Her Excellency Dina Kawar, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States, visited the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, on February 24.
General Conference president Ted N. C. Wilson welcomed Kawar and second secretary Raad Elfawair in a courtesy visit that highlighted religious freedom and ongoing collaboration between the Adventist Church and that Middle Eastern nation.
Wilson and other church leaders thanked the Kingdom of Jordan through Ambassador Kawar for the religious freedom residents enjoy in that nation, as he also shared the multi-faceted ministry of the Adventist Church around the world. “Thank you for providing religious freedom for Seventh-day Adventists and other religious communities, Wilson told Kawar and Elfawair.
Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) department director Ganoune Diop told Kawar that “the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an example of peaceful coexistence, a deliberate kingdom policy to allow freedom of religion or belief. It is indeed a kingdom that has shown hospitality to a countless number of refugees and asylum seekers,” Diop said.
Jordanian citizen Anees Abdelnour, an Adventist church member who works at the General Conference, shared his gratitude for his home country. Abdelnour serves as mortgage portfolio manager of the Adventist Church. “I grew up in Jordan, where Christians are treated with great respect,” Abdelnour said. “My mother became an Adventist several years after her marriage in Jordan. I followed her path as she was a devoted Christian woman with a focus on helping people and humanity,” he said.
Wilson shared details of the church’s ministry in Jordan, which includes a school and health outreach in the form of an eye clinic.
According to PARL associate director Bill Knott, “Thirty percent of Jordan’s population are refugees from conflicts in neighboring countries.” Thus, beyond religious liberty discussions, the group was able to share how the Adventist Church in Jordan works in communities to meet essential needs.
“Ambassador Kawar’s brief but substantial visit to the church headquarters was a helpful reminder that nations and other faith groups understand us best through the practical help we can provide their communities in education, health development, and support for struggling people groups,” Knott said. “There are enormous humanitarian needs that Adventists can help to meet.”
Adventist Church leaders present at the February 24 visit took time to explain to the Jordanian representatives the practical ways the local church meets these needs and emphasized the church’s desire to continue helping the community physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually, as Jesus did.
Wilson further shared his appreciation for the cooperation between the church and the Jordanian government. “I hope [we can keep] a continued involvement on behalf of the people of Jordan,” Wilson said.
Seventh-day Adventists in Jordan
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a part of the East Mediterranean Region in the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission of the Adventist Church. This region encompasses four countries with six churches and 611 members.
Although only a small number of Adventist congregations are located in various regions of the country, their outreach programs provide support to many in their communities.
In Jordan, the Adventist National School in Amman has been operating for more than 75 years and provides high-quality education to students from kindergarten through grade 12. Recently, the school underwent a significant renovation that doubled the available space, allowing for increased enrollment and a number of after-school programs aimed at improving health.
In addition to the school, the Adventist Church in Jordan operates an eye clinic to provide eye care to those in need.