July 9, 2010

Thirteenth Business Meeting

Thirteenth Business Meeting
Fifty-ninth General Conference session, July 1, 2010, 2:00 p.m.

MARY JUAREZ: [Opening prayer.]

ELLA S. SIMMONS: We call to order the afternoon business session. I remind you that this is Thursday afternoon and we still have several agenda items, so we will attempt to be as efficient as possible and yet allow time for discussion and understanding of the items. We will receive a report from the Nominating Committee as our first order of business. After the Nominating Committee response, we will adjourn briefly for a General Conference Corporation meeting. After the corporation adjourns, we will come back and reconvene the afternoon business session.

You sent an item to the Steering Committee regarding younger delegates. We want to bring that back this afternoon. So with that we will first call on Bob Kyte, the chairman of the Nominating Committee.

ROBERT E. KYTE: We are bringing several partial reports today. The first has to do with the General Conference Auditing Service. It has a separate board of directors, but the nominations are brought through the General Conference session for the various positions, as well as the appointment of the board. Dr. Castillo will be making the presentation for the various elements of the General Conference Auditing Service.

ISMAEL CASTILLO: The Nominating Committee is recommending for the General Conference Auditing Service the following names:

First, for director, the name of Paul H. Douglas, who currently serves as the GCAS director, with 24 years of global auditing experience throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia.

For GCAS associate director, the name of Daniel E. Herzel, for professional standards.

For GCAS associate director, the name of Mark S. Hyder, for professional development.

For GCAS associate director, the name of Christopher S. Garrity, for quality control.

For GCAS associate director, the name of Jeremy T. Smith, for process improvement.

For GCAS associate director, the name of Gary Blood, for technology.

For GCAS associate director for North America, Robyn W. Kajiura.

For GCAS associate director for Trans-Africa, Furaha Mpozembizi.

For GCAS associate director for Trans-America, Roy Cortez.

For GCAS associate director for Trans-Asia-Pacific, Paul J. Edwards.

For GCAS associate director for Trans-Euro-Asia, Sandra C. Grice.

ISMAEL CASTILLO: I move the acceptance of this report.


ELLA S. SIMMONS: We have the motion and support. All in favor of approval, please raise your yellow voting cards. All opposed, the same sign. It is carried.

ISMAEL CASTILLO: Now, Madam Chair, about the board of the General Conference Auditing Service. We have 13 members; four of them are women and come from the field with recommendations from the divisions. The other five are ex officio members for this board. The Nominating Committee is recommending the following names for the board of the General Conference Auditing Services: Vincent Zirimwabagabo is from the East-Central Africa Division. Elvira Grosu is from the Euro-Africa Division. Svetlana Kara is from the Euro-Asia Division. Hyden Gittens is from the Inter-American Division. Jack Krogstad is from the North American Division. Yuongsang Oh is from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division. Ailton Dorl is from the South American Division. Evelyn Will is from the South Pacific Division. Phillip Ndlovu is from the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division. John Stanley is from the Southern Asia Division. Lotie Ragas-Blando is from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division. Frensly Panneflek is from the Trans-European Division. Philip Maitanmi is from the West-Central Africa Division. Additionally, the names of ex officio members are as follows: Ted N. C. Wilson, G. T. Ng, Robert E. Lemon, Lowell C. Cooper, and Paul H. Douglas. I move the acceptance of this report.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: We have the motion and support. [The motion was voted.]

CYNTHIA TUTSCH: Madam Chair, for the position of associate director of the General Conference Communication Department, the Nominating Committee recommends the name of Garrett Caldwell, the incumbent. Since 2008 he has been the General Conference associate director of the Communication Department. For the position of associate director of the General Conference Communication Department, the Nominating Committee recommends the name of Andre Brink. He established and developed the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division media center and is currently its director.

Madam Chair, the Nominating Committee recommends the name of G. Alexander Bryant, the secretary of the North American Division, as associate secretary of the General Conference, and the name of G. Thomas Evans, the treasurer of the North American Division, as associate treasurer of the General Conference.

For the position of General Conference Ministerial Association secretary, the Nominating Committee recommends the name of Jerry N. Page. He is currently the president of the Central California Conference. Traditionally, the spouse of the Ministerial Association secretary serves as an associate Ministerial secretary, with a focus on coordinating Shepherdess International. Thus the Nominating Committee recommends the name of Janet Page for the position of associate secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association.

For the position of the associate director of the General Conference Youth Department, the Nominating Committee recommends the name of Jonatan Tejel. He is an incumbent. He has been an associate director of the General Conference Youth Department since 2005.

For the position of associate director of the General Conference Youth Department, the Nominating Committee recommends the name of Paul Tompkins. Currently he is the youth director of the Trans-European Division.

For the position of treasurer of the Euro-Asia Division, the Nominating Committee recommends the name of Brent Burdick. He is currently the treasurer of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference.

Madam Chair, I move this report of the Nominating Committee.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: You have heard the report, and it is supported. Is there a need for a discussion?

BIAKTHANSANGA RENTHLEI: Madam Chair, I have attentively listened to the reports of the Nominating Committees, and I have a question. The Southern Asia Division has not been represented. Therefore, I would like clarification, and if not, it should be referred back to the committee.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: My brother, we thank you for your observation, and if the chairman or the secretary of the Nominating Committee would care to offer insight at this time, we could hear that.

ROBERT E. KYTE: We have done our best to try to get as much diversity as possible. We have recognized that the Southern Asia Division has not had representation in this report. This matter has been discussed with the president of the General Conference, who has commented that he is taking note. There is no challenge to any nominee, and it would be inappropriate for us to remove somebody from the list of the names that has been presented and place somebody else in because of geographic representation.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Without a specific objection or concern we will not entertain the notion of referring the report back. On the other hand, the chair does understand your concern, and perhaps could invite you to meet with the Nominating Committee or their small committee to offer some suggestions for future nominations. We will call for the vote. All in favor of approving this report, please show such with your yellow cards. All opposed, the same sign. It is carried.

ROBERT E. KYTE: We dealt with one other item on the committee with regard to the remaining four associate secretaries of the Ministerial Association. In light of the various changes that have gone on in the Ministerial Association with the unfortunate death of Dr. Cress and now the most recent election of Elder Page, the Nominating Committee considered a statement from Elder Wilson, president of the General Conference, and as a result of that action we took an action requesting the body to refer the remaining four associate secretary positions in Ministerial to the Annual Council for filling, and asking that the incumbents continue in office until the Annual Council. And I would move that, and Elder Wilson is here to speak to that matter if it pleases the chair.


ELLA S. SIMMONS: We have a motion before us that has to do with policy. We have support for the motion. I will hear Elder Wilson’s comments as part of the introduction, and if there is need for discussion, we will open the floor at that time.

TED N. C. WILSON: I appreciate the opportunity to expand a little on what Robert Kyte has indicated. Because of the complexity of trying to put together an appropriate team and evaluate the complete needs of the Ministerial Association, and with the very short time that has been allowed between the appointment of the Ministerial Association secretary and this deliberating body, the Nominating Committee was very gracious in their understanding of allowing us to refer this to the Annual Council. One of the most important areas of goals and visions for what we would like to see happen in the future is an extremely spiritual approach to how we conduct our viewpoint about church life. The Ministerial Association is going to be key in our attempts through the power of the Holy Spirit to create an environment of revival and reformation. We are requesting that this be referred to the Annual Council to give a little more time to evaluate the entire team and to approach this extremely important task.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: It is quite possible that had we not had the discussions earlier in the week and taken that specific action, this would never have been an issue. There would have been an indication that there were no names for these positions, and they would have automatically gone to the Annual Council. [After a lengthy discussion on this issue, the motion to refer the names of the associate secretaries of the Ministerial Association to the 2010 Annual Council was voted.]

