Fifth Business Meeting
Fifty-ninth General Conference session, June 27, 2010, 2:00 p.m.
ANTONIO HUERTA: [Invocation.]
GERRY D. KARST: Welcome to the afternoon session. We will come to a point of order on microphone 1.
JURRIEN DEN HOLLANDER: This morning approximately hundreds of delegates were not present when doing a very serious portion of business in our church. And you already said that we should encourage each other. I would like to ask the administration, especially, to do something about this and to refer this to the administration at Executive Committee, to have a kind of registration system for each business meeting that when people are coming in, we know exactly how many delegates are present and that when they leave, that we know exactly when they have left. Because that’s the only way that we can do the business of our church.
GERRY D. KARST: I would like to encourage those at the microphones to focus your comments on the motion that is on the floor. There is a temptation to talk about a lot of other things or peripheral things, but please focus on the motion on the floor, so that we can transact our business and move on to where we need to go.
This afternoon, what we had planned to do was to present to you some statements that are due for public release during the session, statements that the Executive Committee has approved. There is one more in your book on a resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy. But right now I am not seeing the individuals who are involved with that, and so we will go on to something else. I would like to introduce a special item that is not on your agenda. It involves the Andrews Study Bible. Some of you may have been to the exhibit area and seen the Andrews Study Bible, and Andrews University has a presentation to make for you at this time. First of all there will be a video that we would like you to watch.
[VIDEO: Andrews Study Bible.]
NIELSERIK ANDREASEN: Brothers and sisters, fellow members of the Adventist Church, it’s a pleasure for me to say a few words concerning the new Andrews Study Bible. It is a Bible everyone can use. But what really is a study Bible, and why is it so useful? I would like to put on my teacher’s hat for just a minute and give you three points very briefly. Point number one, a good study Bible contains the full text of Holy Scripture as it came from the Bible writers through the hands of the translators to our time. The Andrews Study Bible is using the New King James Version in English, and in time we hope to make it available in other languages and electronically. Point number two, a good study Bible should have helpful notes. In fact, this study Bible has more than 12,000 such helpful notes. They answer questions that a Bible reader might have that might be obstacles to full understanding. Now to point three. The Andrews Study Bible is designed for giving Bible studies. Let me explain. You read a Bible, your eye goes down to a study note, and some of these notes come with a special icon, a little shield, a marker in a lightblue color. When you see that sign at a study note, watch out! You are into a very important study, an important topic on a key teaching of the Bible.
I am pleased to present on behalf of Andrews University, and especially the Andrews University Press, the first study Bible prepared for Adventist Bible readers. It is our prayer that it will encourage Bible reading and Bible study and the giving of Bible studies in our church as we make use of this wonderful tool. Two of the first Bibles will be presented to our new General Conference president, Elder Wilson, and to the outgoing General Conference president, Elder Paulsen, as a special recognition of the importance of the Bible in our church. Thank you for your attention, and here is a testimony or two from my colleagues.
MARK A. FINLEY: Dr. Rodriguez and I represent both the scholarly wing of the church and the evangelistic wing of the church, and I am so delighted with this study Bible because it presents for me, as an evangelist, as I stand on the public platform, assurance of solid scholarship.
ANGEL RODRIGUEZ: The Biblical Research Institute was involved with this project from its very inception, and we’re very happy too. When I realized that this was going to be produced, we were pleased when the administration of the university and the press called on us and invited us to be part of the project. A committee was immediately set up to oversee the project, which included, of course, the president of the university, Dr. Neils Andreasen; Dr. Mark Finley; the dean of the seminary, Dr. Denis Fortin; one of the vice presidents from the General Conference, Elder Gerry Karst; Juan Prestol, the undertreasurer of the General Conference; and me. We were in charge of overseeing the project, determining and selecting the writers, and appointing the editor of the volume. The editor is Dr. Jon Dybdahl. He, together with us, selected all the excellent Adventist scholars who made a contribution to this volume, and I can assure you that we at the Biblical Research Institute went through the manuscript. We made suggestions, and we believe that this provides trustworthy readings, interpretations, and annotations, and they will be a wonderful contribution to any Adventist interested in studying the Bible. You may disagree here and there with some of the notes. That’s fine, that’s OK, but you will be blessed by them.
MARK A. FINLEY: As an evangelist, as I hold evangelistic meetings, and as people come to the meetings, very often they begin to study the Bible for the first time in their lives, and they are looking for a study Bible. In the past they have often gone out and bought study Bibles, some of whose notes were certainly incompatible with the biblical understandings of Seventhday Adventists. Now for the first time I can recommend the Andrews Study Bible, where they can go and find solid biblical scholarship.
GERRY D. KARST: You will find this Bible at the Andrews University exhibit in the exhibit hall.
We are going to move on into some of our agenda items now. The first one we’d like to direct your attention to is the resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy. The opening night we dealt with the resolution on the Scriptures, on the Bible, as we had the Follow the Bible program, but now please turn in your backup materials to page 80, item 124, Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy. It’s been our practice in past sessions to bring a statement on the Spirit of Prophecy and have it approved, and so I am going to turn to Elder Claude Sabot, our secretary, and have him guide you through this as he reads it.
CLAUDE SABOT: [Read 14310GS, Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy as Manifested in the Ministry and Writings of Ellen G. White.]
GERRY D. KARST: I might just interrupt—this was in the supplemental material that was handed out. I see some of you looking for your copy. It was an extra four pages stapled together, I believe, but it is page 80 in the sequence of pages. If you find it, then you will be able to follow along.
CLAUDE SABOT: Mr. Chairman, I move this resolution.
GERRY D. KARST: Is there support for this motion? It has been seconded. Now the resolution is before you. The chair recognizes William Fagal.
WILLIAM FAGAL: Mr. Chairman, I’m grateful that the resolution is before us. A similar resolution or at least a resolution on this subject has been voted, I believe, at every General Conference session since the beginning of our church organization, and certainly, in the times in which we live today, a resolution to this effect is appropriate. And I would simply like to urge the delegates to pass this resolution, but more than that, to take into serious account the appeals that are made at the end of the resolution and to become committees of one, as it were, to help the church adopt and carry out the requests that are included in this resolution.
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you, Elder Fagal. And this has been a part of our history, and so we do bring it here. The chair recognizes Paolo Benini.
PAOLO BENINI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I support completely this motion. We urge pastors to make use of those writings in their sermons. We should use Ellen White’s writings for sermon preparation, but according to her counsel, we should not do so too frequently in sermons.
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you very much. I don’t see anyone wanting to speak. [Motion to adopt the resolution was made, seconded, and approved.]
Now, at each session, in addition to the resolution on the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, there’s a committee at the General Conference that prepares some statements for public release. These have been approved by the General Conference Executive Committee, but we bring them here for your information. These are not ones that need to be voted. But you need to know the nature of the public statements that are being released, and I’m going to call on Elder Lowell Cooper to present those to us at this time.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We want to have these statements released to the public today, but we wanted the delegation to have this information in hand as well. A number of these statements will be the focal point for a number of news conferences later during the week, and inquiries from various news media.
We wanted the delegation to be informed about the statements that the General Conference Committee has approved for publication. It is not our intent to read them here. I would just like to make a very short comment about each one so that the delegation is aware of the range of topics upon which statements have now been released by the Executive Committee.
The first one is a statement on the nurture and protection of children. This statement addresses in very brief and concise format our church position about the rearing of children and the environment for their safety and protection. And then it talks about making churches a safe place for children. It concludes with a reference—a paragraph or two about dealing with children who have been victims of abuse. I think everyone recognizes that this is a very lively topic, unfortunately, in the world these days, and so the Executive Committee has approved this statement. There is a companion statement that deals with an adjacent area, or an adjacent dimension of the topic, and that is the statement on ending violence against women and girls. Both of those statements are part of this packet, and each is referenced to the other.
The second statement in the packet is a statement on Creation, the Bible’s worldview. Now, we have made statements to the church about our belief in Creation. We have fundamental belief 6. We had a reaffirmation statement of that by the Executive Committee in 2004. This statement, which has been prepared for public release, captures the voice of the church to the world at large that we are a faith community that believes in the historical account recorded in Scripture. And we believe in that because it serves as foundational for Seventhday Adventists’ understanding concerning much more than the question of origins. The statement is brief. We will let you read it for yourself.
The third statement in the packet is one to which I have already made reference, and that is: Seventhday Adventists speaking up for ending violence against women and girls. Now, there may be some delegates who wonder why this statement is genderspecific. It is purposely designed that way because global statistics indicate that in all societies women and girls are more frequently the victims of violence. And so this statement is pointed in that particular direction—to recognize that this is a global problem and that the Seventhday Adventist Church has very strong convictions about it and takes a position on seeking to end violence against women and girls.
The fourth statement in the packet is a statement on freedom of speech and defamation of religion. We need to see the two ideas together. I think, as you read the document, you will understand the position that is taken therein that Seventhday Adventists recognize that defamation of religion can be a very, very volatile topic in many communities, perhaps in all areas of the world. And we need to learn how to use freedom of speech when we are talking about values and beliefs held very dearly by other people. There is a movement in a number of countries, and perhaps even discussed frequently in United Nations councils, about bringing forth legislation that controls speech with respect to religions. This particular statement by the church is saying that only in very exceptional cases would the Seventhday Adventist Church accept legislation giving restriction on speech. We feel that it is more important that people be educated about the value of freedom and learn to selfregulate their speech and recognize the respect that needs to be given to people who think and believe differently than we do, or to some other faith community. We are very pleased with this statement because we believe that it will add a voice, a needed voice, into the dialogue that is going on in many places concerning just how to relate to what has in the past, in many places, been seen as very inflammatory references to other religions.
The fifth statement in the packet is a statement on global poverty. Here again, we make the statement that Seventhday Adventists believe that actions to reduce poverty and its intended injustices are an important part of Christian social responsibility. We have undergirded the statement with some biblical references and gone on to say that Seventhday Adventists join the global community in supporting the United Nations millennium development goals for reducing poverty by at least 50 percent by 2015.
In addition, the Seventhday Adventist Church partners with other civil governments and organizations working to establish enduring justice in this world. We believe that every Seventhday Adventist can identify very strongly with the statement of this nature, and the General Conference Executive Committee felt it very important to circulate this expression as a statement of the position of the church with respect to poverty and the church’s engagement in relieving poverty.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I just would like to say again, we bring these not for actions by the session, but for information of delegates to the session, because these statements are being released to the public today. Thank you very much.
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you, Elder Cooper, and stay with us just a moment. I see someone who wishes to make a comment. We are not going to open this up for discussion; it is primarily for information. But Lyndon Gallimore, I will call on you.
LYNDON GALLIMORE: Thank you. I wanted to speak to the last of the press releases, because as I read that, I heard social justice coming through loud and clear. My concern is that we as a church should do everything that we can to relieve poverty, but the movement for social justice, I think, goes far beyond what the church needs to embrace. I don’t believe man can solve the problem of poverty in the world. I think Jesus expressed that very clearly, and right now many of the initiatives of governments and other religious entities for social justice I see as incompatible with where our church is heading.
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you.
LOWELL C. COOPER: Mr. Chairman, we thank the delegate for this comment. This statement, as it was originally prepared, has gone through several review processes, and was couched in the framework of dealing with extreme poverty. That is the particular focus of the United Nations millennium development goals, and it is that extremity of the poverty presence in our world that we are making this statement about. Thank you.
The business meeting next turned to a discussion of Church Manual items.For an abbreviated record of discussion, proceedings, voted actions, and text of the voted documents, please go to www.adventistreview.org/churchmanual. (See Bulletin 2, p. 41 for the rationale.)
GERRY D. KARST: We have a special item that we would like our Health Ministries Department to come and present to us at this time. We will vacate the chair briefly while they do that, but the session will remain open.
We are also anticipating a report from the Nominating Committee.
[The business session resumed following the presentation.]
GERRY D. KARST: We have a report from the Nominating Committee. As they make their way to the platform, I will ask the chairman of the Nominating Committee, Robert Kyte, to introduce the partial report.
ROBERT E. KYTE: We are going to bring three partial reports to this committee. My understanding and reviewing the process for voting of reports on the floor is that we will submit a report. The report will be accepted or returned to the committee if it is not accepted at the discretion of the chair. Since we have quite a number of positions that we’re bringing today, we would like to do this as three reports. We will be bringing you a report of the vice presidents, followed by a report for the Secretariat, followed by a report for the Treasury. So I would like to present, at this point, nominations for the vice presidents, and we will ask our associate secretary, Ismael Castillo, to share with you the names and a brief biography. At the end of all nine names we will then make a motion to put this before the body.
ISMAEL CASTILLO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have nine names of the general vice presidents of the General Conference.
Lowell C. Cooper, currently a vice president of the General Conference since 1998.
Armando Miranda, currently General Conference vice president since 2000.
Pardon Mwansa, currently vice president since 2005.
Michael Ryan, currently vice president since 2003.
Ella Simmons, currently vice president since 2005.
Delbert Baker is currently the president of Oakwood University.
Geoffrey Mbwana was an East-Central Africa Division conference secretary, an East-Central Africa Division conference president, an East-Central Africa Division university president, and is currently (since 2002) East-Central Africa Division president.
