Bern, May 29, 2013 [CD-EUDNews] The Inter-European Region of the Seventh-day Adventists (EUD) Executive Committee met for the biannual Meeting on May 26-28 in Freudenstadt, Germany.
The executive committee is the highest authority of the church in this European region. Here strategies are discussed and important votes taken on the management of the church. Members of this Executive Committee include presidents of the European countries belonging to the EUD, Department Directors, presidents of institutions and lay members elected accordingly.
The agenda of an Executive Committee include the Officers’ Reports, as well as the Department Directors’ reports and their strategic plans. Furthermore, the agenda offers a list of items mainly pertaining to administration, and some actions to be taken regarding the mission of the church.
President and Pastor Bruno Vertallier opened the meeting with a message referring to the past 150 years of Adventism and the need to find rest in our God. (see the message on EUD News).
In his report the president gave a word of thanks for the different events organized during the first part of this year.
1. The Inter-Ministries convention held in Torre Pedrera, Italy where about 500 attendees shared methods and resources to accomplish the mission entrusted by Jesus.
2. There were also different Unions and Conferences that had their Constituency meetings, as well as Institutions. New presidents and new administrators were appointed. Special greetings were sent to Ruben de Abreu, new Franco-Belgian Union president, Christian Grassl, new Austrian Union president and Christian Molke, new ADRA EUD president. All these elected presidents are new members of the Executive Committee.
3. Special greetings were directed to Reto Mayer, EUD Associated Treasurer, elected as president of the Swiss Bible Society, a prestigious biblical association in a protestant country.
4. The finances of the EUD church administration are going well thanks to the scrutiny of the treasury. A special report will be presented later on.
Finally we thanked God for His protection and inspiration during this time of crisis and uncertainties.
The Executive Secretary Gabriel Maurer’s report started with a reminder of the Adventist Mission statement: “The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to make disciples of all people, communicating the everlasting gospel in the context of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12, leading them to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour and unite with His remnant Church, discipling them to serve Him as Lord, and preparing for His soon return.”
This report is an overview of the church movement for the entire year of 2012. At the beginning of the year, Adventist members numbered 177,743 as registered on the church record book. During the year new members were added, 3,918 were baptized and 756 joined the church by profession of faith or by transfer from other countries. Consequently, at end of the year the EUD church registered 4,674 new members. But we also lost some: 2,364 members died, 1,763 dropped out for different reasons and 270 are missing for a total of 4,397 losses. The total growth of the church in the EUD in 2012 was 131 members (177,874 total in number). This figure speaks for itself: 1.24 baptisms per church, 1% is leaving the church, the older generation is slowly diminishing and the new generation is far from accepting Jesus’ mission. In an EUD European population of 338,226,736 (indexmundi.com) we represent 0,053, that means one Adventist for every 1,902 inhabitants. But fortunately religion is not a statistic and humans are not only numbers. “Before this ‘panorama’ (quoting Gabriel Maurer) we are confident that something will change in terms of the involvement of every single member”. In the future there are definite plans to increase the average of new members from 1.24 to 12 per day. “We are examining the reasons so many members are leaving the church, but at the same time we are confident that more instruction and counsel have been given to members, and this will increase their involvement in the fulfillment of the great mission that began 2,000 years ago and that now is coming to its end,” concluded Maurer.
The main agenda items
This year a particular emphasis was given to the theme of Creation. This will be the topic of the year 2014. The church will embark on a strategic plan to invite the public to reflect on this extraordinary approach to life. A movie on creation has already been completed and will soon be available to every country.
The General Conference proposed a memorial on a special day next year. This will be called “Friends of Hope Day” on April 14, 2014.
The intention is to set up a special Sabbath for Adventists around the world to invite friends and family to worship with an Adventist congregation.
The goal is to have many visitors in Seventh-day Adventist churches around the world for a special program of worship and sharing. April 14 is a time when most Christians begin their celebration of the Holy Week. This is a time when churches remember Christ’s death and resurrection. Why not take this time to invite them to our church? Every member is encouraged to invite friends, family, co-workers and neighbours to a special visitor-friendly Sabbath program and give them an opportunity to get to know us.
“Revived by His Word” continues to inspire the study of the Bible around the world. The EUD office members start everyday reading a chapter and openly discuss the subject being read. The Word of God constantly gives and nurtures us. The EUD Committee again invites every member to consider seriously this opportunity to replenish spiritually.
In New York, starting the second week of June, an Urban Evangelism (Big Cities) campaign will inspire and motivate most worldwide big cities. There will be conferences, community services, evangelism programs including street evangelism, etc. trying to get members to be more effective with their neighbours in giving the Good News. In EUD, Geneva, Switzerland, has been chosen the main big city for 2014, even though the campaign already started in January 2013.
As in every Executive Committee, a General Conference officer was invited in Freudenstadt. Pastor Pardon Mwansa, General Conference vice president, attended the Committee giving his support. The major support he gave was the spiritual messages as daily devotional.
In his first devotional, pastor Mwansa invited the members of the committee to consider how to ask God to intervene in our lives. “Ask, said Jesus and you will receive answers from God” repeated Pastor Mwansa telling stories where answers were given because appropriated questions were expressed. “Ask, our Father in heaven knows, and He will act accordingly. Ask and He will give you peace.”
The second devotional was inspired from John 14:6 where Jesus affirmed undisputedly that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. “Jesus wanted to say that salvation is only through Him and nothing has to interfere with this truth,” affirmed Mwansa.
“We are focusing so much on the second coming that we could miss the real meaning: Jesus is our Saviour,” stated Mwansa. If we focus too much on the law we can forget the meaning of the law which in turn is God’s love. Talking about the religion of Jesus we can forget to talk about the Jesus of religion.
The Scriptures testify of Jesus as written in the Gospel of John. “Scripture doesn't give life, rather, Jesus of the Scripture gives life” repeated Pastor Mwansa and concluded with an appeal: “We can be so zealous to accomplish the mission that we can easily miss the focus and the main point of our mission, and that is Jesus.” No other comments are necessary.
pictures: 1. Some board members; 2. Bruno Vertallier, EUD President; 3. Gabriel Maurer, EUD executive secretary; 4. Pardon Mwansa, GC Vice-President;