ROBERT E. KYTE: I just want to make a statement here that the work of the Nominating Committee has been concluded, and this is our final report.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Thank you for that expression of appreciation to a very hardworking Nominating Committee. We are going to adjourn the business session in order to allow for a meeting of the General Conference Corporation, chaired by Elder Wilson.

[Thirteenth business meeting reconvenes.]

ELLA S. SIMMONS: We call to order this business session of the General Conference session. We have two special items for this afternoon. Jim Nix will present those.

TED N. C. WILSON: Jim Nix is going to introduce two very important projects. One of them is called Connecting With Jesus. It features the promotion and distribution of 10 Spirit of Prophecy books in a format that is accessible for people at the least cost possible. I believe that the Spirit of Prophecy is one of God’s greatest gifts to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I am hoping that this particular project will continue into the next quinquennium.

JAMES R. NIX: The background and purpose of this project is a realization that the Adventist membership growth since 2000 will result in virtually a new church by the year 2020. Most of these new members will have little or no understanding of Adventism’s prophetic roots, so the Connecting With Jesus project was created to help Adventists, new and old, refocus on our unique mission and message.

One hundred fifty years ago this October 1 the pioneers of our church chose the name “Seventh-day Adventist.” So it’s fitting that on this 150th anniversary we look again at “What does it mean to be a Seventh-day Adventist in the twenty-first century?”

This year, October 2 is the Sabbath closest to the actual anniversary date. It is hoped that rather than merely recalling the anniversary, every member in every church, institution, etc., will use that anniversary to consider carefully and prayerfully what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist today.

The goal of the anniversary commemoration is to help members recover and enhance our Adventist identity as well as regain a healthy pride in being a Seventh-day Adventist. But what do people in your local community actually know about
Seventh-day Adventists? What real difference are you as a Seventh-day Adventist making in the lives of your neighbors, your employees, your customers, your fellow workers, your schoolmates, your non-Adventist relatives? If your church or local school closed, would anyone in your community even notice? If not, what do you need to do to change that? What more should your congregation do to share the good news of Christ’s soon return? On Sabbath, October 2, the members of the 150th Anniversary Commemoration Committee invite you and your church to think about two things: What does it mean to be a
Seventh-day Adventist today, and how could I be more effective in inviting others to join our worldwide Adventist family?

ELLA S. SIMMONS: I am going to cut off the Church Manual discussion at this point, and call Elder Lowell Cooper to bring an item, because we had promised that when you give items to the Steering Committee, we will engage in discussions or whatever work necessary in that context and then report back to you. And I am afraid that if we continue with the discussion that we have at hand, we will fail to do that on an item that has been taken to the Steering Committee and is now ready to be reported back, and that is the item pertaining to the involvement of younger people in the business of the church.

LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you, Madam Chair. We bring this information in response to questions that were raised on the floor regarding the presence of young people participating in the business of the session.

I would first of all like to give the delegates a little report on the composition of the delegation by each category and then speak about how delegate selections are made and where age-based decisions can be exercised in the selection of delegates.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: I’m going to acknowledge that there is a point of order being raised, but I will allow the completion of the introduction of this item.

