Speaking at a fundraiser for church projects in Kenya last week, the nation's president said the Seventh-day Adventist Church is at the forefront of providing education, healthcare and humanitarian aid to Kenyans.
"As a nation, we greatly appreciate the contributions of church organizations like the Adventist Church to the development of our country," President Mwai Kibaki told church and government officials at the Gusii Stadium in Kisii on June 24.
In recent years, Kibaki has overseen ambitious development projects in Kenya after post-election violence in early 2008 coupled with a global financial downturn crippled the country's economy.
Churches that seek to meet their communities' physical as well as spiritual needs are essential to the nation's continued development, Kibaki said.
Through its holistic approach, the Adventist Church "creates commendable sustainability as opposed to the traditional system of depending on handouts," Kibaki said, according to a Kenya Broadcasting Corporation report.
Some KES 16 million (approximately $200,000) was raised at the event. Part of the money will go toward expanding office capacity and building a community hospital for the Adventist Church's South Kenya Conference, headquartered in Kisii, Adventist Church officials said.
The new church infrastructure will create jobs and help alleviate poverty, Kibaki said, according to the KBC report.
Paul Muasya, leader of the church's East African Union Mission, thanked Kibaki for his recent public support of the Adventist Church in Kenya. In May, the East Central African nation's leader met with world church President Ted N. C. Wilson.
Among the government ministers and members of parliament who attended the fundraiser, half are Adventist, including the country's ministers of Education and Public Works, church officials said.