Fourth Business Meeting
Fifty-ninth General Conference session, June 27, 2010, 9:15 a.m.
JOSE MARIN: [Opening prayer.]
PARDON K. MWANSA: Welcome to our business session this morning. Thank you so much to our musicians, and I would like us to praise and thank the Lord for how He has led us over the weekend. We had a wonderful worship, we had great sermons and reports. Last night was a lovely focus of just what the Lord is doing in our world divisions.
I would like to make some observations regarding how we intend to transact business this morning.
Those who were with us when we began the business session already know the parliamentarian is on my right, Todd, and to my left is our secretary this morning, Dr. Rosa Banks, and Tami Boward is at the end of table. This is the team that will work with us this morning.
We had an assigned interpreter for the Spanish language announced already. I would like to announce that for the Portuguese language, Elder Leo Ranzolin has been provided by the South American Division.
For any person wishing to use Portuguese as the language by which they wish to address the assembly, Elder Leo Ranzolin or his appointee will serve as translator.
Our president, Elder Wilson, has asked me to announce the schedule of the Nominating Committee meeting tomorrow, as well as the time of the business meeting.
From 7:30 in the morning to 9:00 in the morning the division caucus groups will meet. The definition of a division caucus group is: the division members who form the Nominating Committee and in some instances those additionally named who join the members of that division. I am defining to make sure that when division caucus meetings are held tomorrow, not everyone is expected to go to that caucus group, because the division caucuses are not for all division delegates. They are only for the members of the Nominating Committee from that particular division, and in some instances we have three or so divisions that included additional members who will sit with the Nominating Committee members during the division caucus group.
This caucus meeting will occur from 7:30 to 9:00 in the morning in the rooms previously assigned to you.
The same caucus groups will again meet at 1:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon tomorrow.
Division caucuses meet two times, first to recommend presidents of the divisions, and the second time to recommend to the Nominating Committee the names of the executive secretary and treasurer of the division.
An observation was made on Friday, when our Treasury team led by Elder Lemon made its presentation; there were some delegates who expressed the desire for more time. Elder Lemon has voluntarily suggested and accepted that he will take questions directed to him from any of the delegates who may have wanted to ask a question from the Treasury report that was presented. Elder Lemon has chosen to sit somewhere in the back so that those who need to ask him questions will have the opportunity to do so.
Now to the business of the day.
I invite you to turn with me in our agenda book to the 200 series items, beginning with item 201 and going all the way to 229. Those items are Constitution and Bylaws agenda items. It is our plan and intention this morning to attempt to cover agenda items 202 to 210. Naturally, your voting cards should stay handy by your side. Constitutional items come to us at a General Conference session after they have been processed through many groups, including the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. There are two observations I would like to make. The first is that constitutional items are very important to the life of the church, and in most cases they tend to generate quite some discussion. The second is that at the beginning of our meeting it is not my intention to suggest putting a cap on how long people speak; however, if, as we progress in the meeting, it should become clear that there are many people wanting to speak to items, I will ask at that time for your guidance on whether to limit the time that an individual may speak. And now in introducing our agenda items this morning, our president, Elder Wilson, has requested Dr. Paulsen to introduce the agenda items that have to do with the constitutional items. I’d like to invite Dr. Paulsen at this time to introduce the subject of the constitutional items.
JAN PAULSEN: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, brothers and sisters, my comments will first be of a general nature; then we will come to some specific items. You know that while we have been together here we have on several occasions been able to recognize and affirm that which is constant and permanent in our church. The Word of God is the basis for everything we hold sacred, and our faith is built on the Bible. The Word of God is constant; it is permanent. Therefore, our doctrines and our spiritual values that identify us are sure. They are part of our spiritual personality as God’s people. But you know the church is a dynamic community. We are human beings, we live in a society of human beings, we represent many nations and cultures, and we are in a time of rapid growth. So because we are a dynamic community, there are many things that change. We need to be able as a church to define our structures in a manner that makes it possible for us to have dexterity enough to move with the changes that are affecting us. We should do that in the most efficient and effective manner in order to fulfill the mission of the church.
Now, take just these matters of the Constitution and Bylaws. All structures, all constitutional provisions, are there to help the church to be effective and to keep the church united. It is important for us as a church to make sure that in all these arrangements that we have that impact the way we do business, we are able to stay united. The unity of the church has very, very high value to us. Also, we are a missionary community, we are a missionary organization. All of the arrangements—structural arrangements and constitutional provisions—are there to help the church be a missionary community. We must do our mission as effectively, as efficiently, as expeditiously as possible. So we will define our structures, our organizational arrangements, and our functional specifications in a manner that will make that possible. I want to underscore that, because this is very, very important.
