Adventist Church Secretaries Fund, Help Build New Church
In Nova Mutum Paraná, a two-year-old village, Seventh-day Adventists have worship center
As a major hydroelectric project is changing the physical landscape of the northwestern Brazilian state of Rondônia, a just-inaugurated Seventh-day Adventist Church in the two-year-old village of Nova Mutum Paraná promises to change the spiritual topology for the 1,600 residents there.
The new church, inaugurated with a special worship service on February 24, 2013, will serve a city created by the construction of the Jirau Hydroelectric Plant (or UHE Jirau), which will dam the Madeira River in Rondônia state. The plant’s 50 generating units are expected to deliver 3,750 megawatts of electrical power for the region and other parts of Brazil via a national electrical distribution network.
Displacements caused by the construction meant the establishment of Nova Mutum Paraná, some 75 miles (120 kilometers) from, Porto Velho, the Rondônia state capital. Some 1,600 people lived in the town when it was dedicated in January 2011, according to media reports. The new city is designed to accommodate as many as 6,000 residents.
Before the inauguration of this new church, local Adventists had to travel to the next district and could attend only Sabbath services. Now it is possible for them to participate in weekday church services as well, since they no longer need to travel long distances to reach a congregation.
Funds raised by church secretaries in the South American Division paid for the new building, which was constructed with the help of other volunteers in the West Amazon Conference (WAC), which is composed of areas in the states of Rondônia and Acre. Regional Adventist Church officials said this is the first congregation planted as a direct result of secretaries’ volunteer spirit.
Fitting in with the town’s planned architecture, the new church building carries the Adventist Church logo on its facade, attracting villagers’ attention. The church can seat 100 people, but the auditorium reached its capacity when 150 visitors came for the inaugural meeting. Many villagers who are not Seventh-day Adventists attended.
The inauguration service included Magdiel E. Pérez Schulz, South American Division executive secretary; Sergio Alan, Northwest Brazil Union executive secretary; Moisés Batista, WAC president; secretaries of other regional Adventist conferences, Marcelo Miranda and Fernando Rios; and Abdoval Cavalcanti, WAC executive secretary.
“It is with great pleasure that we inaugurate this church built with the resources of every secretary in the field of the West Amazon Conference. Undoubtedly, this initiative will encourage other conferences to do the same,” Batista said.
Pérez Schulz explained that secretaries committed themselves to donating an average of $50 each so that the church could be built. The total amount spent in raising the building was about $30,000.
“It is interesting that so far 15 baptism ceremonies have been held at the church, especially after an evangelistic series they held,” Pérez Schulz said. Five people were baptized at the inaugural service.
He also highlighted the fact that “even though the work secretaries do is more administrative or bureaucratic, actions such as this one show the commitment of these volunteers to the gospel mission.”
Sheila do Nascimento, secretary of the Santa Ines district, in Acre state, said the project was inspiring: “All the encouragement work we did to raise funds for the building of the church was really worth it. We could raise much more than we expected and it was an answer from hearts that promote opportunities for other people to know the blessed hope we Adventists have.”
Church planting is an important emphasis in the division, which encourages members to systematically plant new congregations. The division’s goal is to have 9,000 new churches by the end of 2015. The desire is not merely to create a church, but also to make it consistent with strong leadership, administrative autonomy, and a missions emphasis.
In 2011 Seventh-day Adventists started 1,658 new congregations in South America and, in 2012, 1,302 new congregations. It is estimated that every six hours and 43 minutes a new church is born.
—with reporting by Jeane Barboza and Felipe Lemos, South American Division