From News Release, November 17, 2015: Sabbath morning (November 14) leaders of the Adventist denomination in Europe stood in a minute of silence and solidarity with the people of Paris and France following the terrorist attack the evening before. The worship was part of a meeting in Bečići, Montenegro, focused on Christ’s mission across Europe.
Pastor Mario Brito, president of the denomination’s Inter-European Division, which includes France, was called to the podium for an emotional recognition of what the people of France and all Europe, face. He stated that the Adventist churches in Paris were all closed due to the state of emergency and shared a conversation he had earlier with Pastor Ruben de Abreu, president of the Franco-Belgian Union Conference. The Adventist church in Paris has made its facilities available to the authorities and have offered to help in any way possible. “Today we are all French,” he said, expressing his “deep consternation” and empathy with the people of France.
Pastor Dan Jackson, president of the denomination in North America, was at the meeting to conduct leadership training. He was asked to lead the group in prayer. He prayed for the families affected by the tragedy, the brave police and the authorities in the difficult situations they face.
“As we are nearing the end of human experience, we are seeing through the gates,” he referred to his hope for the soon return of Christ. “While our hearts ache this morning,” Jackson prayed, “may we be instrumental in sharing with men and women, boys and girls, the saving grace of our Lord and Savior.”
Pastor Raafat Kamal, president of the denomination’s Trans-European Division is a former Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) director and lived through the civil war in Lebanon. He referred to those memories and noted that this is not just a problem for Paris, but something that touches every human being.
Pastor Ian Sweeney, president of the denomination in the United Kingdom and Ireland stated, “While in our prophetic understanding we know that evil and bloodshed will blight our world until the Savior’s return, it is nevertheless our duty to represent and share Christ’s love to those who are grieving and suffering through our prayers, comfort and acts of practical kindness. Our response to acts of hatred must be acts of Christ’s love.”
Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the denomination’s General Conference, released a statement. “Our hearts go out to the people and families suffering in the tragedy unfolding in Paris,” he said. “Please pray for a return to safety and peace.” He concluded, “May dire situations like this awaken all to the need for God and His love to be supreme in our lives as we see prophetic events taking place which herald the Lord’s soon return.”
[November 18, 2015]