First Business Meeting
Fifty-ninth General Conference session, June 24, 2010, 2:00 pm
ESTHER KNOTT: Let us bow our heads. “Dear God, we love You, and we pray that as we gather in this holy convocation You know how much we love You and that we are committed to the message and the mission of this movement in which You have called us to participate. We invite Your presence not only into this place but into our lives as well. We seek revival. We seek reformation. We seek to live our lives in a way that will hasten Your coming, and we seek to be Your people who proclaim Your grace to the world. Thank You for what You will do, as we come in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.”
[Read the Scripture reading from Ephesians 2:6-10.]
M. CARMEN RODRIGUEZ: [Gave pastoral prayer in Spanish.]
JAMES R. DAVIDSON: [Introduced the devotional speaker, John Nixon.]
JANUWOINA NIXON: [Sang “Were It Not for Grace.”]
JOHN NIXON: [Presented a devotional message.]
LOWELL C. COOPER: Welcome, brothers and sisters, to the first business session of the fifty-ninth session of the General Conference. We have gathered in large numbers to celebrate what it means to be a whole family of faith and to engage people to share their thoughts. We are gathered to make decisions that are of great significance to the church.
As we enter into this first business session, perhaps there are just a few preparatory items that we should bring to your attention. There are six microphones placed on the floor. You will find them in the intersections. During the orientation this morning we learned how to participate in the discussion of business items by going to the microphone and presenting your delegate’s badge.
You may be interested to know that the first General Conference session in 1863 involved 20 delegates. The lowest number of delegates to attend the General Conference session occurred in 1871, with 14 delegates. We will hear in a few moments about the delegation to the fifty-ninth session.
Until 1889 General Conference sessions were held annually. Thereafter, once in two years until 1905; then we moved to a quadrennial pattern until 1970. Since 1970 the General Conference sessions have been held every five years.
Our purpose at this meeting this afternoon is to take care of a few organizational details. We will verify that this assembly meets constitutional requirements to convene as a General Conference session. We will approve the agenda for the session and appoint standing committees for the session. We will address some adjustment in the organizational units that form the General Conference constituency, and we will consider one constitutional change relating to session committees.
Our goal is to achieve all of the business by 3:45 or earlier, so that division caucuses can meet and select the membership of the Nominating Committee. We will need your cooperation, and we thank you for that in advance.
Perhaps it would be well if you would turn to your agenda notebook and take out the voting card and keep that readily accessible, because we will need it several times through the next hour. I am now going to invite Elder Matthew Bediako, the General Conference secretary, to lead us in the reading of the mission statement, the foundational statement for our work together here in this place.
The mission statement can be found on page 5 in your agenda notebook.
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: [Read mission statement of the General Conference.]
I move that we accept the reading of the mission statement.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you, Elder Bediako. We have a motion before us. Do we hear a second? [The motion was seconded and voted.]
[At this point the recording secretary, Tamara K. Boward, from the General Conference Secretariat, and Todd R. McFarland, from the Office of General Counsel, who will serve as the parliamentarian for the session, were introduced.]
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On behalf of my fellow officers I extend a hearty welcome to all our delegates and guests and their spouses. Guests are allowed to sit on the floor with the delegates, but only delegates will have voice and vote at the official business sessions. The secretaries of the division will make sure that all the delegates have their badges and agenda books. [The division secretaries were asked to stand and to supply badges and notebooks to those delegates who did not have these yet.]
The General Conference Constitution, Article V, Section 1, reads as follows: “The General Conference shall hold quinquennial sessions at such time and place as the Executive Committee shall designate and announce by a notice published in the Adventist Review in three consecutive issues at least four months before the date for the opening of the session. In case special world conditions make it imperative to postpone the calling of the session, the Executive Committee, in regular or special council, shall have authority to make such postponement, not to exceed two years, giving notice to all constituent organizations.” This is a regular session of the General Conference.
Mr. Chairman, the following notice appeared in the Adventist Review of February 11, 2010, February 18, 2010, and February 25, 2010. The announcement reads as follows: “Official notice is hereby given that the fifty-ninth session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will be held June 23 to July 3, 2010, in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The first meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m., June 23, 2010. All duly accredited delegates are urged to be present at that time. Signed, Jan Paulsen, president of the General Conference; Matthew Bediako, General Conference secretary.” Mr. Chairman, Article V, Section 5, states that the delegates to a General Conference session shall be designated as follows: regular delegates and delegates at large. Mr. Chairman, Article V, Section 6, of the constitution provides for the appointment for regular delegates by General Conference member unions, conferences, and missions and the unions of churches. These delegates have been duly appointed in harmony with the constitution. The secretaries of the divisions have reported the voting numbers of the regular delegates seated from their respective organizations as I shall read them: East-Central Africa Division, 125; Euro-Africa Division, 71; Euro-Asia Division, 72; Inter-American Division, 266; North American Division, 160; Northern Asia-Pacific Division, 40; South American Division, 176; South Pacific Division, 58; Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, 124; Southern Asia Division, 83; Southern Asia-Pacific Division, 104; Trans-European Division, 83; West-Central Africa Division, 84; making a total of 1,446 regular delegates. Mr. Chairman, Article V, Section 8, of the constitution provides for the appointment of delegates at large as follows: Section 8a, all members of General Conference Executive Committee shall be appointed as delegates at large. The number is 304. Section 8b, associate directors/
secretaries of the General Conference departments and associations. The number is 31. Section 8c, 20 delegates from General Conference appointed staff, 20. Section 8d, 20 delegates for each division, for a total of 260. Section 8e, each division is entitled to additional delegates corresponding to the number of division institutions within its territory, and the number is 50. Section 8f provides for other representatives of the General Conference and division institutions and other entities, and employees, field secretaries, laypersons, pastors selected by the Executive Committee of the General Conference and its divisions. The number of these delegates is 300. Mr. Chairman, by adding the 1,446 regular delegates to 965 delegates at large, the total delegates to assemble here is 2,411. Mr. Chairman, Article V, Section 3, states that at least one third of the total delegates authorized under Section 5 of Article V must be present at the opening meeting of any regular or specially called General Conference session to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Mr. Chairman, I’m happy to tell you that as a few minutes ago, 1,987 delegates have already registered, and I believe there will be even more registered. Mr. Chairman, this is the group of delegates provided by the constitution to initiate the work of the session. So, Mr. Chairman, I present this delegation to you at this the first meeting of the fifty-ninth session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. This group of delegates is now empowered to act on behalf of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists at this fifty-ninth session. Mr. Chairman, I’m happy to announce to you that we are waiting your call for the session to begin.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you, Elder Bediako. On the evidence that you have supplied that we have fulfilled constitutional requirements, I declare the fifty-ninth session of the General Conference open for business, and we will turn to you, Mr. Secretary, for direction in our agenda.
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, thank you so much. I will now ask that we turn to our agenda notebook. The agendas are numbered 100, 200, 300, and 400. Each agenda has a heading that is self-explanatory. These agendas will form the basis of our discussion. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I move the adoption of the agenda as listed, with the understanding that the chair will not necessarily follow the items in the order in which they are listed.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you, Elder Bediako. We have a motion to adopt the agenda. [The motion to accept the agenda was seconded and voted.]
Elder Bediako, we ask you to present the next item.
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, the General Conference bylaws state that each regular session General Conference may appoint committees as may be found necessary to consider items that may be referred to them, and to bring in their reports and recommendations to the session. We have four regular standing committees, the Church Manual Committee, the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, the Nominating Committee, and the Planning Committee. Mr. Chairman, in regard to the Planning Committee, to my knowledge and to the knowledge of those I have consulted, we have never utilized the provision to hold a Plans Committee. The General Conference Executive Committee has, therefore, studied this situation and is ready for the recommendation. At this time, Mr. Chairman, I would invite the undersecretary to make a presentation on the recommendation of the General Conference Executive Committee.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you. Larry Evans, please.
LARRY R. EVANS: I ask you to pay attention to page 31 of your agenda notebooks. There we have a constitutional amendment that is recommended by the General Conference Executive Committee. [He explained the changes that were being recommended, including a change in title to Steering Committee.]
Mr. Chairman, I would move this amendment in relation to the standing committee.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you very much. Do we have a second to the motion? It is seconded. Now we give an opportunity for comment or question. The motion before us is to adopt the changes that have been proposed. [The motion was approved.]
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Since this has been voted, now we would like to present all the standing committees, which are the Church Manual Committee, the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, the Nominating Committee, and the Steering Committee. I move the adoption of these committees.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you. Do we have a second to the motion? It is seconded. Elder Bediako, perhaps we could mention
the proposed membership of the Church Manual Committee, the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, and the Nominating Committee as constituted according to the provisions in the bylaws, and would you wish to comment about the membership of the Steering Committee as recommended by the Executive Committee? [Elder Bediako commented on the various committees.]
[The motion was seconded and voted.]
NILTON DUTRA AMORIM: I am wondering if we have just voted the terms of reference for the Steering Committee. Are we functioning with the bylaws that we had before, or are we moving to the bylaws that are going to be voted?
LOWELL C. COOPER: Brother Amorim, the action we took amends the bylaws, and we now will operate under the amended bylaws with respect to the functioning of the Steering Committee.
I think that clears the microphones; we will ask you to vote on the appointment of the Steering Committee only, and we will appoint the other committees perhaps in tomorrow’s session. [The motion was voted.]
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, I would like to move that we accept the General Conference Rules of Order as recommended. You will find a copy of these rules in your bag. I need to explain, Mr. Chairman we are not following Robert’s Rules of Order. We have composed the General Conference Rules of Order, and that is what we use as a denomination.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Your motion is that we adopt this document for our operations at the session. [The motion was seconded and voted.]
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, the Administrative Committee of the General Conference has recommended that a parliamentarian be appointed for the session. The name of that individual is Todd McFarland.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you.
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, as we get ready to do business for the Lord and His church at this fifty-ninth session, I will quote a statement from the Church Manual regarding the duties of delegates. It reads as follows: “A delegate to a conference/mission/field or constituency meeting is not chosen to represent merely the church or conference/mission/field. A seated delegate should view the work as a whole, remembering that he/she is responsible for the welfare of the work in every part of the field. It is not permissible for church or conference/mission/field delegations to organize or attempt to direct the vote as a unit. Nor is it permissible for the delegates from a large church or conference/mission/field to claim preeminence in directing affairs in a conference/mission/
field session. Each delegate should be susceptible to the direction of the Holy Spirit and vote according to personal convictions. Any church or conference/mission/field officer or leader attempting to control the votes of a group of delegates would be considered disqualified for holding office.” Mr. Chairman, fellow delegates, this is sound counsel for all of us to understand and to make sure that we follow that advice.
Now, Mr. Chairman, at this General Conference session we take note of those who have passed on. The delegations of this session represent about 16.3 million members and about 26,000 employees. This quinquennium some of these workers and also many retirees fell asleep in Jesus. We miss their friendship and their fellowship, their support and dedication to the cause they so much loved. We look forward to meeting them again on the resurrection morning. Mr. Chairman, I suggest that we stand for a few moments remembering our fellow workers. Also I will ask you, Mr. Chairman, to offer a prayer on behalf of those loved ones who have been left behind.
LOWELL C. COOPER: I invite the delegation to stand for a moment of silence. [His prayer followed.]
You may be seated.
I believe we have a speaker at microphone 4. Alvin M. Kibble, North American Division.
ALVIN M. KIBBLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. During previous sessions we were instructed that in matters on which our General Conference Rules of Order were silent, Robert’s Rules of Order would apply. Are we clear at this point that our rules of order have been carefully vetted so that they will cover all exigencies and that we will no longer require that kind of statement?
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you. Can we turn to our parliamentarian? Do we have guidance on that?
TODD R. MCFARLAND: That issue was not voted, at least not in St. Louis. I believe that the General Conference’s general approach in this has been that Robert’s might provide some guidance, but the point of developing our General Conference Rules of Order was that we wanted something different and something even perhaps not as comprehensive as Robert’s. This body is neither the British House of Commons nor the United States Congress. We want to leave some flexibility to handle God’s work in the way that the Spirit moves, recognizing there is a need for order and also recognizing that no one is going to try to manipulate the rules and get something passed on a technicality. So we have discussed this and decided that it is best to move forward, using Robert’s perhaps in terms of guidance, but not to be binding in any way.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you very much. Should we find ourselves in a corner where the General Conference Rules of Order seem to be inadequate, we will trust the will of the body to guide us in how we shall proceed.
