St. Albans, Herts, England | Rainer Refsbäck, tedNews / ANN Staff

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sweden was awarded by a Christian vegetarian association for its emphasis on a plant-based diet. The Wild Donkey (Vildåsnan) presented its “Vego Prize” (Vegopriset), to the Church on March 5.

The award is given to an organization or person whose Christian faith inspired them to do something positive for animals. Recipients of the awards are also recognized for raising awareness on how food affects humans, animals and the environment. The Wild Donkey praised the Church for “persistently discussing vegetarianism on Christian grounds.”

“We were pleasantly surprised by the award,” said Göran Hansen, president of the Swedish Union of Seventh-day Adventists, who accepted the award at the association’s annual convention. “The prize encourages us to continue to live up to and contribute to the Wild Donkey’s motto, ‘We want to encourage people to eat vegetarian as a way to reflect God's love for all beings of Creation.’” 

During the award’s ceremony, representatives from The Wild Donkey highlighted that “a number of the Christian revivalist movements formed during the latter half of the 1800s, saw it as a set position to contribute to a healthier lifestyle. One part of this was to advocate a vegetarian diet. The clearest position on this issue was, and still is, taken by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” 

For many years, the Church’s health council in the nation has offered the “Healthy & Smart” program, which includes vegetarian Christmas buffets, vegetarian cooking courses, and lectures on health and nutrition.

Hansen said he received many questions about the Adventist faith and lifestyle and had the opportunity to distribute Adventist books and other resources.

Adventists want to share hope through a lifestyle that finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus. Since the 1850s, Adventists have focused on drawing attention to God's plan for humanity, which started at creation and will continue through the restoration of creation. God made humans stewards of creation - the earth's resources and life in the form of animals, fellow humans and our own bodies. One distinctive part of this stewardship has been advocating a vegetarian diet. Stewardship is in part about responsibly enjoying the gifts from God and allowing ourselves to be used by the Holy Spirit