Adventist Leadership Meeting
Opens With Family, Bible Emphasis
‘Mission of Hope’ is theme; ‘Follow the Bible’ due for launch
BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor, with reporting from Ansel Oliver                   [Return to Main Menu]
and Rajmund Dabrowski, Adventist News Network
e have a message of hope, for we have God's message to communicate to the world," Pastor Jan Paulsen, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, declared Oct. 10 as he opened the 2008 Annual Council of world church leaders.
GIFTED HANDS: Dr. Ben Carson is one of the world's most respected neurosurgeons and a devout Seventh-day Adventist. Carson, 56, said he prays for guidance before every surgery. [Photo courtesy Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly/RNS]
The Adventist 'Mission of Hope' includes a responsibility to communicate God's message to the world, world church president Jan Paulsen told more than 300 church delegates meeting in Manila today. His comments launched Annual Council, the church's fall business session. [photo: Rajmund Dabrowski/ANN]
Manila becomes the venue for the annual business session for the second time in 27 years, Paulsen noted in remarks to more than 300 meeting delegates, and hundreds of local Seventh-day Adventist Church members, during a live broadcast from the Philippines International Conventions Center at start of the council, which runs through October 15. [Read Paulsen's complete sermon].
"We are one global family," Paulsen said. "This is why we plan together. This is why we spend quality time in deciding an agenda and using our resources in accomplishing what God has in mind for His church."
Paulsen said the meeting's “Mission of Hope” theme, stood in contrast to media reports where there often "doesn't seem to be a lot of hope."
He added: "In obedience to God we will do all we can to be his instruments and to be faithful in what he has called us to do. Your leadership is committed to serve the church and the Lord to the best of our ability."
Alberto C. Gulfan, Jr., president of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, welcomed Annual Council delegates and said Philippine state president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo “extends a welcome and sends her greetings” as well. Gulfan noted that there are 600,000 baptized church members in the Philippines and 1.35 million attending Sabbath School weekly in the division.
Gulfan also introduced a video report from the division noting the “Hope for Big Cities” evangelistic outreach in Manila, Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand; and other centers. Hundreds have been baptized following such campaigns, the report noted.
Opening the Friday evening worship service, Mark Finley, the church's vice president for global evangelism and witness, pointed to the importance of the Bible in the life of Christians, another recurring theme of the Annual Council.
“The Word of God … recreates us into the image of Jesus,” Finley said in the sermon broadcast live via the church’s Hope Channel. “Personal spiritual revival only occurs as we encounter God in His Word.”
GIFTED HANDS: Dr. Ben Carson is one of the world's most respected neurosurgeons and a devout Seventh-day Adventist. Carson, 56, said he prays for guidance before every surgery. [Photo courtesy Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly/RNS]
 Korean group Golden Angels, blesses the crowd in song. [Photo: Rajmund Dabrowski]
On Saturday, it's expected that some 15,000 Adventists from the Metro Manila area will witness the launching of the church's initiative, Follow the Bible, a specially produced Bible with one book in each of 66 different languages. The special Bible, whose display is intended to rekindle the daily need for connection with the Bible, will travel to six continents and culminate at the next world congress in Atlanta, Georgia, United States in 2010.
Annual Council is attended by the church’s full Executive Committee voting body, and is the only meeting in which church policy is voted. Up for discussion are topics ranging from the church’s structure to the appropriation of its funds, as well as progress made in the church’s mission efforts and its global AIDS ministry.
The church holds Annual Council in a location outside North America approximately every five years. This year’s effort relied heavily on months of advance work, including weeks of on-site logistical and administrative tasks, from staff members and leaders of the world headquarters’ Treasury and Secretariat departments. This included coordination of hotel accommodations for hundreds of visitors, the planning of meal services, and ground transportation to and from the PICC.

                                                                                                    --Elizabeth Lechleitner contributed to this story


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