Eighth Business Meeting
Fifty-ninth General Conference session, June 29, 2010, 9:15 a.m.
DANIEL GUIBOCHE: [Invocation.]
GROUPO BOSES: [Worship in music.]
MICHAEL L. RYAN: We’d like to open our business session, and, as we have been doing the past few mornings, with a time of spiritual emphasis. I’d like to ask Elder Mark Finley if he would please come to the microphone and lead us.
MARK A. FINLEY: This morning before we pray, I want to share with you one Bible passage for your consideration that will set the context for our prayer. But before I do that, when we kneel together and pray and seek God, that is not necessarily the spiritual time of the morning, as separate from business of the morning. When we do business for Jesus and the Holy Spirit guides our minds, that’s an act of worship. So every decision that we make as a body, guided by the Holy Spirit, is as much an act of worship to God as when we’re on our knees praying for wisdom to make that decision. The reason we have these prayer sessions at the beginning is to place our minds and our hearts in a frame where the Holy Spirit can more adequately work with those minds in the process of our decision-making.
And the text I would like to draw your attention to as a setting for our prayer is 2 Chronicles 7:14. It’s a passage of Scripture that’s set in the context of Solomon’s dedication of the Temple. And it says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
As we kneel to pray, we acknowledge that the decisions we have to make are too important to make in our own wisdom. As we kneel to pray, we acknowledge that there are decisions we’ll face this morning that are complex and that we need wisdom from heaven. As we kneel to pray, we humble ourselves as the body of Christ and as the church deferring to one another, saying that there are decisions that I’d like to see made, but if in any way they fracture the body, bring disunity to the body, I will humbly submit my opinion to the larger body of Christ for the sake of the union of the church. There are some decisions that we may have personal opinions about that are not theologically based. And in those issues the context of the larger body prevails. And so what is prayer? It’s submitting our will to God’s will; it’s opening our hearts humbly to tell Him all we want is what He wants. And it’s submitting our desires to His desire. As we pray together, let’s ask God to give us the spirit of humility in all of our discussions. And let’s get together in groups of two or three this morning.
[Pause for prayer session.]
Let’s conclude by praying together: Father, thank You that as delegates from around the globe we can come with our varied backgrounds and cultures and all of our diversity to kneel together as one body to seek You. Grant to us the humility of Jesus. Grant to us the respect for one another. Grant to us the willingness to listen, to hear not only with our ears but our hearts, and grant to us a sense that another’s opinion may be better and even more important than our own. And as we transact business today, may we say, It has been good to be here. May we sense that You’ve been with us, guiding the discussion. In Christ’s name, amen.
MICHAEL L. RYAN: It’s wonderful to start our business session with a time of spiritual emphasis, a time that we pray together and ask that the Lord and the Holy Spirit will be among us.
To begin with, you recall that we had agreed that items on the floor that came by way of a motion that were not on the agenda, would be referred to the Steering Committee, and the Steering Committee would find a process by which they would deal with them. Such a motion was taken to the Steering Committee, and Elder Gerry Karst is here to give a report back from the Steering Committee.
GERRY D. KARST: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If you’ll open your agenda books to the yellow pages on the general agenda, I am going to invite you to write in one item that’s not there now, which will be on the agenda in tomorrow morning’s session. We will take it up then; we simply want you to be aware that it is coming. The item “An Affirmation of Creation” will be discussed in tomorrow morning’s session.
MICHAEL L. RYAN: Thank you very much. I would like to remind us that we have a lot of different nations, different people, here in this auditorium. And as we express ourselves, there are a lot of different views, and sometimes a view resonates with you and sometimes it doesn’t. And I think if you look on page 8 of our General Conference program book, it mentions that we would request that the delegates not applaud at the end of any speech. There has been a little bit of applause after some of the items. Think about that a little. We’re here to allow each person the opportunity to speak, and they have that right because they are delegates to this session. So we just ask that we not applaud after any speech that’s made on the floor.
The chair recognizes David Kokiong.
DAVID KOKIONG: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am one of the few delegates from North America in the under-30 age range. And I’d like to know when would be an appropriate time to address the issue of the lack of representation from that age category? We have already heard that about 75 percent of the church membership is in that age range. But unfortunately many youth and young adults are either misinformed or uninterested or even ignorant about the processes and the procedures that go on in the church. So in short I have two questions: If not here, then to whom or to what committee should I address these concerns? And if not here, if not now, when would be an appropriate time to bring this up? Thank you.
MICHAEL L. RYAN: I appreciate those questions, and I can tell you that I know many of the people seated on this floor. They also have that same burden in their hearts. You may look around and see people who are a little older and think that they are not concerned. But it is a major concern. I realize that what I’ve said has
not answered your question. I would assure you that this can be addressed at
the Steering Committee, and there will be
a response back to you. Thank you very much for that comment.
