New leaders decide church’s future


Following the General Conference session for the world church in Atlanta in June, 114 church members from across the South Pacific travelled to Wahroonga, NSW, to complete the work of appointments for the South Pacific.

Church leaders, employees and lay members from Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and 9 other South Pacific countries met as the church’s new Executive Committee for three days. They voted on management, business, and ministry plans for the next 5 years.

According to Division president, Dr Barry Oliver, the Church’s mission statement is best summarised in the single word “discipleship”

Forty members of the committee are new, four of them being younger than 30: Kara Dale (Newcastle), Clansi Rogers (Canberra), Natasha Matoto (Tonga) and Desmond Yaninen (Port Moresby, PNG).


A new initiative announced at the meetings means seven departments will be grouped into two clusters:

  1. the new Church & Community Ministries Cluster includes ADRA, Adventist Health and Global Mission with three full time directors and associates;
  2. the new Church & Life Ministries cluster with five full time directors and associates, includes Family Ministries, Women’s Ministries, Children’s Ministries and Youth Ministries.

As in the past, the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department will continue with a liaison person between the General Conference and the four Unions within the South Pacific. And now, in addition, the Ministerial, