Day 2 began with the reports of the General Conference Secretary and the Treasurer. The Secretary’s name is Dr. G.T. Ng; in the few meetings that we have had together, he is most often referred to as “G.T.”-for reasons that are pretty obvious to me-no one can pronounce his name!
I remember when the General Conference had their Spring Council in Huntsville a few years ago, at the Oakwood University Church. For the Sabbath service, I was asked to give the welcome and then to introduce one of the many special guests that were present that day. I was supposed to introduce Dr. Ng, which was a challenge, since I had never met Dr. Ng and had no idea how to pronounce his name.
The person in charge of the program had mercy on me and switched my assignment and asked me to introduce the North American Division President, Elder Dan Jackson; his name, I could pronounce!
Dr. Ng (pronounced “ing”) gave a very interesting report, one that informed us of both the blessings and the challenges of being a part of a highly diverse church. At the end of 2014, there were nearly 18.5 million people in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Last year-and for each of the last 10 years, I million people were baptized into God’s church.
Most of that growth came outside of North America-specifically in Africa and in Latin America. The membership in those two areas compromises roughly 70% of the church, while North America is down to down to 7%. By way of comparison, in 1960, North America comprised approximately40% of the Seventh-day Adventist Church-the same percentage that Africa has today.
Diversity is a wonderful thing but it brings challenges. It means making changes because […]
In our last blog, we shared some final thoughts before the General Conference. If you have not read it, I hope that you take a few minutes and read our call to prayer. We are asking everyone to pray daily for the General Conference and especially for the discussion on Wednesday-the vote on the issue of Women’s Ordination.
Whatever your position on this issue, all of us want the will of the Lord to be done. We also want to be able to address this issue-and every issue at this General Conference-in a manner that is pleasing to God and in a way that will bring glory to His Name.
Therefore, in South Central, we have issued a call to prayer each day of the General Conference and a day of fasting and prayer for next Wednesday.
Mrs. Edmond and I arrived for the General Conference session on yesterday. To my delight, Mrs. Edmond arrived without the 9 million pairs of shoes that she brought to the GC session in Atlanta five years ago- she brought only half as many as she brought to Atlanta. That is still three times as many as I brought-but still, that’s progress!
It is probably just as well that she left a lot of her high heels at home. One of the differences between Atlanta and San Antonio is the transportation system for the delegates.
Five years ago, there was a superlative shuttle system that ran between the hotels and the Georgia Dome-the site of the 2011 GC session. With the exception of the final day of GC, just about any time of day-up until about 11:00 p.m., there was always a shuttle bus between the hotels and the dome. Not only […]
In a few days some 2,500 delegates, plus another 60,000-70,000 Seventh-day Adventist from around the world, will gather in San Antonio, Texas, for what is called General Conference, or in Adventist parlance “GC.”
Five years ago, when the General Conference session was in Atlanta, my late mother, Mrs. Marcelle Edmond, suggested that I do a daily blog from the session and share some news and notes with those of you who are unable to attend. I took her suggestion. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it.
My mother passed away several months after the GC session in Atlanta. Even though she will not be able to read it, I am following her counsel and doing a daily blog from General Conference–beginning this Friday morning. I hope that you will enjoy it.
Even more than that, I hope that what will happen in San Antonio will strengthen the mission of the church and hasten the day when Jesus comes, and I can see my parents once again.
Before GC begins on this coming Thursday, I would like to share the following information and thoughts:
1. Some of Our Members Who Operate Restaurants in Our Conference, Will Provide Meal Services during the GC. The Owners of Jamaica Way in Nashville, TN, and Mangos in Huntsville, AL, are collaborating in San Antonio.
While it is not my practice to endorse businesses or products, I do believe that we should try to be very intentional about supporting businesses that are operated by Seventh-day Adventists as often as we possibly can. As a conference office, we have used the services of these businesses on several occasions, and we wanted to make you aware of their services in San Antonio.
An information picture/link […]
There have been a number of things that have happened at the South Central Conference of late. Here are a few of them:
There have been several changes in the Department of Education. Mrs. Eunice Warfield, our Superintendent of Education announced her retirement, effective June 30.
Dr. Warfield accepted a call to our conference approximately four years ago from the Southwest Union Conference, where she was serving as their Superintendent of Education. We have benefitted from her wide-ranging experience and her professionalism. Additionally, we benefitted from the services of her husband, retired Pastor Melvyn Warfield, Sr., who stepped in as an interim Pastor of our church in Gallatin at a time when he was very much needed.
We thank the Warfields for their ministry to our conference and wish them well in their retirement.
The Executive Committee asked Associate Superintendent Sharon Lewis to step into the role of Superintendent of Education. Mrs. Lewis is also a long-time Adventist educator, who has served as a teacher, principal and conference educational administrator in the Seventh-day Adventist school system for nearly forty years.
She came to our office from Huntsville, where she served as Principal of Oakwood Adventist Academy for approximately five years. She too is married to a Seventh-day Adventist Pastor, Elder James Lewis, who serves part-time in our conference as the Associate Stewardship Director, as well the Associate Pastor for the Huntsville Mt. Calvary Church, in addition to his full-time responsibility as the Director of the Office of Regional Ministries in Huntsville, Alabama.
