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History

History

By “Division” we refer to and cover the largest Adventist Church administrative unit next to the General Conference, the supreme administrative body of the Church. As a corporate body, the General Conference includes many "Unions", "Conferences" and "Missions". As the individual geographical divisions of the General Conference they are the "prolonged arms" of the General Conference in their specific part of the world or continent. The “Division” administrator or president is also vice-president of the General Conference. The individual administrative departments of the divisions such as the Treasurer's Department, the Ministry, Home Mission, etc. are organized in accordance with the General Conference model. Today, the Adventist World Church includes 13 divisions.

Already in 1897 H.P. Holser declared at the General Conference Meeting in College View, Nebraska, that the church mission due to its rapid growth "had become too burdensome" for the General Conference. Already at that meeting had the Adventist Mission work been divided in 'sections' (North America, Europe, Australia). 

In 1901 urged by Conradi under the decentralization of the General Conference (Organization) a reorganization of the mission work was planned in Europe. The management structure of the "European Union Conference" proved to be insufficient. The fast-growing churches in Germany became one "Union Conference" with various "Departments" (Conference) and "Missions" together. The German “Union Conference” extended to 13 countries. 

Under a new umbrella-organization for Europe at Friedensau, in July 1901 a European General Conference was initiated at the European Meeting of Delegates. This "organizational experiment" however, ended soon after in 1907.  The decision of the European General Conference lead to a decisive subordination of the work in Europe and put under authority of the American General Conference. 

Nevertheless, the situation of mission work in Europe between1908 and 1913 remained unclear. Since 1908 at the recommendation of Conradi, in response to the European General Conference decision for the formation of new church administrative units, the names of "Divisions" were given. In 1913 a European “D” (European Division) was officially founded. In 1922 the sections were defined as autonomous "Divisions" of the General Conference.

European Division(s) 

After that, a 1901-founded European SDA General Conference (General Conference, Organization) was decided in 1907, originating a new church administrative unit in Europe, referred to as “Department” or “Division”.  In reality, a European “Division”  had already existed since 1908/1909, the official founding came however only in 1913. The European “D” at this time included nine "Unions" with their "Associations" (Conference) and 26 "Missions" (mainly in Eastern and South-East Europe, Siberia, in the Middle East, North, West and East Africa). The expansion the European mission work reached its climax in 1913.  Management of the European “Division” territory from Hamburg encompassed not only a third of the world population, but also the earth's surface. Of the 42 million square kilometres, which was included in the European mission, accounted for over 33 million square kilometres in the mission field. Hereby, the European “Division” rendered a significant contribution to the Adventist World Mission.

L. R. Conradi

1922-1928 (based in Bern-London from 1922).

From 1922 to 1928 the Adventist members in Europe grew from 52,712 to 89,696. In 1922, 30 missionaries were deployed from Europe, and by 1928 their number already rose to 134. That is why in 1928, in Darmstadt, it was finally decided to divide the rapidly growing European missionary work in four “D's” (from 15. 10. 1928, 314f).  It was organized as follows, North, Central and South-European “D” along with the already existing "German-EU Council” the SDA in the Soviet Union (Russia), which, because of political circumstances, had already been managing their own “D”. 

The South-European “Division” stretched out to the Latin and Southern-Slavic countries.  The Middle-European “Division” comprised of Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania and the North-European “D” included Great Britain, Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltic countries. These three “Divisions” were still considered outside the allotted missionary territories. So the Middle-European “Division” administered mission territories in the Middle East (Middle East Mission) Persia, the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt, plus a mission area in Liberia (West Africa Mission) and in the Dutch East Indies (Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Celebes and New Guinea, Dutch East Indies Mission).

The South-European “Division” administered the French-speaking Missions in North and equatorial Africa (North and West Africa Missions) areas in Angola, Mozambique and Madagascar (Indian Ocean Mission). The North-European “D”  administered the English mission areas in West and East Africa and in Pakistan. After the WW II the Middle-European “Division” included only Germany, whereby the German municipalities were isolated from European Missions and World Missions, with negative consequences that are still noticeable today (Germany).

The Euro-Africa “Division” (headquarters in Bern) was formed from the South-European “Division” (headquarters in Bern; since 1970 known as Trans-Mediterranean “Division”) and the Middle-European “Division” (based in Berlin and later in Darmstadt). For example, the nationwide Adventist Church organization in the Soviet Union with headquarter in Moscow was dissolved by the authorities in 1934.  A new “Division” was founded in 1990 under the name Euro-Asia (headquarters in Moscow). 

It covers all the countries of the former Soviet Union except the Baltic countries, which were distributed among the Trans-European “Division” (North-European “Division” until 1985, with headquarters in St. Albans, England).  Strategic considerations to reestablish a unified European “Division” were given (especially after losing the black African mission fields and the general decline of the Euro-Africa “D” influence since the mid 1990s), but so far failed on issues of management, division of responsibilities and cultural diversity of the continent. (* "European Division" SDAE.)

The EUD Territory includes Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Holy See, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland; comprising the Czecho-Slovakian, Franco-Belgian, North German, Romanian, South German, and Swiss Union Conferences; the Austrian, Bulgarian, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish Union of Churches Conferences.

In the EUD Territory there are 2526 Churches and 178,104 members.

 

 

 

 

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