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



18 February 2021 | St Albans, UK [Paul Lockham]  

This week the Trans-European Division staff were again joined by colleagues from the unions and fields across its territory as well as the Inter-European Division counterparts for more Devotional Webinars. Following the feedback from the January series of webinars, four more aspects of wellbeing have been considered.

Resting from Stressing

Sharon Platt-McDonaldSharon Platt-McDonaldOn Monday morning participants were greeted by the exuberant enthusiasm of the British Union Conference (BUC) Health Ministries Director Sharon Platt-McDonald. While battling the technology to share her presentation, Platt-McDonald introduced the topic by pointing out that we are all exposed to stress in our lives and are surrounded by stressors that can affect us mentally, spiritually, socially, and physically.

After sharing a listing of ‘Stress score and Life events’, such as bereavement, moving house, changing job, etc., Platt-McDonald provided a document giving references and resources that help a person look at their own ‘Life change unit score’.

Moving on to how different personality types respond to the same stressors in different ways, she then used the story of Elijah (1 Kings 19) to illustrate how the stressors affected his behaviour, emotions, and outlook on life and how God addressed his need.

Platt-McDonald concluded by encouraging all to follow the ABC steps to address stress according to their personality type and shared a number of Bible passages which show that God wants us to be “resting from stressing”.

Encountering Shame

Adrian PeckAdrian PeckAdrian Peck, district pastor from the South England Conference, started by stating that “You can only conclude that shame is brilliant!” He pointed out that it is very different from guilt, which leads us to see what we have done wrong and opens the door for forgiveness; shame leads us to feel that we are wrong and no matter what we do, we cannot make ourselves anything but wrong. Stuck with its consequences, shame causes us to look inwards with loathing and hatred at how wrong we are, and the result is the destruction of relationships.

Using the story of Adam and Eve found in Genesis 2 and 3, Peck contrasted their lack of shame before the fall with the shame that led them to fear after they had taken the fruit. Step by step, Peck looked at how the serpent undermined their reliance on God leading them to rely on themselves and their own actions, which would never be enough to make them right again. The internal destruction of self-worth is followed by the individual lashing out at those closest, trying to shift blame in an effort to get rid of the shame. The result is broken relationships, first with each other, then with God.

Peck concluded by looking at how shame can only be addressed by finding the safety of relationships in which we can be totally open and vulnerable. The supreme relationship is with Jesus, who not only forgives our wrongdoing, but shatters the shame to make us whole by restoring the image of God within us. As we cooperate with God’s work in us, we can become places of healing for others by providing those communities of safety where shame is encountered and challenged.

Healing Generational Trauma

Les AckieLeslie AckieWednesday’s webinar was presented by Leslie Ackie, BUC Family Ministries director and Family counsellor.

Ackie's starting point was the understanding that it is an inherent facet of human nature to pass values, hereditary traits and modelled behaviours from one generation to the next. He then challenged us to recognise that, while we may be influenced by what has happened in the past, our destiny is determined by our choices. Building an understanding of how traumatic events can impact our implicit memory and thus set patterns in our behaviour is essential to choosing a different way.

Referring to a statement by Bruce Perry, author of The boy who was raised as a dog, that “Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love”. Ackie spoke of the “incarnational” ministry of God in Christ that is so needed in the world. Today it needs to be found in the Christian community, where the image of God can be reflected to those in need of trauma healing. John 13:35 is the key, a place where love for one another is not just spoken but also seen in everyday living.

Proximity: Experiencing the fullness of the gospel

Jacques VenterJacques VenterThe final webinar of the week was presented by Jacques Venter, BUC Associate Executive Secretary.

After recounting two stories in which one person helped another, Venter posed the question, “Which reflects the gospel best?”

By looking at the social interaction of long-term friendship of people from different backgrounds, cultures, or social status he drew on the work of John Rawls, Michael Sandel, Bryan Stevenson and Christine Pohl to show how becoming proximate with others is essential if the gospel is to have an impact on life.

Building on the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:12 and Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Venter left participants with a challenge to step into intentional friendship with someone very different from themselves, not in order to announce, but rather to be God’s kingdom to them.

To watch the videos, click on the paragraph titles, or visit our YouTube channel.

[See also: A Week of Wellness at the TED]

tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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