April 18, 2017: A boat carrying International Missionary Society Seventh-day Adventist Church Reform Movement Workers was attacked by pirates in Papua New Guinea waters.
Radio New Zealand reported on April 3 that the group was en route to Ferguson Island off of PNG’s south-east coast when the attack occured the week prior.
The group of 13 consisted of missionaries and at least one child. Two of the Sabbatarian church’s pastors were also on the boat.
The captain and others in the boat jumped into the water to escape the pirates.
The pirates stole the boat’s engine and most of the group’s possessions and then left the group to drift in its vessel.
The group managed to call for rescue with a mobile phone that had been left in their possession.
Piracy is an ongoing threat in the waters surrounding the Papua New Guinea islands.
A group of scientists and their crew are believed to have been attacked by pirates in the region in 2011. Their vessel was recovered but the group was never found.
The International Missionary Society Seventh-day Adventist Church Reform Movement is a Sabbatarian adventist movement.
It originally formed after a split with the larger Seventh-day Adventist denomination in 1925.
Its first members were disfellowshipped Seventh-day Adventists. The original members had been ousted from the Seventh-day Adventist denomination for refusing to support the stance of the church’s leadership in relation to World War I.
The official Seventh-day Adventist stance taken in Germany and several other European countries had been to commit Adventists to active combat, weapon in hand. Adventist leaders also had sanctioned their members taking part in armed conflict on the Saturday Sabbath.
Members that refused the official Adventist line by opposing war and work on the Sabbath were disfellowshipped.
The International Missionary Society Seventh-day Adventist Church Reform Movement was officially formed by these ousted members in 1925.