The Right Honourable, James Clevely, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, together with his wife, Susannah Sparks, visited the British Union Conference (BUC) on Friday 28 July 2023, to dialogue on current affairs with faith leaders from in and around the Watford area.
Accompanied by Dean Russell, MP for Watford and Gagan Mohindra, MP for South West Hertfordshire, Mr Clevely congratulated the faith community for the ‘incredibly important role they play in society’. He continued by saying, ‘I sometimes joke that if faith didn’t exist, we would need to invent it’. He praised the work of faith communities for their ‘particular generosity of spirit’ and ‘their commitment to relieve pain and suffering’.
Representatives from the Seventh-day Adventist Church included, Dr Petras Bahadur, Director, Global Centre for Adventist Muslim Relations at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor John Surridge, Executive Secretary (BUC), Wederly Aguiar, Chief Financial Officer (BUC) and Aftab Barki, Assistant Treasurer (BUC).
Clevely is the Head of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). In recent years, ADRA-UK received funding for its Integrated Cash Intervention to support 4,300 households in Yemen from the FCDO. Earl Ramharacksingh (Financial Controller) and Catherine Anthony Boldeau (Communication & Engagement Lead) represented ADRA-UK*
The event was organised by Enoch Kanagaraj, One Vision’s Founder and CEO, who said, ‘It is a privilege to welcome the Honourable James Clevely to meet faith leaders for a roundtable discussion to help to support our community’. The event was also attended by Pastor Geert Tapp, former associate pastor for Stanborough Park Church and Dr Jude Jeanville, from the Tottenham Lighthouse Community Seventh-day Adventist Church. Both pastors have worked extensively with One Vision.
Pastor John Surridge and Enoch Kanagaraj presented Mr Clevely and his wife with materials from the British Union’s Reflecting Hope outreach initiative, along with special ADRA memorabilia.
Commenting on the event, Pastor Eglan Brooks, BUC President said, ‘I am delighted that the officers and staff at the headquarters of the British Union, were able to facilitate this event organised by One Vision. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, as a faith community, impacts not only its members, but has a significant and positive influence through its witness, outreach initiatives and community work, both here in the UK and abroad.’
*For more information about ADRA-UK's work, see www.adra.org.uk