June 25, 2010

GC Departmental & Institutional Reports


For a Second Time


RAdams headshotcapThe staff of Adventist Review/Adventist World wishes to welcome delegates and visitors to this fifty-ninth session of the General Conference. By the time this document gets to your hand, we suspect you will already be experiencing the rush that comes from meeting long-separated Adventist friends from around the world, and that the rich fellowship is in full swing, with endless hugs everywhere.

But this document represents an important additional reason for our gathering.

It’s the second time that we’ve produced this special Bulletin Supplement, coming to you this time under the auspices of both Adventist Review and Adventist World, the latter having come into existence a scant three months following the last session.

The joint sponsorship of this one issue conserves financial resources.

As many of you know, Adventist Review functions—as it has done for more than 145 years—as the official recorder of General Conference sessions. This represents a heavy, pressure-packed assignment for its staff; and the special Supplement is designed to increase efficiency and lessen some of the attending demands.

In the Introduction that accompanied our first trial in 2005, we gave the following three-point rationale for the Supplement:

  1. To better serve the delegates to the session. In regard to the entities concerned, these reports contain a summary of their activities and accomplishments during the quinquennium. And since delegates will be making decisions that will affect the leadership of each entity for the ensuing period, these reports, at least theoretically, provide a partial basis for those decisions.
  2. To make it more convenient for everyone. In the past it became a time-consuming exercise to locate a particular report among the many Bulletins. This approach groups them within the same cover, with a convenient table of contents—arranged this time (and this is new) in alphabetized segments.
  3. To simplify the process. In sessions prior to 2005, making sure every one of these reports got published presented a nerve-racking challenge for our staff. With the huge volume of documents going through our office every day of the session, and with coverage of the session actions and proceedings taking precedence and continually bumping some reports from their previously allotted slots, the possibility of one or more slipping through the cracks was a constant nightmare for us. Thus the publication of this single volume drastically simplifies our work. Besides, leaders of all departments, services, and institutions can have the satisfaction of knowing that their reports came to the attention of delegates during the session, rather than being published after the meetings are over.

It’s a large issue—64 pages. A good approach would be to begin with your favorite departments, then sample others. Having worked closely with many of the leaders represented, I know a little about the pressure under which they worked to produce these reports; and I have the sense that in just about every case, they were unable to tell all that needed telling, because of time—and, of course, space. In other words, God has done exceedingly more than appears here on the surface.

Roy Adams is an associate editor of Adventist Review/Adventist World.