News Briefs for May 17, 2019

News reports from France, Loma Linda University, Germany and Switzerland.

Adventist theologians from across Europe gathered on the campus of the Adventist University of France in Collonges on the Swiss border from April 24-28. More than 50 participants spent four days in lectures, reflections and discussions on the theme of pastoral ministry and church leadership. Dr. Walter Alaña, dean of the Adventist Theological Seminary in Peru, introduced the topic. The group made an afternoon trip to the old city of Geneva, including landmarks related to the Protestant Reformation. They also heard a lecture by Michel Grandjean, renowned specialist on John Calvin, who explored the idea of ministry in the writings of the Geneva reformer. The gathering occurs every two years, each time on a different Adventist campus. The next one will take place in 2021 in Budapest, Hungary.

“A closer look at the Genocide in Rwanda: Lessons learned and forgotten after 25 years,” is the focus of an event that will be held Wednesday, 22 May at 6:30 pm on the campus of Loma Linda University (LLU). It will be cosponsored by the university and the World Affairs Council. Emmanuel Habimana, filmmaker and survivor of the 1994 genocide during which 800,000 lives were brutally taken in less than 100 days, will share a message of hope and healing. LLU president Dr. Richard Hart will moderate the evening. In addition to Habimana, two other first-person accounts will be shared during the panel discussion: Dr. Aimable Ngendahimana, a faculty member at LLU School of Pharmacy, was a child in Rwanda during the genocide. Carl Wilkens, former head of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Rwanda, was the only American to remain after the genocide began.

Dr. Horst Sebastian, head of the unit for conscientious objection and peace of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in Germany, will be representing Adventists in the newly-established Working Group on Peace and Reconciliation of the German Evangelical Alliance. The group met for the first time on 6 May for its organizational session in Kassel, Germany. The purpose of the group is to encourage and train Christians to get involved in peace-building and conflict resolution in their local communities and beyond through training events and materials. Sebastian stressed that in the increasing global tensions Christians are to be “ambassadors of reconciliation” as the Apostle Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 5:20.

The second World Summit on “Religion, Peace and Security” was held from April 29 to May 1 at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Inter-European regional headquarters of the Adventist church announced that the event was titled “Building Bridges, promoting inclusiveness and counteracting hate speech for the improved protection of religious minorities, refugees and migrants.” The summit was organized by the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty (AIDLR) and the United Nations. It brought together diplomats, politicians, religious leaders, academics and others. About 600 people took part. In 1946, Jean Nussbaum, an Adventist doctor of French nationality and Swiss birth, founded the AIDLR.