Jewish Adventist group in New Zealand celebrate Passover

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Dr Richard Elofer.

Forty-five people came together to mark Passover in Wellington, New Zealand, on Friday, April 19.

The Passover Seder meal was led by Dr Richard Elofer, director of the World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Centre at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and hosted by Bet Tikkun, the Jewish Adventist congregation in New Zealand.

For most of those who attended, it was their first time experiencing the Passover Seder. Dr Elofer led attendees through the original Passover tradition—an evening filled with symbolism and the eating of specific food and herbs—and explained how to understand everything using the gospel writings from a Messianic perspective.

Dr Elofer breaks the traditional flat bread or matzah.

A smaller crowd gathered on Sabbath for a seminar in which Dr Elofer explored more of the meaning of the Passover, as well as his work at the World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Centre. Dr Elofer’s enthusiasm and vast knowledge led to engaging dialogue with questions on topics such as clean and unclean, Jesus being Jewish, and confronting some of the Christian prejudice towards Judaism.

Around two-thirds of the attendees for the Passover meal were friends of Bet Tikkun members, and had no connection with the Adventist Church. As such they were curious about the connection between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and a Jewish Messianic congregation.

L-R: Noeline Timothy, Pastor Ben Timothy, Dr Richard Elofer, Stephanie Taylor, Bryan Taylor, Pastor Hugh Heenan and Kirsten Oster Lundqvist.

North New Zealand Conference president Pastor Ben Timothy, his wife Noeline, and NNZC secretary Pastor Hugh Heenan expressed how blessed they had been by attending the Passover meal and seminar. Attendees kept commenting that “this was really interesting” and “I learnt a lot”.

For one young woman, it had been particular meaningful. Having found the event online, she expressed how happy she was to be there. As a Messianic Jew she hadn’t attended Passover since she went with her parents as a child. She really felt blessed, and planned to attend Bet Tikkun again in the near future.

The next Passover Seder meal will once again be hosted by Bet Tikkum and is scheduled for April 8, 2020.

Bet Tikkun is the only Jewish Messianic Adventist congregation in New Zealand. Led by Stephanie Taylor and pastored by Kirsten Oster Lundqvist, the congregation ministers to people from across the country. For more information visit www.bettikkun.com and www.facebook.com/bettikkun.

The event was well attended.