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Inter-European Region: The last act

Inter-European Region: The last act

Mid-year Executive Meeting in Germany

June 01, 2015 | Bern, Switzerland. | Corrado Cozzi, EUD Communication Department Director, CD EUD NEWS

The Executive Committee within the General Conference (GC) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (Adventist) has 10 meetings during a five-year period. Five times in May for the Mid-Year Meeting, and five in November for the Year-End Meeting. The five-year meeting including the world church, began in 2010, and will end this year with the next GC session in San Antonio, Texas on July 2-11. The last mid-year meeting of the Inter-European Region (EUD) was in Freudenstadt, Germany, May 17-19 of this year.

There were 42 people present including local presidents, department leaders and directors of institutions. The work was carried out with the usual dedication by the management, discussing affairs of the churches in the EUD territory.

As always, the agenda included the reports from the three Officers, from the different departments and on some important administrative votes.

In his initial report, President Bruno Vertallier thanked the Union presidents for their committed management of the churches. He welcomed the new presidents: Ventzi Panayotov of Bulgaria, and David Jennah of French and Italian Switzerland.

He also thanked the EUD department leaders for a job well done, especially during the last five years. He also acknowledged the institutions, the publishing houses, hospitals, rest homes, schools, etc. for being involved in so many ways.

“Together we have all done great work for missions” said Bruno Vertallier, “I encourage you to continue focusing on our peculiar and unique mission”. He spoke of the stress churches have between the more conservatives and the liberals. “Being radical doesn’t help the church” affirmed the president.

“We each have our own feelings and thoughts but we have to promote peace within the church. We can’t choose our brothers and sister in the family and we have to do the same in the church. Each person comes to church with his own background and ideas. When we start arguing, let’s all try to avoid conflicts by managing our discussions. Do not try to prove you are right by all means possible. Let us just look at ourselves and compare ourselves to Jesus: He is the only one who is JUST. Jesus is surely coming, let us continue our mission and proclaim His coming.”.”

President Vertallier concluded by presenting an interesting picture of evangelism, with some significant data of a church that despite appearances, engages in a special mission.

We had about 135 evangelistic projects conducted by 290 pioneer missionaries. They had more than 20,000 direct contacts, 2,000 baptismal classes, and a total of 384 baptisms. Evangelism continues to be a challenge in European countries, but the presence of pioneer missionaries gives hope for the future.

After the President, another report was given by Executive Secretary, Gabriel Maurer. He also confirmed the same great challenge of church growth in the EUD.

We have had a 12% church growth in the past year with about 3,600 baptisms. There are approximately 180,000 members in the EUD, not counting children and young people not yet baptized, plus the large number who worship with us, although not regularly.

The challenge that the church has to face is not so much in the methods of evangelism but rather in the spiritual dynamics of the church. Unfortunately, we have seen a drop-out rate of about 48%.

“In spite of the great challenges, I am happy to report that in the last year the EUD had a slight membership growth. Therefore I am confident that in the future we will keep and even strengthen this trend. With united forces focused on service and outreach I believe this can happen” declared Gabriel Mauree.

The treasurer's report given by Norbert Zens, followed the same course indicated in previous executive committees. Basically, the church reacts positively with tithes and offerings despite the crisis we are going through. There are some exceptions in Southern European countries where people continue to suffer under their economic situation. In his presentation, Zens quoted Jeremiah 29: 4-7 declaring that: "God wants us to serve the country we live in, if it prospers, then we prosper too." A church in the service of the state can only be a benefit to all.

From all the departments, one report stood out by Barna Magyarosi. "It was the first report on the EUD Families Research trying to identify the main characteristics of Adventist families in our territory and to explore the attitudes and habits related to our beliefs," said Magyarosi.

Among many interesting findings, the survey revealed that the divorce rate among Adventist couples is significantly lower than in the communities in which they live, but it has also shown that cohabitation and premarital-sex is a concern that the church will have to address in the future. The findings of the research will be published in a report at the end of this year.

He hopes that the local administrators can use these valuable results from the survey and use them to improve families in our division. 

Among the changes voted by the executive committee was the decision to transfer the EUD ADRA department directly to Brussels, where it will be the head office also for ADRA in the Trans-European Division.

One of the most important things accomplished at this executive committee meeting was the retirement farewell greetings to President Bruno Vertallier. At the GC session in San Antonio he will officially retire from his EUD leadership position.  All the local administrators want to thank him for his guidance in a colourful multi-cultured European church. Thank you, President, for your commitment and your passion to the management of our church, we have appreciated your support.

Pictures: 1. Norbert Zens, Treasurer, Bruno Vertallier, President, Gabriel Maurer, Executive Secretary. 2. Barna Magyarosi, EUD Education Department Director. (C. Cozzi) 

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