2 July 2015 | San Antonio, Texas, USA [Rajmund Dabrowski/Victor Hulbert, with reporting from Adventist Review/tedNEWS] Delegates to the World Church Session meeting in San Antonio, Texas, Thursday, 2 July welcomed a special delegation of leaders from what was once a breakaway group of Seventh-day Adventists in Hungary. The group of believers has been separated from the main body of the church for 40 years.
Raafat Kamal, president of the Trans-European Division, presented the delegation stating that “God blessed the process” to bring the believers in Hungary together. Kamal then invited the delegates to “embrace these brothers and sisters here.”
The Hungarian church split in 1975 amid a protest by several pastors and laity over local church leaders’ collaboration with the Council of Free Churches, a body established by the state under a communist government to represent the common interests of small Hungarian Protestant denominations.
On April 23, Tamás Ócsai, president of the Hungarian Union Conference, signed a document titled “Joint Declaration on Settling the Past and Building a Common Future” with János Cserbik, leader of KERAK, as the splinter group is known. The Adventist Church in Hungary has 4,629 members worshiping in 104 churches, while KERAK has perhaps as many as 1,800 members, according to local church leaders.
Since the signing of the joint reconciliation, already full churches and quite a few members have rejoined the church. It is an ongoing process.
Multiple attempts have been made over four decades to reconcile the differences between the two groups. The most recent attempt saw involvement of World and Division Church leaders participating in a process that started in Paris four years ago.
Following the signing ceremony, Benjamin D. Schoun, a general vice president of the Adventist world church, who played a key role in bringing the two sides toward reconciliation, commented that this historic moment “is a testimony to the use of biblical methods for reconciliation and the willingness on the part of both sides to step out toward each other.”
Commenting on the developments, which culminated in the April declaration, Raafat Kamal, president of the Trans-European Division, said “I praise God for His grace in bringing both communities to the foot of the cross where Christ-like forgiveness, healing, and love have taken over minds and hearts.”
“Over the past four years, we witnessed genuine expressions of reconciliation by members and leaders alike”, Raafat stated. “Christ is coming soon and He is uniting our Adventist believers in Hungary to be of one mind in focusing on the end-time mission to be the salt and light.
World Church President, Pastor Ted Wilson concluded this most moving ceremony by praying that the spirit of reconciliation that has been seen in Hungry can be repeated all over the world.
See also: Settling the Past and Building a future in Hungary, 29 April 2015. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
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