Challenge and Opportunity: The Health Congress as seen by attendants

Challenge and Opportunity: The Health Congress as seen by attendants

Bern, Switzerland, July 17, 2014 [CD-EUDNews]. After attending a Conference on Health July 8-12, in Geneva, we asked the audience to give us their opinions and highlights. Or simply share what they found relevant or the main message that was appreciated a

July 24, 2014 | CD EUDNews;

Bern, Switzerland, July 17, 2014 [CD-EUDNews]. After attending a Conference on Health July 8-12, in Geneva, we asked the audience to give us their opinions and highlights. Or simply share what they found relevant or the main message that was appreciated and accepted personally. Please read on for some of comments by those present.

Giuseppe Cupertino, Executive Secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Italy: "Is it worthwhile to care for your health even if life (social, cultural and environmental) is stressful and compromises individual behaviour? The presentation given by David Williams was really challenging. Many studies confirm, for example, that early parental behaviour globally influences individual life and health, not only with nutrition and other traditional Adventist health habits, but also in stress due to bad relationships, future uncertainty, fear for life and in violent physical and psychological cases. This should monitor and direct our responsibility towards the community.

In 1893 the Adventist Hospital and Community Center developed under W. K. Kellogg in Battlecreek and the advice of E.G. White, was considered the best Community Health Center of the world at that time. It was really innovative in health and social work, not only involving nutrition and drug prevention but also projects and activities to take care of the poor and disadvantaged such as prostitutes, unwed mothers, English teaching for Chinese and black people and so on.

“What impressed me” said Cupertino, “is the idea that Christian preaching should include the importance of good health and lifestyles focusing on social issues because of the declining quality in personal and collective relationships. As a church we should engage in this work as Jesus did, He restored people in their relationship one to another and with God.

This Conference attempted to develop a new perspective, adding to the usual traditional Adventist health topics and focusing on occupational health and prevention or engaging in Community projects. This all translates into a greater awareness of our responsibility in this ministry."

Ennio Battista, director of Vita e Salute (Life and Health Magazine) in Italy, declared that "we should present our whole bodies to God physically, mentally and spiritually. As Mark Finley strongly emphasizes, the reason is that we are a creation project and not the result of chance. Adventists have a special sensitivity to health issues because God's love is shown through the health principles. To heal ourselves and others also confirms our values that our lives are precious. Sin resulted in our separation from God, and this is like restoring that love with which God created us. He loves us, wants to renew us and finally one day, make us a new creation."

Michael Hamilton, Personal Ministry Director at Trans-European Region (TED): “The International Conference on Health and Lifestyle has been most informative and encouraging. It was not a conference for only health professionals but also for all who are interested in better living. The whole program and workshops emphasized the importance of holistic living and ministering to the whole person. I have been impressed by the scientific approach to the presentations and the clarity with which the information was transmitted. The conference has been a motivator for change.”

Alessia Venturoli: "Both during the plenary sessions and the afternoon break-outs special consideration was given to the importance of mental health in correlation with the theme of the congress: non-communicable diseases (NCD, S =modern lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, etc.). It is no longer possible to neglect this aspect of human health: education programs are needed immediately for the prevention and treatment of mental disorders (primarily depression and anxiety syndromes) that unfortunately plague people within as well as without our communities."

Ruben Abreu, President of Seventh-day Adverntists in France, summerized the whole conference in "one word: inspiring. Amidst intensive lectures, scientific discoveries, projects and spiritual vision of health ministry, what stood out the most were the personal witnessing (experiences) of service to others. Although much remains to be done in urban and rural areas."

Paola Visigalli, Physiotherapist in Turin: "I very much enjoyed this conference: both the most technical scientific information (rich and well-documented) and the spiritual messages. In my opinion, most of the speakers dealt with the issues in a balanced manner, free from extremism and personal judgment, they respected individual choices and cultural differences, with kindness and a fair dose of humility. All these features are crucial to the followers of Jesus. "

Genevieve Aurouze, Psychologist in Switzerland and France: "The morning plenary sessions and afternoon workshops were used to improve general knowledge, and remind us that health is a special ministry: the right arm of the gospel. Of course, everyone is aware of the magnitude of the task in this wounded, sick and discouraged world, but we are also to fulfill the role of the much-needed healing ministry."

We are happy and amazed by the work and outstanding service to others, the church is physically there, present to perform these acts of love in multiple locations on five continents. Thank you and well done to all the volunteer teams and groups that organized such innovative programs so effective and valuable in bringing care, attention and education to the helpless.

Our appreciation also goes out for the hard work done on the special program and activities for children.

The climax of the congress was the send-off on Sabbath afternoon. With a few convincing and enthusiastic sentences, Allan Handysides succeeded in motivating us to be ready and humbly engage in this mission of health and love to everyone with respect and compassion.

Dr. Gentian Breuil, from the French Union Adventist Health Department:" It was a new idea to invite pastors and administrators. Such different points of view definitely allowed for better understanding and collaboration. The objective of this conference (especially the workshops) was more focused on projects and promotion of healthier lifesytle in our churches and communities, rather than presenting scientific information. Some professionals were not happy about would have been better if the workshops reflected both topics."

The mood overall was really constructive, allowing a balanced and comprehensive approach to our mission and health, using appropriate ethics in various Adventist community services. Consequently, some aspects of this conference were primarily directed towards Adventists and were not really applicable to non-Adventist professionals. Maybe in the future we could plan for a congress clearly divided into two stages, one suitable for all professionals, and the other sector more focused on Adventist mission.


All the Conferences the Adventist Church organizes, succeed thanks to the contribution of volunteers. At this conference there were 80 of them, part of them were a group of young people who just recently ended a voluntary service that had lasted about a year, the Mission to the Cities project in Genève. We asked for their impressions.

Mattia Benini, leader of the group: "Such a success in a conference with more than 1000 in attendance, must have include a lot of volunteers contributing their time and expertise. They were always available even in preventing and solving small problems. Because of the volunteers, being the leader, the load felt a lot lighter and pure satisfaction sets in. "

Elisabet Somolinos and Adan Lorente (Spain): "What striked us most was the good working atmosphere between volunteers and organizers. We felt like family. Managers kept their tension and pressures under control and were always smiling despite the circumstances. We are grateful to God for letting us be part of this event."

Marika: "This event has shown me something important: it demonstrated that the church is being very serious in offering highest quality services.

It was a rewarding experience for me, although now I feel very tired and need a rest with my husband, but I have the thrill of contributing even in a small way, and now I am a part of such a wonderful event.

I could not follow everything, only part of the lectures, but what I heard and read from the material given to us, it was enough to realize that the Lord has given us something beautiful, useful and very important for men and women of our time.

Now I've finished a year of volunteer work, I learned many things, and this last week has been the best conclusion I could have ever had. I'm ready to return to my island of Lanzarote, and will be planning something special for my Lord."

Gentian Breuil with a final word: "I am impressed with the quality of organization in this conference, in particular with the large group of young volunteers, they were always smiling and ever caring."

pictures: 1, 2, 3: Staff and Volunteers at the Global Health Congress in Geneva (credits: Corrado Cozzi)

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