Angela Burdick/ANN staff
In what marked the first visit to Belarus by a sitting Seventh-day Adventist world church president, Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson last week toured church infrastructure and met with government officials in the Eastern European country.
The Adventist Church in Belarus was formally organized in 1990, shortly after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. The Russian Orthodox Church is still the country’s majority religion, but Adventism is growing, with more than 70 congregations established since the early-90s and a current membership of more than 5,000.
Wilson was on hand for the dedication of a new church center in Minsk built by Adventist pastors from Belarus. Complete with a sanctuary, fellowship hall, apartments for church workers and studio space for the newly established Hope Channel Belarus, the center is expected to meet the infrastructure needs of the region’s growing Adventist community.
Attending the dedication ceremony was a “privilege,” Wilson said, acknowledging the “intense energy” demonstrated during the construction process, which took 45 working days to complete.
“God has a great plan for Belarus. The wonderful things that have been accomplished are only the beginning of what God will do,” Wilson said.
The world church leader first visited Belarus in the mid-90s while serving as president for the Adventist Church’s Euro-Asia Division, which oversees church operations in Russia and nearby countries.
While in Belarus this time, Wilson took the opportunity to meet with government officials, including Leonid Gulyako, commissioner of Religious and Ethnic Affairs for Belarus, who said the Adventist Church’s message supports the country’s priorities.
“We acknowledge the Adventists’ deep faith and honest expression of [that] faith, your support of healthy family relationships and your work against drugs,” Gulyako said.
Wilson also met with the deputy mayor of Minsk to reaffirm a working relationship between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Minsk municipality.