Welsh Mission has decided to adopt the Church of Refuge (COR) principles and values, which complement the local vision and the global effort to make and retain disciples. Last month, representatives from Welsh Mission churches, gathered in Swansea to be trained and discuss strategis for local congregations, in order to be recognised as Churches of Refuge.
Welsh Mission Vision Statment: “The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wales and the boarder counties places people first, because of the revelation of God we see in Jesus Christ. As a diverse and united community, we pledge to unconditionally accept people, respecting their diversity, encouraging them to grow in communion with God and with each other, through inspiring, peace, joy, hope and sacrifice.”
iCOR stands for intergenerational, intercultural and inter-social-class Church of Refuge and it emphasises an inclusive approach that welcomes all generations, cultures and social backgrounds. This is rooted in the conviction that we all need each other in order to grow spiritually.
iCOR also uses the cities of refuge mentioned in the Old Testament as a model: the key idea is of the church as a safe haven that provides protection, mediation, justice and long-term nurturing care, a spiritual refuge or spiritual home.
According to Ron Whitehead, churches of refuge are “inclusive, accepting, community oriented, strategically placed, safe, spiritual environments for young adults. They are faith communities that accept people for who they are, where they are. That is, friendship and acceptance are not given or withheld due to personal history, appearance, current belief system or other factors. Also, members know they will not be disrespected or excluded because of mistakes, questions or doubts.” (Ron Whitehead, Centre for Youth Evangelism, Andrews University, 2008)
As iCOR is introduced and implemented across the Welsh Mission, we hope to experience the growth in these values:
CONNECTING CHURCHES strive to form authentic and loving relationships across generational, cultural and social boundaries.
CARING CHURCHES foster a loving attitude that reaches out to others with empathy and accepts them the way they are. they actively serve their good and support them in all areas of life.
CHURCHES THAT ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION value the gifts and skills of their fellow human beings and create room for them to take part informing all aspects of church life. in this way, they foster a sense of belonging and identification with the church.
CHURCHES UNDERSTAND WORSHIP as the daily practice of making the gospel reality. they search for creative opportunities to celebrate worship in everyday life and are committed to making the Sabbath a meaningful experience.
CHURCHES THAT TEACH the word of god communicate in a relevant, creative and practical way.
Mission and ministering always require an attitude of service. SERVING CHURCHES follow the example of Jesus by ministering to the needs of others and seeking to discover new ways to serve.
RECONCILING AND RECONCILED CHURCHES actively foster reconciliation and healing in the name of Jesus, both in the relationship to our heavenly father and to each other.
Churches that care about personally accompanying their children and youth in particular, but also adults in their walk of faith are committed to FOSTERING SPIRITUAL MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS.
Churches that are open for learning provide opportunities for TRAINING FOR THEIR MEMBERS to develop individual gifts and skills and promote services and ministries in the church.
Strategical and purpose-driven CHURCHES LEAD WITH A VISION AND PASSION, integrating the younger generation in the leadership activities of the church.
For more information and resources on iCOR please check https://icor.church/about/
The two-day training was led by Zlatko Musija (Youth Director, Trans European Division), assisted by Paul Tomkins (President, Scottish Mission) and Emanuel Bran (President, Wales Mission). The presentations were engaging and interactive, covering topics like: Why iCOR, The importance of Values, Intergenerational family of God, Holistic discipleship, COR values in practice. Last session on Sunday was the Roadmap Exercise, when each group took time to plan and share their vision and proposed strategy, before returning to the local church to continue this assignment. Please watch the video to hear the presenters speak about iCOR and their experience at the training (top right).
Welsh Mission is determined to adopt and implement these values, to enrich the spiritual journey experienced by every generation and grow the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church, as We Seek and Serve to Make God Known!