Swiss Adventists Unite for Meeting
ore than 2,000 Seventh-day Adventists from the French- and German-speaking areas of Switzerland united May 4, 2013, in the city of Biel/Bienne for a congress celebrating 147 years of Adventism in the Alpine nation.
The “Hope Unites” event was held at the Biel Ice House, which normally hosts games of the local hockey team and other entertainment functions. The city, where both German and French are official languages, is the largest bilingual city in Switzerland.
A special guest was Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which itself is marking 150 years of organization this year.
Wilson did not speak in English, as many of those present had expected, but rather preached in French. Using the example of the prophet Elijah, who stood for spiritual renewal against the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, Wilson called on Adventists to similarly stand for renewal of their faith.
HOPE UNITES: View of Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, from the nearby hills of Magglingen (Macolin). More than 2,000 Seventh-day Adventists from French- and German-speaking congregations across Switzerland met May 4 to celebrate 147 years of Adventism in the Alpine nation and to hear from General Conference president Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson. [Jean-Daniel Echenard via Flickr]
"Switzerland has historically been a center of Reformation, and it will get its role back," Wilson told the congregation, "Today is the time to be faithful to God and to His message. It is time for Revival and Reformation again. God will remain faithful to His promises and Jesus is coming back soon!"
Among questions discussed in an afternoon session with members, one was on an increase in secularization. Wilson said this is to be met with a return to the Word of God.
Wilson said that the church’s position as having been given a special task is not a signal for arrogance, but rather for humility. "Adventists should be best friends with all people," he said, "but should not mix with ecumenical movements that would prevent them from fulfilling their mission.”
Noting the rise of the church in various parts of the world, a questioner asked Wilson if there was a risk national churches might become independent from the General Conference. Wilson answered that of course the church will grow rapidly in such countries such as China and India, but that a “national” Adventist Indian or Chinese Church would not exist.
The first Seventh-day Adventist congregation was established in 1867 in Tramelan. In 1901, the Swiss church was organized according to language groups: the "Swiss German Conference", with its headquarters in Zurich, and the "Fédération de la Suisse Romande et du Tessin", based in Renens, Vaud. Both administrative regions form the nationwide Swiss Union. As of December 2012, there were 4,394 adult baptized Seventh-day Adventists in Switzerland, worshipping weekly in 49 congregations.
-- Reported by Inter-European Division, with
Adventist World staff