In Ivory Coast, Wilson Urges Reconciliation
Seventh-day Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson met with government, community, and church leaders in West Africa during a November 2012 visit to the region.
In Ivory Coast, Wilson called for reconciliation following last year’s civil unrest after a disputed election.
ARRIVING IN ABIDJAN: Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson is greeted upon his arrival in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Wilson, who spent nine years in the country as a regional Seventh-day Adventist Church president, met with leaders in several West African nations.Wilson, who served as a regional executive for the Adventist Church in Ivory Coast from 1981 to 1990, said, “During this period of reconciliation here in Ivory Coast, we must have the spirit of the good Samaritan; the duty of Christians is to represent Christ.”
He delivered his remarks in French during a keynote speech at the Palace of Culture in Abidjan.
Wilson also added, “We must treat our women with respect. We must have a respectful and a warm attitude toward our wives, our husbands, and our children. Reconciliation must first start in the home, the neighborhood, the church, and spread to the country.”
Ediemou Jacob, president of the Religious National Forum of Ivory Coast, said Wilson was the first world religious leader to visit Ivory Coast with a message of reconciliation.
Wilson also met with Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara on November 7.
There are nearly 13,000 Adventist Church members in Ivory Coast, which is the headquarters for the denomination’s West-Central Africa Division. Wilson visited several countries in the division.
In the city of Kumasi during his five-day visit to Ghana, Wilson met with Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who is the Asantehene, a ceremonial leadership role of the Ashanti people. Wilson’s father, Neal Wilson, who served as Adventist Church president from 1979 to 1990, visited the previous king 24 years ago.
PRESIDENTIAL GIFT: Wilson is presented with a golden stool by a representative of the king of the Ashanti people in Ghana. The gift, which represents pillars and strong foundations, was presented during the Sabbath worship service at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.Ted Wilson told the king and his officials of the gift his father received—a hand carving of a hand holding an egg. “The explanation of it is that if you are too hard on your people, you will crush them. If you are too relaxed and uninterested and you relax your hand, the egg falls,” Wilson told the delegation in the Manhyia Palace.
Tutu commended the Adventist Church in Ghana for its contribution in the areas of education and health care. “I have realized that there is a lot of [self-]discipline in the Adventist Church, and those in the church believe in its values and principles,” he said through an interpreter.
Wilson also inaugurated a nearby multicultural center, which was sponsored by the Adventist Church headquarters and the church’s South Central Ghana Conference. The center will offer skills training for church and community members in information technology, catering, and sewing. It will also offer training for evangelism and outreach.
On November 10, 2012, Wilson joined some 30,000 worshippers at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi for a special Sabbath worship service.
The next day Wilson spoke at the graduation ceremony at church-run Valley View University. He challenged the more than 500-member graduating class to have the biblical viewpoint of success.
“In whatever work God leads you, you should realize that success is dependent on your connection to Christ, which results in humble service to Him and others,” he said.
Wilson also met with Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, the first Adventist mayor of Accra, Ghana’s capital.
There are some 375,000 members in the church’s Ghana Union Conference.
Wilson’s wife, Nancy, and officers of the division accompanied him on the trip. Earlier, at the division’s year-end meeting, the executive committee voted to grant self-supporting conference status to 14 administrative units in Nigeria and one unit in Liberia. The moves highlight development of the church in those regions in terms of its finances and leadership.
—reported by Gilbert Weeh, Solace Asafo Hlordzi, with ANN staff