GERRY D. KARST: We’ve come now to the Focus on Pastors portion of our session, as was mentioned yesterday. All of the devotionals during this session and the presentations during the Focus on Pastors are being made by active pastors. These are the central, fundamental leaders of the mission and work of our church. Without our pastors, our congregations would be like sheep without a shepherd. I would like to mention, as we begin this morning, that the initial planning and preparation of this portion of the session was assigned to the Ministerial Association of the General Conference. And in this regard, Elder Jim Cress was deeply involved in laying the early plans and foundation for this portion of the meeting. Unfortunately, we lost Elder Cress, and so some of the rest of us have stepped in to fill the vacancy. I would like this morning to honor Elder Cress and to remember his legacy, because of the amount of work that he had put into this and also that he was the pastor for the world church. And I think that it would be appropriate to stand together and have a moment of silence, in honor of Elder Cress. Would you join me? [Pause for a moment of silence.]
Thank you; you may be seated.
I hold in my hand the last book that Jim Cress authored, entitled Common Sense Ministry Multiplied. Each of you has received a copy of this in your delegate bags. It is a gift to you and a remembrance of Elder Cress and his work and his published works. You’ll see his picture on the front cover, and we want you to read this and appreciate the content that’s in it. Also, this morning. Elder Cress’s spouse, Sharon, who has been the Shepherdess leader for the world church for the past 18 years, is with us, and I am going to ask Sharon if she would stand and simply be recognized and acknowledged as the partner who worked by his side for all these years. [Applause.] Thank you, Sharon.
I will mention once more that the question box in which you can place your questions is down at this table at the front, where the Secretariat is located. If you want to place some questions in it, this will be taken up during our Friday session. And now if you will stand with me, we’ll have the opening prayer for this session.
GERRY D. KARST: [Opening prayer.]
MARK A. FINLEY: Our speaker this morning is Pastor Darren Croft, from the South Pacific Division. He has pastored for 15 years in Australia.
[Pastor Croft addressed the congregation in a devotional message regarding ministry in a post-modern context. Mark Finley then dialogued with Darren Croft
on evangelism in postmodern culture in Australia.]
[The business session reconvened.]
MICHAEL L. RYAN: We have a report from the Nominating Committee, and at this time we will turn to that report.
ROBERT E. KYTE: Mr. Chairman, we are pleased to bring two partial reports of the Nominating Committee to you this morning. The first report will be for general field secretaries, and the second will be the presentation of some of the department directors.
I would say that we are trying to make an effort to accommodate your requests in the presentation of the candidates, so bear with us, because what we are hoping to do this morning for you is have the candidate come on when the name is presented, and have the name on the screen so that hopefully that will be of assistance to you. So we are going to start with the general field secretaries, and Dr. Castillo will make the presentation of the report.
ISMAEL CASTILLO: Mr. Chairman, the Nominating Committee is recommending for general field secretaries the following names. Paul S. Brantley has served since 2007 at the General Conference Office of Assessment and Problem Activities, and is currently the director. Gary Krause has served since 2004 as a field secretary and is currently the director of Adventist Mission. Angel Manuel Rodriguez has served since 2002 as the director of the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference. Charles C. Sandefur, Jr., has served since 2002 as president of Adventist Development and Relief Agency International. Brad Thorp has served since 2005 as a field secretary in the capacity of the director of Hope Channel, Inc.
I move, Mr. Chairman, to accept this recommendation.
MICHAEL L. RYAN: We have a motion. Is there a second? Yes. OK, I see somebody at microphone 1.
JEROEN TUNISTRA: Mr. Chairman, again I would like to point out that no females are being elected into any of these positions. I would just like to make that comment. That’s all.
MICHAEL L. RYAN: Thank you. Yes, Bob Kyte.
ROBERT E. KYTE: There was an action taken in the Nominating Committee that whenever possible, women should be considered for each of the positions coming to the floor. In the case of the general field secretaries, we are working in a dual capacity situation because these individuals, with the exception of Dr. Brantley, are not allocated any budgets for the general field secretary positions. They are funded through the organizations that they are working directly for.
MICHAEL L. RYAN: Those in favor of accepting the motion from the Nominating Committee, please show it by raising your cards. Those opposed, by the same sign. That is carried.
ROBERT E. KYTE: The second report that we are presenting is a partial list of department directors.
CYNTHIA TUTSCH: The Nominating Committee recommends Heather-Dawn Small, the incumbent, as Women’s Ministries Department director of the General Conference; Dr. Jonathan Kuntaraf, the incumbent, as Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department director of the General Conference; Dr. Linda Mei Lin Koh, the incumbent, as Children’s Ministries Department director of the General Conference; Dr. Allan Handysides, the incumbent, as the Health Ministries Department director of the General Conference; Dr. John Graz, the incumbent, as Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director of the General Conference; Howard Faigao, the incumbent, as the Publishing Ministries Department director of the General Conference; Dr. Erika F. Puni, the incumbent, as the Stewardship Department director of General Conference; and Gary R. Councell, the incumbent, as the Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries Department director of the General Conference. Mr. Chairman, I move we accept this report of the Nominating Committee.
MICHAEL L. RYAN: It is moved and seconded. Those in favor of accepting the Nominating Committee’s recommendations and motion, please indicate by raising your voting cards. Those opposed, by the same sign. That is carried. This concludes our work this morning, and I would invite you to rise for the benediction.
MICHAEL L. RYAN: [Benediction.]
MICHAEL L. RYAN, Chair
ROSA T. BANKS, Secretary
CLAUDE SABOT, Proceedings Editor
GARY B. PATTERSON and FRED G. THOMAS, Assistant Proceedings Editors