The Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists (ESDA) is a global church project that produces an estimated 10,000 articles with accompanying photographs, media, and original documents. ESDA Online, the Church’s first online reference work, debuts on July 1, 2020.
This free website will live online indefinitely, to be constantly updated and expanded.
The Encyclopedia has been produced by the contributions of thousands of Seventh-day Adventists around the world. All of the articles have been written on a voluntary basis by members from all walks of life with expertise on a given subject.
Others contributed by operating as peer-reviewers and copy editors.
The goal of each ESDA article is to be honest, open, comprehensive, and rigorous, representative of the diversity and richness of Adventism, and fully understandable to both church members and the public.
At the EUD level, Stefan Höschele, the regional editor, and Chigemezi Wogu, the project manager and researcher—both of whom are based at Friedensau Adventist University—are excited to finally see the product of the work put forth by authors, administrators, students, and lay members.
Dr. Chigemezi commented: “The ESDA is a game changer in Adventist mission history. There are various facets of the mission history that will be laid bare and accessible for researchers. With the ESDA, key lay members—pioneer Adventists in various countries—will come to be known as well as their contributions.”
Mario Brito, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-European Region, said: “The project of the SDA encyclopedia has been a blessing for us. Through this project, we will unlock many treasures and stories, that were buried for many years. Most of us know the story of our own country here in Europe, but we do not know the stories of the church pioneers in our own country. With this project, we are getting to know each other and our roots. That encourages us a lot and helps us to understands how the Seventh-day Adventist Church developed on our continent.”
“Many stories moved and surprised me,” President Brito continued. “One of those that has touched me deeply is the story of Clarence Rentfro, an American pioneer in Portugal. He was on his way to Spain but, while sailing to Europe, he was told—through a telegram—that, instead of going to Spain, he had to go to Lisbon.
He followed the advice and went to Lisbon. He came there knowing nothing about Portugal, neither about the culture nor the people. He had no money, and no one was waiting for him, nobody introduced him to the culture. We can imagine how difficult it was for him and his family! They came to a point they had to pawn their violin and a watch, in order to have some money to survive. They went to live in a suburb area of Lisbon, trying to find people with whom to communicate. They could not speak in Portuguese and, at that time, very few people were fluent in English. By the sacrifices they went through, I was touched at how this family left the US, how they came by faith to a land they didn’t know at all. This is a story that has touched my heart and that of all the Adventist people in Portugal.”
EUD President Brito concluded by saying: “The stories that appear in the Encyclopedia of SDAs are an encouragement for all of us. Members, leaders, and pastors benefit from these stories, because we find experiences of commitment, dedication to the work, and we can see how many of these people, about whom we are speaking, were dedicated people. They help us to understand that nothing can be accomplished without sacrifice, involvement, and love for the cause. This is a motivation for the younger generations to do the same.”
The Encyclopedia will be released on July 1– but you can bookmark the website now: Encyclopedia.Adventist.org. The launch program will be broadcast on the Seventh-day Adventist YouTube channel on the same day at 9.00 p.m. Bern time (9PM GMT+2).