During the past quinquennium we have had a commission at work studying structures, ministries, and services. The church needs to ask itself, constantly, whether the arrangements that we have in place now describing the organizational structures of the church and the Constitution and Bylaws provisions are keeping us on course. Are they the best ones for us today? That’s the question you have to come back to constantly. So the church will from time to time be looking at structures, at the Bylaws and the Constitution. Also, is this the most effective way for us as a church to do our business? If it is not, then maybe we should change. It may have been the best way to do it 20, 25, 30, 50 years ago, but it may not be the best way to do it today and it may not be the best way 10, 20 years from now if we are still here. This is why I am saying that addressing issues having to do with structures, with organization, with services, with the Constitution and Bylaws, affect the dynamics of the church and the dynamics of the world in which we live. Let me give you one example. The Annual Council of the church, which is the full Executive Committee of the church, meets once a year. A year and a half ago we met in Manila. While we were there, there was a major financial meltdown. You are all acquainted with that. We had no way of knowing the extent of the crisis on an hour-by-hour or even day-by-day basis. We did not know how this financial meltdown would impact either the nations or the church. We are impacted by the finances of the world because our people go to work, receive salaries, and make payments. Everything that financially impacts the larger society also impacts our church. So we asked ourselves at that time, bearing in mind that this commission had already been at work for about three years, what changes we should make in view of the fragility of the structures of the secular world. Do we have enough dexterity to be able to move and make changes that can best serve the church? Have we given ourselves the ability to respond to the many changes that come, not necessarily invited by us, but because they are happening in the larger society? It is important for the church if we are going to use our resources most effectively and if we are going to function in a most efficient manner, for us to give ourselves the dexterity in functional matters so that we can deal with changing circumstances.
Against that backdrop we looked at matters that have to do with our election procedures here at the session. We looked at matters having to do with the departments of the church, and possible changes that should be made that could result in changes to the Constitution. We looked at these things because we felt they are part of the missionary life of the church. They are part of the way we use our resources. Are we operating in the best way? We are electing individuals to positions while we are sitting here in session. The Nominating Committee has a huge task. Those of you who sit on the Nominating Committee, or have sat on the Nominating Committee of a session in the past, you know that the General Conference session you attend is totally different from the one everybody else attends, because you spend your time in the Nominating Committee. It is an all-consuming exercise, and it takes time. The Nominating Committee’s work this time is to fill, depending upon the decisions you make here this morning, at least 75 positions, possibly as many as 110 or 115. These many decisions have to be made in a short period of time. Now, 50 years ago we were much smaller. The range of responsibilities and choices were not numerically the same as they are today. Have we got the best system in place at a session for you to function responsibly in choosing these individuals? Are we asking the Nominating Committee as your servants to do too much and to do it too hurriedly? Do we reach a point where it becomes physically impossible for them to discharge their task with due attention simply because there is so much to do? Maybe not enough thought can be given to the many options before. That is one of the main issues that lies behind one recommendation that is coming to us this morning.
We also asked ourselves whether the departments, ministries, and services that we have at the General Conference are locked in such a manner that we have no possibility of changing anything except every five years when we come together. As we sat in Manila, we were aware of the fact that large global corporations, when they are massively impacted by the financial exigencies of the hour, over a weekend make huge changes affecting their organization and their staffing. We need five years to make changes, because we come together only every five years. Is there an effective way to do otherwise? Is there a more responsible way for us to do it? That was one of the big issues behind one of the items that we will come to this morning. Mr. Chairman, I will be happy to address these individually when we come to them.
But let me just make one more point. As we look at the world field we have defined the structures of organization in such a way that the local church is the first level, and the local conference or local mission or local field is the second level. Then we have union conferences or union missions, which is the third level of organization. And we have the General Conference and the world divisions, which are the General Conference in a given area of the world. For many years we have recognized, in our working policy, that we have some countries or some part of the world field that for geographical, language, or cultural reasons—and for others as well—cannot effectively blend into an organization that is multinational or multilingual, but can most effectively take care of their mission if they are a fairly small confined unit. These areas are defined as a union of churches. Effectively it takes away one of the levels of organization in that you don’t have both a local conference administration and a union administration. So we have now today, in our global church, somewhere between 15 and 20 unions of churches. You have voted some here already at this session. Belize, in the Inter-American Division, is one of the latest examples. It was my joy to be with the people in Belize when we celebrated the establishment of that as a union of churches. Please don’t confuse this specific provision with the larger areas that are already well established and where the church is strong and growing and where two levels of organization serve the church.
Mr. Chairman, maybe I should leave these as general comments, and then I will be happy to speak more in detail later if necessary. Thank you.
PARDON K. MWANSA: We thank Dr. Paulsen for these clarifications and explanations so that we can proceed with the items before us. And so at this time I would like to invite Elder Gerry Karst, who serves as the chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, to lead out in these items.
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are on page 34 of your agenda book, item 202. What we have here, and in the next item on page 35, in a sense need to be discussed together, but we need to take separate actions because of the way the Bylaws are written.
