Bishop Ef of World Evangelical Alliance Meets UN's Ban Ki-moon to Share Biblical Solutions to End Human Suffering, Violent Global Conflicts

Bishop Efraim Tendero, WEA Secretary General, with Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN.
Bishop Efraim Tendero, WEA Secretary General, with Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN. | (Photo: UN)

Bishop Efraim Tendero, whose tenure as Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance began March 1, met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York to discuss ways to strengthen their partnership on issues such as poverty, conflict and inter-faith dialogue.

"For many years, we have been engaging with U.N. bodies and mechanisms in New York and Geneva," Tendero said in a statement about the involvement of the WEA, which represents about 600 million Evangelicals in more than 120 nations.

"A meeting with the U.N. secretary general only a few days after I took office at the WEA shows how much they value the presence and contribution of Evangelicals at the United Nations and the relevance of the WEA as one of the three world church bodies," he added.

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Tendero, widely known as Bishop Ef, succeeded Geoff Tunnicliffe, who decided not to seek a third term after leading the global alliance of Evangelicals for about a decade.

Bishop Ef described the conversation with Ki-moon as "marked by a shared concern about current situations of violent conflict and human suffering, acknowledging an increasing atmosphere of distrust amongst people of faith, when extremist behavior that disregards life itself is done in the name of religion."

He also affirmed WEA's commitment to inter-faith dialogue and peace building, sharing about his personal involvement leading an inter-faith peace delegation in the Philippines in times of increased tensions between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao.

Tendero has served the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches for over 20 years, representing about 30,000 evangelical churches in the Catholic-majority nation in South East Asia, where he is also president of the Philippine Relief and Development Services.

After the meeting with the U.N. official Thursday, Tendero praised the United Nations for offering more opportunities for the WEA and other faith groups to participate and make relevant contributions to reconciliation, poverty alleviation, addressing justice issues such as human trafficking, and the plight of refugees.

"As Christians, we recognize the weight that lies on the shoulders of the U.N. secretary general when dealing with so much suffering in the world. I was impressed with Mr. Ban's sensitivity toward injustice and conflict, and his desire to reach out to faith leaders and build trust," he said.

Tendero also serves as international facilitator for South East Asia of the Asia Evangelical Alliance and is the chair of the board of Back to the Bible Broadcast, Evangelism Explosion, 3 Philippines, Global Filipino Movement and the Philippine Missions Association.

He is also the executive editor of Evangelicals Today, which is published from the Philippines.

"As followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, we are called to be peacemakers and to be salt and light in the world. With the WEA's constituency of churches in local neighborhoods all over the world and our teams at the U.N., we want to contribute with our understanding of what is needed and practical action steps that help address these issues at their roots," he added.

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