Riga, Latvia. Members of the Baltic Union Conference Executive Committee and department leaders met together in Winter Meeting. In meeting participated the Trans–European Division Field secretary and Adventist Mission director Raafat Kamal.
Members of the Executive Committee listened to reports of the BAUC administration and department leaders.
In the introduction of his report BAUC president Valdis Zilgalvis expressed his thanks to the TED leadership and Newbold College for the Relay programme, close co-operation and continuous help and attention. He reported that in Lithuania recently four pastors were ordained for ministry and this year were baptised and added to church 122 new members in Baltics. Pastors and church members have used variety of approaches and creative ways to witness about their faith.
Lithuanian Field president Bertold Hibner reported that Adventist Church in Lithuania has got status of recognition from the state. In co-operation with the local government representatives Adventist Church opened centre for teens and young people in Vabalinkas.
Estonian Conference president Tõnu Jugar presented Jōhvi church project. According to him, Estonian church members have collected 80% of the building cost and they are looking for help from outside to cover all building expenses. Also, Estonian Conference has developed good communication and media ministry. All major church events are recorded and shortly after published online.
BAUC youth leader Giedrius Rimša gave his report and plans about youth ministry and how to activate it in the future. There will be Pathfinder camporee from July 27 to August 3 in Finland.
Latvian Conference president Viesturs Reķis reported about good work with Pathfinders in Latvia — 20 teenagers were baptised and another 80 expressed their will to continue their Bible studies. Latvia is the first who organised training seminars for children Sabbath School teachers in TED. They finished 1st level and started 2nd level.
Family ministry department informed about seminars and meetings devoted to family and marriage strengthening. In relation to that V. Zilgalvis informed about the General Conference campaign enditnow to end violence against women.* Special events and collection of signatures will be organised in Adventist churches from January 15 to March 15, 2010. These signatures will be presented to the United Nations to raise additional awareness about the issue and advocate for the creation of effective new policies that protect women and girls.
The next General Conference session will be held June 23–July 4 in Atlanta, USA. Executive Committee voted for the BAUC delegates who will attend General Conference session.
Several other decisions:
- Executive Committee elected Gintaras Nekis as an associated secretary of the Lithuanian Field.
- 30 mission projects were accepted for the year 2010.
- BAUC budget and calendar of events for 2010 were accepted.
- BAUC co-operates with the TED in new pastor education programme. Members of the Executive Committee accepted TED proposal that all pastors in BAUC should have MA level of education. All church members are invited to pray for the Newbold College—that it would serve education needs of our pastors.
- Draft of the BAUC Strategic Plan is accepted and will be further developed and proposed for acceptance in the BAUC Winter Meeting 2010. Strategic plan is closely linked with the Strategic Plan of the General Conference and the Trans–European Division of Seventh-day Adventist Church. Local conferences are also invited to develop their plans on the basis of principles of the BAUC Strategic Plan.
In conclusion BAUC president Valdis Zilgalvis expressed his gratitude to all department leaders and all members of the Executive Committee.
* According to the latest statistics, “It is estimated that at least one of every three women globally will be beaten, raped, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. More than 50% of women in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Tanzania reported having experienced physical or sexual abuse by an intimate partner. 30% of women in the United Kingdom have experienced physical abuse. 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.” (www.enditnow.org) Seventh-day Adventists affirm the dignity and worth of each human being and decry all forms of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Domestic violence has been documented as a major issue within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Incidences of abuse follow trends documented in non-Adventist populations. This is why enditnow seeks to increase personal awareness, responsibility, and involvement to effectively help end violence against women and girls in every family and community. enditnow supports the existing programs currently being implemented around the world through ADRA and the Department of Women’s Ministries to end violence against women. The initial phase of enditnow aims to collect 1 million signatures from people across the world who want to see an end to violence against women and girls.