Church in Jamaica to Become its
Own Adventist Union Conference
Three other management restructures in Latin America accommodate church growth
our administrative restructuring moves of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in and around Central America highlight the church's membership growth in the region, home to nearly 3.3 million members.
The action, approved April 7, 2010 by the world church's Executive Committee, creates new management regions in the Caribbean, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela. Church leaders said the adjustments reflect the growth and maturity of the church in those regions.
The Adventist Church in the island nation of Jamaica will become its own Jamaica Union Conference, thereby splitting the current West Indies Union Conference. Jamaica has nearly 250,000 members and is home to one of the highest ratios of Adventist Church members to population. Nearly 1 out of 11 people in Jamaica is a member of the Adventist Church, the largest denomination on the island.
The remaining areas of the former West Indies Union -- Bahamas, Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands -- will become part of a newly formed Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission, with about 25,000 members.
MAKING CHANGES: General Conference Associate Secretary Agustin Galicia proposes administrative changes in the Caribbean and Central America to Spring Meeting at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, Wednesday, April 7. The Inter-American Division required final approval from the world church's Executive Committee before restructuring management in four of its local unions. [photo: Rajmund Dabrowski/ANN]
A union is made up of several local administrative fields. A union with the "conference" designation is financially self-supporting, while a union with a "mission" status is still reliant on its parent management structure, a "division," for support and oversight.
The committee action also doubles the administrative structure for Colombia. Adventist churches in the South American nation are now managed by one union conference for some 265,000 members. The newly created North Colombian Conference and the South Colombian Union Mission will soon share these duties.
Also, a newly formed East Venezuela Union Mission will be added, replacing an eastern section of the Venezuela-Antilles Union Mission, which now serves 210,000 members.
In addition, the countries of Honduras and El Salvador, now operated by the Mid-Central American Union Mission, will each have their own union missions. Honduras currently has about 230,000 members, while El Salvador has about 195,000.
The move affecting Honduras and El Salvador takes effect January 1, 2012. The other changes will go into effect following this summer's Adventist Church 59th General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia.
"We're wanting to make these changes in recognition of the development of the mission of the church in those territories," said Agustin Galicia, an associate secretary of the Adventist world church.
"Take Venezuela, they had five local fields when they reorganized the territory in 1989," Galicia said. "Now there are 11."
"This reflects not just development and growth in those areas, but also maturity of the church and its finances in those areas," he said.
Once the changes are implemented, the church's Inter-American Division will be comprised of 21 unions, the most of any of the church's 13 world divisions.
Both Inter-America and South America are home to some of the world church's latest structural adjustments. In recent years, the Executive Committee has approved conference status for the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission, the Dominican Republic, and added a second union mission for Peru. Last year, the committee approved unions for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, countries that used to comprise the former Austral Union Conference.
-- Reported by Ansel Oliver, Adventist News Network