Benjamin Schoun was a North American Division university professor, an associate dean of the seminary at Andrews University, and is currently (since 2002) director of Adventist World Radio.
Artur Stele was a president in the Euro-Asia Division at Zaoksky, and is currently (since 2000) the Euro-Asia Division president.
I move the acceptance of this report.
GERRY D. KARST: The motion is before you. Is there support? I see several seconds. Now we’ll give opportunity for any discussion or reaction you may have. You’ve heard the list of the nine names. There are five incumbents and four new ones.
KENAOPE KENAOPE: Mr. Chairman, I am not objecting. I think for the sake of the delegates it would be appropriate to bring the new ones onto the platform.
ROBERT E. KYTE: Mr. Chairman, the candidates are offstage because it’s not normal for them to be onstage for voting. We could have them come up if you’d like. But they will be coming up after the vote is taken.
GERRY D. KARST: You will see them after the vote is taken. It just doesn’t seem appropriate for them to be standing here while you do the voting. [The motion to accept the recommendations for general vice presidents was approved.]
ROBERT E. KYTE: The vice presidents are offstage. If we could have them come on, they can be introduced.
GERRY D. KARST: Some are familiar to all of you. Lowell Cooper, Armando Miranda, Pardon Mwansa, Michael Ryan, Ella Simmons, Delbert Baker, Geoffrey Mbwana, Ben Schoun, and Artur Stele are your new vice presidents. You will be seeing much more of them in the days ahead.
ROBERT E. KYTE: Mr. Chairman, we are prepared now to move to the positions in Secretariat. Those positions include the undersecretary as well as the associate secretaries. The secretary of the Nominating Committee, Cindy Tutsch, will present the information regarding these positions.
CYNTHIA TUTSCH: The Nominating Committee recommends the name of Homer Trecartin as undersecretary of the General Conference to serve for the next term of office. Homer Trecartin has served in administrative positions in the North American Division, the Trans-European Division, and currently in Secretariat in the General Conference. We recommend the name of Dr. Rosa T. Banks as associate secretary. Dr. Banks has served as an educator at Oakwood University. She has served most recently in the Secretariat of the General Conference, as well as in the North American Division. The Nominating Committee recommends the name of Agustin Galicia for associate secretary. Agustin Galicia speaks Spanish and English. He has served in the Inter-American Division as conference president, union president, and secretary, and has been in Secretariat at the General Conference for the past 10 years. The Nominating Committee recommends the name of Robert Folkenberg, Jr., as associate secretary. Pastor Folkenberg has served in the Far Eastern Division. He speaks Mandarin; he is currently the Upper Columbia Conference president. The Nominating Committee recommends the name of Harald Wollan as associate secretary. Elder Wollan speaks Norwegian, English, and German. He has served in the Africa-Indian Ocean Division, the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and the Trans-European Division as conference president, union president, field secretary, and secretary. The Nominating Committee presents the name of John Thomas as associate secretary. John Thomas was born in South Africa; his parents were British. Recently he served as principal of Maxwell Academy in Kenya. He has served for 32 years in boarding academies. He is currently serving at Union College as the International Rescue and Relief coordinator. I move that we accept the names that the Nominating Committee has presented.
GERRY D. KARST: The motion is before you and is supported. Now we’ll give an opportunity if anyone wishes to speak to this report. I see no one moving to the microphones. I assume you are ready to vote. [The motion to accept the recommendations for Secretariat were approved.]
ROBERT KYTE: We understand that Secretariat members should be available to us. I think we’ll be happy to introduce them. Some of the candidates who have been elected are here. Elder Homer Trecartin has been elected as the undersecretary; standing to my immediate left is Dr. Rosa Banks, associate secretary; Agustin Galicia, associate secretary; and then to my farthest left, Elder Harald Wollan, also associate secretary. I don’t believe the other two candidates for the positions are available at this moment. So we wish to congratulate these individuals on their elections.
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you. We have one final part to the report for this afternoon, and that is the Treasury.
ROBERT E. KYTE: We are going to begin with the undertreasurer and then report to you the associate treasurers for the General Conference. Cindy Tutsch will present that report.
CYNTHIA TUSCH: Mr. Chairman, the Nominating Committee recommends the name of Juan Prestol for the position of undertreasurer of the General Conference. Juan Prestol has worked in the Dominican Conference, the Atlantic Union Conference, the Euro-Asia Division, and most recently in the North American Division as associate treasurer and for the General Conference as undertreasurer. The Nominating Committee recommends the name of George Egwakhe as associate treasurer. George Egwakhe has worked in the Africa-Indian Ocean Division. He has also served in various finance administrative positions in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division and the Africa-Indian Ocean Division. He holds an M.B.A. and is currently an associate treasurer of the General Conference.