Thank you, Brother Kibble. Back to you, Elder Bediako.
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, thank you. We have additional agenda items to deal with. You will find these in the agenda book, pages 6-16. I am happy to announce that during this quinquennium, several new unions have been created. Some union missions have gained new status as union conferences. And at this time the secretaries responsible for these divisions will present them.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you, Elder Bediako. Perhaps before we begin this section we would like to invite the delegates from each of these unions being addressed in the separate items to stand as the item is being read by the associate secretary and then subsequently voted upon. So we will begin at page 6.
AGUSTIN GALICIA: Mr. Chairman, I am reading from page 6. [Agenda item 104 was presented.]
LOWELL C. COOPER: It is moved and seconded and placed before us for consideration. [The motion to accept the Argentina Union Conference, the Paraguay Union of Churches Mission, and the Uruguay Union of Churches Mission into the fellowship of unions was accepted.]
Agustin Galicia: The previous unions that we just dealt with were from the South American Division; now we are moving to the Euro-Asia Division. [The motion was made to accept the Trans-Caucasus Union Mission into the fellowship of unions. It was seconded and approved.]
We are going back to the South American Division. [Motion was made to accept the Northwest Brazil Union Mission into the fellowship of unions. It was seconded and approved.]
In the Inter-American Division we have some new unions. [The motion was made to accept the Guatemala Union Mission and the Belize Union of Churches Mission into the fellowship of unions. It was seconded and approved.]
In the Inter-American Division still, we have another new union. [The motion was made to accept the Central Mexican Union Mission into the fellowship of unions. The motion was seconded and approved.]
Still in the South American Division, we have several other new unions. [The motion was made to accept the North Peru Union Mission and the South Peru Union Mission into the fellowship of unions. It was seconded and approved.]
We now move to the Belarus Union of Churches in the Euro-Asia Division. [The motion was made to accept the Belarus Union of Churches Conference into the fellowship of unions. It was seconded and approved.]
In the Euro-Asia Division we have the Far Eastern Union of Churches. [The motion was made to accept the Far Eastern Union of Churches Mission into the fellowship of unions. The motion was seconded and approved.]
It is recommended to accept the Moldova Union of Churches Conference into the world sisterhood of unions. [The motion was seconded and approved.]
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, we continue.
CLAUDE SABOT: It is recommended to recognize and record union conference status for the North Philippine Union Mission, effective July 1, 2009. [The motion was seconded and approved.]
It is recommended to accept the Swedish Union of Churches Conference into the sisterhood of unions. [The motion was seconded and approved.]
LOWELL C. COOPER: Now I believe there is a supplementary agenda item. Is that correct?
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Yes, Mr. Chairman. The unions that have been voted are already in operation. We also have a few unions that have been approved by the General Conference Executive Committee but have not yet started functioning. Instead of waiting for another five years, we want to bring their names here, to accept them into the sisterhood of unions subject to their organization before the end of 2010. Mr. Chairman, I would like to move this.
LOWELL C. COOPER: All right. Is there a second to the motion?
AGUSTIN GALICIA: Second.
LOWELL C. COOPER: It is supported. The motion is that we will recognize at this session the acceptance of some unions that have been approved by the General Conference Executive Committee and will actually become operational before the end of 2010. It appears we are ready to vote. [The motion was approved.]
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, the associate secretary will present these unions.
AGUSTIN GALICIA: It first concerns union conference status for the French Antilles-Guiana Union Mission.
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Second. [The motion to accept this new union was approved.]
AGUSTIN GALICIA: It is recommended to recognize and confirm the reorganization of the Colombian Union Conference into a union conference [the North Colombian Union Conference] and a union mission [the South Colombian Union Mission]. [The motion was seconded.]
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you to the delegates who are standing from this section. We do have someone going to a microphone, Dave Weigley from the North American Division.
DAVID WEIGLEY: Mr. Chairman, just for the record, could we please identify this division so there will be no confusion that our union, the great Columbia Union Conference of the North American Division, is not being reorganized.
LOWELL C. COOPER: All right, thank you very much. We’ll turn to Secretariat to help us with that.
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: Mr. Chairman, this is within the Inter-American Division.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you. The motion is before us, and we take it that you are ready to vote. [The motion was voted.]
AGUSTIN GALICIA: It is recommended to recognize and reorganize the Venezuela-Antilles Union Mission into two union missions: the Venezuela-Antilles Union Mission and the East Venezuela Union Mission. [The motion was seconded and approved.]
It is recommended to recognize and record the reorganization of the West Indies Union Conference into a union conference and a union mission [the Jamaica Union Conference and the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission]. [The motion was seconded and approved.]
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO: I’d like to move that we close this session.
LOWELL C. COOPER: We will do so in just a moment, Brother Bediako. When we adjourn from this room, we will proceed to the division caucus meetings. [A discussion regarding caucus room designations followed.]
“Our gracious heavenly Father, as we adjourn from this meeting place and go to other places to continue our business, we pray that we may be accompanied by Your Spirit and guided in all the decisions we make so that Your name and kingdom and work might be glorified through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
LOWELL C. COOPER, Chair
MATTHEW A. BEDIAKO, Secretary
CLAUDE SABOT, Proceedings Editor
REINDER BRUINSMA, LARRY COLBURN, GARY B. PATTERSON, and FRED G. THOMAS, Assistant Proceedings Editors
Fifty-ninth General Conference session June 24, 2010, 2:00 p.m.
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
VOTED, To record the reading of the Mission Statement of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA—GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION—2010
VOTED, To adopt the agenda for the 2010 General Conference Session as it appears in the Session agenda notebook, with the understanding that the order of business will be decided by the Session Steering Committee and the chairpersons of the business meetings.