We are blessed to have a person of the experience and expertise of Mrs. Lewis and we look forward to her leadership of our schools.
Mrs. Lewis promotion to Superintendent of Education created a void in the Associate Superintendent’s position. The […]
Each year the President sets goals for the conference. It is part of a desire to be intentional about setting a direction for the conference.
Without this intentionality there is the danger of the conference not having a clear direction, to “aim at nothing,” as the late President C.E. Dudley, used to say, “and hit it.”
These goals are set at the end of each previous year. Then they are sent to the Executive Committee, the Pastors, and the office staff. During each Executive Committee and the monthly office staff meetings, the President reviews the goals for the year. Additionally, a report on the progress that the Lord is granting toward reaching these goals is given.
Around March of each year, the final numbers for the previous years are available. A report of the goals that were/were not reached is given to the Executive Committee, Pastors, and office staff. In the case of the goals that were not reached, an explanation is given as to why the goal was not reached and what can/cannot be done to address the missing of those goals.
The final step in this process was taken last year when the President made a report to the constituency in his blog regarding the yearly goals and which ones were/were not reached. Though we are sharing the goals for the year later in the year than we would like, nevertheless, here are the goals for the South Central Conference for 2015:
4% Tithe Gain
Evaluate every full-time employee
Reduce Fall Drive Goals by 7-10%
7,000 Message Magazine Subscriptions
Establishment of an intentional, step-by-step discipling of new members
Implementation of Young Adult Ministries Initiative
Reduce Budget Percentage Going to Salary/Benefits to 65-67%, without layoffs
Increase Working Capital so that we can return monies […]
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus:Happy Sabbath.Please allow me to share the following:On yesterday, the United States Supreme Court made a ruling that legalized gay marriage in the United States.As President of the South Central Conference, it is important that I make the following things clear:
As Seventh-day Adventists, we are committed to following the Word of God, which teaches that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman. As such, though we respect the rule of law, gay marriages are not to be performed in the churches of the South Central Conference.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we are also committed to the belief that that ALL human beings are created in the image of God and are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. We claim gays as our brothers and sisters in Christ and as precious souls for whom Christ died. While we shall not compromise our position on homosexuality, neither shall we shrink from our responsibility to treat gay men and women in the manner in which Christ would treat them.
May the same Holy Spirit that blessed and refreshed us during Camp Meeting rest on your worship today.
In Louisville KY, at the Galt House Hotel, on the banks of the Ohio river, Youth Congress began as usual; delegates filing into the lobby, exploring the hotel, looking for friends, making noise. This year there were not as many delegates as previous times. Vandeon Griffin, SCC Youth Director, feels the count was smaller than normal, since this year was on the heels of Osh Kosh Camporee, therefore believes the churches could not afford another major event so close to each other. That, however, did not deter the nearly 250 young folks that attended. They were just as excited and attentive as always.
The theme was “Covered,” reinforcing in the minds of the youth they are covered by the blood. Protected from the attacks of Satan. This theme was reiterated over and over by speakers such as Myron Edmonds, of Cleveland OH, Robert Davis, of Baton Rouge LA, Kymone Hinds, of Memphis, TN, Pierre Qinn, of Bowling Green KY, Isaac Conn, of Louisville KY, Lola Moore, of South Central Conference, and Misty Jenkins from Lexington KY.
There was a note of sadness when Dana Edmond, SCC president, gave Griffin a public “Kudos” for serving South Central as youth director for 9 years. It was a surreal moment for many for this was the last full Youth Congress for Griffin.
This year the youth did two different acts of service for the community. Some went to the food bank to sort and box food, while others went and cleaned trash from off the streets.
The entertainment was plenty, with John Stoddard, Jason Clayborn, Aaron Cole and the winner of Sunday Best, Joshua Rogers. As always, the music did not disappoint.
There was plenty of other activities for the young people; different […]
It was a delightful Sabbath celebration for the members of Jordan Street and Bethany SDA church. The view was a picturesque backdrop of soft white sands, calming waves, and the sounds of the members praising God for his grace, his love, his mercy, and the goodness of nature that we often neglect to stop and enjoy. This was the second time and sadly, the last time the members of the Jordan Street and Bethany SDA church would come together for their annual “Sabbath on the Beach” service with Pastor Daniel Lubega before he moves on to Memphis, Tennessee. Smiling members gathered at Johnson Beach in Pensacola, Florida dressed in their deep gold and royal purple SDA t-shirts wearing sandals, flip-flops and shorts with their folding chairs, beach towels, Bibles, and open hearts anticipating receiving a blessing.
Sabbath school lesson led by Elder Earl Jones was surreal hearing the sounds of the waves making their way to the shore. It gave the members a clear vision of how it must have felt when Jesus taught the multitudes at the Sea of Galilee. It made the lesson come alive and the members got a glimpse of how powerful the word of God is.
As the Jordan Street choir led by Sister Cheryl Watson sang uplifting songs, it felt like God was breathing power into the choir and the Holy Spirit was there. Their pleasant voices reached far beyond the pavilion. It was so moving that people began to migrate from the beach to join in the celebration. Service carried on as if it were behind the four walls of Jordan Street and Bethany. Pastor Lubega’s sermon entitled “A Father’s Love” was on the parable of the prodigal son. “This is […]