Washington’s Premier South Asian Seventh-Day Adventist Church Celebrating 25th Anniversary


May 8, 2013

By Special Correspondent & Columnist, Sam Prasad Jillella

The Southern Asia Seventh-Day Adventist Church (SASDAC), on 2001 East Randolph Road, Silver Spring, MD, was built at an expense of $10 million.

May 8, 2013

By Special Correspondent & Columnist, Sam Prasad Jillella

The Southern Asia Seventh-Day Adventist Church (SASDAC), on 2001 East Randolph Road, Silver Spring, MD, was built at an expense of $10 million.

Adventists claim, the Holy Bible is God’s infallible revelation of His will, the standard of character, the test of experience, and the record of God’s role in human history. “I’d love Adventists to be known as people who love each other,” said Franklin David, who pastored the church for a quarter century.

SILVER SPRING, MD. — The South Asian Adventist immigrants, began arriving in Metro Washington, in the mid-1960s, after new favorable immigration laws were passed. A good number of them arrived, for economic and educational opportunities.

The South Asian Adventists, in the nation’s capital, are predominantly first-generation American.  

Founded, in 1988, by a small group of enthusiasts — Abraham Thomas, Joshi Victor, N. K. Samuel, K. Gopala Rao,  Pastor Sundershanam Enjety, Lalthangliana Sailo, and Madhukar Ohal — the Southern Asian Seventh Day Adventist Church (SASDAC), with an initial membership of 24 people, has now swelled into an 850-member church.

Adventist Christians, from at least 18 nations — India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Antigua, Canada, China, Haiti, Hungary, Iran, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Malaysia, US, and Trinidad —  worship at SASDAC. 

SASDAC, in the near future, plans to start a satellite church in Northern Virginia, and build a 100-room senior citizen residential facility in the church campus, in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Pastor Franklin David, pastored SASDAC for 25 years.

The 25th anniversary celebrations, on May 10 and 11, include a special Sabbath service, fellowship meal, a devotional music concert by former Bollywood play-back singer, Vijay Benedict, and a customary Saturday-evening social program.

Some Adventist officials expected to participate in the celebration are: Dan Jackson, President of the North American Divisions, Raj Kumar Attiken, President of Ohio Conference, Ralph Martin, former President of the Potomac Conference, and Bill Miller, President of Potomac Conference.    

SASDAC has ministered to children, youth, and the elderly. It has ministered to the normal and the healthy, as well as, to the needy, the depressed, the sick, and the dying. In ministering to its flock, the church has done an exceptional job. 

SASDAC’s major ministries are: Prayer Ministry, Youth Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Family Life Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Music Ministry, Health Ministry, and Community Services.

Dr. Vijayan Charles, MD, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Washington Adventist University, is a practicing surgeon in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Take a look at what the Southern Asian Seventh-Day Adventist Church members, in Metro Washington, are known for.

Dr. Vijayan Charles, a practicing surgeon, educated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and at Adventist institutions in India and the US, has lived in Metro Washington for more than four decades.

Charles, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Washington Adventist University, was a member of the Adventist General Conference Global Strategy Committee for 4 years, was President of the Medical Society of Prince George’s County, and was President of the Medical Staff of Doctor’s Hospital, in Lanham, MD.

Charles’ worldview is Adventist. He claims, “Adventism places a high priority on education, self-dignity, clean life, freedom of conscience, and making responsible choices…Education is a route to realizing your self-worth.”

In an interview with INDIA THIS WEEK and MYDOSTI.COM, Charles said: “Southern Asian Adventists are good Christian people, and I hear more positive things about them, than negative points. I think they not only ‘talk the talk,’ but, they also ‘walk the walk.’”

Charles added, “Those in professional fields are people of great integrity, they are service oriented, people oriented, community oriented, hard-working, and dependable…Adventist youth  face problems and challenges like other young people do, but the degree of those problems within the Adventist community is much less. The Adventist youth are less lewd. They take education seriously. There is less drug addiction, less communal tension, more orientation for service. They make trips to foreign countries on community developmental projects. They belong to close-knit families…SASDAC has done a commendable job in mentoring its youth.”

Adventists: Who are they? What do they believe? What is their lifestyle?

The Christian Church consists of the Catholic, Orthodox, and the Protestant churches, which are again subdivided into several denominations and orders, and carry shared, as well as, their own distinct beliefs.

The Adventist Church, though conservative Protestant, stands distinct from a majority of Protestant Churches.   

Adventism, a relatively young religion, took birth in America as an inter-denominational movement, whose most vocal leader was William Miller. In the 1840s, during the Advent Awakening Movement, about 100,000 people in the United States supported Miller's predictions that Christ would soon return. When that didn't happen, believers split into groups, including one that later became known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The founders of the Adventist Church are Joseph Bates, James White, Ellen G. White, and J. N. Andrews.

Adventists claim but one creed: “The Bible, and the Bible alone.”

The teachings of the Adventist Church, expressed in its 28 Fundamental Beliefs, are often considered evangelical.

“Seventh-day Adventists” (SDA), known simply as “Adventists,” indicate the Church’s two main distinctive characteristics: (1) Sabbath observance on the 7th day of the week, Saturday. (2) An expectation that Christ will return soon, at which time the world will end.

The Fourth Commandment of the Bible declares, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” And, “Sabbath” means “to cease.” The SDA Church teaches that Saturday is holy, and must be kept holy, from Friday sun-set, till Saturday sun-set. 

The members of SASDAC family (http://www.sasdac.org)

Why are Adventists important?

The fascinating 2010 PBS documentary, The Adventists, begins with the 1863 re-enactment of Ellen White’s divine visions, whose prophecies led to the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The film explores the intersection of faith and modern medicine, and why studies show Adventists live 5 to 10 years longer than the average American.

Adventists combine a steadfast belief in the ‘second advent’ of Christ with a focus on a vegetarian diet, exercise, rest and abstinence from tobacco and alcohol. Today, the Church owns and operates 173 hospitals, 132 nursing homes, and the world-famous Loma Linda University, in California.

Adventists believe in the perpetuity of the Biblical Ten-Commandments, the unconsciousness (sleep-state) of man in death, conditional immortality, atoning ministry of Jesus Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and an investigative judgment that commenced in 1844, in heaven.

When asked, “What is your message to SASDAC on reaching the quarter-century milestone?” Pastor. Franklin David answered INDIA THIS WEEK and MYDOSTI.COM, : “Know Christ, and make Him known.”

SASDAC is strengthened to serve!

A sneak preview of the soulful singing of Christian gospel singer, Vijay Benedict

Community Special by MYDOSTI.COM