20 Jun

PASTOR TOM TUPITO FROM AURORA FIRST CHURCH PASSES AT NAD CONFERENCE

RMCNews with Joanne Smith – Denver, Colorado … Tom Tupito, senior pastor of Aurora First Adventist Church passed away June 19 after suffering a heart attack while attending the North American Division ministerial CALLED conference.

“This is a huge loss for Tom’s family, the Aurora First Seventh-day Adventist Church, and all of the workers in the Rocky Mountain Conference who loved and appreciated Tom,” said Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director.

“We are eternally grateful for the wonderful impact Tom made on his family and church. He will be missed greatly. His friendly demeanor always made interacting with him enjoyable.”

Born in Taputimu, American Samoa, Tom has been with Aurora First since January 1, 2017.

Commenting on this tragic news, Aurora church head elder, Boima Sonii said, “Our hearts are broken by the sudden passing of our dear pastor. Words alone can’t express how much we are going to miss him. Our prayers and thoughts are with his sons, Esmond and Evron, and the entire Tupito family.”

Addressing the church, Sonii said, “My beloved Aurora First family, let’s keep the faith. Our God will certainly get us through these difficult times.”

Tom endured the loss of his wife, Fuiono Gingerlei, in August of 2019, and just last month, lost his sister in California.

“Our sincere gratitude to all who have reached out to express their love and condolences,” said Tom’s son, Esmond. He added, “In lieu of having visitors at our house, we’ve decided to meet at the church gymnasium on Wednesday and Thursday, June 22-23, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., for anyone who would like to come and share their sentiments and condolences.” The Aurora First address is 11400 E Mississippi Avenue, Aurora, CO 80012.

Information about the memorial service will be announced.

RMCNews with Joanne Smith; photo of Tom and Fuiono Gingerlei supplied.

16 Jun

RMC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REVIEWS PREPARATIONS FOR CONSTITUENCY SESSION

RMCNews – Denver, Colorado – During what was likely the last meeting of the RMC Executive Committee before the 2022 Quinquennium Session of the Conference, the Committee reviewed preparations on June 14 for its upcoming session. Reports are being finalized, it was shared, both in print and video, and the session program as well as materials for the delegates, are nearly ready.

Regular agenda items included the treasury report prepared by Darin Gottfried, RMC VP of finance, and presented by Jodi Coulter, associate treasurer, who reported that the base tithe for the Conference is currently up .23% over the previous year, though we currently have one Sabbath more in 2022 than we had in 2021. Commenting on the effect of inflation on the conference finances, the treasurers reported a 9.92% tithe increase over the past 10 years when adjusted for inflation. But we are down 8.07% so far in 2022.

We are currently more than $428,578 below budget, it was reported. In summary, treasurers stated that while non-tithe and even tithe numbers can be somewhat discouraging, it is always hard to follow a strong year of tithe gains-– 18.60% in 2021 through April. We still have 2/3 of the year to go and seeing some of what has been coming in for May remittances has given much hope for the reminder of the year.

Darin Gottfried expressed his gratitude to church members for their support of God’s work in RMC. “We are in a strong financial position,” Gottfried concluded.

After his return as delegate to the General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, Mic Thurber, in his President’s Report, briefly shared a few reflections about what he termed as “global Adventist camp meeting. “When you see a worldwide family of believers, it does something to you,” he said.

It never ceases to amaze me how impressive it is to meet with Adventist Christians from around the world when we gather for General Conference. We may not speak each other’s language, but we share each other’s Savior! And you can just sense it wherever you go among those who come,” Thurber said.

He was impressed by how congenial the sessions were, even when there was strong disagreement evident. “That’s a testament to how the Holy Spirit works among God’s people,” he added.

“I will confess to greatly missing the exhibit hall with all the booths from around the world where people shared stories of what God is doing in their territories, along with a slew of ministry materials and resources. The exhibit hall added much value to the session, making it feel like an Adventist, world-wide camp meeting. I hope in three years when we hold our next session, that the exhibit hall will be back.

“Though we didn’t always agree on the particulars of bylaws and church manual changes, we were truly united in our desire to see Jesus come quickly and for each of us to be involved in helping others get ready. In the end, that’s what matters most!” Thurber said.

Thurber also recognized that Literature Ministry is starting again with the natural enthusiasm of young people engaged in the ministry. He expressed his appreciation for meeting the LE team when they visited the RMC office the day before.

Among the decisions passed, the Executive Committee voted to grant company status to The Mile High Indonesian Fellowship. They are meeting in Aurora, Colorado.

Reporting for the education department, Dianne Harris, education superintendent, reported on teacher openings and the difficulties the education department has had with a severe teacher shortage. At the end of Spring, the schools had 17 teacher openings. She said that there are currently five to six openings to be filled and there is hope that these can be completed in time for the new school year.

Dianne Harris also informed the committee that Sandy Hodgson, who has been Vista Ridge Academy’s head teacher and principal, will join the education department as assistant director on July 1. She said “As we look to the future of RMC education, we are blessed to bring Sandy Hodgson’s 24 years of experience to broaden our teacher support. As we increase our professional development opportunities and bring added resources to our small schools, I know that Sandy will be a blessing to our teachers.”

The Committee passed a motion expressing appreciation to Pat Chapman for her 25 years of service to RMC as she is retiring, and, in particular, for her meal preparation at various events, especially for executive committee meetings.

The personnel report indicated that Michael Shannon is moving to Greeley on August 1. to take over as pastor there. Windsor/Elmshaven is now separated from that district, and Matt Hasty is the pastor there in addition to his duties as director of the Literature Ministry program. Pastoral openings exist in Littleton (senior and associate), Colorado Springs (senior), Franktown (associate), as well as the Glenwood Springs district.

The committee also voted to invite Nathaniel Gamble to serve as religious liberty director at RMC.

The Committee recognized with appreciation members whose service will be ending following the Constituency Session. They are: Morre Dean – Newday Christian Adventist Church (PorterCare representative); Meridee Mason – Cheyenne Adventist Church; Keith Messersmith – Lamar Adventist Church; Wayne Morrison – Brighton English Adventist Church; Lynn Nicolay – Palisade Adventist Church; Ron Price – Piñon Hills Adventist Church.

Doug Inglish, RMC VP of administration, commented that “this committee has exhibited the spirit of Christ in all its work. When there is disagreement within the body it has been respectful. When receiving disappointing reports, they have been understanding. When required to demand accountability they have been fair and compassionate. Whatever success has come during the quinquennium is in no small part a reflection of their leadership. Those who are leaving will be missed.”

RMCNews; photo by Mickey Mallory. Pictured is speaker of the devotional message, Daniel Birai, lead pastor of LifeSource Adventist Fellowship.

16 Jun

PRAYER SUSTAINS YOUNG LITERATURE EVANGELISTS

Rajmund Dabrowski – Denver, Colorado … Participation in regular morning worship at the Rocky Mountain Conference office increased by 18 visiting participants on June 13, representing a group of young literature evangelists.

“Our office leadership team had a serendipitous encounter with the LE team that leader Matt Hasty put together for this summer,” explained Mic Thurber, RMC president.

Joining in prayer, the RMC leaders “were so impressed by their dedication and excitement for the work ahead. As we prayed with and for them, we were deeply impressed that God will use them in powerful ways,” he added.

In preparation and planning for the 2022 summer canvasing, the group meets in Greeley, Colorado and a visit to the regional church offices gave them an opportunity to get acquainted with the head-office and its activities. The LE group regularly meets to pray, study to be better equipped in their work for the Lord, one participant explained. Canvassers also shared their witnessing stories with the RMC group.

“It was a huge blessing having our conference administration show support for our LE students and the hard work they are doing,” said Matt Hasty. As they meet people and share the gospel message, they will have many stories to share, Hasty added.

Noemi Borjon, RMC HR director, provided HR training for our Youth, which was well received, and she treated the LE team to lunch.

The RMC Summer 2022 itinerary is chiefly zeroing in on the State of Wyoming, including the following areas and dates: Greeley, Colorado–until June 24; Cheyenne–June 24 to July 1; Laramie–July 1-9; Casper–July 9-17; Sheridan/Buffalo/Gillette—July 17-22; Cody/Riverton/Rock Springs–July 22-29; and Star Valley Ranch–July 29-31.

Rajmund Dabrowski, RMC communication director; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

10 Jun

General Conference Session 2022 – Day 4

Thursday, June 9th, 2022 marked the fourth day of the hybrid General Conference (GC) Session in St. Louis, Missouri. It was also the final day of scheduled business meetings. The day began with a digital concert featuring linguistically diverse musicians from around the globe. The business session followed with a warm welcome from Stephen Apola, associate director of the GC. Charissa Torossian, Prayer Ministries Director from the North New South Wales Conference, virtually shared a compelling message entitled “The Life and Ministry of Mary Magdalene,” reminding listeners that when we are devoted to Jesus, we live for Him, learn from Him, seek to listen to Him, and long to be in His presence. She reviews the life of Mary, noting how Jesus was worth everything to her. Torossian asked the question, “What is Jesus worth to you?” The morning worship came to a close with a time of prayer.

Morning Business Section

A point of order was raised by Tim Standish who shared concerns of the limited time allowed for delegates to complete the registration process to share their opinion during discussion time, as he was unable to share his opinion regarding Nominating Committee Report #9. For this reason, Standish requested that the report be sent back to the committee. His request was denied as it was already passed.The morning business meeting was chaired by General Vice-President of the GC Guillermo Biaggi. The following agenda items were addressed:

Church Manual Amendments – Church Offices and Departments

  • Motion to delete section of “Ministry to People With Disabilities” in Chapter 8 from the Church Manual as a new section of Adventist Possibility Ministries has been added (item 420).
    • 1155 voted yes (95.1%); 60 voted no (4.9%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual to allow the auditing of church membership records (item 428).
    • This item was sent back to the committee as delegates expressed concerns with the word “auditing” for a previous item.

Church Manual Amendments – Discipline and Christian Living

  • Motion to add a new chapter to the Church Manual in chapter 6 on making disciples (item 429).
    • Several delegates expressed a desire to refer this item back to the committee for review requesting clarification on the definition of “discipleship” and translation challenges.
    • Motion to cease debate and vote.
      • 1332 voted yes (93.7%); 89 voted no (6.3%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 10 of the Church Manual regarding making disciples to make this section consistent with the new mission statement of the World Church, voted by the 2018 Annual Council (item 430).
    • Motion to cease debate and vote on previous motion.
      • 1397 voted yes (96.2%); 55 voted no (3.8%)
    • Motion to accept item 430.
      • 1413 voted yes (95.9%); 61 voted no (4.1%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 7 in the Church Manual on “No Additional Tests of Fellowship” to simplify the language of this section (item 431).
    • Due to delegate concerns with terms in the suggested amendments, many referred items back to the committee.
  • Motion to amend chapter 7 of the Church Manual to clarify that written notice should be given prior to both the church board meeting and church business meeting before voting to discipline a member (item 432).
    • Motion to cease debate and voting.
      • 1396 voted yes (97.6%); 34 voted no (2.4%)
    • Motion to accept item 432.
      • 1364 voted yes (97.1%); 41 voted no (2.9%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 12 of the Church Manual to add a direct quotation from the Bible regarding Sabbath-keeping (item 433).
    • 1363 voted yes (94.6%); 78 voted no (5.4%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 13 of the Church Manual to add a new section regarding premarital education and counseling to emphasize its importance (item 434).
    • Motion to cease debate and voting.
      •  1292 voted yes (95.1%); 62 voted no (4.9%)
    • Motion to accept item 434.
      • 1333 voted yes (98.3%); 23 voted no (1.7%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 3 of the Church Manual on missionary purposes of organization to express the importance of finding new ways to reach the diverse cultures of the world with the Gospel, including the formation of new mission groups (item 435).
    • Delegates motioned to reconsider item 435 by referring it back to the committee for review.
    • Motion to cease debate.
      • 1280 voted yes (98.7%); 17 voted no (1.3%).
  • Motion to amend chapter 6 of the Church Manual allowing the church board to recommend the removal of a member from membership to a business meeting but without discussion, debate, or the need to vote (item 426).
    • 1289 voted yes (99.2%); 11 voted no (0.8%).

AFTERNOON BUSINESS SESSION:

General Vice-President of the GC Geoffrey Mbwana chaired the afternoon’s business session, where the following agenda items were addressed:

Nominating Committee Vote for GC Corporation Board

The Nominating Committee presented the following votes for GC Corporation Board:

  • Vote to approve Ted Wilson (chair), Daisy Orion, Timothy Aka, Guillermo Biaggi, Dennis Carlson, Scot Coppock, Paul Douglas, George Egwakhe, Erton Köhler, Thomas Lemon, Geoffrey Mbwana, Hensley Moorooven, J Raymond Wahlen II, Josue Pierre, James Winegardner, Saw Samuel, Audrey Andersson as GC Corporation Board.
    • 525 voted yes (97.8%); 12 voted no (2.2%)

Three Angels Messages Project

A video presentation, hosted by Justin Kim, GC editor and assistant director of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries, recounted many individuals’ testimonies about how they encountered Jesus and now live to share the Gospel truth, the Three Angels’ Message, with others. It also shared several initiatives young people can become involved in to be part of this gospel sharing movement. We are the people who have been called to spread this message of hope before the end of time.

Resolution on the Holy Bible

Director of Biblical Research Institute Elias Brasil De Souza read the resolution of the Holy Bible found in the session agenda as item 124.

  • Due to the need for clarification and risk of possibly misunderstanding some sections of the statement, several delegates expressed the desire for the statement to be referred to the committee.
    • Motion to refer “Resolution on the Holy Bible” to the GC Administrative Committee.
      • 650 voted yes (59.1%); 449 voted no (40.9).
    • Motion to call the previous question (item 124) and cease discussion.
      • 1101 voted yes (88.9%); 137 voted no (11.1%).
    • Motion to reconsider the referral of the statement of the Holy Bible item 124.
      • 815 voted yes (62.5%); 488 voted no (37.5%).
    • Motion to cease all debate.
      • 1166 voted yes (91.3%); 111 voted no (8.7%).
    • Motion to refer item 124 to the committee.
      • 427 voted yes (31.9%); 911 voted no (68.1%).
    • Motion to call previous question and cease debate.
      • 1234 voted yes (94.1%); 77 voted no (5.9%).
    • Motion to approve item 124.
      • 1249 voted yes (88.8%); 157 voted no (11.2%).

Statement of Confidence in the Writings of Ellen White

Associate Secretary of the GC Elbert Kuhn shared the GC Statement of Confidence in the Writings of Ellen White as found in the session agenda as item 125.

  • Due to the need for clarity within this statement, a desire to refer the statement back to the committee was expressed by delegates.
    • Motion to cease debate.
      • 1052 voted yes (87.7%); 148 voted no (12.3%).
    • Motion to refer item 125 to the committee.
      • 507 voted yes (41.2%); 723 voted no (58.8%).
    • Motion to table item 125.
      • 642 voted yes (50.9%); 619 voted no (49.1%).
    • Motion to remove from the table item 125.
      • 1117 voted yes (82.0%); 246 voted no (18.0%).
    • Motion to cease debate.
      • 1224 voted yes (90.7%); 125 voted no (9.3%).
    • Motion to approve item 125.
      • 1189 voted yes (84.9%); 212 voted no (15.1%).

Biblical Hermeneutics: An Adventist Approach

Frank Hasel, director of the Biblical Research Institute, shared information with attendees about the book entitled Biblical Hermeneutics: An Adventist Approach. He noted the importance and value of understanding Biblical Hermeneutics and added that it is a helpful resource to consider adding to your library! Learn more about it here.

Constitution and Bylaws and Church Manual Amendments

Undersecretary of the GC Hensley Moorooven shared an updated and revised agenda after committee review which was sent to delegates via email regarding items 206 and 208. He made the following motions:

  • To remove the phrase “frontline denominational employee” for clarity and to add section 2 regarding minutes of the GC Executive committee (item 206).
    • Motion to cease debate and call the previous question.
      • 1155 voted yes (98.5%); 17 voted no (1.5%).
    • Motion to amend item 206.
      • 1166 voted yes (98.6%); 16 voted no (1.4%).
  • To amend item 208 allowing the GC Executive Committee to review and extend the postponement of GC Sessions and determine the timing for a subsequent session after a postponement.
    • Motion to cease debate and call the previous question.
      •  1066 voted yes (95.3%); 52 voted no (4.7%).
    • Motion to amend item 208.
      • 1054 voted yes (97.1%); 32 voted no (2.9%).

*All items regarding the Constitution and Bylaw Amendments have been completed. 

EVENING BUSINESS SESSION:

Due to a change in schedule, the evening session began with worship which included the deeply engaging message entitled “In the Beginning, There was Love.” Noemi Duran, director of the Geoscience Institute, recounted multiple examples of how animals’ capacity to be altruistic magnifies how the love of God is intended to be planted and demonstrated all throughout His creation. As a result, when we treat others poorly, we will never be able to reach their hearts. “Love, in contrast, can melt armors and turn walls into bridges,” she stated. This message was followed by a moment of prayer.

The meeting chair for the evening session was Thomas Lemon. The following motions agenda items were addressed:

Church Manual Amendments – Referred Items

Associate Secretary of the GC, Gerson Santos noted that all delegate comments regarding the referred items were taken back to the committee. As such, changes to the items were made and were again presented. He made the following motions:

  • To amend chapter 10 of the Church Manual to add the term “should be” in the place of “typically are” and “chosen” rather than arranged (item 405).
    • 899 voted yes (99.1%); 8 voted no (0.9).
  • To amend chapter 9 of the Church Manual regarding when and how the Nominating Committee is to be appointed, procedure for filling vacancies in the case of a standing nominating committee, and appropriate representation within members of church nominating committee (item 412).
    • 952 voted yes (98.6%); 14 voted no (1.4%)
  • To amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual to allow for three-year terms of office in exceptional circumstances, if approved by the conference (item 413).
    • 948 voted yes (98.9%); 11 voted no (1.1%).
  • To amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual regarding several changes to the Youth Ministries section with the intent to clarify and simplify points including age changes for Adventurers (4-9) and Young Adults (22-30) (item 421).
    • Motion to cease discussion and call the previous question.
      • 958 voted yes (96.7%); 33 voted no (3.3%).
    • Motion to amend item 421.
      • 940 voted yes (93.6%); 64 voted no (6.4%).
  • To amend chapter 10 of the Church Manual updating the list of church departments that should be represented in the local church board (item 422).
    • 1029 voted yes (98.5%); 16 voted no (1.5%)
  • To amend chapter 6 of the Church Manual to add a new section on Redemptive Membership review (item 427).
    • 1013 voted yes (98.9%); 11 voted no (1.1%).
  • To amend chapter 6 of the Church Manual to change the word “audit” to “review” to make it consistent with the rest of the document (item 428).
    • 1052 voted yes (99.2%); 8 voted no (0.8%).
  • To amend chapter 6 of the Church Manual by adding a section on discipleship (item 429).
    • 1042 voted yes (98.5%); 16 voted no (1.5).
  • To amend chapter 7 of the Church Manual to simplify the language of this section (item 431).
    • 1047 voted yes (98.9%); 12 voted no (1.1%).
  • To amend chapter 3 of the Church Manual to add a section regarding reaching the diverse cultural groups of our world (item 435).
    • 1038 voted yes (99.1%); 9 voted no (0.9%).
  • To amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual to include the use of electronic payments as a proper method of returning tithes and offerings (item 436).
    • 1017 voted yes (99.2%); 8 voted no (0.8%).
  • To amend chapter 1 of the Church Manual to allow for the principles in the manual to also be followed by a company without the need to repeat the word “company” throughout the manual (item 437).
    • 1052 voted yes (99.4%); 6 voted no (0.6%).

*All Church Manual items have been reviewed and voted on. 
The recorded livestream of today’s opening remarks, worship, and business meeting can be viewed on Youtube here. You can also access more information regarding GC Session, including the session agenda here. For information on the GC Session 2022 app, go to: https://adventist.news/news/2022-gc-sessions-first-official-app-goes-live.

