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NARLA Partners with Southern Union Religious Liberty Department for Christ-Centered Religious Liberty Conference

It was standing room only for several of the breakout sessions at this past Sabbath’s all-day religious liberty congress in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The Coming Storm: An Awakening Call to a People of Prophecy” was presented by the Southern Union Conference in partnership with the North American Religious Liberty Association (NARLA). A total of 350 attendees traveled from 19 states for the October 20 information-packed event.

“I was so excited to be a part of this event because liberty and freedom are absolutely fundamental to the Gospel,” said keynote speaker David Asscherick. “Whenever we advocate for liberty and freedom we are advocating for the fundamental truth of the universe, and this conference is about just that. And that is awesome!”

Asscherick, co-director of Light Bearers and co-founder of ARISE, provided the spiritual nourishment at the event, opening and closing the day with powerful Scriptural and historic evidence for the conference theme’s call to action.

Breakout session presenters included Vern Alger, Ed Cook, Timothy Golden, Darrel Huenergardt, G. Edward Reid, and Melissa Reid; and addressed such topics as prophecy, current trends, freedom of conscience, liberty by way of evangelism, and local church need.

From the religious imbalance of the Supreme Court (touched on in Ed Reid’s talk), to the likelihood and unlikelihood of conspiracy theories (addressed by Cook), attendees absorbed an abundance of engrossing information. Melissa Reid shared practical tips and resources available for the local church religious liberty leader; and, in conjunction with the theme of liberty, Golden pointed out that followers of Christ owe their salvation to freedom, as it was via Jesus’ freedom to choose that He offered grace to all.

All seven sessions are available to view free of charge at NARLA's new YouTube Channel, NARLAvideo:

Marya Latson, an attorney attending from Bellview Seventh-day Adventist Church in Florida, explained what she took away: “The political climate in our nation is in such a condition that it is motivating me to return to my local church and tell them, ‘We are asleep. Wake up! It is the end times!’”

A new Adventist from 2010, nurse and attorney Hector de Jesus of the Spring Meadows Church in Sanford, Florida, noted that, after attending several breakout sessions, what really impacted him as a former Catholic is the relevance of prophecy and the role the United States plays. He also feels a sense of urgency in the message: “We need to wake up!” 

Melissa Reid, executive director of NARLA, said “It was such a privilege to partner with the Southern Union for this event. What a joy to be involved with a fellowship of believers so passionate not only about religious liberty, but the freedom afforded to each and every one of us by God’s benevolent spirit.”

“At the end of the day, we had come full circle in the realm of religious liberty,” summed up Amireh Al-Haddad, Southern Union Conference director of public affairs and religious liberty. “We started off the day with Adventist history, then got into prophecy, current events, and end-time events during the seminars. But, the last meeting with Pastor Asscherick brought us back to the fact that it always returns to Jesus. It doesn’t matter how much prophecy you know, it always comes back to the surety we have of our salvation in Jesus. And for me, that really summed up the day.

Sheila Elwin is a communication specialist in Atlanta, Georgia.

All seven sessions are available to view free of charge at NARLA's new YouTube Channel, NARLAvideo: