AZORES: Paulsen Assured on ReligiousFreedom During Portugal Visit
Assuring a commitment to religious freedom, Carlos César, the president of the Provincial Government of Azores, affirmed his support for equality of all faiths in a meeting with Seventh-day Adventist Church president Jan Paulsen June 28.
Though the Adventist Church is not large in these mostly Catholic, Portuguese islands, César said the church is “highly respected” by the community, Paulsen said.
WELCOME TO THE AZORES: Adventist world
church president Jan Paulsen, left, is greeted
by Carlos César, president of the Provincial
Government of Azores, on June 27, 2007.
Despite the small church member-ship of 142 people in the islands off the coast of Portugal, Paulsen thanked members in the Azores for their commitment to their church.
“There aren’t many people living in the Azores—this is where you are and where God wants you to be His witness,” Paulsen said to a gathering of 55 people. Two days later he addressed a crowd of 3,500 in a rural area of Portugal near the capital, Lisbon, joined by Ulrich Frikart, president of the church’s Euro-Africa region.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are 50 people or 5,000, because each of us is only one,” Paulsen said. “We are single individuals who are under obligation to be alive for God and for our community.”
He added, “It is wonderful when you can recognize that even if it’s just you and one or two other people standing next to you that you are loved by God, and that God says to you, ‘Do your best to share this with people you meet.’”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is growing in Portugal with 95 churches and about 8,900 members.
—Ansel Oliver, Adventist News Network/AW Staff