The Original

Commission

This is the history and mission of the former Commission, which existed from 1946 to 1950.

“The Commission on Rural Living,” a Seventh-day Adventist agency to encourage church members to move to small towns and rural areas. Seventh-day Adventists had never been comfortable with urban areas, which they believed had powerful non-Christian influences, including entertainment, commercialism, and general secularization. As the cities became increasingly industrialized and the industries unionized after passage of the National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act in 1935, church leaders believed that by moving away from the cities church members could avoid both many evil influences and difficulties with unions. Furthermore, after atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, it appeared that cities would be increasingly unsafe. In 1946, following an invitation from the General Conference, Edward A. Sutherland 

helped establish the North American Commission for Self-supporting Missionary Work, which sought to encourage families to move to rural communities. A few months later, the commission merged with the previously established Committee on Country Living to form the Commission on Rural Living. Sutherland served as secretary, and Carlyle B. Haynes as assistant secretary. Haynes collected and distributed information regarding rural employment opportunities; the commission sponsored several conferences in 1949; and various individuals wrote articles for denominational publications promoting country living. In addition, the Commission collected relevant Ellen G. White comments into a booklet, “Country Living,” (1946), and published a companion “how-to” booklet under the title “From City to Country Living,” (1950). In 1950, the Commission for Self-Supporting Missionary Enterprises succeeded the Commission for Rural Living. {Taken from “The Historical Dictionary of Seventh-day Adventists,” page 67}:

The New

Commission

This is the origin and mission of the rebooted Commission, which was launched in July, 2020.

In July 2020, Elvin Bridges was impressed to pick up the book, “From City to Country Living,” written by Arthur L. White and E.A. Sutherland. Brother Bridges had an older version of the book in his library, which was published in 1946. He was drawn to a phrase on the inside cover of the book he had never noticed before. The phrase read, “The Commission on Rural Living.” Feeling drawn and intrigued by this subtitle, he began to research the relation of the book to this phrase, and its history. He was immediately led to an online version of the book, “The Historical Dictionary of Seventh-day Adventists” (see the above reference). He learned that in the mid to late 1940’s, the Adventist movement as a whole was in profound fear of city life, based on the historical WWII time frame in which they were living.

WWII had just ended, and the ominous possibility of foreign retaliation by way of another atom bomb being dropped, this time on a U.S. city, was a realistic concern. Adventists seventy plus years ago also believed overwhelmingly that life in the cities possessed an inherently contrary influence on Christian family life as a whole. Brother Bridges also learned that E.A. Sutherland, with the Lord’s leading, had assembled a dedicated and consecrated team of saints with the Conference’s blessing called “The Commission on Rural Living.” This Commission was launched in 1946 and disbanded in 1950. It has been dead and buried ever since. Brother Bridges was immediately impressed with the need to re-establish this Commission to meet the needs of the Adventist faithful of today, who are also living in fear of what is currently taking place prophetically in the U.S. and around the globe. 

Step One

A Source for Counsel, Direction, and Referrals

With the Lord’s leading, there are currently fifteen (15) Commission members, with more on the way. The goal is to bring together a group of consecrated, dedicated present truth saints of like-mindedness who are willing to make themselves available to answer questions, counsel, pray for/with, and encourage the many saints domestically as well as globally who are just as concerned, fearful, and terrified with current events today as the saints were in 1945 when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and WWII ended.
The current fear amongst the brethren and sisters today is very real. The “Commission” is an identifiable and accessible entity in place to assist in alleviating that fear with the Lord’s guiding will go a long way towards steering God’s people in the right direction, via our own individual experiences, and/or direct referrals to entities outside of the “Commission” to others of like-minded ability, who base their belief system on the Bible, the SOP, and their own individual, familial, as well as ministerial experiences.

Step Two

The Commission's Objective: Education

Let’s begin with an excerpt from the book “From City to Country Living.”

“Seventh-day Adventists had never been comfortable with urban areas, which they believed had powerful non-Christian influences, including entertainment, commercialism, and general secularization.”

The position of the denomination regarding urban areas has clearly changed dramatically across the board over the past seventy-plus years. In an article from Adventist Review entitled, “The United States of Adventists,” dated May 1, 2016, notice the following astounding statement and statistic:

“In 2010, 87.7% of Adventists lived in metropolitan areas, and only 12.3% lived in small towns and rural areas.”

Ten years later, here in 2020, that percentage has surely risen, with very likely well over 90% of Adventists abiding in metro areas. This trend is startling and saddening to say the least. Not only have we as a church made a total about-face from the denomination’s stance on rural living from nearly a century ago; we have embraced and fiercely defended a way of life which is completely contrary to God’s plan for His people in these very last days.

