27 February 2020 | Swansea, UK [Emanuel Bran / tedNEWS]
The Welsh Mission of Seventh-day Adventists has decided to adopt the intergenerational Church of Refuge (iCOR) principles and values. According to Welsh Mission President Emanuel Bran, “iCOR complements our local vision amidst the global effort to make and retain disciples.”
In January, representatives from across Wales gathered in Swansea to be trained and discuss strategies for local congregations, in order to be recognised as Churches of Refuge.
Welsh Mission Vision Statement
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wales and the border counties places people first, because of the revelation of God we see in Jesus Christ. As a diverse and united community, we pledge to unconditionally accept people, respecting their diversity, encouraging them to grow in communion with God and with each other, through inspiring, peace, joy, hope, and sacrifice.
According to Ron Whitehead, Executive Director of the Centre for Youth Evangelism at Andrews University, USA, churches of refuge are “inclusive, accepting, community-oriented, strategically placed, safe, spiritual environments for young adults. They are faith communities that accept people for who they are, where they are. That is, friendship and acceptance are not given or withheld due to personal history, appearance, current belief system or other factors. Also, members know they will not be disrespected or excluded because of mistakes, questions or doubts.”
As iCOR is introduced and implemented across the Welsh Mission, the aim is to experience growth in these values:
CONNECTING CHURCHES strive to form authentic and loving relationships across generational, cultural and social boundaries.
CARING CHURCHES nurture loving and accepting relationships, both within the church community itself and towards others in their sphere of influence. Members of caring churches mingle lovingly in their communities and work for the good of those they serve and support.
CHURCHES THAT ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION value the gifts and skills of their fellow human beings and create room for them to take part in all aspects of church life. In this way, they foster a sense of belonging and identification with the church.
CHURCHES UNDERSTAND WORSHIP as the daily practice of making the gospel reality. They search for creative opportunities to celebrate worship in everyday life and are committed to making the Sabbath a meaningful experience.
CHURCHES THAT TEACH the Word of God communicated in a relevant, creative and practical way.
Mission and ministering always require an attitude of service. SERVING CHURCHES follow the example of Jesus by ministering to the needs of others and seeking to discover new ways to serve.
RECONCILING AND RECONCILED CHURCHES actively foster reconciliation and healing in the name of Jesus, both in the relationship to our heavenly father and to each other.
Churches that care about personally accompanying their children and youth in particular, but also adults in their walk of faith are committed to FOSTERING SPIRITUAL MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS.
Churches that are open for learning provide opportunities for TRAINING FOR THEIR MEMBERS to develop individual gifts and skills and promote services and ministries in the church.
Strategical and purpose-driven CHURCHES LEAD WITH A VISION AND PASSION, integrating the younger generation in the leadership activities of the church.
The two-day training was led by Zlatko Musija, Trans-European Division Youth director, assisted by Paul Tomkins, Scottish Mission president, and Emanuel Bran Welsh Mission president. The presentations were engaging and interactive, covering topics such as the importance of Values, Intergenerational family of God, Holistic discipleship, and iCOR values in practice.
The final session on Sunday was a Roadmap Exercise. Here each group took time to plan and share their vision and proposed strategy before returning to their local church to turn theory into practice.
The original version of this article appears on the Welsh Mission website.