Sabbath School mission offering to support projects in Trans-European Division

<p>11 January 2017 | St Albans, UK [Victor Hulbert] &nbsp;Four building projects and a multitude of children’s outreach initiatives will benefit from the 13th Sabbath offering for the first quarter of 2017. These will include a men’s dormitory at a secondary school in Croatia, a new church and centre of influence in Dublin, Ireland, retasking an old church for mission in central Oslo, Norway, and the building of a Hope Channel media centre in Poland. The final project is to further develop Children’s ministry outreach programmes that are already having surprising success across the TED.</p>

News January 11, 2017

11 January 2017 | St Albans, UK [Victor Hulbert]  Four building projects and a multitude of children’s outreach initiatives will benefit from the 13th Sabbath offering for the first quarter of 2017. These will include a men’s dormitory at a secondary school in Croatia, a new church and centre of influence in Dublin, Ireland, retasking an old church for mission in central Oslo, Norway, and the building of a Hope Channel media centre in Poland. The final project is to further develop Children’s ministry outreach programmes that are already having surprising success across the TED.

According to TED Treasurer, Nenad Jepuranovic, each project was selected because of its potential to make a significant mission difference within their communities.

Maruševec School and Seminary, Croatia

The new dormitory at the Adventist Secondary School/Seminary at Maruševec, Croatia will not only provide improved, modern facilities for the male students, but will free up the original building to provide additional classroom space for the increasing number of non-Adventist students who have come to value Adventist education. The secondary school has 196 students this year, in contrast with 126 in 2010—a 36 percent increase for a school located in a small village of just 6,700 people! It will also help as the church upgrades facilities to come in line with modern building regulations, and to provide space for community based programmes in the surrounding area.

Centre of Influence, Dublin, Ireland

A new church facility in Dublin will significantly add to the success of their continuing Mission to the City programme. Just a few years ago the Adventist presence in this city of over 1.1 million people had reduced to less than 25 members. Their only church building was in a run-down condition. Members joined in fervent prayer to seek a way forward.

Dublin – MTTC with Mark Finley and Dublin pastor, Gavin Anthony
Prayers were answered partly by immigration – an influx of ‘new Irish’ from Eastern Europe and Africa not only filled their current church but led to several new church plants across the city. As the recent arrivals integrated and made friends, the Irish Mission, with strong support from World Church evangelist, Mark Finley, developed a holistic outreach programme combining health and finance seminars alongside more traditional archaeological and Biblical outreach programmes. The local church was refurbished and the front section turned into a lifestyle centre. Now with over 500 members across the city there is a need for a second facility that can also become a centre of influence.

Church renovation, Oslo, Norway

There is a similar situation in Oslo where an old multi-function church facility in the centre of the city will be used as a centre of influence for the changing population of Norway’s capital city. The Betel church is populated by young adults who are keen to make a difference, but who need improved facilities in order to conduct their programmes.

Hope Channel Studio, Warsaw, Poland

Hope Channel studio - Poland
Polish Hope Channel team meeting with TED Communication director, Victor Hulbert, and Adventist Mission’s Andrew McChesney
The final building programme, a new Hope Channel studio in Warsaw, Poland, will help transform media in what is probably the most Catholic country in Europe – even while many in the urban areas are leading increasingly secular lives. Currently the TV facilities are housed in a cramped radio studio which, during the communist era, produced programmes that Adventist World Radio beamed back into the country via shortwave radio. A small team of dedicated professionals currently film using temporary sets constructed in church buildings, while also dubbing the best of programmes that come from external sources such as Hope Channel and tedMEDIA. A new, purpose built studio will allow for more efficient working and the production of significantly more Polish language material.

Messy Church outdoors in Katerini, Greece
Messy Church outdoors in Katerini, Greece
Outreach for Children

The final project is based, not around buildings, but rather is focused on people. The TED Children’s Ministries department has successfully developed and trained leaders in innovative outreach programmes including KIDS in discipleship, Messy Church, and improved Vacation Bible Schools. Programmes like Messy Church – fun, craft based activities alongside music, a short talk and a meal, are proving very successful in parts of the TED such as Greece where evangelism is traditionally very difficult. Often held in a neutral venue or even in the street or a local park, the programme breaks down prejudices, establishes strong friendships, and leads to further opportunities for witness. The plan is to focus on further developing these programmes within each Union.

