17 December 2022 |
Bert Beverly Beach, PhD, former director of the General Conference Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL), passed to his rest on December 14, 2022.
I worked at Bert’s side in PARL for fifteen years and witnessed first-hand his enormous contribution to our church and beyond.
He championed religious freedom with a zeal rarely seen, and it was a freedom intended for all people—not just Adventists.
As an exceptional linguist who was totally comfortable with other cultures, he facilitated interactions totally devoid of anything one might call “provincial.”
Bert so keenly understood how our church is organized that he wrote a book about it, which continues to be consulted throughout our denomination.
In fact, he wrote prolifically for an Adventist audience, including Vatican II: Bridging the Abyss (1968); Ecumenicism: Boon or Bane? (1974); and 101 Questions Adventists Ask (2000).
As a shrewd Vatican observer, he showed fellow church members how to view Catholicism with both respect and restraint.
Perhaps most notably, he facilitated inter-faith dialog and understanding with a superior knowledge of Adventist theology together with an openness to new theological possibilities.
Beyond all, I saw in Bert an enduring and relentless love for his family, every member of which pursued their own careers with enviable success. This was due precisely to Bert’s insistence on staying in school and getting a good education.
All people have their eccentricities, as did Bert himself. People who encountered him for the first time often remarked, “Now, this man is a real character!” He was formidable and humorous at the same time.
Future historians of the church will cite him as one of our best leaders.
Gary M. Ross, PhD
Congressional Liaison (1980 – 1995)
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists