World Evangelical Alliance head Bishop Efraim Tendero has met with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres at the UN Headquarters in New York to share concerns for human rights, religious liberty and social issues such as refugees and migrants.
The meeting points to a growing tendency for the United Nations and international organizations to engage church and faith groups to help in shaping intricate global problems and issued.
Only a week earlier the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby had addressed the UN Security Council in New York.
Serving some 600 million evangelicals in more than 120 countries and holding Special Consultative Status in the Economic and Social Council of the UN, the WEA has been engaged with a number of UN bodies and agencies for many years.
Guterres welcomed Tendero and a delegation from WEA at his office on Sept. 6 and expressed his appreciation for WEA.
The man who became the United Nations secretary general in January 2016 is a former Portuguese prime minister who went into politics from a background of Catholic action.
The UN chief personally became more aware of WEA when he previously served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Tendero spoke of his own experience in his native Philippines when at a critical moment in Mindanao, he challenged the parties, both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, to "try peace instead," Christian Today reported.
He said that as a global body of evangelical Christians "we affirm our commitment to inter-faith dialogue and peace building.
"After all, Jesus provides not only the model of peace, but by his very presence and power, induces in the hearts of us an inclination to follow him and not our own self-interest," said the WEA head.
WEA noted that its Geneva Liaison Office works with regional and national evangelical alliances and that it provides detailed grass root-inspired reports as part of the Universal Period Review process.
Under the UPR each UN member State's human rights record is reviewed every few years.
NEEDS OF REFUGEES
Guterres also acknowledged the role that evangelicals played in serving the needs of refugees coming to Europe.
Tendero noted that in the two years since Guterres' appointment, the UN head has faced global issues of war, famine, human devastation and hostility among many States.
The evangelical leader praised Guterres for often providing the world with a careful and measured response, bringing to the many players a thoughtful plan to override our human propensity to violence.
Tendero spoke about WEA's ongoing concern for Christians whose rights are being violated and how its Religious Liberty Commission responds to such issues.
He outlined the work of WEA's Human Trafficking Task Force and the collaboration with both Christian and civil society groups, especially in countries where young people are trapped by modern forms of slavery, such as prostitution.
Tendero then alerted the UN chief to the upcoming Jesus Global Youth Day, which will be celebrated in August 2019 in Manila and is scheduled to coincide with the UN's International Youth Day.
He said that those gathered will be mobilized to adopt certain agenda items of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
These have been dubbed the "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all."
The UN says the SDGs seek to address "the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice."
In order to achieve those, Tendero cited the need for and power of prayer and expressed WEA's commitment to pray and also encourage evangelicals around the world to join hands in responding to the specific needs prevalent in their own neighborhoods.