Adventists across Lithuania and beyond met on Saturday, April 29, to celebrate 90 years of Adventist presence in that European nation. Participants were in a festive mood as opera singer Nomeda Kukulskienė, the Kaunas Church Adult Choir, and a youth choir from the Kaunas, Kėdainiai, and Šiauliai churches, performed.
“First, we must give glory to our Lord Jesus for His wonderful love and faithfulness,” said Bertold Hibner, president of the Lithuanian Conference church region. “God has protected the Adventist Church in Lithuania through many difficult times such as World War II and the Soviet Union occupation, and helped to re-establish it.”
Hibner added that it was a day “to remember the church’s pioneers, express gratefulness to all our brothers and sisters, and remain faithful to the Lord’s commission to preach.”
On behalf of the Trans-European Division, one of the two major church regions in Europe, which encompasses Lithuania and 21 other European countries, education director Daniel Duda emphasized the need to bring our knowledge and praxis together. He noted that in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), some passers-by were more concerned about their own well-being than about the beaten and robbed man. “We are called to be a blessing to someone else,” he said.
Former president of the Adventist Church in Lithuania, Danielius Oželis, shared the history of the Church in the country and his personal memories, including his work in translating the Bible into Lithuanian.
David Nõmmik, president of the Baltic Union church region, which includes Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, expressed warm greetings and good wishes. “Be agents of salvation,” he said. “We are called to serve and to carry the good news to the world, and our task is to show forth God’s glory.”
“May the salvation of God be known in the cities and towns of Lithuania.”
In his message, Nõmmik quoted Ellen White, a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who wrote that “through the church will eventually be made manifest…the final and full display of the love of God.” Then he asked, “Can you imagine that your church could be a place where God can reveal His power and transform people’s hearts?”
Representatives from the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, and Methodist churches and the Lithuanian Bible Society expressed their greetings to the Adventist Church in Lithuania. Monsignor Artūras Jagelavičius, representative of the Catholic Archbishop of Kaunas, thanked the Adventist church for its humanitarian aid work and the Adventist Church’s stand on the protection of the traditional family institution.
With the official ceremony over, participants were invited to learn more about the current activities of the Adventist Church in the country. The Church’s Health and Family departments presented a project in partnership with the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences to educate society about lifestyle choices, the implementation of smoking-cessation programs, and holistic health courses.
Pathfinder leader Robertas Grigas shared how youth activities and summer camps were making a difference in the country. Arūnas Čerkesas, editor of the Christian newspaperSource of Hope, talked about the history of the newspaper and how it is helping to change people’s lives.
In his closing prayer, Hibner thanked God for His mercy, and members and supporters for their contributions to the life and ministry of the Adventist Church in Lithuania, as they recommitted to share God’s good news across the country.
Nõmmik seconded. “May the salvation of God be known in the cities and towns of Lithuania,” he said.