Thousands united by #weRtheCHURCH Sabbath

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Sabbath school program on the morning of May 23.

A special Sabbath event has united thousands of Adventists from around the South Pacific Division (SPD) like never before.

The #weRtheCHURCH Division-wide Sabbath connected church members in a special way at a time when many churches are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was the first of its kind in the history of the Church in the South Pacific. Hosted by SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend and Children’s Ministries leader Litiana Turner, it began on Friday evening (May 22) with a fellowship program and continued on Sabbath with a morning family program and an afternoon mission program.

Among the many highlights were the inspiring reports and stories that were shared from around the Division showcasing how the mission of the Church is continuing in new and creative ways despite the challenges of COVID-19. It was an opportunity to find out what is happening in other parts of the Division, while also enjoying  beautiful worship music, encouraging devotionals, creative children’s stories and much more.

Home church in PNG watching the Friday night program. (Photo:#weRthechurch Facebook page)

The programs, put together by the team at Adventist Media, were streamed across four time zones on three platforms—web, YouTube and Facebook. The “chat” functions on these platforms enabled members to interact with each other while watching the programs. Many people left comments, expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to connect with other members, and for the uplifting stories that were shared.

As Peter and Jan wrote, “Sorry to see this whole program end. How inspiring today has been. Thank you for the messages, stories and the beautiful music. We have truly been blessed.”

The programs were also aired on Hope Channel Fiji and shared on various radio stations. Along with local audiences, there were viewers from as far as China, Germany and the United States. As many as 200,000 people are believed to have viewed or listened to the programs.

#weRtheCHURCH reinforced the importance of collaboration, and that despite our different cultures and languages we are all united with the same mission.

SamLynne wrote, “Praise the Lord for His Church. There is power in unity. United we stand.”

Pastor Glenn Townend and Melina Williams present the Sabbath morning sermon.

According to eGiving data, about $A42,000 was contributed to the main church service “Camp Mission Offering” for the 2020 Papua New Guinea for Christ campaign. The money will go towards the purchase of Bibles and supporting discipleship and doctrinal resources.

Pastor Townend has received many messages of appreciation from those who participated in the #weRtheCHURCH Sabbath.

“It was wonderful to see the Church come together in worship and praise, and to share some of the ways in which we are making a positive impact in our communities during this time of crisis. The church and its ministry—through us as people—is alive,” Pastor Townend said.

“I have been inundated with text messages, phone calls and emails from people saying how much they were blessed and inspired to be more active by the programs. I pray that this initiative is a source of inspiration and encouragement for our members as we continue to become a thriving Adventist disciple-making movement.”

For those who may have missed any of the programs, they can be viewed at www.adventistchurch.com/werthechurch.