This will impact the work of the Nominating Committee because what this section is recommending is that the election of the department associates be delegated from this body to the General Conference Executive Committee at Annual Council. The General Conference Executive Committee is one of our more representative bodies around the world between sessions. It is made up of all the General Conference officers, the division officers, the union presidents, frontline workers, laypeople, and institution directors, so that body represents the world field between sessions. Thus we would defer the election of the associate directors and secretaries of associations to that body, and not have them elected here at the session. Rather, that work would be done by the Annual Council in October. If that is your wish, then it would become effective and operative for this session immediately, so we would not have to wait for five years in order for this to be in place. Now, Mr. Chairman, the process I would like to follow for the items that we have here is to invite Elder Larry Evans, who is the secretary of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, to read the items for us, and then we will bring it to a motion.
PARDON K. MWANSA: We will proceed in that order.
LARRY R. EVANS: On page 34 of your agenda notebook, item 202 is written out. We begin each of the amendments with a rationale statement, a kind of summary statement helping you to see the totality of that particular article. I will read the rationale statement and then the proposed wording.
Beginning with line 18, section 1, you will notice that we have the cross-out of the associate directors. This is in concordance with what Elder Karst has suggested. The other changes on the rest of this page are simply editorial. We make no changes to the Constitution without bringing them here. Perhaps I should just mention that when we talk about the Executive Committee we are talking about the General Conference Executive Committee, and the words “General Conference” are underlined because those are additions. I would move it.
PARDON K. MWANSA: We have a motion on the floor. Do we have a second? [Motion was seconded.]
GERRY D. KARST: Mr. Chairman, I would like to add one further explanation before we come to the discussion. One other rationale that is mentioned here briefly at the end of the introductory sentence is to allow more time and input to be given for finding complementary department associates. Let’s say, for example, that a department becomes vacant by virtue of a retirement and that a new director is appointed at a General Conference session—that new director may not necessarily be acquainted with the current associates who are in the department, and yet within a matter of hours is expected to put together a team with which to work for the next five years. If this proposal is approved, departmental director will have time from the end of the session in July until the Annual Council in October to seek counsel, consider the team, look at the construction of the group that is going to work in this department, and be in a better position to bring recommendations at the time of the Annual Council for putting that team together.
PARDON K. MWANSA: At this time we will open the floor for comments in support of or against the motion. The floor is open. The chair recognizes C. Garland Dulan.
C. GARLAND DULAN: Mr. Chairman, I recognize the importance of efficiency and the importance of the time spent by the Nominating Committee at session. My concern with this item has to be with transferring the authority of this fully represented body to a body that is not completely represented at the General Conference Executive Committee.
PARDON K. MWANSA: A point of order has been called, and I will take that before we proceed further.
WAYNE MC CLEAN: Has there been a time limit on speakers? My concern is this may be a long discussion, and as we begin to run out of time it will be necessary to limit a speaker’s time. I would suggest that we set up a time limit now. I would like to move a two-minute limit.
PARDON K. MWANSA: I would like to
at this time proceed in the manner in which I suggested. There are not many people at the microphones right now. Should it come to a point where the chair deems it necessary, I will be glad to entertain that motion. For now we will proceed with Dr. Dulan.
C. GARLAND DULAN: At this body associate departmental directors can vote; they are members of the delegation. At the General Conference Executive Committee associate directors do not have voting privilege; they have only voice. So what this action does is transfer the full opportunity for people to vote here to a body in which they can only speak and cannot vote.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Lewis Ondiek.
LEWIS ONDIEK: Nominating Committee people are selected from all the entities, and they understand and know who can really be an associate or department director. A departmental director may not know who comes from which area, so I feel that the Nominating Committee should be given the opportunity to elect as it has done in the past.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Barry Hill.
BARRY HILL: On line 8 of page 34 I suggest that we add the words “of departments,” because if you look to line 22 you see associate directors again. To be consistent, I would suggest adding those two words to line 8.
PARDON K. MWANSA: It’s noted. Thank you. The chair recognizes James Ade Makinde.
JAMES ADE KAYODE MAKINDE: I’m not speaking in favor of or against the motion. I’d like to point out that until directors and associates are elected at the General Conference session, divisions and unions subsequently are held for the election of their own directors so as not to distort the process. There’s no point electing someone only to have them called by the General Conference later.
Second, whoever becomes an associate eventually may become the director. What this means is that the appointment of directors of tomorrow is being restricted or limited to the Executive Committee today.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Joan Saunders.
JOAN SAUNDERS: When we select those people for the Nominating Committee, it comes from a very broad spectrum. And I’m very happy to know that the representation is broad. It also gives us as delegates an opportunity for comments when the report comes back out. And for those reasons I am more in favor of the Nominating Committee keeping this function rather it going to the Executive Committee.
PARDON K. MWANSA: I have a point of order called.
NO NAME: Regarding the point that Barry Hill raised, if you add associate directors of departments, you need to add the word “association,” because the Ministerial Association is not a department.