SESSION COMMITTEES—CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS AMENDMENT
VOTED, To amend the General Conference Constitution and Bylaws, Bylaws, Article II—Session Committees, to read as follows:
ARTICLE II—SESSION COMMITTEES
Sec. 1. At each regular Session of the General Conference, such committees as may be found necessary, including the following, shall be elected for the duration of the Session to consider items of business that may be referred to them and to bring their reports and recommendations to the Session:
a. Session Church Manual Committee
b. Session Constitution and Bylaws Committee
c. Session Nominating Committee
d. Session Plans Committee
Sec. 2. Church Manual Committee—No change
Sec. 3. Constitution and Bylaws Committee: The chair of the Constitution—No change
Sec. 4. Nominating Committee—No change
Sec. 5. Steering Committee: The Steering Committee shall be chaired by the General Conference President or his designee. Membership of the Steering Committee shall be recommended to the Session by the General Conference Executive Committee. The Steering Committee shall meet as necessary to:
a. Manage and monitor progress of the Session and its programs,
b. Determine and amend, if necessary, the sequencing of the Session’s
c. Serve as the referral point for any new business item not related to the approved Session agenda or any business item that the Session wishes to refer for further study, other than items that rightfully pertain to standing Session committees,
d. Report to the Session, as needed, regarding the processing of proposals that have been referred for its consideration.
STEERING COMMITTEE—GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION—2010
VOTED, To approve the 2010 General Conference Session Steering Committee, as follows:
Jan Paulsen, Chair
Larry R Evans, Secretary
Members: Rosa T Banks, Matthew A Bediako, G Alexander Bryant, Sheri Clemmer, Lowell C Cooper, Karnik Doukmetzian, George O Egwakhe, G Thomas Evans, Mark A Finley, Agustin Galicia, Alberto C Gulfan Jr, Eugene Hsu, Gerry D Karst, Erton C Kohler, Jairyong Lee, Israel Leito, Robert E Lemon, Jose R Lizardo, Geoffrey G Mbwana, Armando Miranda, Todd R McFarland, Pardon K Mwansa, G T Ng, Barry D Oliver, Daisy J Orion, Orville D Parchment, Juan R Prestol, John Rathinaraj, Paul S Ratsara, Michael L Ryan, Roy E Ryan, Claude Sabot, Don C Schneider, Ella S Simmons, Artur Stele, Homer W Trecartin, Bruno Vertallier, Gilbert Wari, Bertil Wiklander, Ted N C
Invitees: Rajmund Dabrowski, William M Knott, Dian Lawrence, Halvard B Thomsen
GENERAL CONFERENCE RULES OF ORDER
VOTED, To approve the General Conference Rules of Order
to govern the business meetings of the 2010 General Conference Session.
MCFARLAND, TODD R , PARLIAMENTARIAN—GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION—2010
Todd R McFarland, Associate Director of the General Conference Office of General Counsel, will serve as parliamentarian at the business meetings of the 2010 General Conference Session.
ARGENTINA UNION CONFERENCE, PARAGUAY UNION OF CHURCHES MISSION, AND URUGUAY UNION OF CHURCHES MISSION—NEW UNION CONFERENCE AND NEW UNION OF CHURCHES MISSIONS
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Austral Union Conference into a union conference and two union of churches missions known as the Argentina Union Conference, the Paraguay Union of Churches Mission, and the Uruguay Union of Churches Mission, effective January 1, 2010:
2. To accept the Argentina Union Conference (SAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3. To accept the Paraguay Union of Churches Mission (SAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
4. To accept the Uruguay Union of Churches Mission (SAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
TRANS-CAUCASUS UNION MISSION—NEW UNION MISSION
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Caucasus Union Mission into two union missions known as the Caucasus Union Mission and the Trans-Caucasus Union Mission, effective August 19, 2008.
2. To accept the Trans-Caucasus Union Mission (ESD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
NORTHWEST BRAZIL UNION MISSION—NEW UNION MISSION
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former North Brazil Union Mission into two union missions known as the North Brazil Union Mission and the Northwest Brazil Union Mission, effective January 1, 2010.
2. To accept the Northwest Brazil Union Mission (SAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
GUATEMALA UNION MISSION AND BELIZE UNION OF CHURCHES MISSION—NEW UNION MISSION AND NEW UNION OF CHURCHES MISSION
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former North Central American Union Mission into a union mission and a union of churches mission known as the Guatemala Union Mission and the Belize Union of Churches Mission, effective May 20, 2008.
2. To accept the Guatemala Union Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3. To accept the Belize Union of Churches Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
CENTRAL MEXICAN UNION MISSION—NEW UNION MISSION
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former North Mexican Union Conference and the former Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission into a union conference and two union missions known as the North Mexican Union Conference, the Inter-Oceanic Union Mission, and the Central Mexican Union Mission, effective May 20, 2008.
2. To accept the Central Mexican Union Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
NORTH PERU UNION MISSION AND SOUTH PERU UNION MISSION—NEW UNION MISSIONS
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Peru Union Mission into two union missions known as the North Peru Union Mission and the South Peru Union Mission, effective January 1, 2007.
2. To accept the North Peru Union Mission (SAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3. To accept the South Peru Union Mission (SAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
BELARUS UNION OF CHURCHES CONFERENCE—NEW UNION OF CHURCHES CONFERENCE
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union of churches conference status for the Belarus Conference, effective November 13, 2008.
2. To accept the Belarus Union of Churches Conference (ESD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
FAR EASTERN UNION OF CHURCHES MISSION—NEW UNION OF CHURCHES MISSION
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union of churches mission status for the Far Eastern Mission, effective November 5, 2008.
2. To accept the Far Eastern Union of Churches Mission (ESD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
MOLDOVA UNION OF CHURCHES CONFERENCE—NEW UNION OF CHURCHES CONFERENCE
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union of churches conference status for the Moldova Union Conference, effective November 25, 2008.
2. To accept the Moldova Union of Churches Conference (ESD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
NORTH PHILIPPINE UNION CONFERENCE—NEW UNION CONFERENCE
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union conference status for the North Philippine Union Mission, effective July 1, 2009.
2. To accept the North Philippine Union Conference (SSD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
SWEDISH UNION OF CHURCHES CONFERENCE—NEW UNION OF CHURCHES CONFERENCE
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union of churches conference status for the Swedish Union Conference, effective January 1, 2010.
