Dear friends and members of EASTRS,
As you know, following the impossibility to have a regular General Assembly during the last ETTC (2020, on Zoom) due to the COVID pandemic, I remained in charge of the EASTRS presidency despite the fact that my mandate ended in 2020. This, with the agreement of the board members, allowed the whole board to accompany certain issues such as the succession to the leadership of Spes Christiana and the organisation of the next ETTC in Hungary (March 2023).
It is with emotion and sadness, but also with joy for the future, that I announce my departure from the Campus Adventiste du Salève (France). After 13 years of happy and fulfilling work at the Adventist Faculty of Theology, I will be joining the Protestant Faculty of Theology in Strasbourg as of September 1st.
The time has thus come to ask the President-Elect, Tihomir Lazić, to assume the presidential prerogatives of EASTRS and to prepare the next General Assembly where a new President-elect shall be elected and other vacancies in the Executive Committee shall be filled. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the whole EASTRS team, Tom de Bruin, Stefan Hoeschele and Tihomir Lazić, for their serious and very competent work. Without their support and friendship I would have felt quite inadequate.
I also thank Reinder Bruinsma, Kerstin Maiwald and their collaborators for their incredible ability to ensure that Spes Christiana remains a high quality resource. I am also grateful to Laurence Turner and Paul Petersen for lending their expertise to Spes Christiana, thus ensuring its continuity after Reinder and Kerstin’s departure in the next future.
Special thanks to Imre Tokics and his team at the Hungarian Adventist Theological College, supported by Jean-Claude Verrecchia and Laszlo Gallusz, for organising the next ETTC. I will unfortunately be absent due to my new schedule, but I already know that the participants will be able to experience quality moments and even welcome the winners of the first student contest. Thank you for continuing to support our young emerging theologians, encouraging diversity and equity of access to ministry.
I also thank the officers of the Divisions represented (EUD, TED, EAD), the deans of our theological schools, and in particular Marius Munteanu and Daniel Duda for their support and encouragement of EASTRS’s initiatives to establish and develop a European network of Adventist theologians. The recent events of the war in Ukraine remind us of the urgency and importance of nurturing and preserving our international relations in a spirit of brotherhood and mutual welcome. I also have a special thought for those colleagues who, for different reasons and beyond their control, have been forced to prematurely leave the institutions they worked for. I am thinking in particular of Aulikki Nahkola, Gifford Rhamie, Tom de Bruin and Jean-Luc Rolland. This is a personal loss for us, and a significant human, spiritual and theological loss for the Church. I wish them to continue to shine in spite of everything, confident that the Lord will sustain them and continue to bless them.
I wish a very good continuation of work to my dear friends and brothers of the board and to all of you who, by your presence and participation, make this network meaningful.
Thank you for the fraternal affection you have always expressed towards me. I am happy to think that what we have built at the interpersonal level will endure, by the grace of God.
May God continue to abundantly bless your ministry and the fruit of your dedicated and responsible work.