GERRY D. KARST: I think that would be all right, but I need to remind you that the General Conference Auditing Service also is not a department at the General Conference.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Heather-Dawn Small.
HEATHER-DAWN K. SMALL: The comments I would like to make have to do with the practicality of this particular motion. As a director if you are in office and the General Conference session has passed, you would wait four months until Annual Council for associates to be chosen. Then you would wait four to six months for them to get their visas and move to the country. So moving this to Annual Council will mean that the associate may not come into the office for another 10 to 12 months.
In the year following the General Conference session, we have advisories, and a lot of planning goes into preparing material for advisories. What we’re really saying here is that the director will bear the burden of the entire workload until the associate can come to the General Conference and serve.
And finally, Mr. Chairman, on the point of more time, I would think that that item would apply to everyone chosen at Nominating Committee. I would think we would need more time to choose the president, the vice presidents, the department directors. So I’m not sure how that applies here to the associates.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Jonathan Kuntaraf.
JONATHAN KUNTARAF: We appreciate the concern of Elder Paulsen that we need to be more effective and efficient. But in the eyes of departmental personnel, this is less effective and less efficient, as we have to wait longer in order have associates enter service. Actually, we have to plan and act immediately, especially in children’s ministry. But the new director has to wait to select the associate after a few months, and it takes a longer time for transition. Some of this will slow down the process of the work.
PARDON K. MWANSA: We will go to the same microphone and acknowledge John Fowler, please.
JOHN M. FOWLER: Mr. Chairman, I stand to oppose this motion. Several reasons have been given as to why this motion is on the floor. This particular recommendation has come as a result of the work of a commission that has functioned for several years during this quinquennium. This commission was charged to look at the structure of the church. But while the commission was still working, several positions that were added to the church, positions as high as vice presidents of the General Conference. I would like to suggest to the august delegates here that the ministry of the church, to a large extent, is carried out by the departments. The departmental directors and their associates are the ones who carry the various aspects of the ministry to various nooks and corners, villages and small towns and large cities. They carry this ministry valiantly and do their job effectively. And so I feel that it is necessary for these men and women, who carry the ministry to the world at large, to have the imprimatur, the stamp, of the world church in session, just as we have functioned before. When they go as elected directors and associate directors of this body, they carry a stamp of approval that would not be so evident if they were simply elected by an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee being as small as it is, it is not the same as the world church in session. When the world church makes an appointment, it has a very specific meaning, very specific authority, and a very specific mission, and that will be diluted if that appointment is given over to the Executive Committee. I would like also to suggest that if we could have time to elect all others, we could have time also to elect a few more. As I see, we have only about 26 or 29 associate directors, some of which are perhaps retiring. In my 52 years of service, 30 of them have been spent in departmental work. And I have noticed that the departments have been merged, amalgamated, and deamalgamated. For 30 years we have been playing with the departments.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you, Dr. Fowler. We will go to Aymer Sarria.
AYMER SARRIA: Good morning and thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity. It’s an honor to be part of this selected group. I belong to the new Colombian Union. And I want to add my concern to what was said before by the other members and what was said by Dr. Paulsen. I think that it’s not only a risk but might be a danger to carry through with the proposal that was made. There is a word from Ellen White that admonishes us about the concentration of power in one location, such as would be the case with the Executive Committee of the General Conference.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you very much. Let me make an observation. I realize that we have about 10 people needing to speak, according to the screen I have here in front. If your point has been made by some other speaker, you may not want to repeat the alreadystated ideas. Should it come to where we still have more people needing to speak, I may suggest a time limit for speakers. But if we limit comments to fresh ideas, I think we will do it.
KONE ALLAH-RIDY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m speaking in favor of the motion that the associates should be elected at the Executive Committee. Because we know that departmental activities are specialized ones, we need experts to do the work, and they are best chosen at the Annual Council. So it is good for the associates to be elected at the General Conference Executive Committee. Thank you.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you for the comment. It has become fairly clear to me that we need to put a time limit on speeches, because as I look on the screen here we have many people that want to speak. We need to have a motion that will help us limit the time for each speaker.
ROSA T. BANKS: Mr. Chairman, in the interest of time, I move that we limit the time for the speakers on the floor to two minutes, or three minutes if a translator is being used.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Do we have a second to that? Yes. [Motion was approved.] I’d like to request that you abide by the time. It will help me not to have to stop you when you go beyond your time.
PASSMORE N’GANDU MULAMBO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to speak. When I look at the composition of the delegates, I want to believe that these are men and women who have had some experience and an idea of who can further the work of the Lord effectively. I am convinced that the Nominating Committee at the General Conference session will be able, guided by the Holy Spirit, to provide effectively even for the associate directors.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you, and that was only one minute 10 seconds. Our next speaker is Julie Weslake.
JULIE WESLAKE: Yes, good morning. I’d like to speak in support of the motion. I do believe that the directors who are appointed will need time to consider their associates, and in some of these specialized ministries I believe the director will know the people in the world who are best suited to complement them. Thank you.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you. We will go to the next speaker, Gideon Nwaogwugwu.
GIDEON CHIMAEZE NWAOGWUGWU: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am speaking in favor of the motion. I am a little surprised that many of the people who have spoken against the motion are members of the Executive Committee. This church has operated on a system whereby an Executive Committee represents the entire church. If this gathering has lost confidence in the Executive Committee, we are in trouble.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you. We will therefore proceed to the next speaker, Alemu Maruta.
ALEMU MARUTA: Mr. Chairman, I am speaking in favor of the motion. We need to know the number of members on the Nominating Committee and the number on the Executive Committee. If we understand this I think it will be easier for we who are coming from the local fields and unions or divisions to understand the matter.
PARDON K. MWANSA: I think it’s a fair question. Elder Karst, would you like to respond to that, please?
GERRY D. KARST: Mr. Chairman, the General Conference Executive Committee has 305 members. The Nominating Committee at session has a little more than 200.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Richard Osborn.
RICHARD OSBORN: I would like to speak from the perspective of someone who served on the Nominating Committee five years ago. The chaos that develops toward the end of the week as appointments are having to be made has led in the past to some very poor decisions because of the fast work that’s had to be done. Normally the committee does not get to the departmental leaders until the middle of the week, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, and then these individuals are put under enormous pressure to come in with names for the processes that we see. And very fast decisions get made. In addition, some voted to office turn down the request, and it must be done again. This is not a small group of a nominating committee where people are working together to suggest names as we normally see in a smaller committee, and so it’s not like a small group that’s putting together potential names. We rely on the departmental directors to bring in recommendations, and there is often not enough time to do it all in a thoughtful way during the pressure of this week. It also doesn’t give individuals the time to decide whether they want to accept those positions. And so it leads to some chaos, and it has led in the past to some very poor appointments being made in a very quick time frame. I think this would give them a much more reasonable approach to choosing these kinds of departmental leaders in the future. I’ve often thought that in terms of the processes, we take more time to choose an elementary school teacher than we do the top leadership in the church.
This would give us more time to give thoughtful time to selecting these important positions, and so I support the motion.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes William Niles.
WILLIAM NILES: Mr. Chairman, without looking at the merits of this motion directly, I would like to note that on page 34 it says that this would allow the Nominating Committee more time to direct its focus on the other elected positions. So it seems that the main question here is time. Currently the Nominating Committee meets on the first or second day of the session. My question is Why can’t the Nominating Committee meet at least two days prior to the beginning of the session. Some might think that we have to come here to choose the Nominating Committee. But on page 31, line 43, it says each division delegation and each delegation from a union attached to the General Conference shall act as a unit in selecting members to which it is entitled. Therefore, when this body meets, it only ratifies what the unions and others have done; the committee is basically already in place. At an appropriate time I would like to recommend that the Nominating Committee shall meet not more than two days prior to the general session, so that it may start its activity in recommending the president, officers, and other members to be chosen. I believe this would save considerable time, and even if this motion on the floor is passed, I still believe that the Nominating Committee should meet prior to the beginning of the session so that it can do its work more effectively. This is done in many unions and conferences throughout the world.
PARDON K. MWANSA: I would like to ask Elder Karst to make a brief comment, keeping in mind that some of the observations made differ from the way we function.
GERRY D. KARST: While it does not concern directly the motion before us, it does touch on it, and you have expressed the opinion of a number of other people. The time may have come when we need to give consideration to when the Nominating Committee begins its work, because by necessity we know when it ends. And if the body at some point would desire that to be looked at, it should give a recommendation to the standing Constitution and Bylaws Committee for consideration. There are two ways to relieve pressure—you reduce the amount of work that’s required, or you increase the length of time in which to do it.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Rudy Mendez De Leon.
RUDY OTONIEL MENDEZ DE LEON: In every level of organization we give opportunity to the leaders to suggest members of the team. If the associates will be replaced later on, the new director will have time to get to know these people. I think the Executive Committee of the General Conference is well represented. As has been pointed out, it has broader representation than the Nominating Committee.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes the next speaker.
VIRIATO EMANUELPINHEIRO DE PENA FERREIRA: Mr. Chairman, I’ve been involved in health ministries for the past four years. I’ve noticed that much of the success of our ministry is the relationships that we have with the people with whom we work; and one of the things that can stain the relationship is suspicion and criticism. And things that can build up are transparency and openness. It’s much harder to work in a way that involves everyone. What I have seen here this morning is that the audience is divided.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you. I would like to bring to the attention of the body that I am showing a listing of close to 20 people that need to speak. I appreciate the speeches, and we will listen to them. Try to observe the time as much as possible. Our next speaker is Gina Brown.
GINA BROWN: Mr. Chairman, I speak in opposition of the motion as one who sits on the General Conference Executive Committee. There are only 238 voting members of that committee, while there are 2,400 in this body today. As such, the diversity that is needed to make such a decision is not represented on the General Conference’s Executive Committee.
