Loma Linda University is an academic health center founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church with a faith-based mission “to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ to make man whole.” In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting in December of 2015, the Loma Linda University Deans Council, in consultation with Global Mission representatives from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and its North American Division, recognized the need for deeper understanding of other faiths in order to accomplish its mission.
In accordance with the policies of Loma Linda University Health (“LLUH”) concerning University Institutes, the LLUH Board of Trustees approved the establishment of THE CENTER FOR UNDERSTANDING WORLD RELIGIONS (CUWR—pronounced “cure”) in August 2016. While the Center serves the entire enterprise and the wider community, the Center and its on-going development is primarily the responsibility of the LLU School of Religion. The Center Director and Associate Director are, therefore, both members of the School of Religion faculty.
The mission and purpose of the Center is grounded in three concepts. 1) Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and principles. Adventists are committed to truth, wherever it can be found (Ellen White, General Conference Bulletin, March 5, 1895, par. 25). Therefore, all truth is God’s truth, regardless of the source. So the Center will be a place for listening and responding to other faiths at their best. 2) Continuing the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus met people at their point of need. The surest way to the heart of another is that person’s faith. The more students and employees of Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) can understand the faith of others, the better LLUH can accomplish its mission of teaching and healing. 3) LLUH is a place to which God calls people. Work at LLUH is more than a job, it is a calling. When people from other religions see LLUH as their calling, we acknowledge the work of God in bringing them to us. One of the goals of the Center is to hear their testimony of what God has done in their lives and what they see God doing among us here. So a major purpose of the Center is listening and learning for the sake of LLUH’s mission and God’s purposes for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In light of the above, with all the religious conflict in the world, the Center’s primary mission is to encourage LLUH and its communities to be places of understanding, reconciliation and healing. Through education, research, and service the Center seeks to foster the “healing of the nations” (Rev 22:2). This is accomplished through library development, research projects, lectures, seminars, conferences, publications, and contributions to the church and the community.