2. To accept the Swedish Union of Churches Conference (TED) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
UNIONS NOT YET ORGANIZED WELCOMED INTO THE SISTERHOOD OF UNIONS OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
VOTED, To allow unions that will be functioning in 2010, but that have not yet been organized, to be recognized and welcomed into the sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at this General Conference Session.
FRENCH ANTILLES-GUIANA UNION CONFERENCE—NEW UNION CONFERENCE
VOTED, To recognize and record union conference status for the French Antilles-Guiana Union Mission, and to accept the French Antilles-Guiana Union Conference (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, subject to the organizing meeting on November 7-11, 2010.
NORTH COLOMBIAN UNION CONFERENCE AND SOUTH COLOMBIAN UNION MISSION—NEW UNION CONFERENCE AND NEW UNION MISSION
VOTED, To recognize and record the reorganization of the Colombian Union Conference into a union conference and a union mission, and to accept them into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, subject to the organizing meeting July 11-14, 2010, as follows:
1. North Colombian Union Conference (IAD)
2. South Colombian Union Mission (IAD)
VENEZUELA-ANTILLES UNION MISSION AND EAST VENEZUELA UNION MISSION—NEW UNION MISSIONS
VOTED, To recognize and record the reorganization of the Venezuela-Antilles Union Mission into two union missions, and to accept them into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, subject to the organizing meeting on November 19-21, 2010, as follows:
1. Venezuela-Antilles Union Mission (IAD)
2. East Venezuela Union Mission (IAD)
JAMAICA UNION CONFERENCE AND ATLANTIC CARIBBEAN UNION MISSION—NEW UNION CONFERENCE AND NEW UNION MISSION
VOTED, To recognize and record the reorganization of the West Indies Union Conference into a union conference and a union mission, and to accept them into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, subject to the organizing meeting on November 28-30, 2010, as follows:
1. Jamaica Union Conference (IAD)
2. Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission (IAD)
Lowell C Cooper, Chair
Matthew A Bediako, Secretary
Larry R Evans, Actions Editor
Tamara K Boward, Recording Secretary
First Business Meeting (cont'd)
Fifty-ninth General Conference session, June 24, 2010, 6:55 p.m.
RESOLUTION ON THE HOLY BIBLE
VOTED, To approve the Resolution on the Holy Bible, which reads as follows:
Resolution on the Holy Bible
As delegates to the 2010 General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia, we reaffirm confidence in the divine revelation and inspiration of the Bible, its authority in the life of the Church and of each believer, and its foundational role for faith, doctrine, and conduct. The Bible conveys to us a message of salvation in the context of a cosmic conflict that reveals God’s loving, merciful, and righteous character.
The Bible presents Christ as the most sublime revelation of God’s love, as the Incarnate God, as the One who offered Himself as an atoning sacrifice, bearing our sins in order to reconcile us to God; He is presented to us as our only Mediator before the Father in the heavenly sanctuary. The Bible presents Jesus as the only reliable source of hope for the human race; a hope grounded in the pattern of His life, in the redemptive work of His ministry, in His death on the cross, in His resurrection from the grave, and in His soon return in glory.
The hope and message found in the Bible transcends times and cultures and satisfies the deepest needs of the human heart. In it the Church, as God’s end-time people, finds the good news that is to be proclaimed to all peoples and cultures in the fulfillment of God’s mission. The Bible’s message came to us through the work of the Holy Spirit whose guidance and illumination are necessary to understand it properly.
Since through the power and person
of the Holy Spirit the Bible can transform us and develop Christ-like character, we, the delegates of the General Conference in Session, call Seventh-day Adventist believers and fellow Christians everywhere to make the Bible their daily source for personal study. Let Bible study be accompanied by prayer and praise; let it be an open book in our homes to which we listen daily and an open book in our worship places where we collectively seek God’s Word. Let the power of the Bible shape personal life and relationships and empower a witness that points the whole world to the glorious return of our
Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!
VOTED, To appoint the following as
members of the standing Nominating Committee for the 2010 General Conference Session:
|Acevedo Del Villar, Cesareo
Akombwa, Harrington Simui
Argueta Escobar, Jose Alfredo
Baker, Delbert W
Barbosa, Jose Wilson Da
Bignall, Derek A
Calderón, Mario Augusto
Calvo Manso, Jesus
Catane Jr, Agapito Jamito
Catolico, Wilson Cachuela
Carvalho, Jader Fernandes de
Cerda, Marcelo Sergio
Chand, Rich Paul
Choi, Sangsook (Lisa)
Daniel, Eugene F
Davai, Thomas B
De Los Santos, Abner
Deocades, Orlando Salazar
Diop, Abdou Ganoune
Douff Thorbourne, Heraldo
Erfurth, Gunter Otto
Evangelisti do Ivo, Franco
Freitas, Elnio Alvares
Galusha, Dale Edwin
Gane, (Alva) Barry
Garcia Armas, Juan Marlon
|Gerhardt, Johann Helmut
Gigliotti, Rolando Enrique
Gill Krug, Carlos Ursus
Goecking Silva, Katia Rocha
Gray, Lewis F
Gullon, Roberto Oscar
Haapasalo, Erkki Olavi
Hart, Richard H
Helminen, Atte Markus
Hernandez de Argueta,
Hong Chin Oui, Leslie
Howard III, Roscoe J
Jackson, Daniel R
Jadhav, Ramesh Yadav
Javier Perez, David
Jose, Elizeth Lulemba
Kalbermater, Ignacio Luis
Khajekar, Benjamin Samson
Kim, Dae Sung
King, Donald G
Kyte, Robert E
Larmie, Samuel Adama
Laurent, Max Rene
Lazo Rivera, Barito Dione
Lima, Jose Carlos de
Lima, Mauricio Pinto
Lopes, Alexandre da Silva
Lopes, Marlinton Souza
Lopez Barrios, Rene
Loremus, Joseph Monius
Lozano Vergara, Leonel
Lumbanraja, Alvin Ramson
Luna Tamariz, Luis Miguel
|Mabuto, Alice Jean
Makinde, James Ade Kayode
Matthews, Jerome Paul
McFarlane, Rosalie Isobel
Morikone, Lincoln Satoru
Mfune, Saustin Sampson
Monnier, Eric Philippe
Tantia, Eufe Morada
Mpando, Angelina Stella
Muasya, Musyoka Paul
Muchanga, Girimoio Paulo
Muller Kyaw, Saw
Myrdal, Nina Kristel
Ng, Kok Hoe
Ocran, Thomas Techie
Okotto, Lorna Grace
Osei, Margaret Amma
Palacio Aubourg, Julio
Quiej Zapon, Baltazar
Ramos Giles, Orlando
Rao, Bhaskar Narendra
Rattu, Ferry Alfrits
Rodriguez, Jose Alberto
Roger, Guy Fernand
Roque, Abner Sibug
Ruben, Claude Marc
Ruiz, Rodolfo Manuel
Sandoval Ruiz, Samuel
Santiago, Leonino Barbosa
Santos Polanco, Mercedes
Saint Pierre, Mathias Theart
Silva, Helder Roger
Simpson Herrera, Pedro
Slushe, Dennis Raymond
Sousa, Domingos Jose de
Souto de Queiroz, Geovani
Sullano, Vede Lasta
Tatomelane, Pedro Donca
Teixeira Silva, José Eduardo
Torkelsen II, Max C
Torres De Dios, Tomas
Townend, Ronald W
Trevino, Max A
Van Treeck, Klaus Jürgen
Victor, Chinta John
Vilches Ferreira, Sergio
Vuniwa, Waisea Vusodamu
Wellio, Dorcas Ivy
Wu, Sze Fai James
Zinke, E Edward
Ella S Simmons, Chair
Agustin Galicia, Secretary
Larry R Evans, Actions Editor
Rowena J Moore, Recording
RON C. SMITH: [Opening prayer.]
MARK A. FINLEY: Welcome to Thursday evening, June 24, the fifty-ninth session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The delegates have assembled from approximately 200 countries in the world. We’ve come to enact the business of our Lord, and we have come to praise Him and to hear reports from around the globe to glorify God for the triumphs of the cross and the triumphs of His message. We have come to enact business, to elect officers. We welcome each one of you. We welcome those of you watching by television and the Hope Channel. Those of you watching by varied television networks, listening on radios. There are some 16 million Seventh-day Adventists around the world, and many of them tonight are watching or listening via the Internet, television, radio, and we here in Atlanta welcome those of you watching by media.
The host division is the North American Division, and I introduce Elder Don Schneider, president of that division, to give his welcome as host division.
DON C. SCHNEIDER: For years we’ve known that you would be coming to town, and we could hardly wait. We are so pleased now to see you. We hope that your time here is spent in a profitable way. Thousands of people are glad that you are here! Some of them don’t know the gospel, but because you were coming, Elder Gordon Retzer and others in this union prepared to tell them about Jesus. Hundreds have accepted Him. All of that is part of your coming here.
Thank you for being here.
GORDON L. RETZER: We greet you tonight in the name of Jesus, who loves His remnant church and who is coming again. On behalf of our Southern Union family, 250,000 members who worship in more than 1,000 churches, we say to delegates and guests and visitors, we are honored to have you visit our home, and we welcome you with open hearts.
Our membership is a world membership in the Southern Union. Indeed, our diversity is indicative of a fact that our roots reach deep into the soil of every continent of the globe.
It seems like just yesterday that I married a Southern girl with a beautiful smile and dancing brown eyes. My wife, Cheryl, joins me in a true Southern welcome.
CHERYL RETZER: In the South we have a special way of greeting people. We often hug you, and then we say, “Hi, y’all.” Since you are in our home tonight, why don’t you turn to the person next to you and say, “Hi, y’all”?
As a part of our presentation for this session, thousands of women from around the Southern Union gathered in downtown Atlanta for the purpose of meeting and helping needy people in the inner city. It has been our goal that Seventh-day Adventists would be known as people who show their love for Jesus by caring for others.
GORDON L. RETZER: We hope that delegates will profit from and enjoy the little gift that we have for you. It is a special pen with a laser pointer and USB drive that includes several Scriptures, the Bible in several languages, and also includes several Spirit of Prophecy books.
May God bless His remnant church as we worship and as we conduct the business that He has before us.
VANARD J. MENDINGHALL: If you are glad to be a member of the family of God, let me hear you say, “Amen.”
On behalf of the 177 churches, 19 schools, and almost 42,000 members of the South Atlantic Conference, we say welcome to Atlanta, the cradle of the civil rights movement, the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the home of the largest fish tank in the world, the home of historic Underground Atlanta, the home of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind
, the home of Ted Turner’s CNN. It is also the home of 57 percent of the membership of the population of this state.
I’m thinking about Paul when he said in Romans 12:13 to be creative in hospitality. I want to say tonight that Dr. Ed Wright and I are celebrating how the Lord has blessed us as we were creative in our own Southern hospitality working together, Georgia-Cumberland and South Atlantic, and so while we welcome you to Atlanta, we want to welcome those many persons who were baptized most recently as Ed Wright and I worked together with our pastors and our evangelists.
The Lord blessed us to the extent—join with me and celebrate and thank God for this most recent baptism last Sabbath and the days before—of 981 precious souls added to the kingdom of God. To God be the glory, great things He has done. Welcome to Atlanta!
EDWARD WRIGHT: For months, no, for years, we have been looking forward to this event, to the opportunity to welcome you to this, our home. The Georgia-Cumberland and the South Atlantic conferences worked together to bring the good news of Jesus to the people of this city of Atlanta. Searching for hope has changed the lives not only of the 981 that were baptized during the past few days, but of many more that have heard these claims for the first time.
Yes, we stand united, these two conferences, all that we represent in a mission to lost people. But we know that we are not unique in that, because you stand with us. This is in fact a family of God on a mission. We are here to accomplish His business. We trust that our time spent in this place will be memorable because of the presence of God’s Spirit among us, and know that wherever you are from and wherever you go you will always have friends right here in Atlanta. God bless you.
ELLA S. SIMMONS: Good evening. I do not have a Southern welcome for you. I welcome you only to the second business session of the fifty-ninth General Conference session. We have only two agenda items and one announcement. So with this, I call the business session to order, and we will first take the announcement. This is from Treasury. The treasurer’s report will be distributed tonight to the delegates for their study overnight.
