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13 November 2012 Huis Ter Heide, the Netherlands [Wim Altink, tedNEWS] More than 200 delegates, representing 56 local Seventh-day Adventist Churches, met together for the Netherlands Union Conference (NUC) Session on three consecutive Sundays, ending 11 November 2012 at Congress Centre "De Breehoek" in Scherpenzeel, Netherlands. The theme of the Session was "An Involved Church.” This was the main focus in the presidential report presented by pastor Wim Altink. This theme has been the focus of the Adventist church for the last five years. Several local churches have become heavily involved in community services with great success and many blessings. This serving attitude and connecting with the community has paved the way for the growth of the Adventist Church in the Netherlands over the last few years.

 

The membership of the Adventist Church in the Netherlands has grown from 4950 to 5500 over the last five years. Outreach has been especially effective in the Rotterdam area, where now 1 in every 700 people is an Adventist. Two new churches have been established in Rotterdam in the last year.

An Adventist community church, "X-preszo", led by Renate Hazel who recently was voted in as a member of the Trans-European Division (TED) Executive Committee, has gained many members from a variety of cultures, whilst the congregation of "Het Kompas" has reached out to Dutch Caribbeans. Outside of Rotterdam two other churches were founded: "Uniek" in Utrecht and "Het Middelpunt" in Purmerend. In total, four new Adventist congregations were welcomed into the fellowship of the Dutch Adventist Church at the session.

A special welcome message was presented by pastor Klaas van der Kamp, Secretary General of the Dutch Council of Churches. As an observer at the Session, he reminded the delegates of the impact the Adventist Church is making, witnessing to the importance of health and the Sabbath. He told the delegates how he decided to become a pastor because of the Adventist Bible Correspondence School studies that he took as a young man. He encouraged delegates to stay in touch with fellow Christians.

Considerable time was taken to discuss the operation of the Union and its contribution to the life of the church. Concerns were expressed about its financial strength; the church has been hit hard by the financial crisis of recent years. Several motions were accepted in which the newly appointed Executive Committee was urged to make sure that the Union's financial viability remains strong.

Looking back at the Session, a single motion stands out as having received the most time and attention. In this motion the delegates requested the Union to instigate the practice of ordaining women for the Gospel ministry of the church. To read the full report about the decision and comments, please click here.

Dr Bertil Wiklander, TED President, and Pastor Rafaat Kamal, TED Field Secretary, were the official representatives of the TED at the Session. They chaired various committees and shared their vast experience in the discussions on the floor. Dr Wiklander, reflecting on the outcome after the Session, said: “It was a challenging session, because of many issues relating to finances, structures and individuals, which preceded the meeting. At the beginning I sensed deep concerns among the delegates, but as the weeks progressed we came together more and more, and I feel we ended on a high note. A group of people prayed for the work all the time and that gave results. I was of course busy most of the time in the nominating committee, which worked very well and in a good spirit. I could see there many promising young talents and mature leaders who will be part of the great future God has for his people in the Netherlands. I am grateful for the many things I learnt through these ‘tough’ weekends with my brothers and sisters in the Netherlands. A focus on Christ and his humility and a concern for others was my concluding message and I still stand behind that. I wish the leaders of the Union God’s blessing in inspiring and leading the church to make God known in the Netherlands in the coming years. TED will continue to support, pray for, and work with the Union to accomplish its mission from God.”

The delegate of The Hague Church, Wim Willems, comments: "We had a hard talk during the three days of meetings but it was worth it". Frieda Souhuwat of Rotterdam-Noord says: "The Lord wanted to show where our human weaknesses are in order that we should trust Him more. I am optimistic about the future of the church."

Pastor Wim Altink (53) was re-elected as the President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Netherlands. Pastor Tom de Bruin (33), newly elected Executive Secretary, is one of the youngest in the history in this position. Pastor de Bruin brings pastoral and teaching experience to the office. Besides his MA in Theology, he has a BS in Computing Science and is about to finish his PhD dissertation at Leyden University's Religion Department. The new Treasurer is Mr. Istrahel Schorea (40) who hails from the Dutch Caribean and is an elder from the Rotterdam International Adventist Church. He currently holds a managerial financial position at the leading telecom company of the nation (KPN), and will now dedicate his time to help the church build a strong financial future.

For more information about the Adventist Church in the Netherlands, please visit www.adventist.nl  [tedNEWS]


tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
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