Appointment Highlights European Adventists’ Commitment to Mental Health

One psychiatrist will replace another as division Health Ministries director.

Victor Hulbert, Trans-European Division, and Adventist Review
Appointment Highlights European Adventists’ Commitment to Mental Health

Helgi Jónsson, a Seventh-day Adventist medical doctor and psychiatrist, was elected as the new Health Ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European (TED) region. His election took place during the TED regional year-end meetings held in Bečići, Montenegro, on November 22, 2018. Jónsson, who is from Iceland, currently works as a consulting psychiatrist and has also served in the Danish health system.

An active member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jónsson is an elder of the Hafnarfjörður Seventh-day Adventist Church, a Sabbath School teacher, and has previously served as a member of the division’s Executive Committee.

“I’m humbled by the calling to work for the TED,” said Jónsson. “I don’t approach the task as a man that knows all the answers, but first and foremost want to get to know the people I will be serving and listen to their needs and thoughts on various matters.”

Jónsson said that he hopes that his experience as a psychiatrist may contribute to the task ahead. “I aspire to be a cogwheel in a community that can become stronger together in the love of Jesus, so His love may be shown through us all to our fellow Europeans,” he said.
Jónsson replaces Torben Bergland, who earlier this year was called to serve as associate Adventist Health Ministries director for the world church.

Addressing the appointments of Bergland and Jónsson, TED president Raafat Kamal recalled the TED Health Ministries think tank that met in 2015 and raised the need for an emphasis on mental health and the health and well-being of pastors. Bergland has fulfilled that strategic priority for the TED since his election in November 2015, Kamal said, focusing on mental health issues and tirelessly providing training. Currently, Bergland is developing Mindwell, an online program that teaches mental health awareness. Kamal said he hopes that this trend goes on.

“In voting this highly qualified and committed individual [Jónsson], there is a decided focus that the good initiatives started by Bergland can continue,” Kamal said.

During the November 22 business session of TED’s Executive Committee, Paul Lockham was elected as the new Stewardship Ministries director for the division. Lockham, who has worked in pastoral ministry and church administration in the UK, will replace David Neal, who was recently appointed as editor of the Adventist Church’s Stanborough Press in Grantham, England.

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

Victor Hulbert, Trans-European Division, and Adventist Review