The two items that we have on the business agenda are the Nominating Committee and a resolution that will come in conjunction with another item. By constitution, each division is required to elect from among its delegates members to serve on the Nominating Committee. This afternoon the divisions identified their members for the Nominating Committee. We propose that we scroll those names for your viewing and then take action after that. If the person who has those names will bring those forth on the screen, we can proceed. I do not see anything. So let us handle this a little differently. If you are willing to simply accept by your vote at this time the reports as presented from the divisions to Secretariat, so as to make it possible for the Nominating Committee to begin meeting this evening, that would help a lot. And what we can do is provide a list of all of those names tomorrow morning. That really needs to happen this evening, and to my knowledge there’s nothing in the constitution that actually requires a vote on the floor. It has been our tradition. [Todd R. McFarland came on stage and consulted with the chair.] We will have the Nominating Committee meet this evening. You understand that the official list of the Nominating Committee members will come to the body tomorrow morning from Secretariat. The reason Secretariat does not have the names this evening is that some of the divisions were not able to complete their work until just now. So if you understand what we’re going to do and it meets with your approval, let me see your yellow card. Thank you. So by consensus we are in agreement that we want the Nominating Committee to begin its work this evening. I’m getting another message. There is a possibility that we will have the official list by the end of this meeting. If it is ready, we will take the action at that time. If it is not, we will proceed as we have suggested.
The other business item will come after a portion of the program.
HORTENCIA F. FORRAY: [Worship in music: 1 Corinthians 13.]
DANA C. EDMOND: [Scripture reading: Colossians 3:15-17.]
DEL JOHNSON and CAROL BARRON: [Sang session theme song: “Proclaim His Grace.”]
MARK A. FINLEY: Approximately three and a half years ago the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met in Washington, D.C., and began to talk about what we might do as a leadership team to reignite a desire in the hearts of Seventh-day Adventists everywhere to read and study the Bible. What could tangibly be done to provide opportunities for our friends and neighbors to get involved more deeply in Bible study? It was out of the context of those discussions that Follow the Bible was born. Follow the Bible is an initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that we would follow the Bible not only with our hearts and our minds but with our eyes as it made an international journey. And so the Bible began its journey at Annual Council in the Philippines in 2008. And this 16.8-pound Bible, 18 inches long, 12 inches wide, was produced with the first of its 66 books in Spanish and the last in Korean. It has made its tour, and this Bible has traveled to more countries than any single Bible in the history of the world. It has now traveled across oceans, through continents, across deserts, into cities, villages, and towns. It has been welcomed by heads of state, it has been welcomed by kings and queens, it has been welcomed by princes and princesses, and thousands of Adventists have invited their friends to come to great Follow the Bible celebrations. This Bible has traveled to 128 countries. It has traveled 132,000 miles, and tonight it makes its entry at the General Conference session of Seventh-day Adventists at this opening session as we recommit our lives to a study of the Word of God. The Bible will enter just now. And now here comes the Bible escorted by the Berean Crusaders Drum Corps. Drum corps, forward march! [Entrance of the drum corps.]
Down through the centuries God’s people have been inspired and encouraged by the Word of God. Listen as the divine narrative with the words of the Bible and the words of Ellen White exalt once again God’s living Word.
[At this point, a presentation followed with several voices reading statements from the Ellen G. White writings highlighting the importance of the Bible, and ending with the following words]:
At Wittenberg a light that was to increase in brightness until the end of time was kindled. The Seventh-day Adventist Church was founded upon the surety of that. As my dear husband, James, would say, “We have no creed but the Bible.” And oh, what wondrous truths the Lord has revealed to us. The almost-lost gift of the Sabbath, the importance of the sanctuary, the true state of the dead, and the soon coming of Jesus. Build on the Word. The Word is to be our assurance. What do we hope to accomplish by having the whole world believe in Jesus if we do not believe in His love and find rest in His grace? We must trust implicitly to the Word of God. It is authoritative, and its promises will not fail. “Brothers and sisters, I commend unto you this Book.”
MARK A. FINLEY: These were the very last words that Ellen White gave to the General Conference in 1909: “Brethren and sisters, I commend unto you this Book.” Seventh-day Adventists still stand firmly on the Bible. Come with us now on a journey around the world. And view the odyssey of this Bible that has come to Atlanta tonight after its travel from country to country.
WORLD CHURCH INITIATIVE: [Follow the Bible video presentation.]
MARK A. FINLEY: I’m going to bring the Bible to the platform just now. Let me tell you where it has traveled. It came from North America down to the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division. Down to the East-Central Africa Division, to the West-Central Africa Division. To the Inter-American Division, to the South American Division. To the Trans-European Division, to the Euro-Asia Division, to the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, to the South Pacific Division. To the Euro-Africa Division, to the Southern Asia-Pacific Division. And now it returns here to the General Conference session, where each of us as delegates has the opportunity once again to recommit and reaffirm our commitment to the Word of God and our commitment to the Bible. Dr. Paulsen, would you join me, please?
JAN PAULSEN: The Bible contains everything that we treasure and hold high. Everything that defines us as a people, as a community of faith, rest on the Bible. The Bible is the means by which God speaks to us. Through it God’s mighty acts in history are disclosed. Through it God’s future is presented to us. By reading the Bible, we become acquainted with what God has in mind for each one of His created children. I invite you to stand as we pray and thank our God for having spoken to us in this manner and made this Book available to us. [Elder Paulsen offered prayer.]
MARK A. FINLEY: I’m going to invite the division presidents to join us with these delegations as we stand together and read a resolution on the Bible. To gather round this book that has traveled through their divisions, as we read a resolution on the Bible, and together we will reconsecrate ourselves to the Word of God. And so let’s read the resolution together. Following the reading we will once again commit ourselves as an entire delegation.
