Trans-European Division Acknowledges Mistakes of the Past, Seeks Ways to Move Forward

Following a series of consultations and a time of reflection, the Trans-European Division issued the following apology on Monday, December 16, 2019.

This year marked the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Trans-European Division as one region of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Initially established as the Northern European Division, it has gone through several reconfigurations over the years. Starting as a predominantly Scandinavian and British Isles based unit, it has grown to now encompass countries in central and south-eastern Europe, and over the decades it has also had a specific mission impact in West Africa, Pakistan and the Middle East.

While the heritage of our Division was European, the gift of mission from our early pioneers until the present has led us to grow into a highly multi-cultural and diverse entity, comprised of 22 countries with an even greater multitude of cultures — each rich and to be valued and reflected in our worshipping congregations.

Yet sadly and all too often, a breadth of diversity does not always lead to a richness of unity, or necessarily of understanding.

As we have celebrated the milestone of our 90-year history of mission and outreach even through the difficulties of two World Wars, regional conflicts and persecution in the Communist era, we note other parts of our history, parts for which we express sincere regret. We recognize unconscious bias, ignorance, prejudice, human fears, resentments, and suspicions have affected the Church, most specifically within the British Union Conference.

Commenting on such issues, Ellen White was clear: “This grieves the heart of Christ.” She counseled: “We have the same heavenly Father and the same Redeemer, who loved us and gave Himself for us all, without any distinction.” She then urged: “When the love of Christ is cherished in the heart as it should be… there will be no caste, no pride of nationality; no difference will be made because of the color of the skin.” She concluded: “The color of the skin is no criterion as to the value of the soul… God has taken us, all classes, all nations, all languages… and brought us into His workshop, to be prepared for His temple.”1

While we cannot re-write history, as leaders of the Trans-European Division, we acknowledge that actions were taken that were not in harmony with God's ideal. We apologize for the failures of the Church in this regard.

As we focus on mission across the rich geographical, cultural, historical and constantly changing diversity of our Division, we commit to providing a leadership model that will benefit all communities, regardless of background, in exactly the same way that Jesus modeled positive relationships, whether to high-ranking Nicodemus, the despised Samaritan woman, the outcast blind beggar, or Simon the Pharisee. These examples found in a series of Gospel stories lead towards Jesus’ wonderful prayer of unity found in the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John, — that we can be one, united together, just as Jesus and the Father are one. That is something that we want to take to heart and seriously desire and strive for.

While our apology is from the heart, we recognize that an apology is not enough. We must work vigorously and intentionally to eradicate any traces of prejudice and intolerance that continue to exist. Together with our officers, field presidents and our Division Executive committee, we are reviewing policies, and focusing on our strategic framework for the next five years in order to enhance our leadership and decision-making processes.

Our prayer as the leadership of the Trans-European Division is that Seventh-day Adventists in this Division may indeed “be one,” embodying the union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that we will “put on love” and so be bound “together in perfect unity”; as we allow God to mold us in His workshop, regardless of our class, race, gender, nationality, or language; so that we may, together, achieve the mission that Christ has given to us.

Notes & References:

1 E. G. White to W.S. Hyatt, 15 Feb. 1900, Lt. 26, 1900.

This article was written by Raafat Kamal, president of the Trans-European Division, and originally appeared on the TED News Network, the official news services of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Image: British Missionaries of the 1950s serving in East, West and South Africa, the Middle East and Asia, the Caribbean and South America. Photo courtesy of TED / Worldwide Advent Missions, April 24, 1954.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

This says that the British Union was apparently “specifically” in need of apologizing but does not say
for what they specifically did that requires an apology. I understand that in the need for decorum in the European sense particular foibles need not be addressed but when the British Union is mentioned, what they did is left for the imagination. There’s nothing mentioned about the Germans and what they did which is well known. But just the British Union Conference. Did they coddle racists? Cover up child abuse? Murder most foul? The imagination is left to run given that this piece is so incomplete.


Interesting to look through the list of missionaries. Six are relatives, and my parents are not listed although also serving in the Middle East. The British Union has provided well for the world church.


Am I reading it right? The TED is done with the absurdities from the GC, is apologizing, and moving forward to do what is right?

If this is it, it’s highly commendable!


This “ apology “ is meaningless unless the specifics of what was done wrong is spelled out.

What we do know, is that any conference, Union conference or division, that is treating its clergywomen as second class citizens, is needing to make an abject apology.
Also, , those church entities treating their LGBT offspring as third class ( or lower ) needs to render an apology .

Seems like widespread apologies are in order world wide, not just in the Trans European Division !


Germany is not part of the TED.

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These quotes, along with the other from Ellen White,

…lead me to believe there was a racial problem that expressed itself through partiality in placement of people into leadership roles within the TED.

