Adventists to Pray for Obama, Paulsen Says
G.C. President Calls Church “Ready Partners” on Health, Education
BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor, reporting from Huntsville, Alabama
he world’s 25 million Seventh-day Adventists will unite in prayer for the success of President-elect Barack Obama, according to Pastor Jan Paulsen, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
“We pray that God will give you strength and wisdom to meet the unprecedented challenges of our time,” Paulsen wrote in a letter sent to Obama, the first African-American elected to the position after the historic November 4 vote. The letter was read aloud to delegates at the twenty-ninth Annual Pastoral and Evangelism Council, a gathering sponsored by the regional conferences of the North American Division.
In his letter, the text of which was read aloud by Harold Lee, retired president of the Columbia Union Conference, Paulsen told Obama he wished to “express warm congratulations on this historic occasion” and assured the Illinois Senator “the prayers of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church are with you.” In the letter, Paulsen noted the church’s global reach, with activities in more than 200 countries.
Paulsen said he hoped Obama would have “a daily experience of God’s presence” as he tackles the challenges of the present age, and said, “we stand as ready partners” in implementing Obama’s goals for health and educational progress.
The letter was read following Paulsen’s address that morning and brought loud cheers from the audience with many standing. Earlier, in his sermon, Paulsen made reference to Obama’s historic win and platform of change, also drawing applause.
The letter marks the second time in Paulsen’s decade of service as world church president that he had been in contact with a U.S. leader. In 2006, Paulsen, General Conference secretary Matthew Bediako and North American Division president Don C. Schneider spent 45 minutes in the White House with President George W. Bush, discussing the Adventist Church’s work on religious liberty and humanitarian concerns, including malaria eradication in Africa.
Organized in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1863 and with headquarters near the capital city of Washington, D.C. for more than 100 years, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is active around the world, with an extensive network of medical and educational institutions. Each week, an estimated 25 million adults and children attend Adventist worship services worldwide.