A group is formed, another closes its doors

That’s also part of the life and history of a Federation! It’s about departures and arrivals, new sparks of Church life and books being closed filled with shared memories.

The group we’re saying “goodbye” to today is 7-tov from Nivelles. The history of the Nivelles church dates back to 1924, just over 100 years ago, with the first settlements in the area. The church was officially organized in 1930 under the leadership of Charles Gerbert.  The longest-serving pastor in Nivelles was Léon Liénard in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, with a further two years from 1994 to 1995. Another prominent figure was Remy Durieux, whose monumental pulpit was a symbol of a church that was solid but sometimes lacking some versatility.

In 2011, under the impetus of Jean Vandenberg and Luc Delameillieure, this need for renewal took shape with the creation of the ‘7-tov’ project. The emphasis is on openness, dynamism, conviviality, participation and worship. And it’s good to be back in a caring, vibrant church life. Sabbaths and activities follow one another… Ten years later, even if the project remains valid, it’s the lack of human resources that has posed a problem and brought the group to ask for its dissolution.

After a century of existence, we’ll miss the Nivelles church, but we hope that one day it will rise from its ashes.

 

In January 2023, the foundation was set for another project: the establishment of a new Portuguese-language church in the Brussels region. One year on, the results are more than encouraging.  Let’s take a look at the stages in its evolution.

Addressing our contemporaries living in a predominantly secular society is not something you can improvise. That’s why some of our pastors have taken the training provided by the “Global Mission Center for secular and post-christian mission” to understand how to reach out to these people, but also, and above all, to understand what not to do!

Following this training, Ricardo and Michelle Pereira and a dozen other Portuguese-speaking members prayed, reflected, exchanged ideas and worked on the Nosso Refugio (Our Refuge) project. The aim is to focus primarily on the needs and expectations of visitors. The church is therefore not turned inwards, but outwards, towards all those people who need to meet their Creator, feel the warmth of fraternal love, break their solitude and be accepted into a caring family. In turn, these people discover and use their talents by committing themselves for the good of all.

In the morning, the group gathers for a time of Bible study and a worship service, but with a special focus on mission. In the late afternoon, members and visitors are welcomed for an hour-and-a-quarter program including a time of worship, a moment of prayer and a biblical message.  Each visitor receives special, tailored attention. The vocabulary chosen is miles away from Canaan dialect, the music is dynamic, the dress code makes visitors feel comfortable.

After more than 70 programs, average attendance is between 40 and 50 people per Sabbath, half of whom are not, or no longer, Adventists or Christians. For those who wish to study a passage or theme in greater depth, an evening Bible study is organized during the week. The same goes for those who wish to share a moment of prayer.

In the coming months and years, our aim is to carry out the same experiment in other languages, starting with English.

May God bless all these people who are finally discovering that He is the True Refuge.

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