In addition to that, if we can choose the president of the General Conference in less than four hours, certainly we can choose associate directors in this body. I would ask that this body not allow this vote to take away the representation that sits on this floor as delegates from all around the world. This is the reason that delegates are here to make these types of decisions. And so I would ask that this body look at the motion carefully and vote against it.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you. And that leads us to Peter Mensah.
PETER OSEI MENSAH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Apart from the many things that have been said here, I have one small thing that I want to add, and that is that even before we came here for this meeting, we prayed in our churches that the Lord would lead out so that we would elect people into offices that will serve this church the coming five years. We came here believing that the Lord is with us and that we will get to the right people. I think we need to focus on the spiritual aspect, too, apart from the many things that have been said. And I am sure that the Lord, who has led this church in times past, will continue to lead our church. Thank you very much, sir.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you. The next speaker is Harrington Akombwa.
HARRINGTON SIMUI AKOMBWA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I speak against the motion for one or two reasons. The Nominating Committee that is sitting, of which I am a member, needs to be commended for a job well done. In one day, in a few hours, they came up with a recommendation for the three officers. I think we can believe that they are going to do a thorough job. They will give us what is needed. If we are able to choose, as somebody else said, the president and the other officers, surely the Nominating Committee can complete its job.
GERRY D. KARST: Mr. Chairman, Elder Paulsen would like to make a few comments at this point for our understanding and clarification. I would invite him, with your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, to say a few words.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Dr. Paulsen.
JAN PAULSEN: I would just want to encourage, Mr. Chairman, that we be factual in what we are saying. All members of the Executive Committee—all members— have voting rights. More than 300. They all vote. It’s not just a select number of them. And it is a growing number, because as the church expands, also the number of representatives on that committee expands. There is an element of this that needs to be added. You also elected a new president here.
The president has to be a part of the consultation process when you choose the men and women who will serve the very, very important ministries that the departments represent. It is very difficult to achieve this in the short time we have here. I would hope that we don’t read anything sinister into this suggestion that the Executive Committee has somehow another agenda or motive than you have. They are your servants. You choose them. They are your servants, and they have no other agenda but to make sure that the church functions at its very best. Thank you very much.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you, Dr. Paulsen. I will follow up on the observation that was made by one of the speakers about bringing this item to a close for discussion. It might help us if we could limit the speeches to the people who are standing—that’s 15 people. That, at least, would help us know we are heading to a point where we will have to take a vote. If that is something you would like to consider, I will entertain a motion to limit the speeches to the people that have already registered using their cards.
ROSA T. BANKS: Mr. Chairman, I so move. [The motion was seconded and approved.]
PARDON K. MWANSA: I appreciate the action. We will take no more than those who have already registered. The next speaker is Kevin Jackson.
KEVIN JACKSON: This motion comes down to a matter of trust, and I think that we need to observe that the Executive Committee is a represented committee and has been voted as such. We’ve already noted that the size of the Executive Committee is actually larger than the General Conference Nominating Committee, and therefore, in many ways, we can get better consideration than what the Nominating Committee can otherwise provide in these circumstances.
The key difference between the Nominating Committee and the Executive Committee, which does have overlap in membership to a significant extent, is actually the inclusion of the division presidents on the Executive Committee. I would suggest that the inclusion of the division presidents actually brings to the decisionmaking process input over and above what the Nominating Committee currently can provide, and so I would suggest the quality of the decision may actually be in better hands by allowing the Executive Committee to have authority.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Louis Torres.
LOUIS TORRES: I consider this a very solemn responsibility since I serve on the Nominating Committee here. First of all, I think it is a mistake to compare the Nominating Committee with the Executive Committee. We are not dealing with the Nominating Committee and Executive Committee. We are dealing with Executive Committee versus all the delegates that are here.
Second, I’ve heard some of the departmental directors speak about their concerns with this motion, and therefore I think it would be wise to consider their concerns also.
Finally, I am privileged to serve on the Nominating Committee, on which we have effective leadership. It has been directed excellently, and we have been very efficient and have shown that we are willing to spend as much time as necessary to allow the delegates to make the decision on who is selected.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Richard Lane.
RICHARD LANE: I support the motion for two reasons: First, an important part of good management toward effectiveness and efficiency is delegation. Second, it is just common sense.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Alex Ponniah.
ALEX R. PONNIAH: I would like to support this motion for three main reasons:
I do not think that the General Conference body is deprived if its responsibility is transferred to the Executive Committee of the Annual Council. There are, in fact, more representatives than are on the Nominating Committee of the General Conference.
Time is of the essence. We need to fill the jobs, and therefore, it is for that reason that we need to appoint the position so that God’s work can continue.
The transferring of electing departmental associates to the Annual Council Execute Committee for careful consideration is important even though the appointment may take four to 10 months.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Don Livesay.