This article was originally published on ANN website
photo courtesy of Tor Tjeransen Adventist Media Exchange

 

10 Jun

Adventist Church enjoys positive financial outlook despite turbulent times

On Tuesday afternoon at the 61st General Conference Session, GC CFO/Treasurer Paul Douglas delivered his Treasurer’s Report, giving an overview of the financial position and performance of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church over the past seven years.

Douglas began his presentation by recognizing how the present financial position of the Church would not be possible without God’s constant leading and providence—not only over the past seven years, but since the Adventist Church began in 1863.

“In 1863, when the General Conference was organized, the records tell us that there were 125 churches reporting a total tithe of $8000,” he began. “Nearly 160 years later, with more than 90,000 churches, the data shows approximately $2.7 billion in tithe, $1 billion in local church offerings, and $81 million in world mission offerings. This, my friends, is God’s money to be used for the mission He has entrusted us.”

“What a privilege is ours to partner with the Divine!” he said.

FINANCIAL POSITION AND PERFORMANCE 2015-2019

According to his report, the last quinquennium saw modest increases across world tithe and mission offerings, although considerably less than compared to the previous five-year period. While $12 billion was returned in tithe from 2015-2019, representing a 6 percent increase compared to 2010-2014, the previous quinquennium’s total world tithe increased by 32 percent. In comparison, $429 million was returned in world mission offerings from 2015-2019, representing an increase of 3 per cent compared to 2010-2014, although this previous quinquennium had an increase of 37 per cent.

“Giving for world missions has been on a steady decline over the years,” explained Douglas. “Today, for every dollar in tithe returned by church members, an average of 3.5 cents is provided for world mission offerings. In the 1930s, the peak of giving for world missions, the average was 60 cents.”

Despite only modest increases in tithes and offerings, the overall financial position of the Church at the end of 2019 was positive. At the end of 2019, the balance of cash and investments held by the GC was $344 million, a 7.9% increase from the start of the quinquennium in 2015. In addition, total assets increased by 5.6% to $513 million, and total liabilities decreased by 7.1% to $462 million.

Total revenues and gains for the quinquennium was an annual average of $243 million, of which more than 70% was from tithe and offerings. Meanwhile, total expenses were an average of $240 million, of which 32.3% was for appropriations to world divisions, GC institutions and the 10/40 Window. For a more comprehensive breakdown, you can read the full Treasurer’s Report.

POSITIONING THE CHURCH DURING COVID-19

After outlining the overall financial position of the church from 2015-2019, Douglas acknowledged the difficulties of COVID-19 for the first half of the new quinquennium—including the threat to life, widespread lockdowns and church closures preventing “the flow of tithes and offerings,” as well as the ability of many members to give due to business disruptions or job losses.

“The effect of the pandemic has not been limited to the threat to human life or economic well-being. COVID-19 has also been a threat to sustaining the fellowship of our Church, in that many buildings remain closed more than two years later,” he said, also acknowledging the many faithful members who “waited until the situation improved to remit their funds.”

Douglas acknowledged how Church leaders prayerfully sought wisdom in response to the pandemic and made the decision to “survive the crisis without affecting core mission.” Specifically, this meant not suspending financial appropriations to divisions, unions and institutions, but instead reducing administration costs across multiple strategies, including: suspending all travel, authorizing personnel to work from home, holding meetings on Zoom, postponing salary increases and reducing certain benefits, and reviewing and adjusting the operating budget, among others.

“We praise God that the core mission was not negatively affected in 2020 because the General Conference had preserved an adequate level of working capital and liquidity that allowed it to withstand the financial downturn,” said Douglas. “We praise God and give Him all the credit for giving us the guidance to have made it all possible!”

CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION—2021

Comparing the financial situation of the World Church at the close of 2021 compared to 2019, Douglas highlighted the “picture of God’s blessings that comes into view,” and how the Church has rebounded despite the financial downturn during 2020.

The balance of cash and investments for 2021 was $414 million (20.3% increase from 2019), total assets were $594 million (15.9% increase), total liabilities were $62 million (23.1% increase) and total net assets were $532 million (15.1% increase). At the end of 2021, 69.6% and 77.8% of total assets and net assets were held in the form of cash and investments, respectively.

The total revenues and gains for 2021 was $270 million, of which approximately 60% were from tithes and offerings, while total expenses were $215 million, of which 32.4% was for division appropriations, GC institutions and the 10/40 window. This position is overall more positive than the average reported for the 2015-2019 quinquennium. In addition, the GC reported 97.61% of the recommended working capital and 112.61% of liquid assets as compared to commitments for 2021, both measures being higher than in 2019.

Finally, 2021 showed a positive gain of just over $29 million for the GC’s main operating fund. One of the key drivers for this was a large distribution from the life-estate of a member, savings from reducing operating costs during 2020 and positive increases in tithes and offerings.

Rather than using the windfall from this large distribution to balance the Church’s budget, Douglas explained how his team was “convinced that God was testing our resolve and testing our readiness to be bold about finding innovative and impactful ways to engage in mission.”

This conviction led to the birth of the “Mission Impact Fund,” which will support grassroots I Will Go initiatives around the world by granting financial resources for mission initiatives administered by local churches. To learn more about this Mission Impact Fund and how to apply, read our article here.

GLOBAL FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVE 

One emphasis of this year’s Treasurer’s Report was on the global nature of the Church’s financial and operational structure, including how funds are distributed for mission, and how currencies and global markets have impacted the funds received by the GC. These were discussed in turn.

i. FUNDING DIVISIONS, INSTITUTIONS AND MISSION PROGRAMS

Each year, the GC provides regular and special appropriations to support the work of its divisions and attached fields for work in their respective territories, institutions and activities within the 10/40 window. In 2021, $67.6 million was distributed and this amount has remained relatively stable each year of this quinquennium so far.

In addition to funding the work of divisions and institutions, the Global Mission Program administered by the Office of Adventist Mission is specifically aimed at reaching people who have not yet received the gospel message. From 2015-2019, 5,467 projects were funded by a total $50.7 million, utilizing 1600 missionaries each year who entered new territories. The funding was split between the GC (41%), divisions (17.6%), unions (15%), local fields (20.1%) and other sources (6.3%).

Douglas addressed the work of the GC’s International Personnel Resources and Services (IPRS), the human resources department for missionaries and liaison between the GC and divisions in employing international service employees (ISEs). He highlighted how the GC Mission Board recently voted a proposal to refocus the resources available to IPRS according to new criteria that will target unreached people groups around the world. For more information on this “Mission Reset”, read our article here.

In his report, Douglas also highlighted the important work of the General Conference Auditing Service (GCAS) across the globe, which requires the second-largest allocation of the GC’s budget—at 6.7%, or approximately $22.6 million per year. This is used to employ approximately 300 professionals in 45 countries that service institutions at all levels of the church, including schools and colleges, ADRA country officers and other projects.

