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Portugal: President Visits Lisboa-Central SDA Church

Portugal: President Visits Lisboa-Central SDA Church

Photos: ©Presidência da República

"In the name of Portugal, thank you to you all”, so President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

March 06, 2018 | Lisbon, Portugal. | Portuguese Communications Department/PARL Department, EUD NEWS.

March 3 will remain in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portugal as the day in which, for the first time, the highest State official visited a SDA church and participated in its worship services.

Following the invitation made by the Church in the meeting that took place February 12, at Palácio de Belém, the President of the Portuguese Republic, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, visited the Lisboa-Central SDA Church last Saturday, March 3.

During the moments that preceded the Worship Service, the President of the Portuguese Union of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor António Amorim, thanked the President of the Republic for his visit, and complimented him on his course of action during his mandate, in favor of the most fragile and needy. On behalf of the Church, he offered the President of the Republic a Bible, João Ferreira de Almeida version, printed in 1809, donated by a family of the Lisboa-Central Church; a façade of the historical building of this same church; and a personalized digital card with a video on the story of the Adventist Church in Portugal.

Then, the President of the Republic spoke, beginning his intervention with a reference to “the signal of appreciation I have for the various religious denominations present in our country”, in personal terms as well as President of the Republic, which has led him, from the beginning of his mandate, to visit those various communities. He went on enumerating a set of principles on which rests the Portuguese legal and constitutional framework, among them the separation between State and Church, the non-discrimination based on religion, the impartial treatment of churches and creeds and the advancement of the Religious Liberty Law of 2001. This framework implies “not indifference, but the acceptance of the duty of collaboration with churches and religious communities rooted in Portugal, with the objective of promoting peoples’ rights, solidarity and tolerance”, mentioning that “this set of values is a meeting-point between the Portuguese State and the Seventh-day Adventist Church”.

Then, the President of the Republic mentioned directly the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its presence in Portugal, with these words: “Having an ancient history and an illustrious lineage, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a renowned and respected integration in Portuguese society. The values and principles it proclaims, influenced by Christianity, are the values and principles of human dignity, of respect for the other and of solidarity”. He emphasized the social aid all over the world by the Church, through ADRA, the work of promoting peace and human rights and the practice of an ethical doctrine in keeping with the principles guiding the religious doctrine. 

At the end of his intervention, the President of the Republic shared that “it was with great joy that I accepted the invitation to be here with you today, to know better your longings and countless achievements, to share a special moment of your worship”, wishing that “you will continue your action as until now, free from the restraints of the State, but always alert on the defense of the ethical values on which the Portuguese society is based and that make up our moral heritage”, closing with the words: “In the name of Portugal, thank you to you all.”

During the worship moments, and after the initial liturgical services, Gerson Coelho sang the hymn “Pai Nosso” (The Lord’s Prayer), with João Domingos, at the piano. The sermon was preached by Pastor António Amorim, Union President, who, using Scriptures from Isaiah 58, Luc 4 and Luc 9, spoke about true adoration being based on service to those who suffer most, the example of Jesus mission and the legacy He left to His disciples to relieve and freed humanity, respectively. The service ended with an extraordinary and moving moment of praise, through the singing of the hymn “Cidade Santa (Holy City) by Nathalie Gal and choir, followed by the Pastoral Blessing offered by Pastor Julio Carlos Santos.

As he went out, the President of the Republic recorded his presence on this day and place, through a message written on the Honored Guests Book of the Church. Interviewed by several reporters present to cover his visit, he declared he intends, during his mandate, to show “proximity not only regarding people, but also regarding religious communities and regarding those who have no belief or faith”. He explained also the purpose of this visit, saying that “I thanked this Church for its contribution on the domain of promoting justice and social solidarity, for a more human, more fraternal and more solidary Portugal. Thank you from all the Portuguese people”.

Then, the President of the Republic greeted all the present in a Church completely full, as people went out, manifesting courtesy and sympathy, and every one returned words of appreciation and gratitude.

This was an historic ceremony, directly and particularly experienced by those who assisted in place, but also by the whole Church in Portugal. It testifies to the role that the Church seeks to play as it is at the service of the society, and also of the social environment in our country regarding the religious phenomenon and the relationship between the State and the religious denominations, and even among those denominations themselves, but also to the personal and official action of the President of the Republic in including the religious communities and in valuing their action in our country.

For the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portugal, this was an opportunity, that we believe was given us by God, to present a solemn service of worship that we offer Him every Sabbath, having the privilege of sharing it and of seeing to take part in it, for the first time, the most high representative of the Portuguese State and of the Portuguese people.

Communications Department/Religious Liberty and Public Affairs Department

Photos and the President of the Republic’s intervention: www.presidencia.pt (News, March 3).

 

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