Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Adventist Church President Holds First Meeting With UN Chief

The two leaders discuss ways to help people and promote religious tolerance.

Story by Andrew McChesney, Adventist Review News Editor

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concerns about growing religious intolerance worldwide during a private meeting with Adventist Church leader Ted N.C. Wilson, and he invited the Seventh-day Adventist Church to work with the UN in helping people. Wilson, the first Adventist Church president to meet with a UN chief, noted that the church has long supported religious liberty and said it was willing to team up on initiatives that followed Christ’s ministry of helping people physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.

Ganoune Diop, associate director of the Adventist world church’s public affairs and religious liberty department, said his department takes Jesus’ words of being the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” in Matt. 5:13, 14 seriously.

“Its representatives mingle with political and religious leaders in every country without losing or compromising a distinctive Adventist identity,” said Diop, who attended the meeting.

Ban met with Wilson, Diop, and John Graz, director of the public affairs and religious liberty department, at 12:10 p.m. Monday for a 45-minute meeting in his office at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The meeting was arranged with the personal involvement of Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed, dean of the UN undersecretaries-general and a friend of Seventh-day Adventists, who regularly corresponded with Diop to make the meeting a reality, Diop said.

“It was a real privilege to meet the secretary-general and to hear his appeal for assistance for humanity,” Wilson told the Adventist Review.

“Seventh-day Adventists should be ready to witness for the Lord anywhere we go and to testify of God’s blessing in our lives and what we can do in His name,” he said. “The world is waiting for this type of heaven-inspired testimony with clear answers to today’s problems.”

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