RESOLUTION: “As delegates to the 2010 General Conference session in Atlanta, Georgia, we as delegates reaffirm confidence in the divine revelation and inspiration of the Bible; in its authority in the life of the church and of each believer; in its foundational role for faith, doctrine, and conduct. The Bible conveys to us a message of salvation in the context of a cosmic conflict that reveals God’s loving, merciful, and righteous character. The Bible presents Christ as the most sublime revelation of God’s love; as the incarnate God; as the one who offered Himself as an atoning sacrifice, bearing our sins, in order to reconcile us to God. He is presented to us as our only mediator before the Father in the heavenly sanctuary. The Bible presents Jesus as the only reliable source of hope for the human race. A hope grounded in the pattern of His life, in the redemptive work of His ministry, in His death on the cross, in His resurrection from the grave, and in His soon return to glory. The hope and message found in the Bible transcends times and cultures, and satisfies the deepest needs of the human heart. In it the church as God’s end-time people finds the good news that is to be proclaimed to all peoples and cultures in the fulfillment of God’s mission. The Bible’s message came to us through the work of the Holy Spirit, whose guidance and illumination are necessary to understand it properly. Since through the power and person of the Holy Spirit the Bible can transform us and develop Christlike character, we, the delegates of the General Conference in session, call Seventh-day Adventist believers and fellow Christians everywhere to make the Bible their daily source for personal study. Let Bible study be accompanied by prayer and praise. Let it be an open book in our homes to which we listen daily. And an open book in our worship places, where we collectively seek God’s Word. Let the power of the Bible shape personal life and relationships and empower a witness that points the whole world to the glorious return of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.”
MARK A. FINLEY: Madam Chairperson, I move this statement as a resolution for the fifty-ninth session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. [The motion was seconded and voted.]
Dr. Paulsen has prayed a prayer of dedication for God’s people around the world. Will you as delegates now stand with me as the division presidents and our General Conference president lay their hands upon the Bible, as we pray a prayer of dedication of our own hearts, as we pray a prayer of dedication at this moment for us as delegates? [Prayer was offered.]
ELLA S. SIMMONS: We will now continue our business session. I will give you a moment simply to read for yourselves the names recommended for the Nominating Committee as they are scrolled on the screen. [Names from some divisions were screened.]
We will pause here. It was in the list provided by the Inter-American Division that a little glitch occurred. Everything has now been verified. We have added Claude Mark Reuben to this list before you. [The names from the remaining divisions were scrolled.]
AGUSTIN GALICIA: I so move that we accept the recommendations by the divisions.
ELLA S. SIMMONS: You have seen the names of those voted by their respective divisions and the General Conference to serve on the 2010 Nominating Committee. We have a motion before us. Is there support? There is. If there are no questions, we will move forward. [The motion was seconded and voted.] So this has concluded that item. I will remind the members of the Nominating Committee to meet with Elder Paulsen. This concludes the business for this section. Thank you very much.
JAN PAULSEN: I have asked one youth from each of the 13 world divisions to join me here in a circle of prayer. They will pray, first of all, a prayer of praise to God for having brought us safely together; praising God for salvation in Jesus Christ, asking God that the Holy Spirit will be the one who will hold us together and guide us through this session; praying to God that He will empower us to complete the mission that He has entrusted to us; and praying that in the process of engaging the whole church in the mission that has been given to us that we do not forget to include also those who are young in this task. We wanted to make this a circle, but we didn’t want to make it exclusive; we wanted to open it and make it inclusive. So by leaving it open in this way, we are saying to you that you are part of this circle of prayer this evening. Please bow your heads with me as we pray, and Brian is going to start. [Thirteen youth prayed in their native languages in this Global Circle of Prayer program.]
Heavenly Father, You have heard the petitions of Your children. Grant, O Lord, that the plea we have placed before You, the prayers that have gone from us, may be acceptable to You and that You, O Lord, who can do mighty things, will take the resources this church has and use them fully. We place them at Your disposal. Use them, O Lord, fully to accomplish the design You have. We have no other agenda than to be useful to You. We pray, Lord, that You will help each one of us to be faithful until we meet our Lord and Savior face to face. This we pray in His name, amen.
CORO DE DYCKMAN: [Sang “You Are My Hiding Place.”]
JAN PAULSEN: The video report that you will see this evening, as the first segment of my report, you may find a bit unusual. It will not be what you would normally associate with the president’s report. It is not going to be a report in statistics or numbers. There are multiple millions that have been brought into our church through a huge global initiative in reaching out through evangelism. These reports will come to you primarily in the evening reports from the divisions and in other reports.
You may remember that 10 years ago in Toronto we defined three core values that we said were descriptive of what is really important to the church and to the agenda of the church: growth, unity, and quality of life. These three encompass everything that our Christian living is about and our mission. I would like to show you just a few snippets of how these values are impacting or have impacted the life and witness of our church in various parts of the world field. [Video was shown.]
My closing appeal to those who are present here and to the many who are watching by television is that you make a commitment, personally, to reacquaint yourself with the Written Word of God. Without it you will not find the direction, nor will you have the energy, to finish the journey.
Now, a personal comment. Many of you have asked me during the past two or three years, “What is going to happen in Atlanta? What plans do you have? Are you going to retire? You seem to have good health. What are you going to do?” And I have not given an answer. I have always dodged that one. I didn’t know the answer, although my wife and I have talked about it between ourselves and often in prayer. And yet it is not easy to know, as we have had no direct revelation. If some of you get any revelation over the next few days, please communicate it to me. We have to use our own best judgment, and have said to ourselves, that maybe, maybe, it seems to us maybe, this is the time for us to leave, maybe, and yet at the same time we recognize there is a process by which the church makes its selection. We have been served well by the church and by the way the Lord has led in the processes to give the ministerial and leadership assignments to the church’s servants, including ourselves.
So we are straining and stressing with how to relate to that. I thought that I needed to open my heart just a little bit and let you know that we have struggled with this one. And I am not sure that we have the answer to give at this very moment, but the Lord continues to lead us every day. It has been an honor, a joy, and an immense privilege to serve and to enjoy the trust that you have given us these many years.
As I come to the end of my comments I want to leave you with the words of the Irish blessing “May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, may the rain fall softly upon your fields, and until we meet again, may the Lord keep you safe in the palm of His hands.”
ELLA S. SIMMONS, Chair
AGUSTIN GALICIA, Secretary
CLAUDE SABOT, Proceedings Editor
REINDER BRUINSMA, LARRY COLBURN, GARY B. PATTERSON, and FRED G. THOMAS, Assistant Proceedings Editors