The official news service of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist church



9 February 2017 | Oslo, Norway [Tor Tjeransen]  With a significant number of Adventist members working in the health professions, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway has organised a Health Association to better meet the needs of their communities.

Young adults took the lead as 150 health professionals and pastors met in Oslo over the weekend of 3 – 5 February 2017 for the Nordic Health Congress. As part of the Comprehensive Health Ministry global initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Norwegian Union Health Ministries Department organised the Health Congress to inspire health professionals and pastors to unite their efforts in meeting the needs of their local communities.

Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians and pastors were among the professionals who voted to establish the Seventh-day Adventist Health Professionals’ Association to co-ordinate their efforts to teach sound health practices and meet needs.

Young adults are taking the lead by serving on the Executive Committee of the newly established Seventh-day Adventist Health Professionals' Association in Norway. L. to r.: Allan Fjelmberg, Anders Wiik, Carina Schinagl, Hanne Lise Aune, Linn Helene Stølen, Svanhild Stølen, Marika Reistad Pettersen, Sandra Bjørk Olafsdottir and Fredrik Lillbäck. Andreas Hjortland was not present. Nordic Health Congress 2017, Oslo, Norway, February 3-5, 2017. Photo: Tor Tjeransen/ADAMS.Members of the new association committed themselves to the highest ethical standards when meeting people with health needs. They state that Adventists want to give care and help because it is the right thing to do as followers of Jesus, and not for ulterior motives.

Dr Peter Landless, Director of the Health Ministries Department at Adventist World Church headquarters stated, “It is important that we are never unethical when we share health intervention with people who are vulnerable.” He noted the danger, that some people might feel obliged to agree with the physician, because they worry that the care might deteriorate if they do not agree.

Landless stressed that as Adventist health professionals we serve the people we meet with no strings attached. “We do what we do, because it is the right thing to do and because Jesus has told us to do it,” he reminded the congress participants.

The Norwegian Union President, Pastor Reidar Kvinge, was delighted to see the association formed, noting that it will certainly enhance the image and visibility of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway.

“I am really grateful for the dedication of the highly qualified health professionals in our church,” he stated. “The new association will undoubtedly help us to become more focused and efficient in serving our local communities. We want to make a difference to the people of Norway.”

Dr David Williams, a professor in the School of Public Health at Harvard University, was one of the presenters at the congress. In one of his lectures, he spoke about research on the consequences of early childhood experiences impacting health later in life.

Anders Wiik (left), a medical student in his final year, served as chairman at the founding meeting of the Seventh-day Adventist Health Professionals' Association. Svanhild Stølen (center), Director, Health Ministries Department, Norwegian Union, was the organiser of the Health Congress and Linn Helene Stølen made sure minutes were kept at the founding meeting. Photo: Tor Tjeransen/ADAMS.“A large body of scientific research, documents that experiences children have very early in life have consequences for health in adulthood,” explained Dr Williams. The experiences Dr Williams referred to are major negative and stressful events: It could be a parent who is chronically depressed or a parent who is addicted to drugs. “Those negative experiences affect their risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression later in life,” he said.

Dr Williams also noted the positive effects of good childhood experiences. “To be loved and cared for is associated with improved biological functioning, even forty to sixty years later.”

Dr Torben Bergland, Director of the Health Ministries department of the church in the Trans-European region, was very pleased with the outcomes of the congress.

“We wanted to rekindle the passion for health ministry among health professionals, pastors and others, and inspire them to engage in it with enthusiasm. Health ministry should be guided by evidence-based research and practices, the Bible and the insights of church co-founder, Ellen White.” He added, “We are taking a comprehensive perspective that encompasses much more than just diet. What we as Adventists offer members and the public, must be balanced and make life richer.”

Pastor Vidar Hovden said the congress had been one of the most inspiring Adventist events he had attended. He particularly noted with gratitude how many young adults had been playing key roles in the congress. [tedNEWS]

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More images from the Health Congress on ADAMS.

tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Esti Pujic, associate editor
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tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.