SDA Leader Bert Beach honored by VATICAN and others!

World Church: Book of Essays, Dinner, Honor Retiring Church Statesman

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.

"Building Bridges 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 others.

"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 church.

Copyright © 2005 by Adventist News Network. 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA 20904-6600 phone: (301) 680-6306. e-mail address: "