The 60th Session of the General Conference opened on July 2 in San Antonio, Texas. Several thousand Seventh-day Adventists from nearly every country of the globe began their spiritual convocation and world church business meetings under the theme “Arise! Shine! Jesus is Coming!” and what seems a timeless theme song, “We Have This Hope.”
The day’s program included the first business session and a report on the state of the church by president of the world church, Pastor N C Ted Wilson.
The official opening of the session included the sitting of the delegates and determining that there is a quorum. The world church delegation represents nearly 19 million adult Seventh-day Adventists. A small group of delegates is still to arrive. The session paid a tribute to the ailing president of the South Pacific Indian Ocean president, Alberto Gulfan.
One of the most engaging moments of the day came with the testing of the electronic voting devices. It is usually expected that some glitches may occur but it wasn’t expected to try the devices to be operational four times. Some have commented that this is the story of the day and we hope the devices will work when they need to work most.
One of the session actions of the morning was to welcome new administrative units of the world church. More than thirty units, which consist of unions, conferences and missions, were introduced and voted into the sisterhood of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The delegates were introduced to a group of Seventh-day Adventists from Hungary who recently reconciled with the main church after a split from the main body for the last forty years. Commenting on the developments, which culminated in the April 23 declaration of reconciliation, Raafat Kamal, president of the Trans-European Division, said “I praise God for His grace in bringing both communities to the foot of the cross where Christ-like forgiveness, healing, and love have taken over minds and hearts.”
The president of the church, Ted N C Wilson, led in a prayer of dedication, expressing an appeal to the delegates and attendees “to accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of some differences of opinion that may be evident on certain subjects.” The delegates knelt together and prayed. For many, the appeal referred to expressions of dissent on several agenda items and especially on the upcoming vote regarding the issue of women’s ordination.
At the conclusion of the morning business session, the delegates representing individual divisions and the General Conference were requested to meet with their respective caucuses to elect members that would make up the nominating committee, a group tasked with electing the new leadership of the world church.
The nominating committee began its deliberations with the election of the chairperson and will continue its work on Friday morning, July 3rd.
The Nominating Committee, with 252 members, began deliberations with the election of the chairperson as its first agenda item and will continue its work Friday morning, July 3. Ed Barnett was selected to sit on the Committee.The first nomination to come will be that of the president of the General Conference.
As the General Conference in session is the highest church legislative body, it goes without saying, all Seventh-day Adventists are being asked to commit to prayer the convocation, its deliberations and actions, which are under consideration. NewsNuggets will be reporting on the major developments of the Session.