DON LIVESAY: Most of our delegates here probably have sat on a nominating committee at a conference or union level. Having said that, I think that we have all seen that the discussion of officers generally tends to take a fair amount of time. The discussion of departmental directors takes typically less time, and associates are given even less. For that reason, I believe that we will gain higher quality of selection for our associates by supporting this motion and deferring that selection to the first Annual Council that follows the session.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Leslie Pollard.
LESLIE POLLARD: In order for me to support the motion, I need to address three questions that I think that are important not only to me but also to our delegation here. On line 6 we indicate that there are many positions to be fulfilled. My first question is: If the motion is passed, what is the reduction in the number of the many positions to be filled by the Nominating Committee? In other words, we have a number of positions to be filled, but what would be the reduction? How many fewer would the Nominating Committee have to fill? That is my first question.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Let’s see if we can provide a quick answer to that.
GERRY D. KARST: 30.
LESLIE POLLARD: Second question: If the need for input is also a driver of the recommendation, I would like to understand the rationale that of a search the departmental directors will need input, but those on lines 20 and 21 will not need the same level of input.
GERRY D. KARST: Dr. Pollard’s question seems to relate primarily to officers of the General Conference, as opposed to the departmental directors. I am not sure if I am coming to the essence of your question.
LESLIE POLLARD: Yes, sir, you are.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The essence of his question is Don’t both groups need input?
LESLIE POLLARD: Yes, as to who will compose the departments.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Could we take that as a comment to think about and let you proceed with the speech?
LESLIE POLLARD: OK, last question: If the Executive Committee is voted to be able to elect the associates, are we also empowering the Executive Committee not to elect the associates and possibly then even reduce the size and/or efficiency of these departments? So if we delegate that authority to the Executive Committee, could the Executive Committee decide not to fill these positions, and thereby we have delegated away the authority to keep those positions intact?
GERRY D. KARST: Dr. Pollard, it seems that to me that that is specified in the Bylaws, and they would need to fill those positions.
PARDON K. MWANSA: I’ll call the next speaker.
ERKKI OLAVI HAAPASALO: Mr. Chairman, I speak in favor of the motion. I tend to agree with Elder Osborn, who spoke before, having served on the Nominating Committee a couple of times before, and now I agree that it would be better if some of these elections were postponed to the Annual Council.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Thank you. I call on the next speaker, Israel Andoy.
ISRAEL PAYPA ANDOY: Mr. Chairman, I stand here in opposition to the motion. I have two reasons. First, if these people will be elected by the Executive Committee the associate directors will think that they work for are elected by their directors and not by the General Conference in session. The second reason is that there is a tendency for directors to choose associate directors that they like, and politics will enter in.
THOMAS B. DAVAI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am in support of the motion. I have been on the Nominating Committee three times and sometimes wonder about appointing people in a very short time. We sometimes do an injustice to the organization or to the people that we appoint under these conditions. But if this body empowers the General Conference Executive Committee to appoint associates, they will have time to consider and to think of an associate that will work with the directors of the departments. The Annual Council is the representative body that can make decisions and appoint individuals in a more thoughtful way. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I support this motion that Executive Committee of the General Conference at the time of Annual Council will be the right place to appoint associates. Thank you.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Jerome Matthews.
JEROME PAUL MATTHEWS: I’ve listened to a number of speakers today, including Pastor Paulsen and the leader of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. And there has been a lot of misunderstanding among a number of our speakers with regard to the General Conference Executive Committee, and I think this is really unfortunate— and the use of the word “suspicion” and things like that. The General Conference Executive Committee is voted by this body to represent them over the next five years in all matters pertaining to our world church. That is an awesome responsibility that is given to them. We trust them in matters of financial crisis, of buying and selling of institutions, of all manner of church entities and ownership.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Nestor Alberro.
NESTOR ABEL ALBERRO: I understand the rationale of the motion, for the reasons that were mentioned. But I don’t see that the same criteria is held with regard to associate treasurers and associate secretaries. This suggests the idea that these positions are more important or more relevant to the real life of a church than associate directors of departments. I am not prepared to agree with that idea. So before deciding if I am going to vote in favor of or against, I would like to consider a consistent motion.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Robert Kyte.
ROBERT E. KYTE: There are a number of issues involving technical capabilities, team building, and a variety of other things that have to be taken into consideration. I probably am in a situation of conflict of interest because I’m currently chairing the Nominating Committee, so I’m not going to tell you whether I am for it or against it, but I want simply to give the group one statistic. After this meeting adjourns, because the Nominating Committee was asked to be here, if the motion stands and we have the associates deferred to the Annual Council, we will have 21 minutes per office to fill the remaining slots. If this motion is defeated, we will have 15 minutes per office on the Nominating Committee to fill the slots. Because if you take the number of offices that are left and the amount of time that we have to meet in the coming week, that is what the actual time comes down to.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The chair recognizes Saustin Mfune.
