June 21, 2005
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
.... [ANN Staff]
Paying tribute to decades of interfaith
effort, friends and leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and others
gathered at the church's world headquarters June 16 to honor Dr. Bert B. Beach,
director of inter-church relations for the movement.
of Faith and Freedom," a Festschrift, or celebratory publication, honoring Dr.
Beach was released at the dinner. It is believed to be the first such tribute
published by a world church department.
The book features essays on
religious freedom and Dr. Beach's work in that area. Contributors include
president of the United Nations' Human Rights Committee, Abdelfattah Amor;
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican Council for the Promotion of
Christian Unity; Rosa Maria Martinez de Codes, former vice director for
religious affairs in Spain's Justice Ministry, and Rev. Sven Oppegaard,
Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Affairs of the Lutheran World
Federation, among others.
"I've had a wonderful life," Dr. Beach, who
will end his five decades of service to the world church this year, said in
response to tributes from Pastor Jan Paulsen, world president of the Adventist
Church, Dr. Denton Lotz, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, and
"Bert B. Beach made a difference in the history of his church,"
Pastor Paulsen wrote in the book. "He pioneered interchurch relations. He helped
his church to look beyond its own borders to the brother, the neighbor, the
stranger who was also created by God."
Beach, who began his church
career as an educator, rose to the position of executive secretary of the
Adventist church's Western European and West African regions, before embarking
on a 15-year career as director of public affairs and religious liberty and,
recently, director of inter-church relations. Under his aegis, the Adventist
Church has held high-level consultations with the Lutheran World Federation, The
Salvation Army and other communities. He was, for 32 years, secretary of the
Conference of Secretaries of the Christian World Communions, an interfaith body
uniting 2 billion Christians around the globe.
"If today most of the
Christian leaders recognized us as a Christian Church, it is the result of
[Beach's] persistent and outstanding relations with other Christian leaders,"
added Dr. John Graz, public affairs and religious liberty director for the world