Finally, the topic of tithe parity was addressed in the Treasurer’s Report, which was decided at Annual Council in 2019 and will affect all 13 divisions. Put simply, to offset the disproportionally high tithe rate historically required by the North American Division, a newly established global rate of 3% tithe per year has been implemented for the remaining 12 divisions, up from 2% at a 0.1% increase per year over 10 years. To learn more about this, read our article here.

ii. FINANCIAL MARKETS, INFLATION AND LOOKING FORWARD.

Continuing to discuss the global nature of the church’s financial structure and outlook, Douglas presented a brief overview of the changes seen in global financial markets in recent years. The US dollar strengthened from 2015-2021, which meant that approximately 80% of funds received by the GC from certain countries were diminished by the behavior of six major currencies: the Brazilian Real, Mexican Peso, the Euro, Korean Won, Australian dollar and Philippine Peso. “This in turn decreased our ability to provide more support for the World Church,” he explained

Despite this, generally positive financial markets provided enough support for the Church’s financial operations throughout 2020-2021. Looking forward, however, the inflationary backdrop caused by government stimulus packages during the pandemic, as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, has changed the financial landscape and may pose future challenges.

“This was the start of an inflation cycle that is currently raging,” explained Douglas. “Labor costs, maintenance costs, operating expenses and materials have all grown more expensive for the Church as well as its members.”

Douglas also noted how the Ukraine crisis has placed increased stress on costs, and how the world seems to be “careening from one crisis to another, which surely, my friends, is a sign of the nearness of Time.”

“The Church is not immune to the prevailing economic realities and the turbulence these realities create as we engage in the Great Commission,” Douglas said. He then outlined five challenges the Adventist Church will face looking forward:

  1. Balancing growth and stability
  2. Ensuring sufficient working capital and liquidity
  3. Moving towards higher levels of self-support
  4. Dealing with uncertainties due to geopolitical conflict, currency volatility and changes in regulatory environments
  5. Understanding paradigm shifts brought about by crisis events, new technologies, and changes in generational thinking

Douglas finished his report by encouraging members that “regardless of the challenges enumerated and others that will emerge, we are assured that God is with us … As we partner with God, we have nothing to fear—not even failure itself. Jesus is coming my friends, let us get involved and finish this work, not by our might, nor by our power, ‘but by the Spirit, says the Lord’ (Zechariah 4:6).”

To read the full Treasurer’s Report for the General Conference Session 2022, you can download it here or watch the live stream here.

  • Angelica Sanchez contributed to this report.

This article was originally published on ANN website

photo courtesy of Tor Tjeransen Adventist Media Exchange

09 Jun

General Conference Session 2022 – Day 3

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022 marked the third day of the hybrid General Conference (GC) Session in St. Louis, Missouri. The day began with a digital concert featuring linguistically diverse musicians from around the globe. The business session began with a warm welcome from Esther Knott, associate director of the North American Division (NAD) ministerial department. Morning worship included a powerful message by Dr Jongimpi Papu entitled, “What Will You Give Me and How Will I Inherit It?” where he left delegates with the question, “can you hear God’s voice in your busy schedule?.” “Yes we should go beloved, there’s a lot of work we need to do, but if going is going to replace sitting with Jesus and dining with Him, you will not go very far.” He added that those who sit and eat with Jesus will be ready to share with others. Gem Castor, prayer coordinator for the Advocates for Southeast Asians and the Persecuted Ministries (ASAP), led a moving prayer session.

MORNING BUSINESS SESSION:

The morning business meeting was chaired by GC Vice President Ella Simmons. The following agenda items were addressed:

  • Undersecretary of the GC Hensley Moorooven reviewed items that have been accomplished. Items 201, 202, 203, 204, and 205 were voted and approved. Item 206 was referred back to the Constitution and Bylaws committee regarding the definition of “frontline” and the voting of an annual council.

Constitution and Bylaw Edits

  • Motion to amend the Constitution and Bylaws to allow for removal of the phrase “for cause” while adding its definition which will be applicable for the GC Executive Committee (item 207).
    • Motion to divide the question on motion, regarding item 207, into two parts.
      • 935 voted yes (57.2%); 699 voted no (42.8%).
      • *based on the desire of the delegates, item 207 has been divided into two separate items.
    • Due to delegate misunderstanding, Moorooven clarified that the first part of the initial motion being discussed is the phrase “or from membership on the General Conference Executive Committee.”
    • Delegate comments expressed an opposition for this motion. Many worry it will provide GC with too much power to remove non-compliant members of the Executive Committee.
    • Motion to cease debate and vote.
      • 1531 voted yes (91.5%); 143 voted no (8.5%)
    • Motion to amend item 207, part 1.
      • 1319 voted yes (82%); 289 voted no (18%)
  • Motion to approve item 207 part 2 by adding phrase “theft or embezzlement or conviction of or guilty plea for a crime.”
    • Motion to cease debate and vote.
      • 1539 voted yes (95.2%); 78 voted no (4.8%)
    • Motion to amend item 207, part 2.
      • 1436 voted yes (90.2%); 156 voted no (9.8%)
    • Motion to vote adding the following GC positions in section 4 of item 207: president, secretary, treasurer/chief financial officer, and vice presidents.
      • 1365 voted yes (94%); 87 voted no (6%)
    • Motion to vote amending section 7 from item 207.
      • Motion to cease debate and vote.
        • 1452 vote yes (92.2%); 123 voted no (7.8%)
    • Motion to accept amendment above.
      • 1301 vote yes (81.3%); 300 vote no (18.7%)
    • Motion to vote the proposed new section 7 for item 207.
      • 1516 vote yes (97.1%); 46 vote no (2.9%).
  • Motion to vote to amend section 1 of item 208 allowing only one postponement of GC Session in the future.
    • Delegates requested further clarification on this item. As such, the meeting moved onto the next point.
    • Motion to amend section 5 in item 208 regarding voting practices to ensure the highest integrity.
      • 1583 voted yes (97%); 49 voted no (3.0%)
    • Motion to amend sections 6 and 14 in item 208 the addition of this section for clarity, defining the parliamentary authority of the GC Sessions.
      • 1386 voted yes (87.3%); 201 voted no (12.7%)
  • Motion to amend item 209 allowing several GC committees can convene online.
    • 1282 voted yes (96.3%); 49 voted no (3.7%)

AFTERNOON BUSINESS SESSION:

GC Vice President Artur Stele chaired the afternoon’s business session, where the following agenda items were addressed:

General Conference Corporation Members Meeting

This meeting was chaired by Vice President of the GC Thomas Lemon. Associate Treasurer of the GC Daisy Orion made the following motions:

  • To appoint the 61st GC Session Nominating Committee to nominate the members of the Corporation’s Board of Directors.
    • 1106 voted yes (99.2%); 9 voted no (0.8%)
  • To adjourn the Members Meeting of the GC Corporation to Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 2:00 pm.
    •  Approved by common consent.

