Three administrative regions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church — the Bangladesh Union Mission, Pakistan Union Section, and Sri Lanka Attached Mission — recently received a recommendation from the General Conference (GC) to move those regions from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) to the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) for their administration.
The proposal has received support and will be submitted to the General Conference Executive Committee (GC-EXCOM) for final action during its fall meeting in 2023. More consideration, research, and survey will be carried out to assure that the decision is the best one.
The NSD would have jurisdiction over these three regions, according to a recommendation made by the GC to the SSD Executive Committee. The SSD Executive Committee has endorsed this movement in a statement that reads as follows:
EXPRESSION OF FULL SUPPORT
WHEREAS, The Bangladesh Union Mission, Pakistan Union Section, and the Sri Lanka Mission have been longstanding partners in ministry in their territories with the Southern Asia-Pacific Division AND
WHEREAS, The General Conference, during their 2022 Annual Council meetings, has proposed and has asked SSD to study the possibility of realigning these three organizations with the Northern Asia-Pacific Division sometime in 2023, AND
WHEREAS, the officers of all three organizations, along with the officers of the Division, have discussed this in detail, AND
WHEREAS, Despite the deep personal bonds of love and professional ties as colleagues in so many ministries and projects together, with a deep shared history with these three organizations and the feeling and sense of loss and sorrow at the prospect of them no longer being part of this division, nevertheless, understanding after weighing the salient relevant points, it is now THEREFORE
VOTED: To express the full support of the General Conference’s plans to realign the Pakistan Union Section, Bangladesh Union Mission, and Sri Lanka Attached Mission with the Northern Asia-Pacific Division.
“It was a difficult decision to make, but this movement is realized to benefit the mission of the church,” SSD president Roger Caderma said.
The inclusion of four countries in the NSD was suggested: Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have a large Muslim population; Sri Lanka, with a majority of its citizens who are Buddhists; and Nepal, which is part of the Southern Asia Division (SUD).
“Alignment of territories has proven to be beneficial and has made the mission of the work prosper,” former SSD treasurer Max Langi said as he recalled the story of the old Far Eastern Division and how the mission has grown since it evolved into the NSD and SSD.
The four church regions have about 51,000 Adventist church members. Additionally, there are numerous primary and secondary schools, publishing companies, and hospitals run by the church in these areas.
“We are trying to make a balance between the divisions,” GC executive secretary Erton Kohler said. “Geographically, it can be challenging for the NSD, but the reorganization can create a balance that will provide equal benefits and challenges for our divisions.”