14 February 2012 Warsaw, Poland [Andrzej Sici?ski, AAI; tedNEWS] On 24 January 2012 Mr Bronislaw Komorowski, President of Poland, invited to the Presidential Palace representatives from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam for a New-Year meeting.
Christian denominations were represented by members of the Roman Catholic Church, member churches of the Polish Ecumenical Council, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Pentecostal Church. Judaism was represented by members of the Jewish Community, and Islam, by Muslim Religious Union representatives.
In his address, Mr Komorowski described Poland as ‘a very diverse community of people in terms of language and culture, as well as religion. He focused on the idea of the state as an unhomogenised ‘good community’ which ‘is able to embrace, hold, appreciate and bring out everything that is good in diversity’. Such a community is, on the one hand a reminder of the historical Polish Republic (Rzeczypospolita) of many nations, and on the other hand a challenge for the future, because, he concluded ‘we still have the energy to work for a future in which the community is built on respect for diversity.’
The Adventist church was represented by ten delegates including pastor Pawel Lazar, President of the Polish Union Conference (PUC) and pastor Marek Rakowski, Secretary of the PUC. Pastor Rakowski, when asked about his opinion of the meeting, said:
‘Speaking to such a diverse group of representatives from three major religions was not an easy task, but Mr Komorowski put it excellently, particularly when he was talking about the foundation of the values of faith, on which such a community should be based, without placing Christian values above the values of the other religions.
Referring to the wide inter-religious formula of the meeting Rakowski noted: ‘For me the very nature of the meeting was important. While hosting many significant dignitaries of the religious world, it was very neutral and – in the positive meaning of the word - secular. There were no prayers or rituals which could have caused any discomfort to any of the invited guests’ – emphasised Rakowski.
The Adventist delegation presented to Mr Komorowski a gift of the book The Desire of Ages by Ellen G. White and a series of films on the heroes of protestant reformation.
‘We chose that book', stated Rakowski, 'because for us Jesus has the highest value, and it is obvious that if we want to reach prominent people with the gospel, we have to share with them what is most precious to us. The reason we decided to include the films about reformation protagonists, is because it was they who fought for religious freedom and rights to practice and present the gospel. We think that our country and its leaders need to look back at the protestant thread of our history and appreciate its role in shaping and nurturing the values that have their source in God and His revealed Word’.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been present in the Republic of Poland for more than 130 years and today has about 7,000 members. For more information, please click here www.adwent.pl [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
119 St Peter's Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3EY, England
tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.
You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify tedNEWS whenever you publish these materials.