Adventists in Western Switzerland Hold First Religious Liberty Day
“Indifference to religious freedom is not an option,” said Dr. John Graz, a keynote speaker at the first Religious Liberty Day held at the Gland Seventh-day Adventist Church on October 8. The event, co-orginzed by the Adventist Church’s Swiss French and Italian speaking Conference (FSRT) and the Swiss International Association for the Defence of Religious Freedom (AIDLR) took place at the Gland church, located on the the property of the Adventist Hospital “La Ligniere” in the far western region of Switzerland.
The program began in the morning with with the lecture of Dr. Maurice Verfaillie on the topic “Conscience and Liberty in the Apostle Paul’ s Letters.” Dr John Graz, former Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association gave a sermon on the theme : “But what should we do ?” Graz said that the worst attitude those with religious freedom can have is to be indifferent to the persecutions of believers in the world. Graz also spoke about the Adventist Church’s long history as an "an active agent for religious freedom.”
In the afternoon, Dr. Jen-Francois Mayer of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, gave a lecture on “Religious Pluralism, Danger or Riches?” Dr Mayer is one of the well known European experts on religious minorities and state relations. Christian Willi, chief editor of Christianize aujourd’hui, a French language Protestant magazine, gave a report about the persecution of Christians in the world. The lectures were followed by a panel with all speakers led by M.D. Bernard Davy.
The program ended with a presentation of a certificate of recognition to Dr. Maurice Verfaillie, former Secretary General of the AIDLR, by the President of FSFT, Pastor David Jennah. Pastor Jennah congratulated Dr. Verfaillie for his lifelong dedication to religious freedom.
Pastor Giampiero Vassal, the organizer of this inaugural event, said that more religious liberty events are planned, including a Religious Liberty dinner and concert in Geneva next year. “This is a new new day in Western Switzerland for the promotion of religious freedom,” said Pastor Jennah, at the conclusion of the program.