At the general assembly of the "Swiss Union of Seventh-day Adventists", which takes place every five years, 25 delegates from the 57 Swiss church communities elected the Executive Committee and the management board on September 20, in Biel/Bienne. Pastor Olivier Rigaud was elected President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Switzerland, in addition to his current position as President of the Adventist Churches in Western and Southern Switzerland. Pastor Stephan Sigg, who serves as President of the Adventist Churches in German-speaking Switzerland, became Executive Secretary. Jean-Luc Waber was elected Chief Financial Officer, who is also active in this function in the German-Swiss Conference.
Composition of the Executive Board
The statutes of the "Schweizer Union" stipulate that the duties of the members of the Executive Committee, at Union level or at the level of church management, throughout Switzerland should be filled by members of the executive committees of the two regional church managements, the so-called "Conferences". There is also an agreement between the two associations that the office of President and Executive Secretary of the Swiss Union rotates every five years between the respective presidents of the associations. In accordance with this arrangement, Stephan Sigg, the former President of the Swiss Adventists, took over as Executive Secretary and Olivier Rigaud, the former Executive Secretary, was elected President of the Swiss Adventists.
The 4,818 Adventists in Switzerland are organised into two conferences according to language: the "Deutschschweizerische Vereinigung" (DSV), based in Zurich, and the "Fédération de la Suisse Romande et du Tessin" (FSRT), based in Renens/VD. Both administrative regions together form the Swiss Union, the national church leadership. Every five years, a general assembly is organized with delegates from the communes, which elects the executive committee and management and approves reports.
New Executive Board with two women
Two women were also elected to the eight-member board of the Swiss Union of Seventh-day Adventists. The board is composed of the following persons: Olivier Rigaud, President; Stephan Sigg, Executive Secretary; Jean-Luc Waber, Chief Financial Officer; Eric Belloy, (FSRT); Raphaël Grin (FSRT); Karin Sbarzella (FSRT); Evelyn Studer (DSV); Dietmar Butscher (DSV).
Membership of Adventists in Switzerland has grown slightly
According to the Executive Secretary's report, the number of Adventists in Switzerland has grown by 281 in the last five years. However, this is primarily "transfer growth" and has to do with the fact that more Adventists have immigrated from abroad than emigrated. At the end of 2019, there were 4,818 adult baptised members in Switzerland, who worship in 57 congregations on Saturday (Sabbath), the biblical day of rest.
A few hundred children and young people are not included in the number of members, because the Adventist Church does not baptise children, but leaves the decision to join the church to them at an age when they can decide for themselves. Over 21.6 million people belong to the church worldwide.
Institutions and Works of the Adventists in Switzerland
The Adventists in Switzerland run the "Private School A to Z" in Zurich; two youth centres, in St. Stephan/BE and Les Diablerets/VD; three retirement and nursing homes in Epalinges/VD, Krattigen/BE and Oron/VD; as well as two retirement homes ,in Gland/VD and Krattigen/BE; the Advent publishing house, in Krattigen; as well as a mail order centre for French books, in Renens. They also maintain the "International Bible Study Institute" (IBSI) and the Religious Education Institute (RPI), in Zurich, and the "Institut d'Etude de la Bible par Correspondance" (IEBC), in Renens. In Gland/VD is the clinic "La Lignière", specialised in rehabilitation for cardiovascular diseases.
The Swiss Adventist Development and Disaster Relief Agency, ADRA Switzerland, with its office in Aarau, a Swiss Solidarity partner relief organization, is one of the Swiss works. The "Adventist Press Service" APD Switzerland, Basel, directs its services primarily to the secular and church media. The "Swiss League for Life and Health", in Zurich, offers holistic health promotion with its seminars in about 40 local groups: physical, mental, spiritual, and social.
Training for Pastors
Pastors in German-speaking Switzerland are trained primarily in the theological "Seminar Schloss Bogenhofen" in Upper Austria, which is jointly run by the Adventists in German-speaking Switzerland and Austria. Pastors in French-speaking Switzerland are trained mainly at the "Campus Adventiste du Salève" in France.
This article was provided by Adventist Press Service and originally appeared on the Inter-European Division website.
Image courtesy of ADP.
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