The headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, is filled this week with hundreds of Annual Council members convening Oct. 7 to 15, 2015, to discuss church issues and finances, and make policies that will impact the world church.
This first Annual Council of the General Conference of the new quinquennium began with Chairman Artur Stele, vice-president of the General Conference, requesting a report of Executive Secretary G. T. Ng.
Ng stated the purpose of the Annual Council and reported that approximately 473 individuals were invited to attend. Of this number, 337 were General Conference Executive Committee members and 136 were special invitees. Ng said at that time, 232 out of the 473 had registered.
Ng noted according to church policy, any 15 members of the GC Executive Committee “shall constitute a quorum,” a requirement that could have been fulfilled by General Conference officers alone. Since this small number was exceeded, Ng invited Stele to officially declare the Annual Council open, which he did.
After the meeting officially began, the church mission, method, and vision statements were read and reaffirmed by a vote.
The names for the nominating and steering committees for the 2015 Annual Council, the program booklet, and the agenda for the council were next moved, voted and carried.
Most of the agenda is dedicated to choosing and overseeing leadership. Article eight of the Denominational Working Policy explains that responsibilities of the Executive Committee include, “power to grant or withdraw credentials or licenses, to appoint committees, such as an administrative committee, with their terms of reference, and to employ personnel that may be necessary to execute its work effectively.”
In choosing new names, the executive nominating committee is expected to adhere to denominational policy in choosing names for important positions. The policy says: “Officers and administrators are expected to work in harmony with the General Conference Working Policy. Those who show inability or unwillingness to administer their work in harmony with policy should not continue in executive leadership by their respective constituencies or governing boards/committees.”
Appointments we can expect include a director of Archives and Statistics, a director and associate directors of the Biblical Research Institute, and editors and associate editors for the principal denominational journals prepared at the General Conference.
Besides appointing new leaders, a significant responsibility of the Annual Council is removal of officers, directors and associate directors of departments/associations/services and committee members in the event of, “1) incompetence; 2) persistent failure to cooperate with duly constituted authority in substantive matters and with relevant employment and denominational policies; and 3) actions which may be the subject of discipline under the Church Manual.”
Actions of unions, conferences and individuals in disharmony with church policy may be addressed at Annual Council as well.
Rich and Cathy Constantinescu with their four precious children live in Weimar, California where Rich teaches theology at the College and serves as a chaplain. Before moving to Weimar, Rich attended seminary and served as a pastor for several years. Besides God and his family, he enjoys ministry, the great outdoors, exercising, traveling, and learning.