On July 22, 2021, the General Conference (GC) Executive Committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met by video conference. The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss and vote on six leadership positions within the world field.
Following a brief worship time led by GC president Ted N. C. Wilson focusing on John 17, leaders held moments of prayer that focused on various requests coming from Executive Committee members.
Leaders also announced that the 2021 Annual Council (to be held October 7-13, 2021) will be a “hybrid,” with resident Executive Committee members meeting in person in the GC auditorium in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States. All other members will connect virtually.
As chair of the committee, Wilson expressed deep appreciation to the divisions and unions “who have been responding beautifully regarding our January 18 Special GC Session.” The one-day session will include only one item on the agenda: to adjust the constitution to provide for electronic connection for the GC Session scheduled to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, June 6-11, 2022.
Following announcements, the meeting moved into the main agenda items of filling various leadership positions. The following positions and names were discussed and voted on and are effective immediately.
Michael B. Sikuri, Secretary, South Pacific Division (SPD)
Originally from Fiji, Michael Sikuri has served since 2016 as president of the South New Zealand Conference. Previously, he served as ministerial secretary and church pastor at that conference. He was in the Trans-Pacific Union Mission from 2009 to 2014, where he served as HR director, Family Ministries director, and Children’s Ministries Liaison. He also served in various pastoral/chaplaincy capacities for four years in the Fiji Mission. “My objective as a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to lead people to the Lord in whatever capacity the Lord calls my family and I to,” Sikuri said. “My motto [is] to do all to the glory of God and be faithful to the calling placed upon us.”
J. Francois Keet, Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer, South Pacific Division (SPD)
Francois Keet has much experience in executive financial management in various Seventh-day Adventist entities, as well as in the commercial banking world. Since 2017, he has served as associate treasurer for SPD. Previously, he served as treasurer of the Australian Union Conference (2016) and the Trans-Pacific Union Mission (2006-2015). He was vice-president for finance at Avondale University from 2006 to 2010 and an audit manager for GCAS from 2003 to 2005. He has also served in managerial roles for several commercial banks. Originally from South Africa, Keet is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Financial Analyst, and Certified Internal Auditor. He is a committed Seventh-day Adventist who is actively involved in his local Adventist church.
Robyn W. Kajiura, Executive Director, General Conference Auditing Service (GCAS)
Robyn Kajiura has more than 30 years of professional experience in the field of auditing. Before being elected GCAS Executive Director, she served as GCAS Associate Director with responsibilities for the North America Area operations. In this capacity, she led a team of 80 professional staff and managed a budget of approximately US$10 million. With a personal background influenced from her time living in India and Australia, Robyn appreciates the importance of cross-cultural understanding and brings to her leadership responsibilities a keen sense for respecting others and building relationships to get things done. In addition to her work in the United States, Robyn has led teams on assignments to Australia, Brazil, India, Russia, and Switzerland.
Ivan H. Omana, Associate Director, Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries (ACM)
Since 2015, Ivan Omana has served as the Assistant Director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries for the North American Division, providing support, encouragement, and denominational oversight to more than 300 chaplains in all areas of chaplaincy in the Pacific Union Conference and the North Pacific Union Conference. Previously, he served as senior chaplain at Florida Hospital Kissimmee (now AdventHealth Kissimmee; 2002-2015) and as a chaplain in Adventist Care Centers (2000-2002). During the 1990s, Omana was a pastor in the Central West Venezuelan Conference, where he also served as the official translator for every major evangelistic and ecclesiastical event.
Jennifer Gray Woods, Associate Director, Public Affairs/Religious Liberty (PARL)
Jennifer Gray Woods has served as Associate General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel (OGC) at the General Conference since 2015, where she has overseen the areas of copyright, trademark, and privacy for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Previously, she was an attorney in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., where she gained extensive experience in interagency and governmental affairs. She has also worked as an attorney in Los Angeles, California, where she provided complex health-care regulatory guidance, litigation assistance, transactional advice, and more. Woods is a graduate of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Harvard Law School.
Daniel Kwame Bediako, Associate Director, Biblical Research Institute (BRI)
Daniel K. Bediako has served as vice-chancellor/president of Valley View University in Ghana since 2015. Previously, he served as Academic Vice President and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Valley View. He is an associate professor of Old Testament Language and Exegesis with a particular interest in Biblical Hebrew Text-Linguistics. Bediako has authored five books and forty articles and has presented more than twenty conference papers. He has also edited twelve works, including The Sabbath in Old Testament and the Intertestamental Period: Implications for Christians in the 21st Century (Biblical Research Institute, 2020), Prosperity Gospel: A Biblical-Theological Evaluation (Advent Press, 2020), and was an associate editor of the Andrews Bible Commentary: Old Testament (Andrews University Press, 2020). Bediako has been a member of the Biblical Research Institute Committee (BRICOM) since 2010.
The original version of this story was posted in the July-September 2021 issue of the General Conference Executive Newsletter.