A South England Conference Platform

Sorin Petrof

A new challenge

We Are Entering A New Era, Not Just A Post-Pandemic Phase That We Hoped Would Be Ushered In During Early 2022. This Is Something New, Totally And Utterly Different, And No One Knows Where We Are Heading To.
A New Challenge

Looking back now and reflecting on what transpired in the past two years, it is not much of a surprise if some still experience a perplexing sense of insecurity and uncertainty. The reason is rather simple: very few could have had forecast that an ordinary virus would, one day, paralyse the entire world, suddenly forcing us to literally stop and drastically redefine familiar concepts such as relationships, work, transport, food, economy, tourism, culture, religion, and hospitality, thus consequently surrendering ourselves to a strange new reality. A reality where the line between constant paranoia and a balanced sense of actuality has become increasingly blurred and vague. A condition where the state of lockdown will affect our behaviour for a long time from now. An existence in which we have already started to experience a physical alienation, not only from what we call “the world”, which we always professed to be distanced from, but even from the church itself and its religious activities, those temporal and spatial stopgaps that somehow maintained the impression, albeit a misplaced one, that by a weekly participation we are still in the game. Even now, after two years, we are still reluctant to return to our previous relational dynamic.

In all honesty, even in the most far-fetched scenarios, the church could not have predicted the current crisis. Because in our prophetic timetable there was never room for such diverse and complex developments like China’s menacing and globalising presence; the rising power of the omnipresent social networks; the uniformisation of the public discourse; a fully-fledged and damaging pandemic; the “algorithmisation” of the everyday life; the current predilection of the virtual experience over the social interaction; the decline of America’s geopolitical influence; the wavering authority of the papal seat; the proliferation of the social protests; the abrupt climatic alteration; the normalisation of the conspiracy theories; the unchallenged supremacy of the multinationals; and, on top of that, a war in Eastern Europe with all the ingredients to forever change the global order. We are entering a new era. Not just the post-pandemic phase that we hoped it would be ushered during 2022 but something totally and utterly different. And, apparently, no one knows where we are heading to.

In this strange reality, when it is surprisingly easy to cast ourselves as a hopeless, powerless group of people, questioning even the purpose of our core beliefs, God is sending us a simple but radical message, to challenge the status-quo: “LET’S CROSS OVER!” (Mark 4.35). Cross over to where? Crossing over to a new understanding, moving from one condition to another, embarking upon an existential quest that will allow us to undergo a new and transformative experience. Crossing over from the pandemic reality to an interpersonal normality, from online connection to onsite association, from being a church member to becoming a disciple-maker, from surviving to thriving, from fear to courage, from doing to being. In time like these, many around are looking for inspiration, hope and reasons to go on with their lives. This is where we can make a difference if we are responding to Jesus’ invitation and then bid others to join us to “cross over” to something different.

We are pleased to introduce the new, redesigned edition of Communicator Magazine, a complete transition from the print magazine to a digital platform displaying a more interactive and versatile way of transmitting the Adventist message within the present setting. In this edition, we have invited authors with different experiences – pastors, writers, leaders, journalists – to express how they are following Jesus’ direction to reach out to the people ‘on the other side of the water’. This is an invitation to our readers to “cross over” to something new and different, to an unexplored territory, to follow Jesus in building virtual communities and making digital disciples.

Sorin Petrof, PhD is the editor of the Communicator