Nominating Committee Vote for Division Presidents (ECD, ESD, IAD, EUD, NAD, NSD, SAD, SPD, SID, SUD, SSD, TED, WAD)

The Nominating Committee presented the following votes for Division Presidents:

  • Vote to approve Blasious Ruguri (ECD), Mikhail Kaminskiy (ESD), Elie Henry (IAD), Mario Brito (EUD), Alexander Bryant (NAD), *Yo Han Kim (NSD), Stanley Edilson Arco (SAD), Glenn Townend (SPD), *Harrington Akombwa (SID), Ezras Lakra (SUD), *Roger Caderma (SSD), *Daniel Duda (TED), and *Robert Osei-Bonsu (WAD) as division presidents for their respective divisions.
  • The Nominating Committee shared a statement with delegates from ESD, requesting an extension of the term for the division’s current officers, including president Mikahil Kaminskiy, until Annual Council 2022 due to circumstances in the division.
    • 1489 voted yes (97.1%); 45 voted no (2.9%).

*non-incumbent

Constitution and Bylaws Amendment

  • Motion to amend section 5 (item 209) to replace the term “accredited delegates” to “credentialed delegates”.
    • 1319 voted yes (99.5%); 7 voted no (0.5%)
  • Motion to amend article XII and VII as found in items 210 and 211 to change the name of the Office of Archives, and Statistics to “Archives, Statistics, and Research”.
    • 1320 voted yes (99.6%); 5 voted no (0.4%)
  • Motion to amend to replace the word “mission” with “section” when referring to “union mission” or “local mission/field” to consider parts of the world where “mission” is a point of sensitivity which could inhibit the work of the church (item 212).
    • 1313 voted yes (96.9%); 42 voted no (3.1%)

Church Manual Amendments – Church Offices and Departments

Yesterday evening, item 412 was presented to delegates regarding the option to have a Standing Nominating Committee to provide leadership opportunities for new members between terms (not just at the end of the year), having proper representation of church population, and the ability for church boards to fill vacancies that occur between elections. Opportunity for discussion was brought up again.

  • Motion to cease discussion and vote
    • 1213 voted yes (94.2%); 75 voted yes (5.8%).
    • Item 413 was later skipped as it is co-related to the previous motion of item 412.
  • Motion to approve a directive to replace the word “reelect” with “elect to a new term of office” when discussing office nominations (item 414).
    • 1315 voted yes (99%); 13 voted no (1%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual to include the assistance of members with special needs as part of the role of deacons (item 415).
    • Motion to cease discussion and vote.
      • 1289 voted yes (96.3%); 49 voted no (3.7%)
    • Motion to vote initial item 415
      • 1244 voted yes (96.7%); 42 voted no (3.3%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual to include the assistance of members with special needs as part of the role of deaconesses (item 416).
    • Approved common consent.
  • Motion to amend chapter 5 of the Church Manual so that men and women can be voted into the local congregation as “company assistants” (item 417).
    • 1271 voted yes (97.9%); 27 voted no (2.1%)
  • Motion to add a new section to chapter 8 of the Church Manual regarding the importance of the Spirit of Prophecy and creates the position of a Spirit of Prophecy Writings Coordinator in the church, making clear that the Bible is the foundation and standard by which all writings must be tested (item 418).
    • Although there was great support for the motion, many delegates expressed concerns that the position could possibly pose a risk in misunderstanding Ellen White’s writings as superior to Scripture.
    • Motion to cease discussion and vote.
      • 1233 voted yes (86.4%); 194 voted no (13.6%)
    • Motion to vote item 418.
      • 943 voted yes (66.3%); 480 voted no (33.7%)
  • Motion to amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual to reword and further define the work of Adventist Youth Ministries (item 419).
    • Motion to cease discussion and vote. This item will be taken back to the committee and will not be voted on.
      • 1308 voted yes (97.7%); 31 voted no (2.3%).
  • Motion to amend chapter 2 of the Church Manual to add a direct quotation from the Bible (item 423).
    • 1268 voted yes (98.7%); 17 voted no (1.3%)

Church Manual Amendments – Church Membership

  • Motion to amend chapter 6 in the Church Manual by removing the confusing term “retired membership list” to clarify that there should only be one membership record while highlighting the need for it to be current and regularly updated (item 424).
    • Motion to refer item 424 back to the Church Manual Committee.
      • 602 voted yes (46.3%); 697 voted no (53.7%)
    • Motion to approve item 424
      • Motion to cease debate
        • 1208 voted yes (96.6%); 42 voted no (3.4%)
      • Motion to approve item 424
        •  1147 voted yes (97.1%); 34 voted no (2.9%)

EVENING BUSINESS SESSION:

Due to a change in schedule, the evening session began with worship which included the deeply engaging message entitled “My God Did This!” shared by Chair of Earth and Biological Sciences at Loma Linda University Suzanne Philips where she used biology to reinforce and remind attendees that we serve a great and powerful God who can be trusted.

The meeting chair for the evening session was GC Vice President Abner De Los Santos. The following motions agenda items were addressed:

Church Manual Amendments – Church Membership Cont.

  • Motion to amend chapter 7 of the Church Manual to state the board can only take the final action to remove members from church membership at death or at member’s request (item 425).
    • 1267 voted yes (98.4%); 20 voted no (1.6%)

Nominating Committee Vote for Division Secretary, Division Treasurer, and GC Associate Directors

Dr. Lowell Cooper addressed yesterday’s concerns of the Nominating Committee’s consideration for representation when electing individuals for GC positions. 2021 general statistics for representation were also presented highlighting cultural, gender, and age demographics.

The Nominating Committee presented the following votes for Division Secretaries and Treasurers (ECD, ESD, IAD, EUD, NAD, NSD, SUD, SSD, SID, SPD, TED, WAD):

  • Vote to accept *Musa Mitekaro (ECD), Viktor Alyeksyeyenko (ESD), Leonard Johnson (IAD), Eduard Haydinger (SAD), Barna Magyarosi (EUD), Kyoshin Ahn (NAD), *Hiroshi Yamaji (NSD), *Ch. John Victor (SUD), *Wendell Mandolang (SSD), Gideon Reyneke (SID), Michael Sikuri (SPD), *Robert Csizmadia (TED), *Selom Kwasi Sessou (WAD) as Division Secretaries.
  • Vote to accept Jerome Habimana (ECD), Vladimir Tkachuk (ESD), Filiberto Verduzco (IAD), Marlon Lopez (SAD), Norbert Zens (EUD), Randy Robinson (NAD), *Joel Tompkins (NSD), *Riches Christian (SUD), *Jacinth Adap (SSD), *Hopekings Ngomba (SID), Francois Keet (SPD), Nenad Jepuranovic (TED), *Markus Mussa Dangana (WAD) as Division Treasurers.
    • Combined vote to accept both proposals
      • 1473 voted yes (96.4%); 55 votes (3.6%).

