[क्रेडिट - टेड]


Adventists in Europe Recommit to Mission

As the Adventist church celebrates 160 years, the Trans-European Division remains focused on mission despite regional challenges.

United Kingdom | TedNews

As members celebrate 160 years of the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Christ for Europe project gets under way, tedNEWS invites readers to take a look again at the 94-year mission of the Trans-European Division (TED).

When Oxford scholar Reginald Heber wrote the famous mission hymn “From Greenland’s Icy Mountain,” he could easily have been describing the Trans-European Division (TED). His lyrics cover the imperative for sharing the Gospel to every corner of the globe, starting from the northernmost reaches of the TED to the southernmost. Those lyrics, written just 55 years before the first Adventist missionary arrived in Europe, soon became a reality through European Adventism’s outward-looking focus. Despite an initially small base, European pioneers influenced missions in Africa, Asia, South America, and beyond.

Today, the major challenge for the eleven unions and three attached fields that make up the TED is that while European Adventism sent missionaries out to others, Europe itself has since stagnated spiritually. In some countries, only four percent of the population attend church, while in other former communist states, religion has been revived as more cultural than life-changing.

Nevertheless, mission is alive in Europe! The division praises God for the 89,404 members (as of March 31, 2023), about 600 pastors, and 1,401 churches and companies that are spread across the TED territory: from Greenland’s icy mountains, down through more secular Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, to more traditionally Catholic, Orthodox, or Muslim countries as Adventism heads south and east through Poland, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia towards the balmy Mediterranean climates of Greece and Cyprus.

As Dr. Artur Stele, General Conference vice-president, stated emphatically during the 2018 TED Year-End Meetings, “You are not big in numbers but big in challenges.” He saw this as encouraging, both for himself and the larger Adventist world. Listening to the mission reports, the challenges, even the requests in special times of prayer, he emphasized that “you are big in providing the key for the future of mission,” noting that the same issues faced in increasingly secularized Europe are becoming apparent in other parts of the world.

The 2019 Anniversary Celebration with a Renewed Passion for Mission

In 2019, the TED celebrated 90 years of mission, both at home and overseas. Despite the considerable setbacks of two world wars, years of communist totalitarianism in Central and Eastern Europe, and more recently, the ravages of secularism, the division has a rich history. This was explored in Dr. David Trim’s celebratory book, A Passion for Mission, and in a short video documentary. Trim noted that throughout TED history, over 1,000 missionaries headed overseas to share the Adventist message across large swaths of the world.

Outreach & Witness

Prior to Daniel Duda being elected to his current role as TED president, he was responsible for overseeing TED Adventist Mission. One of his favorite witness and outreach projects funded by the Adventist Mission fund is the Three Angels Motorcycle Club in Novi Sad, Serbia. This Adventist group of bikers mix with and befriend others in the biking community and have produced special literature focused on their needs.

Reporting for the period of 2015–2022, Duda noted, “We have voted over £1 million [approx. US$1.4 million] on 301 mission projects and 133 church plants.” These include 12 centers of influence and a network of Messy Churches that are having a significant impact on children and their families in hard-to-reach communities in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, and many other countries.

The TED also supported social projects such as Invasion of Love in Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Adventist Youth, together with friends, spent a week in the community to paint park benches, offer free car washes, hand out roses, and run health and community programs. This was especially significant and appreciated in an ethnically divided community still suffering from the aftereffects of war. In a cultural setting where Adventists find it hard to make an impact, seeing Adventist and other youth working together towards a positive community goal helped encourage local citizens to be proud of their community, build self-esteem, and assist in a process of reconciliation.

Adventist Motorcycle Ministry (AMM), Serbian Chapter (Photo: TED)

Adventist Motorcycle Ministry (AMM), Serbian Chapter (Photo: TED)

Total Member Involvement

Total Member Involvement (TMI) has caught the imagination of many members. This has led to significant lay-led initiatives: a youthful church plant, “Kompass Church,” in Tallinn, Estonia, another plant in a refugee center in Ireland, the development of Public Campus Ministries on a range of campuses, with particular success in Serbia and the United Kingdom, and the establishment of 12 centers of influence. Perhaps the most successful CoI is the The Cuisle Centre, tying in with a long-running Mission to the Cities program in Dublin, Ireland. The Cuisle Centre attracts a wide-ranging community to a variety of health, counseling, craft, and spiritual programs while Dublin itself has grown from one single congregation to a total of five, spread across the city.

The mission and activities in the TED continue to connect with communities, inspire them with the Gospel, and enable change. The aim is lofty and may seem impossible, but by God’s grace, the division seeks to reach out to the varied cultures and religious attitudes in Europe and let people know “that by believing you may indeed have life in His name.”

At the heart of the 2022 TED video report to the General Conference Session were two dominant themes: Filmed and produced during the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, attendees were reminded of the call of Christ—“When I needed a neighbor, were you there?” And connected to this was the promise of Christ to “Open a door, which no person can shut.” Take a look again at the story of TED members and their commitment to reach Europe—empowered by grace.

*Copy for this report is adapted from the Trans-European report to the 2022 General Conference Session.

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division website.