The first Adventist-owned medical center has opened in Romania, marking a key expansion of the church’s health-care system in underrepresented Europe and the fulfillment of a dream by church members who once rented a hall in the facility to worship on Sabbaths.
The 800,000 euro ($1 million) Premed medical center, located in a refurbished building recently acquired by the Adventist Church in Romania, is the first facility in the country’s capital, Bucharest, to offer a broad range of health-care services, including general medicine and family medicine, dentistry, psychological and spiritual counseling, rehabilitation, and preventative medicine such as stop smoking classes and healthy cooking lessons.
Marius Munteanu, president of the church in Romania, likened the medical center’s potential influence on Romania to Jesus’ parable of the tiny mustard seed that grew into a large tree in Matthew 13:31, 32.
“From its earliest days, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has served the needs of the soul as well as the needs of the body,” Munteanu said at the grand opening of the clinic in October. “Globally, we have one of the most substantial health-care networks, and we can give special thanks to God because now it also includes a clinic right here in Bucharest.”
The Adventist Church operates about 700 health-care facilities around the world, but only a few of them are located in Europe.
The new medical center has its roots in a small clinic opened by a team of American doctors in rented rooms in the same building in the early 1990s. The building stood in a neighborhood populated with many Adventist members but without an Adventist church.
In 2009, the Adventist members rented a hall in the building for Sabbath services and began to dream and pray that the Seventh-day Adventist Church could own the building and operated a medical center there, said Adrian Bocaneanu, the initiator of the project and the president of the Adventist church in Romania from 1995 to 2005.
“This is how everything started: with prayers and high hopes, it started taking shape,” Bocaneanu said.
The medical center is desperately needed in Bucharest, especially because of its focus on preventative medicine, said George Pirlitu, president of the church’s Muntenia Conference, which includes Bucharest.
“With this investment, we not only want to bring together professionals from various medical fields, but we especially want to offer the people of Bucharest a medical center focused on prevention and education on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “For many years we have been organizing nutrition classes and health expos. We must continue providing these services on a permanent basis as the demand and urgency keep growing.”
The 800,000 euro price tag for the medical center was covered by the Inter-European Division, the Romanian Union Conference, the Muntenia Conference, the PopaTatu church in Bucharest, and a private donor.
The medical center covers 2,500 square meters (26,910 square feet) and has a medical staff of 15.
Bernd Quoss, manager of the Adventist-operated Waldfriede Hospital in Berlin, applauded the opening of the medical center as an important step for both Romania and the Adventist Church health system in Europe.
“This is significant because, unlike in the United States, in Europe we unfortunately have only a few health-care facilities,” he said.
He promised that his hospital, which has been open for more than 90 years, would assist the new medical center as it gets off the ground.
Inter-European Division, Oct. 29, 2014: “Romania: The First Adventist Medical Center in Bucharest”