LOWELL C. COOPER: Thank you, Madam Chair. A little more than 2,000 delegates indicated gender and/or age in their registration documents. So we need to recognize that this represents about 90 percent of the more than 2,240 delegates who registered. The male count is 1,701. The female count is 332. In the age categories that were represented in the registration document, those under age 30 numbered a total of 43. Between the ages of 30 and 39, 226. Between the ages of 40 and 49, 580. Between 50 and 59, 800. Between 60 and 69, 321, and above that, 38. Now, perhaps just a word about the selection process for delegates. The consideration of age category cannot be exercised across the whole potential delegation, since there are some delegates that are chosen by virtue of position, an example being the members of the General Conference Executive Committee, the associate directors of General Conference departments. Those categories cannot be subject to an age-based decision. When we look at the possible pool of total delegates from which selections could be made on the basis of age, my estimate—and it is only an estimate at this time—is that that pool would not be greater than 2,000. Now, we also have to factor into that the fact that in the delegate selection process many people who are in denominational employ or who are laypersons who may be serving on executive committees or serving as department directors in divisions may be chosen as delegates, and that selection, though potentially open to an age-based decision, is usually exercised from another priority before age. My estimate at this point in time is that if we looked at the total group of delegates it’s probably in the range of about 1,400 potential delegates that we could exercise an age-based grid for making decisions. With respect to how the General Conference has approached the matter, the General Conference Administrative Committee was granted a total of 35 delegates that it could choose. Out of that 35, the General Conference Administrative Committee deliberately determined that 13 must come from the 30-and-under age category. That is about 35 percent of that quota. Other delegate selections are not made by the General Conference. The great majority of delegates—the largest by far—are selected by union conferences and division committees. And we have language in the Constitution that counsels these delegate selection entities that in the selection of delegates they need to respect the gender distribution, age distribution, and age categories as well as the representation of laity and pastors and other frontline workers in the delegation. So, Madam Chair, that’s a little bit of an overview of how delegate selections are made, and the opportunities and perhaps even the limitations that might apply in making selection based on age. We have also been informed that there were some divisions that had chosen a quota of delegates in the under-30 age group, but these were the ones that had the most difficulty in getting visas. In fact, some did not get visas. I realize that this kind of thing applies perhaps only to some areas of the world. Individuals in that age group, unless they have something that anchors them to their home country, will encounter a more difficult situation in obtaining a visa to the United States.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Thank you, Elder Cooper. Karen Allen wishes to speak.

KAREN ALLEN: Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you, Elder Cooper, for the information on the background about the selection. I still want to emphasize that 43 people in the age category of 30 and under and 226 people in the age category of 30-39 in a delegate pool of more than 2,200 is not sufficient. We consistently talk about how we’re losing our young people, yet we don’t have a church that’s geared toward involving them and keeping them with us. When I was chosen as a delegate, I was chosen because I was an African-American female. I appreciate that, and I think that was based on a grid to ensure representation. So it is not all right with me, and, I believe, probably other delegates, that 13 people are chosen by the General Conference Executive Committee. I believe it should be much more. So I would like to make a motion, if it is possible at this time.

I would like for the delegates to take a vote on the number of young people to be selected as delegates for the next world session. I don’t want that to go back to the Steering Committee. I want the delegates to inform the church about the representation we want from young people. We were told that we could bring such a motion at this time.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: I understand where you’re going with this, but you will recall that at the beginning of the session we voted the agenda, and those are the items that are to be discussed. We agreed that if there were other motions or requests, all of these would go back to the appropriate committee.

The chair recognizes Glenn Mitchell.

GLENN MITCHELL: I think I need to reinforce what has been said in that the delegate selection is at the conference and the union and division level. The most effective way to deal with it is at the local conference, union, and division level.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: The chair recognizes Neville Harcombe.

NEVILLE HARCOMBE: We’ve been talking about youth. When you get home to your local church, that’s the place to look for young people to fill the different church offices, the local church board. Conference presidents, when you get home, look at your young people to fill these positions—the same with unions. I would not only like to broaden it at the General Conference but get down to the grass roots.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: The chair recognizes DP Harris.

DP HARRIS: It’s clear to me that the energy and the future of this church is already being driven by the younger generation. What we are not doing, though, is educating them in the governance of the church, which means that even when they get elected and brought to this session, and they bring issues to the floor, it is frustrating to me and probably to them when their issues are mentioned as being out of order, and the recourse seems to continually be “Let’s put it off to another time.” I’d like to ask that this governance education be addressed by the Steering Committee, and even that youth divisions, or the Youth Ministries Department, activate, in addition to their outreach and service programs, a program to educate and encourage our young people to get into the actual administration at all levels of the church.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: The chair recognizes Nick Kross.