Missionary Challenge in the TED

These five mission projects represent just a sample of the ways that members across the Division are endeavouring to share their faith. To assist them, the TED has chosen to focus on five key areas: Leadership development, Youth, Family, Children and Mission-Outreach. “They are the starting points for all that we do,” states Raafat Kamal, TED President. “They are the priorities in our strategic planning because they are also the main challenges that we face across Europe.”

While the TED may be the smallest of the 13 world Divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, it is potentially also the most diverse. Many of the 22 countries that make up the TED have become very secular, some with as few as 4% of the population attending church. These contrast with countries in the south and east of the Division where Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism or Islam have a significant influence within the culture.

Nordic camporee – 2016

Within that context innovative evangelism and programmes like Pathfindering are making a difference. Mads Kivikoski, the Pathfinder director in Denmark, stated recently that in the Nordic countries Pathfindering is one of the best outreach opportunities they have. That is also true in the Baltic States where over half of the children that come to their summer camps are from non-Adventist backgrounds. In Greece, Messy Church is one of the few programmes that is making a breakthrough within the highly Orthodox population.

Pastor Róbert Csizmadia interviewed on Hungarian national TV - taking a rare opportunity provided by Hacksaw Ridge, explaining the faith of Desmond Doss
Pastor Róbert Csizmadia interviewed on Hungarian national TV – taking a rare opportunity provided by Hacksaw Ridge, explaining the faith of Desmond Doss
Even in very secular countries like the Netherlands, success can be found with contemporary church plants that are tailored to the needs of a particular community. They are aiming to plant one new church each year. Countries such as Poland and Hungary – both with staunchly Catholic populations, have taken advantage of the recent ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ film release to engage with their communities via youth outreach, magazine and media publications, and opportunities to represent the church within the media. In Poland this has already resulted in over 100 Bible study opportunities, and people walking into an Adventist Church for the very first time.  Róbert Csaba Csizmadia, Secretary of the Hungarian Union, recently had an opportunity to talk about the faith of Desmond Doss, hero of the film, to a national TV audience of 300,000 people.

A group of adventist youth witnessing in Krakow, Poland
A group of adventist youth witnessing in Krakow, Poland
Indifference and an increasingly secular agenda are the main issues in the more northern countries. Engagement with youth and families not only instils a mission spirit in our own youth, but helps them share their faith ‘in the real world’. Social engagement is very important to them. Church is not just sitting in a pew on Sabbath but is getting involved in programmes that make a difference to others. As a natural result those ‘others’ then become friends of the church – and hopefully develop a lasting relationship with God.

Daniel Duda, TED Field Secretary states, “The challenge for Europe is to preserve the core of the Adventist message without compromising its eternal values, yet to move on in forms of contemporary Adventism so that it reflects how people think and live in today’s multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-national Europe with all its diversity.”

Tampere Christian school
Tampere Christian school
Can this work? It does in Finland where Tampere Christian School is over-subscribed by local residents who appreciate the core values and ethos of the institution. Even house prices are higher in the area and families move to be in the catchment area. Only forty of the 260 students are Adventist, but many more openly identify with the values of the school and roughly 100 come to the monthly Saturday night pizza church!

'Happy Hand' in Helsinki
‘Happy Hand’ in Helsinki
First in Denmark, and now in Finland, ‘Happy Hand’ have set up thrift shops that also operate as a drop in centre. At weekends they become a place of worship.

Health club in Novi Sad, Serbia
In the South East European Union, members have discovered that while their neighbours may not be interested in religion, they are keen to improve their health. One church plant in Novi Sad, Serbia, is even set up first as a health club, and then as a church. In the summer the Union organises health camps – with participants from around the various local health clubs coming and gaining more insights into not just physical health, but also mental and spiritual.

While the challenge of secularism is great, Adventists in the TED are continuing to find ways to make a difference in their community. That difference ultimately allows them to share Christ. [tedNEWS]

Mission spot

TED GC Annual Report 2015


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Esti Pujic, associate editor
119 St Peter’s Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3EY, England
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.ted.adventist.org
tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.