New Lithuanian Mission Field Leaders Elected
27 July 2003, Riga, LATVIA. Baltic Union Executive Committee nominated and elected new Lithuanian Mission Field leadership for the next 2.5 years. New Lithuanian Mission Field president is Bertold Hibner, secretary Gedrius Rimsa, and treasurer Vilma Vanagiene.
In the dedication prayer Executive Committee committed newly elected church leadership to the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit.
Bertold Hibner is a pastor since 1992, evangelist, he has conducted several Bible seminars in Mariampole, Kaunas, and Birzai where he baptized 15 people and planted new church (there was no Adventist church before), and has been Lithuanian Mission Field secretary since 1994. He has earned Master degree in (Systematic) theology at Newbold College in 2002.
Gedrius Rimsa is a pastor of Taurage Adventist church, he has been Youth leader, and he is also graduate of Newbold College.
Vilma Vanagiene was re-elected, she has good experience in church book-keeping system.
Peter Roennfeldt, Ministerial Association secretary and Global Mission co-ordinator for the Adventist Church in the Trans–European Division (TED) — who was present for the election of the new leaders — said, “The committee affirmed the outgoing president, Pastor Danielius Ozhelis, expressing gratitude for his faithfulness during extremely difficult years. His diligence and encouragement has contributed to the growth of the church and the development of new Adventist church leadership in that country.”
Danielius Ozhelis, former Lithuanian Mission field president, for the first time was elected in 1994. At that time in Lithuania were two congregations in Kaunas and Shiauliai comprising 48 church members scattered across all country, and no leader.
In the winter of 1992 evangelist Janis Geide came from Latvia and conducted first evangelistic meeting. Soon he was followed by many other evangelists, and in the summer of 1992 more than 800 people were participating in Bible seminar, with 165 people taking baptism. In the autumn another 86 people were baptised. This was the beginning of many successful evangelistic meetings in Lithuania. New congregations were established in Vilnius, Klaipeda, Panevezhis, Mazheikiai, Taurage. Results were even far better than were expected — in total 11 new congregations were established.
Church had difficult times as all members were new and had no Christian background, church needed new pastors, elders and deacons, worship places and Bibles in Lithuanian. In 1992 Lithuanian Bible Society was established and started its work on the new Bible translation from the original languages, and in 1999 work was finished and Lithuanians got good Bible translation, which helped in the work of evangelism.
Church has established its publishing house “Amzinoji uola” (Eternal Rock) and published such books as “Steps to Christ”, “Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings”, “The Desire of Ages” (two editions), “Christ Our Saviour”, “The Great Controversy”, “Patriarchs and Prophets”, “Death and Resurrection”, “New World Order”, “Who and When Changed Sabbath to Sunday”, “New Start”, many books for children, booklets, and new church hymnal.
Baltic Union Conference together with Newbold College started off-campus pastor education programme, which provided education for pastors. Several pastors got possibility to study at Newbold College. Currently Lithuanian Mission Field has fifteen pastors (currently one is studying in Newbold) and eleven Bible workers. Two pastors have graduated Newbold College, and six pastors are ordained ministers. All pastors are improving their theological education. Also, there are special seminars for all ministry levels. Adventist church in Lithuania has 13 registered congregations and 13 Bible study groups. Church membership is about 900 people.
“I believe there is a good possibility for the Adventist church to grow in Lithuania. The workers of the Adventist Church in Lithuania understand challenges of the time we live in and it is my prayer that by God’s grace an Adventist minister in Lithuania could bring the Good News in a humble and meaningful way to Lithuanians, 77% of whom see themselves as Christians. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit I look forward to work closely with all my colleagues assisting them in fulfilling my role as a equipper and supporter of church members so that all church members could fulfil God’s commission: To reveal God’s grace in Jesus Christ to our beloved people in my home country,” said newly elected Lithuanian Mission Field president Bertold Hibner.
Bertold Vinston Hibner, president of the Lithuanian Mission Field
Phone: +370 3779-8619
Gedrius Rimsa, secretary of the Lithuanian Mission Field
Phone: +370 3779-8619
Vilma Vanagiene, treasurer of the Lithuanian Mission Field
Phone: +370 3779-8619
Baltic Union Conference Communication Director