The Nominating Committee presented the following votes for GC Associate Directors (AD) and Associate Secretaries (AS):

  • Vote to accept *Samuel Neves (AD of Communication), Hudson Kibuuka, John Taylor, *Julian Melgosa, *Richard Apelles Sabuin (AD of Education), Zeno Charles-Marcel, Katia Reinert, and Torben Berglund (AD of Health Ministries), Pavel Goia and Jeffrey Brown (AS of Editor Ministry), Robert Costa (AS of Evangelism), Anthony Kent (AS of Elder’s Digest), Jennifer Woods (AS of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty), Nelu Burcea (AD of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty), Scot Coppock (AD of Planned Giving & Trust Services), Stephen Apola (AD of Publishing Ministries), *Justin Kim (AD of Sabbath School & Personal Ministries), Eric Barbe (AD of Stewardship Ministries), *Nilde Itin (AD of Women’s Ministries), Pako Mokgwane (AD of PCM and GC Youth Ministries), and Andres Peralta (AD of Pathfinders, Adventurers of Youth Ministries).
    • 1471 voted yes (98.3%); 25 voted no (1.7%)

The Nominating Committee has completed their responsibilities for this 61st GC Session and have filled 140 positions.

*non-incumbent

Church Manual Amendments Cont. – Church Offices and Departments

    • Motion to amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual to establish a new ministry called “Adventist Possibility Ministries” be inclusive for all members to be engaged in ministry (item 419).
      • Motion to cease debate and vote.
        • 1141 voted yes (99.1%); 10 voted no (0.9%)
      • Motion to accept initial motion,
        • 1045 voted yes (99.6%); 4 voted no (0.4%)
    • Motion to amend chapter 6 in the Church Manual to add a section on redemptive membership auditing, as recommended by the Nurture and Retention Committee (item 427).
      • Chairman agreed to table this motion considering delegate recommendation for the motion to be reviewed by committee.

The recorded livestream of today’s opening remarks, worship, and business meeting can be viewed on Youtube here. You can also access more information regarding GC Session, including the session agenda here. For information on the GC Session 2022 app, go to: https://adventist.news/news/2022-gc-sessions-first-official-app-goes-live.

This article was originally published on ANN website

photo courtesy of Tor Tjeransen Adventist Media Exchange

09 Jun

You can trust us – part 2

We continue our interview with Matthew Moreland, RMC associate director of planned giving and trust. In this installment, we will ask Moreland about the estate planning and trust services available to RMC members and the unique features RMC offers its members.

NewsNuggets: People have heard planned giving and trust services offer estate planning, but they don’t really understand the steps needed or the services you offer, and all of the services are free of charge, correct?

Matthew Moreland: Yes, it’s free, and that’s probably the biggest thing that people don’t know. Before I joined the department, I didn’t know myself.

The Rocky Mountain Conference is unique in that we don’t require you to leave anything to the church. A lot of people do leave something to the church. I’d say the majority of people do, but this is a free service for your family. It also gives you peace of mind knowing everything is in order in case something happens to you.

NN: How does a member start the process?

Matthew Moreland: They can call or email us stating they desire to do a will or trust. We will send them an intake packet that will collect some basic information.

It can be a bit overwhelming for some, but when they call us, we can walk them through it. We can also do a visitation and sit down and meet with them and help them fill it out. After the packet is filled out, we send the information to our attorney, who makes sure the documentation is in order.

NN: You mentioned that you can do a visitation with members. How does that work?

Matthew Moreland: Typically, I go to their house or meet them at their church. However, when I do visitations that are far away, I try to meet with several different people. For instance, I just returned from the Western Slope where I visited five people. This is the Lord’s money, and I want to use it wisely and not just go out to meet with one person when gas is so expensive. I always try to bundle multiple visitations.

NN: What is the advantage of having the Rocky Mountain Conference serve as executor for a members’ trust and will?

Matthew Moreland: For a will, we prefer to have a family member be the executor. But if you don’t have a family member, the Rocky Mountain Conference is willing to step into that role. The executor will be closing out your estate. They’re going to be selling your house, paying off your bills, and doing your final tax return.

I can see how it can be intimidating, but a lot of family members will call us, and we’ll walk them through the process. That’s also a service that we provide.

NN: On the intake form, you ask for some personal information like bank account numbers and other financial information. Why do you need this, and how is this information safeguarded?

Matthew Moreland: I get asked that question a lot. This is mainly for when we are the executor. The simple answer is that we need that information to close out the accounts. It makes the process simpler and faster. That’s the main reason why we ask for that information, but also for use in distribution. We cannot distribute money to somebody unless we have their Social Security number. But even if we are not the executor, whoever is your executor will need that information. The process is so much smoother when all that information is in one spot.

Your information is extremely important to us. We keep everyone’s information locked up in our vault file room. We get audited every three years during which our processes are looked at critically. We have a process that we are required to follow completely, and we have done very well in our audits for a very long time. The information is very secure, and we handle it appropriately. That’s shown through our audits that receive high marks.

NN: Do you handle estates and wills for individuals who are not Seventh-day Adventists?

Matthew Moreland: Yes, if a spouse is not an Adventist, we will handle their estate planning if they choose to have us do so. In my experience, those we assist who are not Adventists are extremely grateful that we provide this service. And they’ve been very impressed with what we have done. I met with someone whose spouse was an Adventist, but they were not. The Adventist spouse passed, and the spouse left behind was very thankful for the way we handled the situation. We were able to get her a new estate plan set up and she was very happy that we would still do it for her.

NN: What do you want RMC members to know about your department and the process of estate planning?

Matthew Moreland: That the process is strictly confidential. Confidentiality is so important to us because, not only is it the law, but we don’t want to lose anyone’s trust. We would never divulge anyone’s information to anyone outside of our team.

This is an amazing service The Rocky Mountain Conference provides for its church members. Having a Will or Trust in place will give you the peace of mind that your estate will be distributed how you wanted it to be.

NN: Thank you, Matthew, for sharing these important services with RMC members.

Photo by iStock

09 Jun

Campion Academy celebrates a high-achieving class

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy celebrated the graduation of 47 seniors on May 29, the largest class to graduate in eleven years.

During the weekend activities, Friday evening’s Consecration and Sabbath’s Baccalaureate provided a spiritual emphasis for the graduates and their families.

The senior class praise team led the congregation in worship through music, highlighted by special performances.

On Friday evening, Christine Savage, spiritual vice-president of the class, introduced her father, Matthew Savage, as the speaker for the program. The evening concluded with the tradition of lighting candles, a symbol of passing the torch to the upcoming senior class.

