July 15, 2010

Jerry Page Appointed Ministerial Secretary

Jerry Page Appointed Ministerial Secretary
Vote to delay ministerial associate appointees veers from earlier decision.

By Edwin Manuel Garcia, Adventist News Network In their final vote to select church leaders for the next five years, delegates to the fifty-ninth General Conference session chose a new Ministerial Association secretary July 1.

Jerry N. Page, president of the church’s Central California Conference, became Ministerial Association secretary by unanimous vote, though delegates were divided on a follow-up proposal to delay the selection of the four associates who would work with him.

The proposal, suggested by the Nominating Committee that selected Page, drew criticism from several delegates who said it contradicted an earlier vote. In the prior vote, on Sunday, June 27, delegates rejected a General Conference proposal that would have allowed departmental associate directors and secretaries to be elected at a later date, thus bypassing the session’s Nominating Committee.

Having a later appointment process, proponents said, would allow for a director to exert greater influence, and additional time, in selecting the people to work in that department. The later election would be held in October by the General Conference Executive Committee, which has more than 300 members. Opponents, however, countered that the traditional process should be respected, saying all potential appointees must be vetted by the General Conference Nominating Committee at session and voted on by the more than 2,000 delegates.

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MINISTERIAL SECRETARY: Jerry N. Page was elected to serve as secretary of the Adventist Church’s Ministerial Association at the church’s General Conference session in Atlanta on July 1. His wife, Janet, will serve as leader of the denomination’s Shepherdess International program.

The issue was reopened July 1 as delegates on both sides of the matter were eager to express their views.

“In order to have transparency, we should ask the Nominating Committee to do its work and select the associate secretaries,” said delegate Lloydston Burton of North America.

“The process is as good as it can be,” countered Lorna Okotto of East-Central Africa, a member of the Nominating Committee. “The director is new; he needs to understand, he needs to have a vision for his department.”

To underscore the importance of the proposal, General Conference president Ted N. C. Wilson and Nominating Committee chair Robert Kyte took the podium to urge passage of the measure. Wilson cited the limited time available to make decisions at session and the “complexity of trying to put together an appropriate team” as major reasons for his support of the proposal.

Some delegates noted that Page was being given an opportunity to essentially select his own team, which they said was unfair, because other department heads who were elected earlier in the week were forced to accept the associate directors chosen by the Nominating Committee.

Wilson, though, insisted that he wanted Page to “carefully review the Ministerial Association as to how best to put together the components that will best lift our vision in a highly spiritual way.”

The proposal passed by an overwhelming majority.

The Ministerial Association provides resources, training, and support for more than 16,000 credentialed pastors around the world. It also provides support for pastors’ spouses under the Shepherdess International program, which will now be coordinated by Page’s wife, Janet.

Page fills the position left vacant by James A. Cress, who died in November.