There is nothing here to indicate that the statement has anything to do with apologizing for ordination of women or commissioning (rather than the standard ordination) of men, or for any of the “out of compliance” issues of late.
It would be inappropriate to apologize for treating people as equals.

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Unity in Diversity.
Diversity of Language, Culture, Traditions.
These can even Impact HOW the Scriptures are interpreted and
HOW Scriptures Are To Be interpreted.
One of the Problems with Missionaries in the past is that THEIR
Culture, Traditions were the ONLY Christian Traditions that
converts in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Far East, the Islands
could live by.
Jesus was a Western White Guy. God is a Western White Guy.

G-- Yes, the Ivory Tower in Silver Springs SHOULD NOT be
telling other Cultures, Languages, Traditions HOW to celebrate
the Christian Life. [this includes North America along with the
rest of the world]

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i agree that africa should not have tried to tell NAD how to celebrate the christian life through their no vote at san antonio…

the tone in this article is excellent - so sensitive, so intentionally directed towards real healing…i have thought for some time that raafat kamal is what we need to head up the GC, especially in these divisive times…i’m thinking that europe may very well be the natural bridge between NAD and africa…i don’t think an effective successor to TW can come from NAD or africa at this point…

the reference to BUC is possibly an indication that there may have been a backlash against the surging black adventist population that has largely replaced the dwindling native white adventist population in england…but i’m not so sure this phenomenon is remarkable, or unique…i think it’s quite evident that whites don’t handle being outnumbered well, especially by blacks…i remember clearly that a growing black student population at AUC in the '80’s caused a white flight to PUC and andrews…

i seriously doubt it George,BUT we can always be hopeful!

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I am not sure either Dan. I wish there were more details about exactly what is the apology about. And details also about what the correction of course will be, the real deal. The whole thing sounds way too “generic” … BUT, as I was shown, we can always be hopeful!

(Note: I didn’t plagiarize from you, I just “borrowed” what you wrote, without giving you proper credit, that’s all. This is the way we operate around here… :wink: :innocent: )


This whole piece is ultimately pointless and unsatisfying. But apparently the British Union Conference did something horrific that the rest of the TED doesn’t want to tell us about. It’s like one of those lame sermons where you expect some piece of specific information about something and troddle through it only to find that the best part was the title.

Given the picture of some British missionaries, can one assume it is something these people did?


This article needs an ADDENDUM asap, to address de facto whatever the title suggests, revealing what the real deal actually is.

So far it is like the murderer who went to the police station and, without revealing any details, confesses, “I committed a crime but I pledge to change my life and do better from now on.” :roll_eyes:


Parakeet Talk :+1::+1:

I think that a can of worms has been opened with this article. In fact, I received some information from a one of my most reliable parakeets that is very concerning.

The TED needs to do us a favor, though… Which is to come forward and provide us with more specific details on what they are dealing with because, sooner or later, the info is going to surface anyway. :open_mouth::open_mouth:

I am getting ready to share some of what the parakeet revealed. Aaah, those parakeets. , they never disappoint… :innocent::innocent:


The problem with Birds is – they Migrate. They don’t just settle in just
one spot on Earth and stay there!
And they pass along Tales to their Friends.
I hear them every morning out my window at 4am telling the news of
the day! And I am 15 floors up.


Steve, I am sorry that your birds are so volatile, unstable, and migrating. Those guys may be involved with Faux News… :slight_smile: This is why I have my keets in a big cage, and they must behave or else … no food that day!.. :rofl:



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In the original article on the TED website the photo appeared, appropriately, next to this paragraph: “While the heritage of our Division was European, the gift of mission from our early pioneers until the present has led us to grow into a highly multi-cultural and diverse entity, comprised of 22 countries with an even greater multitude of cultures — each rich and to be valued and reflected in our worshipping congregations.” The TED is estimated to have sent out roughly 1,000 missionaries and we are proud of each one of them. My own parents are in the bottom right of that document and saw their 12 years of service in Nigeria as a highlight of their ministry. That early mission focus then led to the diversity that we now see in significant parts of the TED territory.

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Been there… done that… :+1: :+1:

Thanks for the good job in 2019. Spectrum is indeed the best and more reliable alternative source of Adventist news.


Back to the TED issue, I wonder if there is any chance that VICTOR HULBERT would participate in the discussion here. I understand he is the Communication director (or so) at the TED. Apparently he is very good with social media and should be able to explain certain details on this subject. We want to just learn more about it…

I heard from a parakeet that, “It [dissatisfaction about discrimination] has been rumbling for 25 years with a high point about 18 years back when a Secretary felt discriminated against. The case turned to bullying and harassment and the women won substantial damages at a public tribunal. … The then TED President swept the case under the carpet with no public contrition.”

Of course nobody from the TED will address/explain the issue here. Maybe Spectrum has tentacles long enough to get more info on it…