EUD: New Quinquennium, same Challenges.

EUD: New Quinquennium, same Challenges.

The Executive Committee members. (Photo Credit, C. Cozzi)

“It is to this Europe, united by all its diversities, that we are called, as a Church, to share the Mission,” so President Mario Brito.

November 11, 2015 | Bern, Switzerland. | C.Cozzi, CD EUDNEWS.

The first Year-End Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Inter-European Region (EUD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was held from October 28 to November 3, in Bucharest, Romania, at the Novotel. 

About 80 members – lay members, pastors, president of unions along with their officers, department directors and institution administrators -  participated in the annual meeting. Typically, in these meetings, decisions about the direction of the church are made. Many decisions are usually voted, projects are shared and programs presented - mostly by department directors. 

This year, something new has given a crucial impact to the direction of the work.  All members of the Committee were asked to be active in these two days of group dynamics, in order to propose an unique Strategic Framework of the Inter-European Region for the 2016-2020 period.

Message of the President

Mario Brito, EUD President, introduced his message with a slogan: New Quinquennium, Same Challenges. 

The diversity we encounter in Europe, in terms of languages, culture, countries, etc.,  determines the context in which the Adventist Church develops and fulfills its evangelistic mission. It is to this Europe, united by all its diversities, that we are called, as a Church, to share the Mission,” said Mario Brito. 

The EUD territory counts 20 countries, 2,530 churches, and 570 communities where about 179,000 members worship every Saturday. "We are working in different areas, to spread the message of salvation through Jesus," said the President. "It is not easy, but with God’s help we will reach the goals."

The Migrants 

The President then mentioned a new challenge that the Church is called to face: A huge migrant flow. “Millions of migrants will have fled to Europe by the end of this year,” he said, “this is a challenge also for the Church that cannot only watch what is happening.”

For this reason, an European displaced persons Coordinating Committee Executive Group has been elected, chaired by Pastor Shoun, former Adventist General Conference Vice-President, and by the two European Region presidents, Mario Brito and Rafaat Kamal. 

The purpose of this Coordinating Committee is to communicate with all parties involved in this project and encourage all parties to work with and through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) which has the skills and professional expertise in dealing with this crisis situation.

Decisions regarding the project will be made by the executive group that focuses first on the physical and humanitarian needs of the displaced persons and exercises great sensitivity in offering spiritual material, recognizing that the majority of the persons being served are not Christians.

Statement on Women’s Ordination

The President also spent some time talking about the issue of Women’s Ordination.

Referring to the statement of the General Conference, voted during the last committee in Silver Spring, Maryland (USA), from October 7-14, 2015, (see the statement below), President Brito made some important recommendations: 

The EUD respects the decision taken at the General Conference Session to not allow World Divisions to choose whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry.

The EUD acknowledges that the vote taken does not change the Church’s understanding of the role of women in the life and mission of the church, namely that women may be ordained as church elders and may work as commissioned pastors. 

The EUD strongly recommends and makes an appeal that everyone show appreciation to all women involved in the Church’s activities in whatever position they may be working, including the gospel ministry. 

The EUD supports and encourages women who have the talents and the calling for the gospel ministry to be trained and employed as such; it shows respect to others that may think differently. It avoids all types of provocative or offensive statements or initiatives and avoids falling into the trap of using its resources at the expense of the mission that has been entrusted to us. 

The EUD works in close connection with the General Conference and the World Divisions, facing the same challenges of finding the best way to prevent and eliminate all forms of discrimination towards women. 

Strategic Framework of the Inter European Division 2016-2020

Finally, President Brito focused on the core of this first Executive Committee, that is the  Strategic Framework of the Inter European Division 2016-2020

Referring to the document Reach the World largely presented at the General Conference Session - last July 2015 in San Antonio - Brito invited all the members to participate actively in the elaboration of this Strategic Framework that will affect all the church evangelistic activities of the future quinquennium.

Re-affirming the Role of Women

We re-affirm that the Holy Spirit imparts gifts to all believers and that women play an important role in the life of the church (Joel 2:28; 1 Corinthians 12:11, 18). Their commitment, skillfulness, and talents are a blessing to the entire body of Christ. The vote taken in San Antonio does not change the Church’s understanding of the role of women in the life, mission and practice of the Church as supported by the Church Manual and outlined in General Conference and division working policies.  Godly, Spirit-filled women are powerfully witnessing for Christ and being used by the Holy Spirit to make major contributions for the advancement of His kingdom.

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