Michal Belina-Czechowski Square marks hundredth anniversary Europe’s first missionary

Krakow, Poland

Poland’s second-largest city, Krakow, has named a public square after the first Seventh-day Adventist missionary to Europe as part of the hundredth-anniversary celebrations of an Adventist church in the city. Michał Belina-Czechowski, a native of the city, became the patron of a square when it was officially opened by the mayor of Krakow on September 25, 2021.

Many official guests were present at the naming ceremony, including members of parliament, the marshal of the province, the mayor, and city councilors.

During the ceremony, Adventists in Krakow were also awarded the official Badge of Honor—the Małopolska Cross. Adventists also distributed 100,000 copies of the magazine Signs of the Times with plans for an open-air Bible exhibition called “The Bible: The Bestseller of All Time.”

“We are glad that for over a hundred years, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been cultivating Protestant religious and social customs in Krakow. Krakow is an open city, friendly to all residents, and our strength is diversity and openness,” said Mayor Jacek Majchrowski during the ceremony.

“Michał Belina-Czechowski displayed courage. He acted uncompromisingly both as a patriot, the first European missionary of the then-new religious community, as well as a pioneer of abstinence movements,” states Ryszard Jankowski, president of the Polish Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Michał Belina-Czechowski was the first Seventh-day Adventist missionary to head to Europe despite his lack of official approval from the church leadership. Previously, he was involved in patriotic activities; the fate of Europe and Poland was very important to him.

“Due to his actions for the benefit of the country, he was forbidden to enter Poland, which was his greatest dream. The centenary of the Krakow congregation this year became a beautiful opportunity for the symbolic return of Belina-Czechowski to Krakow,” explained Marek Rakowski, executive secretary of the Polish Union.

Located in the territory of the Trans-European Division, Poland is a country with a population of 38 million with approximately 6,000 Adventists. “It is all the more miraculous for us to be given the square in the second largest Polish city the name of Michał Belina-Czechowski, an Adventist,” admits Rakowski.

Adventists are known for their extensive charity work, free stop-smoking programs, food bank, social campaigns opposing domestic violence (enditnow®), and encouragement to local leaders to support education for all children regardless of their gender, origin, or race (Every Child. Everywhere. In School. campaign). [Michal Rakowski, TED News Network]

In Jamaica, Adventist food bank feeds more than 500 families monthly

Citing statistics indicating that approximately 400,000 persons go hungry daily in Jamaica and acknowledging that food is a basic need of humanity, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica continues the fight to alleviate hunger.

“As a church, we must respond to this vast need,” Everett Brown, president of the Jamaica Union Conference (JAMU) of the Adventist Church, said as he launched The Food Bank.

The virtual launch took place at the Seventh-day Adventist Conference Center in Mount Salem, St. James, on September 25, 2021, and was broadcast live on all church platforms across Jamaica.

The Food Bank will seek sources of food and distribute the food through the five conferences (administrative regions) in Jamaica, and in turn, conferences will distribute the food to persons in the church and the wider community, Brown said.

JAMU currently operates several food distribution units across its regions. The flagship operation is the Good Samaritan Inn in Kingston, which serves hot meals to more than 600 people three to four days per week.

“The Food Bank is expected to initially impact more than 500 families every month,” Adrian Cotterell, community services director for JAMU, said.

“Over time, this figure will increase as we receive support from our constituencies and donors locally and internationally.” [Nigel Coke, Inter-American Division News]

Ministering to 49 churches—one pastor

Kamuli district, Uganda

Pastor Kudhongania Stephen takes care of 49 congregations scattered in an area of approximately 208 square miles (541 square kilometers). Through seminars, preaching, and community evangelism, he has empowered his church elders and acknowledges that, without their dedication, very little could be achieved. Stephen has perfected the art of teamwork, saying that he draws his energy from Ephesians 4:11, 12 and involves his 1,611 members in every church activity.

The COVID-19 pandemic led Stephen to change his ministry strategy. He embraced mobile phone communication to stay in touch with his elders. Since then, he has never failed to receive both statistical and financial reports. Despite the pandemic, the Kamuli district has established four primary schools, over 5,000 children are attending Sabbath Schools, and the district is on a steady path of growth. [Kamiza John Byaki, Ministerial Association secretary, Uganda Union Mission]

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