Inter-European Division Spring Administrative meeting

Inter-European Division Spring Administrative meeting

Mid-year Meeting of Inter-European Division via Zoom: no obstacles to the regular administrative work.

May 26, 2020 | Bern, Switzerland. | CD-EUDNews

The Executive Committee (ExCom) of the Inter-European Region (EUD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met for the regular springmeetings on May 18, 2020. 

This is the meeting where attendants comprise of all the presidents of the various unions that make up the territory of the EUD, the directors of institutions and departmental directors, a total of about 46 members, meet to evaluate the general administration and vote on the annual report of the treasurer. 

Although this is a regular meeting, the novelty of this year was that the whole meeting took place via Zoom. 

In this period of confinement and closure of borders, the Zoom videoconferencing platform has become the common meeting “ground”, which has allowed all those activities that involve communication, even at a distance, to take place regularly. 

The President's message

EUD President Mario Brito opened the session with a spiritual reflection based on some passages of the book Acts of the Apostles. The early church was very successful and expanded rapidly because they were united to each other and worked in close connection with of the Holy Spirit. The actual leader of the Church was the Holy Spirit.

As usual, Pastor Brito’s uses his introductory messages to set the tone of the sessions and the direction that the church is supposed to follow.

The Corona virus pandemic is generating a deep crisis in the whole world. Direct or indirectly, everybody is being affected, and our church has not been spared.      

“Do we believe that we have a message for this time?” challenged pastor Brito the whole online audience. “I’m convinced that we have a message that is suitable for this world and for this time. A message of salvation and love – holistic and balanced – a message that brings hope and helps people grow towards their full dimension as sons and daughters of God. For that to happen, we need to approach and mingle with people from all walks of life, starting with those of other religious confessions that believe, love and serve God,” he argued. 

The Adventist Pioneers were constantly accessing and adapting the approach and the focus of their message to the world. That is, they were attentive trying to understand how to best convey the Eternal Gospel to their contemporaries – they called it the Present Truth. As we read the New Testament, we see that the Apostles used the same approach.  

“We are in a waiting room with this virus and its effects” said Brito, “and I believe that time has come for us to gather together, in an upper room, like the disciples did after Jesus’ ascension. 

[…] The success of the disciples of the early church was based on the close and loving connection with each other and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the Leader of the Church by that time. The disciples and the apostles were just following His directions and commands.”

President Brito suggested that “the Holy Spirit must become the President of all levels of our church and we have to faithfully follow His guidance, if we want to have a meaningful and powerful impact in the lives of those who are around us. […] Don’t let us get distracted by anything. We have a message that the world greatly needs today. In this time of uncertainties due to the Coronavirus and other important challenges, we need to preach a message of hope and assurance that God is there. He is still leading the world and the church and He has a project for the life of each human being.”

Finally, Pastor Brito mentioned that during the ExCom, two important issues were going to be discussed and submitted to a vote: Relationship with other religious entities. (For a better understanding of this vote, read the article here), and Master of Pastoral Ministry Programme. (For a better understanding of this vote, read the article here).

The Treasurer’s Report

From a financial perspective, one of the main purposes of the spring meeting is to receive a financial report on the operations for the previous year. The EUD Treasurer Norbert Zenspresented the 2019 report to receive approval from the ExCom members. 

The most important pillar of the Seventh-day Adventist church (Adventist) finances is the tithe that the members return to their local churches. 

“Thanks to the blessings of our Lord, the tithe volume in our division grew in total by 0.7 percent in 2019. This may not appear to be much, but we have to take into account that in the previous year we had an increase of more than eight percent,” Zens declared. “This has been a real blessing and we are very thankful for the faithfulness of our members and friends of the Adventist church.”

The challenge we are seeing right now is the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the finances of the church and its institutions. 

“While we still see an increase of tithe in the first quarter in total, we may already see some effects of the lockdowns if we compare the tithe income in March 2020 with [that of] March 2019,” Zens reported. In some unions, there is a decrease in tithe remitted to the local church of almost 50 percent. 
Of course, this may be due to the churches not being able to actually meet and so people that are used to give their tithe personally to the local church, could not return the tithe yet. So,the hope is that we will see some of these effects being compensated for after the church begins to be able to meet again.

In his report, Zens shared the EUD's financial strategy for reducing operating expenses, including employees' wages, as a contribution to face this unexpected economic situation.

Looking ahead, it is important to be very careful trying to navigate through the rest of 2020 and especially in planning for 2021. “But one thing is for sure,” confirmed Zens, “that we are not on our own in this crisis. We have so many promises of God that [show] He is with us.” 

The EUD Treasurer concluded with the idea that this crisis may strengthen our hope and confidence that we do not live for this world, but we look ahead to what the Lord has in store for us and be ready to share the hope that is in us,.  

Some further votes

Considering that the 2020 Adventist General Conference (GC) Session has been postponed because of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic to May 20-25, 2021, the EUD ExCom voted toextend the term of office for all department directors and the associate treasurer of the EUDuntil May 20, 2021.

Finally, the EUD ExCom approved the updated edition of the EUD Working Policy 2020, as per the administrative guidelines for the governance of the Church at all its levels. 

Normally the spring meeting is organised for two days but, unexpectedly, the works wereconcluded in one day. Undoubtedly, this digital formula is an advantage from an economic and also temporal point of view. 

The participation in the debate on the items of the agenda certainly has not suffered. 

"However, the most missed aspect is the interpersonal meeting," suggests Corrado Cozzi, EUD Communication, "where, often, during these meetings, interpersonal contacts are intensified, further promoting a sharing of resources, supporting the growth of the Church.” Will this be the case also for this long-distance formula? 

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