The nominating committee recommends Daisy Orion as associate treasurer. Daisy Orion has served in the Asia-Pacific Division; she also has worked in the Treasury Department of the General Conference since 2005. The Nominating Committee recommends Roy Ryan as associate treasurer of the General Conference. Roy Ryan has served in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, as well as the Far Eastern Division. He has served as special assistant to the General Conference treasurer; currently he is an associate treasurer of the General Conference. He holds a Ph.D. in administration. The Nominating Committee recommends the name of Ray Wahlen as associate treasurer. Ray Wahlen has served in the Far Eastern Division. He has also served in various capacities in the North American Division and is currently the special assistant to the treasurer and director of the Seventh-day Adventist accounting software system at the General Conference. I move that we accept the names that the Nominating Committee has presented.
GERRY D. KARST: You have the motion before you; it is seconded. Now the motion is on the floor, and I’ll give you opportunity to speak to the motion. All those in favor of this report hold up your cards. Any opposed, by the same sign. That motion is carried.
ROBERT KYTE: We would like to invite the undertreasurer, and the associate treasurers, to join us on the platform. To my immediate left is Elder Juan Prestol, who is the undertreasurer, To his immediate left is Elder George Egwakhe, with his wife. Then there is Daisy Orion, who is now associate treasurer, as she has served in the past. Then we have Dr. Roy Ryan, with his wife, as associate treasurer. On the end we have Ray Whalen and his wife. Ray will also be taking up the duties as an associate treasurer, and we welcome them to their positions. This concludes the Nominating Committee’s partial report for today.
GERRY D. KARST: We want to give our word of appreciation to the work the Nominating Committee is doing. They still have lots ahead of them. They will be at work again probably this evening and tomorrow. This brings our session to a close. We’re going to invite you to stand for the benediction.
EMMANUEL ONYEMMUOBI ADAELU: [Benediction.]
GERRY D. KARST, Chair
CLAUDE SABOT, Secretary
CLAUDE SABOT, Proceedings Editor
GARY B. PATTERSON and FRED G. THOMAS, Assistant Proceedings Editors
Fifty-ninth General Conference session, June 27, 2010, 2:00 p.m.
143-10GS RESOLUTION ON THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY AS MANIFESTED IN THE MINISTRY AND WRITINGS OF ELLEN G WHITE
VOTED, To approve the Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy as Manifested in the Ministry and Writings of Ellen G White, which reads as follows:
Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy AS MANIFESTED IN THE MINISTRY AND WRITINGS OF ELLEN G WHITE
We, the delegates to the 2010 General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia, acknowledge with gratitude the continuing contribution to the Seventh-day Adventist Church found in the writings and ministry of Ellen G White. We are witnesses to how the Church has been blessed and guided by God through the inspired counsel of His messenger. Her counsels exalt the Bible as the Word of God, lift up Jesus as Creator and Redeemer of the world, and encourage a life of service and sacrifice. Her ministry has directly aided in the preservation of unity in the Church and its expanding global outreach.
The gift of prophecy, like the other spiritual gifts, is to bring about unity, equip God’s people for the work of ministry, build up the body of Christ, protect it from being deceived by false doctrine, and foster individual and collective spiritual growth (Ephesians 4:11-15). We recognize in Ellen G White the gift of prophecy, and affirm that as this gift is valued and its instruction heeded, the Church prospers.
Consequently, we express our gratitude to God for His gracious gift in the prophetic ministry of Ellen G White. We call upon Seventh-day Adventists everywhere to prayerfully study her messages and benefit from the inspiration and instruction found there. We encourage the teachers and administrators of our educational institutions and the leaders of our health-care facilities and publishing houses to review her counsels for their areas of service. We urge pastors to make use of these writings in their sermon preparation and in their planning with the members for the mission of their churches. We appeal to Church administrators at every level to exert their influence in affirming the importance of these writings for the Church and to continue efforts to make these writings available to church members at affordable cost. And we affirm our commitment to “believe His prophets” (2 Chronicles 20:20), that we may prosper in fulfilling our mission to the world and thus hasten the coming of Jesus.
GERRY D KARST, Chair
CLAUDE SABOT, Secretary
LARRY R EVANS, Actions Editor
ROWENA J MOORE, Recording Secretary