Wilson urges reconciliation in Ivory Coast, meets with Ashanti king in Ghana

News November 13, 2012

Seventh-day Adventist Church president Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson is meeting with government, community and church leaders in West Africa during a visit to the region.

In the Ivory Coast last week, Wilson called for reconciliation following last year’s civil unrest after a disputed election.

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 towards our wives, our husbands and our children. Reconciliation must first start in the home, the neighborhood, the church and then 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 is visiting several countries in the division this month. Late last week he traveled to neighboring Ghana to begin a five-day visit in the country.

In the city of Kumasi, 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.

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, and if you are too relaxed and not interested 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 healthcare. “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 multi-cultural 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 Saturday, November 10, Wilson joined some 30,000 worshipers at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi for a special Sabbath worship to honor his visit.

The next day, Wilson spoke at this year’s 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 was accompanied on the trip by his wife Nancy and officers of the division. Wilson will also visit Liberia and Togo during his trip to the region.

Earlier last week, at the division 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.