April 6, 2023

Adventist Youth Across Europe Stress That ‘Love Is a Verb’

Teams participate in dozens of outreach initiatives to show loving care for others.

Vanesa Pizzuto, Trans-European Division News, and Adventist Review
Adventist young people engaged in 56 outreach initiatives across the Trans-European church region on the 2023 edition of Global Youth Day on March 18. [Photo: Trans-European Division News]

Seventh-day Adventist young people around the world celebrated the annual Global Youth Day (GYD) on Saturday (Sabbath), March 18. In the Trans-European Division (TED) church region alone, 56 projects ran simultaneously. The range of initiatives went from distributing fruit and free hugs in the Netherlands to celebrating Mother’s Day in England. GYD invited people to sit and rest in a comfortable “Sabbath Sofa” conveniently placed in the streets of Serbia or join in song with a choir in Poland, among many other initiatives.

While diverse, all the initiatives across Europe, and indeed across the world, shared the same goal: sharing the love of Jesus with the community. Broadcasting live from the South-England Conference (SEC) studio, TED youth director Dejan Stojkovic told viewers, “I hope you feel the energy of our young people serving and being the hands and feet of Jesus wherever they are.”

Since 2013the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s GYD initiative has touched millions of lives around the world for Jesus, and 2023 was no exception, regional church leaders said. Some of the 2023 initiatives across the TED are mentioned below.

Youth Reaching the Community

In Serbia’s capital Belgrade, Adventist young people placed the Sabbath Sofa, which symbolizes the need for physical, spiritual, and emotional rest, on the side of a street. As it happened, it was placed in just the right position for a bride and groom to have their photograph taken, Adventist youth ministries leaders reported. At the end of a day full of activities, young people gathered at Hub Youth Church for an inspirational message by Igor Mitrović, director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Serbia.

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In Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is part of the Irish Mission, Adventist young people and their leaders Philani Dube and Kevin O’Brien took a step closer to the community along Lisburn Road, Belfast. They offered soup and hot drinks to a busy community of students and health-care workers who live in the area. A couple of hours south, in the Dublin suburb of Ranelagh, Adventist young people celebrated the activities of the day with a cake, but not before distributing beautiful yellow daffodils on the streets and in the nearby park.

Adventist young people in Arnhem, Netherlands, shared a “cup of kindness,” as they chose to distribute apples to the local community. Also in the Netherlands, the Rotterdam North Adventist youth group distributed care bags full of fruit and non-perishable items. As they did, they walked around singing, “He’s on my side, Jesus — He walks with me!”

In Lewisham, a suburb of London, Adventist young people provided hot drinks to the community outside the front of their church and visited shut-ins and a care home for the elderly. In Lublin, Poland, young people used part of the day for praise and worship activities.

“Our hope and prayer is that Global Youth Day spurs the church on to connect with the community in the name of Christ all year round,” church leaders said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division news site.