The Inter-European Division of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (EUD) met for its mid-year Executive Committee decisions, the Mid-Year Meeting (MYM), as regularly scheduled for May. This year's MYM developed in two stages. The first meeting, on May 3rd, focused on the composition of the nominating committee to elect the 2021-2025 term Executive Committee members.
As it is well known, the pandemic situation has disrupted the operating patterns of many worldwide organisations, including that of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Normally, the administrative session, involving the election of the worldwide officers of the General Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, would have been held in July 2020. But the unexpected pandemic completely disrupted the schedule.
At first, the plan was to postpone the administrative session to May 2021, but the continuing global crisis forced a further postponement of the works to May 2022.
During the election of the world Executive Committee, the elections for the executive of the thirteen regions of the Adventist Church also take place. However, at their 2021 MYM, most of these regions, including the Inter-European region, have decided to move on to the election of their leaders.
After the first phase on May 3rd, the nominating committee met and drafted the new Executive Committee list. It should be noted that the three officers - President, Secretary Executive and Treasurer - are only eligible at the world session, meaning next year, at the St Louis General Conference Session, held June 6-11, 2022.
After a series of meetings online, yesterday morning (May 24th), where the names of possible candidates for the EC—that will last until 2025—were discussed, the new positions were also presented during the MYM works.
Below, the new EUD Executive Committee.
Associate Treasurer, Reto Mayer, confirmed in this position.
Ministerial Association, Adventist Chaplaincy, Leadership development, Ventislav Panayotov, current Bulgarian Union President, new in this position.
Ministerial Spouses Association, Vartuhi Panayotova, new in this position.
Family Ministries, Children's Ministries & Children’s Sabbath School and Adventist Possibility Ministries, Rainer Wanitschek, confirmed for Family Ministries, but new in the other positions.
Communication and Pubblic Affairs & Religious Liberty, Paulo Sérgio Macedo, current PARL and Education Director in Portugal, new in this position.
Education and Spirit of Prophecy, Marius Munteanu, confirmed in the first position, new in the second one.
Health Ministries, Viriato Ferreira, current President of Portuguese Association of Preventive Medicine and Director of VitaSalus, in Portugal, new in this position.
Publishing Ministries and Planned Giving and Trust Service, Norbert Zens, confirmed in this position, new in the first one.
Sabbath School & Personal Ministries, Advent Mission, Florian Ristea, current SS&PM and AM in Romania, new in this position.
Women's Ministries, Dagmar Dorn, confirmed in this position.
Youth Ministries, Jonatan Tejel, confirmed in this position.
Stewardship, to be determined.
Ethnic Group coordinator, to be determined.
With the new positions having been read out, President Mario Brito, chair of the Executive Committee, invited members to express their comments accordingly. Finally, the vote was cast individually for each candidate, confirming the nominations. A note of presentation of each new appointee will soon be issued. Words of appreciation and best wishes for the future were expressed by President Brito for those who are concluding their service for the Church in their offices:
Elsa Cozzi, Children's Ministries & Children's Sabbath School.
Elvira Wanitscheck, Ministerial Spouses Association.
Valérie Dufour, Health Ministries.
Corrado Cozzi, Communication, Adventist Possibility Ministries.
Ioan Campian, Stewardship, Publishing Ministries, Spirit of Prophecy.
Liviu Olteanu, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty.
Paolo Benini, Sabbath School & Personal Ministries, Adventist Mission.
The work continued with other items on the agenda. Treasurer Norbert Zens presented the 2020 financial report, with a positive result, demonstrating the confidence and fidelity of the Church through tithing. An appeal was made, however, to invert the worrying decline in offerings, which is mainly due to membership absence caused by present restrictions. Another important vote was cast in favour of the new Master of Pastoral Ministry curriculum, which will be offered at Friedensau University in the near future.
In the preliminary phase, on May 3rd, an important vote was taken by the Executive Committee on domestic violence. During the November 2020 executive meeting, a commission had already been elected to study the issue of domestic violence. This commission elaborated the following vote:
“Considering the General Conference official Statement on Abuse and Family Violence (1995/2020), we Seventh-day Adventists, affirm the dignity and worth of each human being and decry all forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and family violence.
Whereas, abuse in any form of behaviour violates the dignity and respect of a person, whether young or old, and shames the victim;
whereas, the sad reality of abuse and domestic violence is present in our Church as well, and we are called to: a. raise awareness by education and information; b. protect and help the victim(s) and perpetrator(s), creating safe churches, shelters and promoting advocacy;
whereas there is no specific board to deal with Domestic Violence at the different levels of church organisation, and Domestic Violence is generally dealt with or by either pastor, or boards at the different levels of church organisation;
moved to recommend to every Union to establish a Permanent Domestic Violence Team, as soon as possible, but not later than December 31, 2022, made up by at least three members, including men, women as well as experts being social worker, lawyer, etc.”
With this vote, the Adventist Church once again declares its total disapproval of all forms of violence, especially domestic violence. It commits itself to training and informing its members effectively to ensure adequate protection for those who are victims of such unacceptable behaviour.
President Brito concluded the MYM 2021 session with a reference to Jesus' call to unity: "May they all be one, as you and I, oh Father". John 17. "Unity is a challenge," began Brito, "that humanly speaking, is impossible to achieve. But as we struggle to be united, we grow. And my dream is that we can grow in understanding each other”. He concluded by reminding the Executive Committee that “only if the Holy Spirit abides in our hearts, will we be able to work together.”