Wilson Visits Hungary During Adventist Church’s Centennial There
Thousands of Seventh-day Adventist members and friends in Hungary welcomed Adventist world church President Ted N. C. Wilson on the last stop of his 10-day pastoral visit to Europe in March.
MEETING MEMBERS: Adventist world church president Ted Wilson, left, and his wife, Nancy, center right, chat with local church members in Hungary after a centenary celebration of the church's formal organization in the country.Wilson’s visit came during a week in which Adventists celebrated the centenary of the church’s former Duna Union, later renamed the Hungarian Union Conference.
Adventism first came to Hungary in the 1860s, when M. B. Czechowski, a Roman Catholic priest from Poland, who became an Adventist, expanded his Sabbathkeeping group from Switzerland to Hungary and other parts of Europe.
The March 17 anniversary celebration also marked the launch of The Great Hope Project in Hungary. The world church initiative aims to bring “hope to every home,” by encouraging Adventists to share copies of The Great Hope with their friends and neighbors.
“This is not about what the church can do, but [about] what the church members can do to bring ‘hope to every home’ in Hungary,” said Tamás Ocsai, president of the church’s Hungarian Union Conference.
The Great Hope is a modern adaptation of church cofounder Ellen G. White’s book, The Great Controversy, which highlights people faithful to God throughout history, including the Waldensians and other small groups who preserved an authentic form of Christianity during the Middle Ages.
CIVIC MEETING: Adventist Church representatives meet with Hungarian government officials to discuss the country's protection of the rights of minority faiths. Left center: György Hõlvényi, Hungary's minister of state for religion, flanked by two associates. Right, from back: Tamás Ocsai, president of the church's Hungarian Union Conference; Adventist world church resident Ted N. C. Wilson; and Bertil Wiklander, president of the church's Trans-European Division.“The Seventh-day Adventist Church is God’s last remnant church,” Wilson said. “God is preparing His people for something very unusual, and we are to share with people the love of Jesus in a pleasant way. May you leave this place full of hope for the future.”
In the afternoon Wilson and a delegation of top Adventist officials from Hungary and the church’sTrans-European Division met with György Hölvényi, the country’s minister of state for religion, national minority and civil society affairs.
Wilson outlined the scope of the 17 million-member global Protestant denomination, and thanked Hungarian officials for their work to promote religious freedom in the country.
The meeting came a year after Hungarian lawmakers voted to restore the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s official status in the country. The move followed months of uncertainty after the controversial “Law on Churches,” passed in 2011, deregistered some 300 minority faith groups, including the Adventist Church. Churches were invited to reapply for official status under more stringent parameters. The government said the law was part of a wider effort to prevent sham religious groups from claiming the rights and privileges extended to legitimate churches.
During the meeting Hölvényi took the opportunity to reiterate Hungary’s commitment to protecting the rights of minority faiths. “The intention of the government is not to exclude any group from religious activities in the country,” Hölvényi said, later stressing the key role of the International Religious Liberty Association in protecting freedom of belief worldwide.
—reported by Jóhann E. Jóhannsson, tedNEWS with Adventist News Network