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European Health Conference
Opens in Prague

Three world divisions join to emphasize the church’s healing ministry. (Posted May 1, 2013)

Delegates from nearly 40 countries throughout Europe gathered in Prague, Czech Republic, for the first session of the European Health Conference (EHC) Monday, April 29, 2013. The conference, a cooperative effort of the Health Ministries Departments of the church’s Inter-European, Trans-European, and Euro-Asia Divisions, is the first to specifically address the challenge of using health ministries to serve the increasingly secular population of Europe.

“Health and healing is something that God is very interested in,” said Bertil Wiklander, president of the Trans-European Division, in his welcoming remarks. “Healthy people can glorify God,” he said. He also observed, “As we approach people in secular Europe, we can create many opportunities to help and heal people.”

 
GATHERING IN PRAGUE: Delegates from nearly 40 nations across Europe register for the five-day European Health Conference taking place this week. [PHOTO: Chavez]
In his welcome, Viriato Ferreira, chair of the EHC steering committee and Health Ministries director for the Inter-European Division, called the two-year effort to plan and coordinate the conference “a partnership of hearts,” united to focus on healing in the midst of a world of suffering. The conference is designed to inspire and inform those involved in the church’s health ministries outreach on the local, conference, and union conference level.

In his keynote address, Ferreria acknowledged that while a conversation about healing explicitly addresses the reality of physical suffering, implied is the emotional and spiritual suffering that often accompanies illness. He noted that even when people sometimes experience relief from their physical symptoms in answer to prayer, that is often the exception rather than the rule. And people are often led to wonder whether some lack of faith or spiritual deficiency on their part prevents God from acting on their behalf. In that case people not only suffer from their physical ailments, but from the feeling that God is ignoring them.

“There’s more to healing than what is visible to our eyes,” said Ferreira. “Total health and healing is much more than eating, drinking, and exercising. We need healing from life—not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally.” And he called on conference participants to regard the EHC as an “open conference,” where they refuse to be satisfied with simple answers and recognize that “suffering may be part of healing.”

The conference will continue through Sabbath, May 4, and the evening plenary sessions will be streamed live on LifestyleTV.se at 7:00 p.m. local time (1:00 p.m. Eastern, 10:00 a.m. Pacific). Further information about the conference is available from amiando.com/European-health-conference.html.

 

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