Welcome to Investigating Diversity, a blog published by Interactive Journalism students at Southern Adventist University! We are researching the topic of diversity within the Seventh-day Adventist church and within society, generally. If you visit our website regularly, you’ll find weekly updates on our research as well as personal insights on the topic.  We welcome your engagement and feedback. So, please, don’t be a stranger!


We come from different backgrounds. We speak different languages. We eat different foods. We worship in different ways.

And yet, we are all members of a religious body boasting 17 million members around the globe.

In 2014, the Pew Research Center conducted a Religious Landscape Study, surveying more than 35,000 Americans. The study found the Seventh-day Adventist Church to be the most racially diverse religious group in the United States, with 37 percent of its adult members identifying themselves as white, 32 percent as black, 15 percent as Hispanic, eight percent as Asian and eight percent as another race or mixed race.

This semester,  as students in the Interactive Journalism class at Southern Adventist University, we will look closer at the church demographics – analyzing the data, researching the background and documenting the trends, using interactive tools for an online audience.

We will tell the stories of people who represent church diversity based on race, ethnicity, culture and gender.  And we will explore what diversity really means in today’s society, as well as the nuances of unity versus uniformity.

The project – led by professors Alva James-Johnson and Ryan Harrell –  will result in an interactive website with loads of information. To meet us all and learn more about our backgrounds and why we’re involved in this project, read through our profiles here.

Along the way, we will update you – our audience – on our findings through weekly blog postings. So, before leaving this website, please subscribe!


Unconscious bias affects everyone – including Christians

Last November, the Latin American Club of Southern Adventist University (SAU) invited Willy Ramos, better known as the “Ghetto Preacher,” to share his testimony during some of SAU’s worship services. I remember sitting that Friday evening in the pews and seeing Ramos walk on stage. He wore a black leather vest and some dark shades. …

Greater Orlando’s SDA landscape: 52 churches within 15 miles

By Gia Arroyo Florida is the state with the second highest number of Seventh-day Adventist churches in the United States. With 471 SDA Churches dispersed across the state, I was intrigued by the numbers and decided to research the topic. When taking on this project, I decided to focus on Orlando, specifically Seventh-day Adventist churches …


For more information about “Investigating Diversity: Exploring Race, Gender and Unity in the Adventist Church,” call 423-236-2762.