From Norway to Greece, goal is to connect Adventist Church with communities
BY VICTOR HULBERT, tedNews
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 center of influence in Dublin, Ireland; repurposing an old church in central Oslo, Norway for mission; and building a Hope Channel media center in Poland. The final project is to further develop Children’s ministry outreach programs that are already having surprising success across the Trans-European Division.
Nenad Jepuranovic, division treasurer, said 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 current building regulations, and to provide space for community based programs.
Center of Influence, Dublin, Ireland
A new church facility in Dublin will significantly add to the success of their continuing Mission to the City program. 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.
An influx of ‘new Irish’ from Eastern Europe and Africa not only filled their current church—an answer to members’ prayers—but also 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 program combining health and finance seminars alongside more traditional outreach programs. The local church was refurbished with the front section turned into a lifestyle center. Now with more than 500 members across the city there is a need for a second facility that can also become a center of influence.
Church Renovation, Oslo, Norway
There’s a similar situation in Oslo, where an old multi-function church facility in the city center will be used as a center of influence for the changing population of Norway’s capital. The Betel church is comprised of young adults who are keen to make a difference, but need improved facilities in which to conduct their programs.
Hope Channel Studio – Poland
The final building program, 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 are leading increasingly secular lives. Currently the TV facilities are housed in a cramped radio studio which, during the communist era, produced programs 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 programs that come from church sources. A new, purpose built studio will be more efficient and allow for the production of significantly more Polish-language material.
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 programs including “KIDS in discipleship,” “Messy Church,” and improved Vacation Bible Schools.
Programs such as “Messy Church” – fun, craft-based activities alongside music, a short talk and a meal, are proving very successful in parts of the division 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 program breaks down prejudices, establishes strong friendships, and leads to further opportunities for witness.