Let us now look a little closer at a quote from the book, “From City to Country Living,” pp. 7 and 8, regarding the position of the church on leaving the cities back in the late 1940’s according to Brother Sutherland:

“From the first step every move must be made intelligently and prayerfully. Too much is involved to take one step in the dark. Do not lean upon others, not even upon the church. Realize from the beginning that the decision you have to make is wholly your own, and you alone are responsible for making it. Get all the counsel you can, but make your own decisions. Your church cannot select a location for you. You must select it. Your church cannot make you a success in the work you decide to enter upon, or the enterprise you choose. Your church cannot make you a profitable farmer. Your church cannot till your ground, plant your crops, reap your harvests, sell your produce, or regulate your hours. Do not look to it (the church) to do any of these things. And do not blame it (the church) for the failure you may make in any of them… There are those who have expected the church, which has issued the call to country living, to go beyond this and make response to the call possible by loaning families money to make the move from city to country. One man wrote,

“You have made it plain what the church does not do; now tell me what it will do.” The answer is that it (the church) will do what it is commissioned to do – teach the truth. It is the depository of the truth; its business is to preach the truth. This it is doing when it passes on (shares) the call of Heaven to leave the cities. The responsibility for heeding and acting on that call is yours. Do not expect the church to move you, to locate you, to finance you, to equip you, to make your decisions for you. It (the church) is not commissioned for that purpose and cannot engage in such a work. The decision is yours. The responsibility is yours. The outcome is yours.” What Brother Sutherland is essentially saying is this: The church “has issued the call to country living,” but the church is not called to facilitate this call. The work of facilitating falls into the hands of the laymen, the common people, and/or self-supporting ministries. This is where the new “Commission’s” role comes into play. However, the reality in 2020 is that the church is no longer issuing the call. Brothers and sisters, this is not intended to be a condemnation; this is a factual reality. This further amplifies the need for compassionate education by the laymen/common people/self-supporting ministries to step up to fill the void, train God’s people, and “repair the breach.”

The perfect storm is in place, and the time to implement this is now. The saints are fearful, and are crying out for direction, encouragement, education, and support. They simply just don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to do. This is where the crux of STEP TWO needs to be implemented.

“An advance work is to be done in our conferences. Our churches are to be aroused to take up aggressive warfare. We are now to offer soul, body, and spirit to God. We are to hunt and fish for souls. We are God’s witnesses, and every power of the being is to be put to use in His service.” {MS 20, 1905}

The principle that the “Commission” will set forth and parallel is clearly laid out in the following SOP quote:

“Combine medical missionary work with the proclamation of the third angel’s message. Make regular, organized efforts to lift the churches out of the dead level in which they have been for years. Send out into the churches workers who will set the principles of health reform connected with the third angel’s message before the church in [Michigan Conference]. See if the breath of life will not then come into these churches.” {4MR 370.3}

This is wonderful counsel and a beautiful promise. With the current group of “Commission” members now assembled, these are just a few of the subjects to be promulgated:

The

Work

  • Gardening/Farming
  • Country Outpost Centers
  • Medical Missionary Work
  • Sanitariums
  • City Evangelism
  • City Memorials
  • TCI (Total Community Involvement)
  • Home Leadership
  • Spiritual Preparation
  • Practical Preparation
  • Survival Preparation
  • Country Real Estate
  • Prophetic Implications in context of the Little Time of Trouble

 

Here are a few of the ancillary platforms the “Commission” is currently developing:

  • Website
  • Facebook page
  • YouTube Channel
  • Convocation
  • Ongoing Zoom Meetings conducted on behalf of the “Commission”
  • Zoom Q&A’s conducted on behalf of the “Commission”
  • Facebook Live country living training segments
  • A Newsletter
  • Coordinating face-to-face visits to country properties of newly relocated saints

MEET THE TEAM

Commission on Rural Living

  • Elvin & Marcia Bridges (left)
  • Thomas & Laverne Jackson (top)
  • Narlon & Samantha Edwards (right)

MEET THE TEAM

Commission on Rural Living

  • Vicky Jorgensen (left)
  • Mark & Miose Breny (top)
  • Don & Kim Budd (right)

MEET THE TEAM

Commission on Rural Living

  • Graham & Larissa Wheeler (top)
  • Jim & Becky Buller (bottom)

Contact The Commission

You can email the Commission on Rural Living at theruralcommission@gmail.com, or you can fill out the form to the right.

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"The time will come when God's people will have to move away from the cities, and live in small companies, by themselves. If our people regard God's instructions as of value, they will move out of the cities, so that they will not be corrupted by its revolting sights, and so that their children will not be corrupted by its vices. Those who choose to remain in the cities ... must share the disaster that will come upon them." {Loma Linda Messages, p. 477.2}