SAUSTIN SAMPSON MFUNE: I feel uncomfortable transferring the power from this august body to the Annual Council. What today would begin as moving only the associates would become moving not only associates but others. I believe that there is always wisdom in numbers of counselors, and which body would really surpass this great number of counselors we have here? Today it would begin as associates, but tomorrow it would be something bigger. I would feel comfortable if what has been done in the past can continue.
PARDON K. MWANSA: The purposes of the speeches we make on the floor is to express the best of our impressions on an item in order to share that with those who are here. Hopefully, in the multitude of speeches, this body has an impression, an individual impression, from the Spirit of the Lord as to which way you think this issue needs to go. I would like at this time, before we take a vote, to restate the essence of the motion, after which we will call for a vote, using our voting cards. Elder Karst, would you please restate the essence of this motion?
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I trust that nobody is unclear about what the motion is. You have it before you in print. We have discussed it. And you need to understand clearly that what this motion does imply is that as a body, if you pass this motion you are saying that our church has come to a size where we feel that it is better to transfer some of the responsibility to the Executive Committee, whom this body appoints. And so the associate directors of the departments and services would then be elected by the Executive Committee at an Annual Council, the first council after the General Conference session. That is what would happen.
PARDON K. MWANSA: I would like us to bow our heads and pray before we take a vote on this item. Please bow your heads with me. [Prayer was offered by Pardon Mwansa; the vote was then taken.] The vote is too close to call from the chair, so we must call for a count. I will ask those assigned to count to stand at the points they are assigned to stand. And I would like you, as soon as you have the number counted, please, to bring that up front. Those in support of this motion, please show by raising your card. [Cards were counted.] I assume that the work of counting has been done and those responsible are putting the figures together. Those opposed to the motion show by raising your cards. [Cards again were counted.] A constitutional change requires a twothirds majority to pass. So at this time the team that is responsible for counting will count and work out the math of that two thirds and share with us the outcome. You realize the importance of voting cards, because if you are a delegate and you did not have your voting card, that vote was not counted, because you are supposed to use your voting cards when you vote. We needed 1,028 votes for this motion to pass; we had 828. This motion has not passed.
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Because of the failure of the last motion, page 35 falls away.
PARDON K. MWANSA: Just before we go to that, I do have a point of order before me. Could you state your point of order, please?
KENAOPE KENAOPE: My point of order, Mr. Chairman, is that it is not appropriate for us to take a vote before those who brought the motion respond to our questions or concerns.
PARDON K. MWANSA: My assumption is all questions that were raised and that needed responses were given. There were comments that were noted for purposes of further consideration. With that, may I assume that you would like us to proceed with the meeting.
KENAOPE KENAOPE: You may, but Mr. Chairman, please address the questions when they are raised.
PARDON K. MWANSA: We appreciate your comment. Thank you. We will go to the chairman of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee to guide us on the next item. Elder Karst.
GERRY D. KARST: Based on the defeat of the previous motion on page 34, page 35 now falls away; we do not need to deal with that.
PARDON K. MWANSA: That takes care of agenda item 3, point 203.
GERRY D. KARST: Let’s move on, and we can deal with item 204 on page 36, the term of office. Apparently there’s a portion of this that we might need to look at that does not fall away, and I’ll ask the secretary to read that for us.
PARDON K. MWANSA: We will take that portion of item 203, page 35.
With the decision that we took, it has become very clear to the chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee that we will need to go back and really review the rest of the constitutional recommendations, because they are intertwined with the motion that failed. The assumption of much of what we were going to be discussing had for it the upholding of the action that did not pass. In the light of that, I would suggest that we close the session a little early, because we just do not have, right now, the ability to start presenting any further items to you. I thank Elder Karst, Larry Evans, and those that worked with the committee for the work they have done. May I ask for closing prayer, please. Before the announcements are made.
MAEVE MAURER: [Prayer.]
PARDON K. MWANSA: We do not have any announcements, so you are dismissed.
PARDON K. MWANSA, Chair
ROSA T. BANKS, Secretary
CLAUDE SABOT, Proceedings Editor
GARY B. PATTERSON and FRED G. THOMAS, Assistant Proceedings Editors
Fifty-ninth General Conference session, June 27, 2010, 9:15 a.m.
Since so many delegates were lined up to comment on the constitutional item, it was
VOTED, To limit speakers to the item, 20510GSa Election—Constitution and Bylaws Amendment, to two minutes or three minutes if the speaker needs translation.
Because of the length of time devoted to comments to the constitutional item, it was
VOTED, To limit the number of speakers to the people who are currently standing at the microphone and currently on the list of speakers.
20510GSa ELECTION—CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS AMENDMENT
After much discussion on the proposed recommendation to elect associate directors/secretaries of departments/associations at the first Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee after a General Conference Session, instead of electing them at General Conference Session, it was
VOTED, To not approve the proposed recommendation to elect associate directors/secretaries of departments/associations at the first Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee following a General Conference Session, instead of electing them at General Conference Session.