On Sabbath, Campion Adventist Church joined the graduation celebration in the gymnasium and was blessed by speaker Jose Rojas, former NAD director of youth and young adult ministries.

As Commencement speaker, Rojas implored the students to take Jesus with them as they leave the academy. He highlighted the influence of his own academy Bible teacher, Pastor Paul Eagan, grandfather of graduate Christine Savage, who was in attendance at the event.

The members of the class of 2022 have been strong campus leaders and academically high-achieving. Twenty-seven students are National Honor Society members with grade point averages of 3.5 and above. More than half the class completed college credits during their years at Campion, some earning as many as 22 semester hours of college credit.

The graduates were awarded a total of over $1.3 million in scholarships from Union College and more than $3.8 million in total scholarships from Seventh-day Adventist universities across the nation.

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy’s communication director; photo supplied

09 Jun

MISSION AT CENTER OF NORTHEAST COLORADO CAMP MEETING

By Jon Roberts – Loveland, Colorado … Mission and outreach to the community was at the center of the Northeast Colorado camp meeting on June 4, which was held on the campus of Campion Academy.

The gathering was organized by 17 churches and featured the theme Our Greatest Need.  Speaker Hyveth Williams, director of the ministry program and professor of homiletics at Andrews University, interwove the theme throughout her presentations with the Sabbath worship message titled “Prince of Heaven is our brother”.

Reflecting on Williams’ presentations, Rajmund Dabrowski, RMC communication director, said he will remember the message of “Don’t give up on yourself as there is always someone who will recognize your need and value and will look after you.”

For Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, Williams’ conversion story was exciting to him because of the result possibility of mission and outreach. “The enthusiasm of Dr. Hyveth Williams, expressed in her preaching, was contagious. After hearing a portion of her conversion story, it was easy to see why she was so excited and passionate about Jesus. When you think about how good Jesus has been to us, shouldn’t we also be excited?”

The programs featured special music from various members and church groups.  “The music was inspiring,” Mallory explained. “The praise and worship team lifted our hearts to Heaven.”

The gathering also featured mission spotlights, including a report on the recent work done by the Adventist Community Services in response to the Marshall Fire. Cathy Kissner, RMC ACS director, told those in attendance that the ACS team served more than 3000 family units over five months.  Mic Thurber, RMC president, thanked Kissner for her dedication and hard work and presented her with a certificate of appreciation from the Rocky Mountain Conference.

Kissner also recognized her team of volunteers, Larry Brandt, Valerie Lowe, June Spaulding, and Pam White, who have put in numerous hours of service to minister to the communities of Louisville and Superior. Her team was also recognized by the state of Colorado for their service.

The gathering of participants also heard reports from the RMC literature ministries team, which featured personal stories of outreach and ministry in the community.

As the afternoon program and the camp meeting came to a close, members left the campus with mission on their minds. They could be overheard saying the messages by Williams, and the mission reports challenged them and encouraged them to serve in the community and be present for their neighbors.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication / media assistant; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski

09 Jun

G. Alexander Bryant Elected President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America

By Kimberly Maran — St. Louis, Missouri … On Wednesday afternoon, June 8, 2022, the General Conference (GC) in session voted to accept the nomination of G. Alexander Bryant as president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. Bryant is the incumbent; he began serving on July 9, 2020, when elected during a special NAD executive committee session, replacing the Daniel R. Jackson, who retired on July 1, 2020.

Soon after his election, Bryant briefly shared his thoughts. Said Bryant, “I am humbled by the election, and also privileged to serve and to lead the North American Division with such a tremendous team that we have in our office and across the territory. We’re excited about what God has planned and what He will do in our territory over the next three years; and we ask for your prayers.”

In addition to Bryant, the following presidents were voted for the term 2022-2025: Blasious Ruguri (East-Central Africa Division), Elie Henry (Inter-American Division), Mario Brito (Inter-European Division), Yo Han Kim (Northern-Asia Pacific Division), Stanley Edilson Arco (South American Division), Glenn Townend (South Pacific Division), Harrington Akombwa (Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division), Ezras Lakra (Southern Asia Division), Roger Caderma (Southern Asia-Pacific Division), Daniel Duda (Trans-European Division), and Robert Osei-Bonsu (West-Central Africa Division).

Before the vote, Lowell Cooper, chair of the nominating committee, explained the process of voting for the election of division presidents. “Every division has selected a group of its delegates to serve on the nominating committee. We have asked those groups of delegates to meet individually in a forum we call the division caucus. That group met under the facilitating work of a General Conference vice president or administrator to process the thoughts of the division nominating committee caucus concerning a leadership position of the president,” said Cooper. He shared that all 13 caucuses had come back to the nominating committee with recommendations, and the nominating committee approved them so they could brought to and voted on by the delegates.

The Euro-Asian Division caucus, and hence the GC Session nominating committee, did not bring a name to the GC Session to vote, but rather recommended to extend the term of office for the three current officers until 2022 GC Annual Council due to the unusual circumstances prevailing in the division, which is comprised of Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The delegates voted this recommendation through the block voting process, and therefore, the current president, Mikhail F. Kaminskiy, will extend his term of service to the GC Annual Council this fall.

“Privileged to Serve”

Before his 2020 election, G. Alexander (“Alex”) Bryant most recently served as executive secretary of the NAD and associate secretary of the GC, positions he’s held since October 2008 when elected at the GC Annual Council in Manila, Philippines. Bryant was reelected at the 2010 GC Session.*

Before coming to the division, Bryant served as the president of the Central States Conference in Kansas City, Kansas.

Bryant graduated with a double major in Theology and Business Administration from Oakwood College (now Oakwood University) in 1981.

He began his ministry that same year in Springfield, Missouri, and Coffeyville and Independence, Kansas. In 1986, Bryant was ordained, and he continued his education by earning a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University in 1988. The Central States Conference voted Bryant to serve as Youth/Pathfinders/National Service Organization director, Temperance director, and superintendent of Education in 1990. He became president in 1997.

Bryant is the second African American elected to serve as NAD president. Charles E. Bradford, the division’s first president, was also African American. Previous division presidents include Alfred C. McClure, Don C. Schneider, and Daniel R. Jackson.

He is married to the former Desiree Wimbish, who currently serves as an associate director and ministerial spouses coordinator for the Ministerial Association in the NAD. The Bryants have three adult children and three grandchildren.

In his comments, Bryant asked for prayer as he works with the divison to seek God. He said, “And as we seek to lead this division to places God will have us go, [we want] to be able to reach the people God wants us to reach.”

“I am privileged to serve, privileged to have been elected, and also excited at this tremendous opportunity to serve the Lord,” he concluded.

*At the 2022 GC Session it was voted that the NAD secretary and treasurer will no longer serve as associate officers of the General Conference.

–Kimberly Maran is NAD associate director of communication; photo supplied

This article was originally published on NAD’s website

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