|Community and family gathered at Elmshaven to honor Ellen G. White, who died 100 ago on July 16. |
Ellen G. White, certainly the most significant Seventh-day Adventist to have ever lived, was remembered worldwide on the centennial anniversary of her July 16, 1915 death at home in northern California.
At 3:40 p.m. on July 16, 2015, members of the White family, PUC faculty and staff, and community members gathered at Elmshaven, White’s home in Deer Park, for a moment of silence and commemorative prayer at the exact time Mrs. White passed away 100 years ago. Elder Jim Pedersen, president of the Northern California Conference, offered the prayer, thanking God for White, her divine guidance, and her impact on the world.
The memorial service was the commencement of a three-day Ellen G. White Centennial Legacy Conference hosted by Pacific Union College and co-sponsored by the Ellen G. White Estate. The weekend event featured a celebration of White’s historical significance and vibrant legacy in the areas of education, science and medicine, theology, and leadership.
Prior to the commemorative prayer, Dr. Eric Anderson, director of the Walter C. Utt Center for Adventist History at Pacific Union College, spoke on White’s far-reaching contributions to the local community in a lecture titled “Ellen White, Elmshaven, and the Napa Valley.” Anderson claimed “you don’t have to be a Seventh-day Adventist to be interested in Ellen G. White,” pointing out White’s recognition by the Smithsonian magazine as one of the 100 most influential Americans of all time. White is listed among ten other instrumental religious figures including Brigham Young, Roger Williams, Cotton Mather, and Billy Graham.
| ||Seven generations of the White family enjoyed a reunion during the Centential Legacy Conference.|
A number of White’s descendants attended Thursday’s events, including Bill White (great-grandson), Esther DuBosque (great-great granddaughter and Elmshaven caretaker), Edee Torossian (great-great granddaughter), Justin Torossian (great-great-great-grandson),Tim Kubrock (great-great grandson), and Jana Kubrock (great-great-great-granddaughter).
On Friday, over 100 conference participants enjoyed presentations exploring White’s prophetic voice and counsel on education, nutrition, and Christian living. Dr. George Knight, professor of Church History, Emeritus, at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, presented a lecture titled “Old Prophet, New Approaches: 45 Years of Crisis and Advance in Ellen White Studies.” He provided a historical survey of the support and scrutiny of White’s prophetic ministry. “My prayer for the next generation of Ellen White scholars,’ shared Knight, “is that they will move forward with both eyes open as they seek to be absolutely honest and rigorous in the investigation of a topic of great importance to the church.”
Following Knight, Dr. Elissa Kido, professor of Curriculum and Instruction and director of the Center for Research on K-12 Adventist Education at La Sierra University, reflected on White’s vision for Adventist education. In her presentation, “Something Better,” Kiddo reviewed The Blueprint, CognitiveGenesis, and other studies that demonstrate how the holistic approach of Adventist education results not only in above-average academic performers but also students of exceptional character.
James A. Peters, M.D., DrPH, RD, RRT, FACPM, and his wife, Cheryl-Thomas Peters, DCN, RD, celebrated White’s role as a health reformer and relevance to modern medicine. They explored White’s contribution to the rich Adventist heritage of health, wellness, and whole-person care. The couple leads St. Helena Hospital’s TakeTEN™ program, a health and lifestyle management program founded on White’s health principles.
A special exhibit of White’s artifacts opened Friday afternoon in the Rasmussen Art Gallery further illustrating her contributions to health, education, missions, and the Seventh-day Adventist church.
|James R. Nix, director of the Ellen G. White Estate, leads the congregation in singing White’s favorite hymns. |
Friday evening vespers featured James R. Nix, director of the Ellen G. White Estate, who led the congregation in a “singing biography” of White through her favorite hymns. According to Nix, White’s oldest granddaughter Ella White Robinson, who attended many of the weekend events, heard her grandmother say, “Children, we must learn to sing the songs of Zion here if we would join the angel choir yonder.”
Under Nix’s direction, the congregational choir opened with “There Are Angels Hovering Around,” a Millerite hymn Nix believes White began singing early in her life. Other favorites Nix introduced to the audience included “Lo, What a Glorious Sight Appears,” “We Have Heard,” “Resting By and By,” and “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”
On Sabbath morning, hundreds gathered at the Pacific Union College Church for divine services. Sabbath School featured Dr. David Trim, archivist of the world church, who discussed White’s impact of the mission of the Church. Esther DuBosque, White’s great-great granddaughter, shared the children’s story during the church service, as three of her grandchildren (seventh generation) listened attentively.
Over 50 members of the White family joined the Angwin congregation for Sabbath worship. The reunion was co-coordinated by Tim Kubrock, White’s great-great grandson and principal of Lodi Academy. According to Kubrock, “The White family has held reunions going back to the 1920s. Now that we have expanded into the hundreds, it is a challenge to plan get-togethers. We really appreciated that PUC included our family in the weekend events. It offered us a great time to remember and celebrate our past heritage.”
| ||Ted Wilson and his wife, Nancy, enjoy Sabbath in Angwin with PUC President Dr. Heather Knight and her husband, Dr. Norman Knight, PUC outreach chaplain. |
The centennial conference was closed by Elder Ted Wilson, who spoke on the importance of White and the Gift of Prophecy in the Adventist Church. In his first public sermon following his reelection at the 60th General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, Wilson shared that his family “owes its knowledge of this precious Advent message to the direct practical and prophetic evangelistic activity of Ellen G. White.” He challenged instructed listeners to be strong messengers of the Adventist message. “One hundred years after Ellen White’s death,” he stressed, “it is our sacred responsibility to nurture the belief in an active use of the Spirit of Prophecy.” The service was broadcast worldwide via live streaming.
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