphasis on reaching tone-deaf Adventism—the “non-choir crowd.” And we have heard of many readers who trace their entry or return to Adventism to the content of this magazine.

As a musician from a musical family, I love the unity of choirs! But most Adventists in the Northwest are by no means compliant joiners. Some are independent-minded soloists and zeal-driven composers of new Adventist tunes and melodies (stick with the 27 fundamental key signatures of Jesus Christ and His end-time message, and more power to you!).

Of every article in the GLEANER I have asked, “Does this material have a slant or angle that in some small way could nudge an inactive or non-Adventist reader closer to the centrality of Adventism? What can we do to help this article urge an uncommitted reader to drink confidently from the wellspring of the Advent faith?

As I Leave

There’s always the question, “Well, Ed, what’s next for you?” And my response is pretty much the same as it was 27 years ago when I was a Walla Walla College senior: “You know, a writer is never underemployed!”

I’ve been talking to the General Conference folk about some special projects. As a bilingual, I’m interested in multicultural ministries. And I have quite a list of independent writing projects I really need to complete. Ditto-laugh with me if you must, but someone has helpfully suggested I might do well as a radio talk-show host. Oh, Brother!

What I can say is that I’m extremely comfortable and confident that the road ahead will be a rewarding trek.

It’s been a grand tour these past 25-plus years. I thank you, my mentors, critics, helpers, fellow writers, columnists, assistants, photographers, and advertisers, for the wonderful scenery and wealth of personal milestones you’ve provided along the way.

I wish you Godspeed. And now, excuse me, please. I must be moving on.

December 01, 2002 / Editorial
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Edwin A Schwisow