European Adventist theologians gather in Collonges, France

European Adventist theologians gather in Collonges, France

2 May 2018 | Collonges, France [Gabriel Monet]   
Who are the faithful men and women teaching our pastors the skills needed for 21st century ministry in Europe? If you visited the campus of the Adventist University of France, Collonges on the French, Swiss border, 24 – 28 April, you would have met fifty of them, representing the various theology training centres across the continent.

Over the four days they spent time in lectures, reflections and exchanges on the theme of pastoral ministry and ecclesial leadership. Such conferences are important as theologians address the issue of ministry from a variety of angles.

To introduce the subject, Walter Alaña, Dean of the Adventist Theological Seminary in Peru, present in the context of a new agreement between Collonges and Lima, addressed “the theology of pastoral ministry from an Adventist perspective”. That theme was then developed by other speakers. Miguel Guttierrez (Villa Aurora, Italy) discussed the “prophet as a model of spiritual leader”; Oldřich Svoboda (Sazava, Czech Republic) explored the New Testament vocabulary of ecclesial leadership; Ivan Milanov (Newbold, England) compared “prophetic and cultic leadership”; while Nestor Petruk (Sagunto, Spain), addressed a missiological dimension.

Richard Lehmann (Collonges, France) approached the issue of the ministry from the perspective of the shepherd, sharing lessons from his long experience. Then Reinder Bruinsma explored the question of “authority and conscience” in relation to the freedom of the pastor. Alexander Schulze (Friedensau, Germany) considered ministry in relation to the challenge of youth and its integration into the Church; a reflection usefully completed by Bjørn Ottesen (Newbold, England) on the issue of young pastors and the question of authority from participation and influence. Daniel Olariu (Cernica, Romania) focused on the happiness of ministers. Rudy Van Moere (Belgium) addressed the question of the “pastor’s dilemma in a postmodern society”, while Gabriel Monet (Collonges, France) concluded by showing the relevance of an evolution in the conception of the ministry in a changing world.

visit to the un1In addition to these stimulating conferences, an afternoon at the Palais Wilson in Geneva, home of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, provided an opportunity to understand how the working commissions of this important United Nations body function, but above all to be sensitive to the ‘Faith for Rights’ project, which seeks to encourage faith actors to be a driving force for human rights.

collonges afternoon tripOn a second afternoon trip, participants visited the old city of Geneva, including the International Museum of the Reformation, discovering landmarks related to John Calvin and the Protestant Reformation.
afternoon lectureThey also benefited by hearing a lecture by Michel Grandjean, a renowned Calvin specialist, who explored the conception of the ministry in the writings of the Geneva reformer. The excursion concluded with meeting Blaise Menu, the moderator of the Geneva Company of Pastors, who presented the history and current developments of this original organisation.

collonges devotionalSpiritual times marked this theological meeting, with devotionals led by Marius Munteanu and Daniel Duda, the educational leaders of the two European divisions of the Adventist Church; a beautiful holy communion to begin the Sabbath; participation in the Sabbath worship at the Collonges Church and a very musical end to the Sabbath in the Chapel of the Maccabees in Geneva Cathedral, a high place of the Reformation.

collonges lectureGabriel Monet, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of Collonges and coordinator of the conference sees the importance of the gathering: “These moments between Adventist theologians are precious, not only for theological stimulation around an important theme, which remains to be explored, but also for fraternity and fruitful exchanges that provide an incentive to pursue our important teaching ministry for the Church”.

The ETTC (European Theology Teachers Conference) occurs traditionally every two years, each time on a different Campus. The next ETTC will take place in 2021 in Budapest, Hungary.

chapel of maccabees geneva


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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