NICK KROSS: I’d like to mention something from the Constitution and Bylaws Committee that maybe we can deal with tomorrow, where we might be able to open the window a bit wider for youth. On page 57, lines 7 and 8, it says, “Not less than fifteen and not more than twenty members selected by the General Conference Executive Committee from laity including young adults.” Now, will we have a chance to deal with that tomorrow?

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Elder Cooper.

LOWELL C. COOPER: The page that is referenced deals with language pertaining to the membership of the General Conference Executive Committee, not delegates to a session. It’s a completely different body.

NICK KROSS: Is it not true that they would be required to be here at the session, though?

LOWELL C. COOPER: By virtue of membership on the General Conference Executive Committee, they would become at-large delegates.

NICK KROSS: We could change the wording a bit to make it more youth-oriented.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Yes, that point is clear and is taken. The chair recognizes Donna Richards.

DONNA RICHARDS: Is this discussion limited to only the youth representation?

ELLA S. SIMMONS: It is at this time, although I already have, on my list of items to go back to Steering Committee, a similar issue regarding the inclusion of greater representation of women in leadership. If your item does not pertain to youth but is similar in nature, we don’t want to lose it later, so keep this in mind if we have not already covered it by the time we finish the discussion.

DONNA RICHARDS: My concern was the representation of women as well as youth.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Yes, and that’s on the list from a previous speaker. The chair recognizes Angelino Brito.

ANGELINO SANDALAWA BRITO: Would it not be wise to have a percentage of each of those divisions so that the delegates would not just come here to raise up their cards but also to see who is from their division to be candidates to function here?

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Thank you for your comment. Microphone 4.

ROBERT HERMAN VOLLMER: Thank you, Madam Chair. With this passing of a certain percentage of young people in the body, it would become very important how we welcome them, how we advise them and explain what is going on. I want the Steering Committee not only to think about a certain percentage of young people in this body but also to think about how can we help to make them feel welcome and how they can work for the church within this body.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: You are asking that the Steering Committee consider ways in which the body can move beyond simple access to full inclusion and simulation and partnership within the constructs of the session assembly. Microphone 5.

MALCOLM WAYNE WESLEY CLARKE: I would like to suggest to the Bylaws Committee that they also consider having young adults as invitees per division, and that might be a way to complement the number of young adults or young persons under 30 that are actually here as delegates with voice and vote. To have some here as invitees with perhaps voice only. Thank you.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Yes, and perhaps as part of that training package. Microphone 1.

PASSMORE N’GANDU MULAMBO: I am speaking as a conference president. My conference has a membership of more than 250,000. Many times the issue has to do with the visa. Even pastors who are younger in age are many times denied a visa, so I believe this is a concern even with many other colleagues from Africa. So it’s not really to say that it’s not the idea or wish from administration to bring on board the young people for the General Conference session. The issue has to do with the venue. The day that the General Conference session will be in Africa is the day you will see a lot of young people attending.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Thank you very much. Microphone 4.

DAVID KOKIONG: Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you to the Steering Committee for coming back with the report on what I brought up a few days ago. I just want to lend my support to everything that’s going on. I’d like to mention that I am on the Bylaws Committee of my local conference, and I am here today because an older delegate mentored me. He helped me through every step of the process. He explained the Rules of Order and how to handle a lot of the different situations, and because of that I have some experience in order to come and participate in a session like this. So if there are younger delegates, and if you are an older person who is more experienced in some of these sessions, take them under your wings and be a mentor to them, so that we can help get the young adults to have more experience so that we can de­velop better leaders for the future. Thank you.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Thank you very much. We have a point of order.

MARIO CARBAJAL FLORIDO: I would like to give thanks to the General Conference for giving us the agenda in advance. However, I have a strong impression that some of my colleagues did not receive it, and that is not good.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Microphone 1.

