Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic…[Libna Stevens/IAD]
Top Seventh-day Adventist leaders met with Dominican Republic’s President Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reina to discuss the Seventh-day Adventist Church, it’s vision and its work as a religious organization on the island and worldwide. The one-hour private meeting took place on Nov. 22 at the National Palace where top church administrators as well as six regional church leaders from throughout the island sat down with the country’s leader.
“It’s the first of a kind private meeting given to a religious non-Catholic organization,” says Silvestre Gonzalez, executive secretary and spokesperson for the church in the Dominican Republic, who was one of the group to talk with the president.
“We had the opportunity to meet with President Fernandez and tell him about the work that the Adventist Church has been doing in educating the youth, strengthening families and in community service as well as its medical work on the island and worldwide,” said Gonzalez.
President Fernandez thanked Adventist leaders for the work that the church has done in the Dominican Republic and said that he was impressed with how organized the church is and its valuable contribution to society.
“We are so busy in our work that sometimes we fail to see that there are valuable groups like you that can do so much for society, for the benefit of others,” President Fernandez said. “That’s why I thank you for coming to explain who you are as Seventh-day Adventists and what you do in favor of the community.”
The president, who was accompanied by his State Secretary Freddy Perez and State Supervisor of Public Works, expressed interest in supporting the youth, schools and work of the Adventist Church in the Dominican Republic.
“It was significant for church leaders to meet with Dr. Fernandez, because it gave us the opportunity to share our principles, our work and see the positive reaction from the highest officials in government,” said Gonzalez.
Pastor Cesario Acevedo, president of the church in the Dominican Republic, offered words of encouragement to President Fernandez and offered a prayer for the leader and his government.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, with its more than 238,000 members in the Dominican Republic, operates 92 elementary and secondary schools, one university, six radio stations and one hospital.