June 22, 2011

18 CN: In Arabian Desert an Adventist Church Rises

In Arabian Desert an Adventist
Church Rises

Congregation, administrative office opens in Ras al-Khaimah


For the first time in history the Seventh-day Adventist Church owns a building in the Persian Gulf region. Some called it historic, but George Mathew, the elder of Ras al-Khaimah Seventh-day Adventist Church, called it a miracle. The change involves the reorganization of the Gulf Section into a field and the inauguration of the new Seventh-day Adventist Church Centre in Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

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SPACIOUS INTERIOR: The new church offers seating for up to 1,000 people, Adventist officials said. PHOTOS: Clement Arkangelo/TED

The building has church facilities that will seat approximately 1,000 people, as well as offices, apartments, and guest rooms. This miracle was not only in securing permission and funding for the construction of the church premises, it was also a historic moment for the Middle East Union when on May 20, 2011, under the leadership of Kjell Aune, union president, the Gulf Section was reorganized into a field, and held its ?first session.

On Sabbath, May 21, 2011, before the inauguration of the building, Bertil Wiklander, president of the Trans-European Division, delivered a heartwarming message entitled “Revival and Reformation,” based on Micah 6:6-8, to the audience of delegates of the Gulf Field session, the Middle East Union session, and a number of visitors. Close to 1, 000 people were in attendance. People came from all parts of the Gulf Field and the world. The inauguration, which took place in the afternoon, included representatives from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, including world church treasurer Bob Lemon, two Trans-European Division officers, the Middle East Union representatives, the Gulf Field churches, and the delegates to the Middle East Union session, who came from all over the 14 countries of the Middle East Union.

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NEW CHURCH: A Seventh-day Adventist church has opened in Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

The Gulf Field president, Michael Collins, called the gathering “a foretaste of heaven” as he welcomed the dignitaries, delegates, and guests. Representatives of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, and Supreme Council members also attended the afternoon inauguration. Aune extended a word of appreciation to His Highness for the piece of land graciously granted to the church.

On Sunday, May 22, the Middle East Union session began, ending on ?Monday evening. During the sessions Sudan was reorganized into three fields. The former South Sudan Field territory, as proposed, was renamed into the Greater Equatoria Field, while the Sudan Field remains as the Sudan Field. A new field was created in the northern part of South Sudan with the proposed name of Greater Upper Nile Field, which covers five states and the northern part of Jongolei State. The headquarters will be in Malakal. During the union session there were elections of all field officers, union departmental leaders, and the union executive committee. An unprecedented number of locals were elected to field and union positions, making this session a milestone in the history of the church in the Middle East.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the new Middle East Union executive committee met for its midyear meetings, which also included the board of trustees meetings for Middle East University and Adventist Health Education Foundation.