News

EUD 2009 Year End Committee Meeting

EUD 2009 Year End Committee Meeting

The regular year end session of the committee governing the Adventist Church in the Euro-Africa region took place November 1-4. For the first time, the meeting was held on the campus of Saleve Adventist University in Collonges, France. The committee is c

November 13, 2009 | CD EUD

The regular year end session of the committee governing the Adventist Church in the Euro-Africa region took place November 1-4. For the first time, the meeting was held on the campus of Saleve Adventist University in Collonges, France.

EUD administrators, from the left: P. R. Kunze, Treasurer, B. Vertallier, President, G. Maurer, Secretary.

 

The committee is composed of some fifty regular members representing Euro-Africa Unions (administrative units usually covering one country), church institutions (hospitals, media centers, educational institutions, etc.) and church membership. These regular committee members were joined by several guests and invitees from additional regions and by Elder Lowell C. Cooper, General Vice President of the General Conference of the Church, and Elder Larry R. Evans, General Conference Undersecretary.

The committee dealt with many customary and routine issues such as reports on different activities and projects reflecting church activities during past months, information about developments and problems that the church faces. The committee also voted plans and a budget for next year’s operations. The members received detailed information concerning the General Conference Session – the administrative and spiritual assembly of the worldwide Adventist Church – planned for 2010.

The committee spent a substantial part of time devoted to questions concerning youth in the church, children and families.

Dr. Manuela Casti, a lecturer at Newbold College in the United Kingdom, presented a partial and introductory report on the results of the Valuegenesis survey conducted among young Adventists throughout Europe. This survey was inspired by similar polls conducted by the Adventist Church in North America, where the survey focused primarily on the function and impact of church schools.

The survey in Europe, however, strived to determine the roles of local congregations, church youth organizations and families in the process of shaping the faith of young people, and to determine the interaction, interdependence and importance of these three factors.

The decision to conduct the survey was made in 2005. The Centre for Youth Ministry located at Saleve Adventist University was entrusted with the realization of the project, prepared the questionnaire and supervised the poll.

Youth aged 14 to 25 were invited to participate in the Internet survey between the months of September 2006 and May 2007. More than 5,000 young people attending Adventist churches in Europe (about 20% of eligible participants) took part in the poll and anonymously answered questions about their faith, involvement in the life of the church, practical ethics and lifestyle.

Adventist Church headquarters in participating European countries have already received partial reports showing the results from respondents within their territories. The full report containing a thorough analysis of the collected data, recommendations and an action plan will be made available next year.

As Casti said: “The Valuegenesis project is like a health check performed on the Church. One of the strongest evidences emerging from the survey is the fact that it takes the whole Church to minister to our young people. We need to refocus youth ministry as a ministry whose objective is to build mature Christians and adults. In many Evangelical churches, as soon as young people graduate from the youth department, they also ‘graduate’ from the church and leave it.”

“We need to build bridges and integrate young people into the life of the church much earlier. They need to feel that they are a valued part of the ‘adult’ church from the beginning. Their ideas and gifts need to be taken into account. They need to be trained and involved in church responsibilities. They need their questions to be answered in an open, non-judgmental way to allow them to shape a personal faith and commitment. At the same time, we need to support parents in their role as spiritual leaders of the family – their roles are the most enduring and influential in helping young people grow, but relatively little is put in place to help them.”

Corrado Cozzi, youth leader for the Adventist Church in the Euro-Africa region, assured the committee members that the full report of the survey will be available spring 2010. As he said, “Valuegenesis was promoted with the catchphrase: Who will change the Church? You, with your mouse! The focus is on accountability to change what really needs to be changed, according to the answers that our youth have provided in this survey. We made a promise to our young people. They sent us a message. Now it’s our turn as leaders of the church to honor our promises in order to build up a new generation of members ready to accomplish the mission that Jesus gave two thousands years ago and which needs to be achieved very soon.”

Some of the most important moments of the committee session were the morning and evening devotionals presented by different committee members and invitees. The most memorable devotional occurred when several committee members shared their testimonies – experiences with God that they have lived during the past few months showing God’s guidance and grace.

At the beginning of the session, President of the Adventist Church in the Euro-Africa region, Bruno Vertallier, used an image from the Biblical book of Nehemiah (chapter 3) to encourage committee members to work closely together to “build side by side the walls of God’s city” and provide an example of unity and unified efforts.

In his closing remarks, Gabriel Maurer, the Secretary of the Church in the Euro-Africa region, reminded committee members of a passage from the book of Acts, chapter 2, emphasizing the words: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (verse 39) We regard ourselves as “People of Hope” – claiming God’s promises for ourselves and proclaiming them to the whole world. That is the message and mission of the Church.

Back to list