A key rationale for allowing the Executive Committee to make departmental changes between sessions is this need for flexibility in changing times. The decision to ask for a change in the way associate directors and associate secretaries are elected is designed to relieve pressure on G.C. Session nominating committees and newly elected departmental directors, some of whom have had to choose their associates with very little time.
The church did "not give up anything that is valuable" in taking the action, Paulsen said, but rather is enhancing the ability of church leaders to manage in a more dynamic fashion.
He noted that while "we have done things in a given way for so many, many years, perhaps there is another way."
The potential for "another way" may also extend to the operation of two church-owned publishing houses in North America, the Review & Herald Publishing Association (RHPA) in Hagerstown, Maryland, and the Pacific Press Publishing Association (PPPA) in Nampa, Idaho. Both presses have historic roots in Adventism: Review & Herald was the church’s first publishing house, and for many years operated in Battle Creek, Mich., and Takoma Park, Md. Started in Mountain View, California, PPPA is another long-time publishing house for the church. Both houses have been central to producing literature and magazines for the world church, as well as North America. Review & Herald prints Adventist Review and many editions of Adventist World. Pacific Press is lead printer on the Adult Bible Study Guide, the church’s Sabbath School quarterly.
However, Paulsen said Oct. 13, “publishing is also a business,” and “from time to time we have to ponder the question if we have the best arrangement of publishing institutions.”
Paulsen asked, “Have we put together the best publishing structure to serve the church?”
To find out whether that’s the case, Paulsen proposed – and delegates accepted – the creation of a commission that would have “the task of assessing publishing realities.” With members principally drawn from North America, the goal is to have the commission’s report ready for the 2009 Spring Meeting at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama.
Though the motion passed easily, Robert Smith, RHPA president, noted that the General Conference has studied the North American publishing system previously. He urged that the new commission would not “study us to death and make the cure worse than the disease.”
Smith asserted that RHPA made a profit of $100,000 in the year ending September 30. He said that if the General Conference “would give us all the work that is justifiably ours,” the press’ business would be stable.
Pacific Press president Dale Galusha told Adventist Review: “We welcome opportunities such as this to explore better ways to even more effectively strengthen the church, promote its mission and deliver faith-strengthening and spiritually inspiring books and materials to our church members.”