DILSON BEZERRA: Madam Chair, it’s not just here that we have a problem with youth representation—we have it in the local church and conference and union. We cannot come here and put pressure on the General Conference session when we have the same problem in our churches and conferences.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Thank you. Please note that the chair will end all discussion in approximately six minutes. Glenn Wright wishes to speak.

GLENN WRIGHT: Being a first-time delegate and young person, I have a quick observation. It seems to me that because of the low numbers of laypeople who attend a session like this, there’s a low youth representation.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Thank you. Tuesda Roberts wishes to speak.

TUESDA ROBERTS: I want to say that I am one of those 13 representatives here at this session, and I have learned so much. It has been a great experience, and I just wish that this would continue and grow exponentially. I have two points.

One, that the Church Manual Committee would consider adding more language that speaks more directly to young adult ministries. I have found that in my division there are varying understandings of what young adult ministry is and what youth ministry is. I’ve seen reports in which we say “youth,” but that may also include people who are 16-18, whereas young adults who are going to college or beginning their professions have a separate set of needs. And I’m not sure that the retention is the same for those senior youth as it is for young adults. So I’m asking to have better language in the Church Manual that will speak more directly to young adult needs.

And while we recognize that conferences, unions, and divisions have the greatest influence in increasing the number of young adults represented here at sessions, I’m also asking that the appropriate committee at the General Conference begin to think about how to increase that representation until the appropriate number of young adults can move into the ranks.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Thank you very much, and thank you for being here, all of you young folks. Nievelyn Sison wishes to speak.

NIEVELYN SISON: Greetings from Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. I really appreciate that young people are being given this much attention. But it is also a call for the youth. I am a product of the training of the youth department, and it’s a great privilege to be part of this session. But I would like to challenge the youth. Youth should be available and prove themselves ready to take any responsibility in an administrative position and be willing to be mentored. And I would like also to call for the local churches, for the leaders of the churches, to be ready to mentor the youth.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Yes, thank you very much. Justin McNeilus wishes to speak.

JUSTIN MC NEILUS: Thank you, Madam Chair. I was just kind of thinking about this and processing it a little bit. I’m also one of the young people, and I appreciate the invitation. It’s nice for us to come and hope that young people someday will get more excited about the church. But I don’t think that coming to a session is going to do much for the young people. If you bring young people here, to be honest, it might bore them to talk about commas and periods and other small changes in the Church Manual. It’s tough to stay focused. But if you bring young people together and you start talking about evangelism, you start talking about taking this gospel to the world, you start talking about action in the church—that’s what gets us excited. And so my appeal to you as General Conference leaders, division leaders, conference leaders: What if you had committees that were comprised of young people who were given some money to spend—young people leading young people? I know it’s a bit of a risk, a bit of a different approach, but just think about that, because I think once you show that you can trust young people, they will wake up. And to be honest, I don’t think that the mission of the church can be accomplished without our youth.

ELLA S. SIMMONS: Yes, thank you very much. You gave us another item to add to our list. We need to end here. Thank you, Elder Cooper. I’m going to call for the benediction. But before I do, I want to ask Karen Allen to be sure to see me so that I’m certain that I have your item to add to all of the others. And I hope you see now why I wanted the conversation to continue before going there. Thank you.

KENNY FRASER: Just before the benediction we have an announcement from the General Conference session music committee. There will be a lecture on music and worship by Dr. Osterman at 5:30 today in the Thomas B. Murphy Ballroom in Building B. You’re asked to come learn how to enrich the worship experience with appropriate music. Dr. Osterman is an Adventist professor at Northern Caribbean University. She’s a recognized authority in this important and relevant subject. This special presentation is part of the Adventist soundstage program. I invite you to stand for the benediction. [Prayer.]



CLAUDE SABOT, Proceedings Editor

GARY B. PATTERSON and FRED G. THOMAS, Assistant Proceedings Editors

Session Actions
Fifty-ninth General Conference session,  July 1, 2010, 2:00 p.m.

VOTED, To refer election of the associate secretaries of the Ministerial Association to the 2010 Annual Council in Silver Spring, Maryland.