Adventist church service held in 2000 year old abbey

The service inside Melk Abbey.

More than 40 Adventists from several nationalities recently met to hold a church service in Melk Abbey, located 45 metres above the Danube River in Austria.

The service, held in a chapel attached to the abbey, was part of a River Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, hosted by retired Adventist pastor David Lawson and his family operated tour service, Lawson Discovery Tours.

“When the abbey was approached about the use of a chapel for a service, they responded positively,” said Pastor Lawson. “But they advised that they would not be able to provide a priest for our service, ande would need to bring our own.”

Pastor Neil Peatey took the Sabbath morning service, preaching on love – returning good for evil.

The abbey was built by the Romans as a fortress over 2000 years ago, and was used as Napoleon’s headquarters during his successful campaign against Austria. Today, it is a centre of learning, with 900 students and over 240 rooms still in operation.

Prior to visiting the abbey, the group met with Austrian church members for a special Friday night vesper service, with Ray Southon sharing a devotional and Beverley Reye sharing stories of church outreach programs from the North New South Wales Conference.

Over the past 13 years, almost 1000 church members have participated in tours organised by Pastor Lawson, more recently assisted by his daughter and grandson, to places including most of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, China, Central Europe and Norway.

A two week tour to Vietnam and Cambodia is currently being planned for 2017. For more information, visit