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Norwegian ambassador, Paulsen meet at church headquarters

Countrymen focus on commonalities despite religious differences


Norwegian Ambassador to the United States, Wegger Christian Strommen, addresses Adventist Church leaders during an April 26 protocol visit at the church's world headquarters. [photo: George Johnson]

The ambassador of Norway to the United States Wegger Christian Strommen, in a visit to the Seventh-day Adventist Church headquarters last month, praised Seventh-day Adventists for their worldwide humanitarian work and denominational unity.

Ambassador Strommen was hosted by fellow countryman Jan Paulsen, president of the denomination, along with a group of church leaders during an April 26 protocol visit.

Strommen was appointed ambassador to the U.S. in 2007, after serving as ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva. He was accompanied during the visit by his wife, Cecilie Joergensen Strommen, an ordained Lutheran minister.

"The world needs more religion aimed at doing something about the human condition," Strommen said, noting the Adventist Church's emphasis on healthful living and humanitarian work. "You do your humanitarian work, but don't need to make front page news. Others would do well to take from the Adventist tradition of looking after their part of the world."

During the protocol, his first visit to the church's headquarters, Strommen commended the Adventist Church's global church structure.

"You have a fascinating way of organizing yourselves," he said. "Your structure keeps you together."

Paulsen, whose first pastoral assignment was in Southern Norway, thanked the ambassador and his wife for taking the time to visit the church's headquarters.

"As a church involved in promoting peace and human rights, we appreciate the role of Norway and its role of conflict resolution and promoting humanitarian work around the world," Paulsen said.

Though Norway has a state religion, Evangelical Lutheran, the northern European nation has a commitment to religious freedom and human rights, said the Adventist Church's public affairs director John Graz.

Of the 4.8 million people living in Norway, nearly 80 percent belong to the Church of Norway. There are about 4,600 Adventists in Norway.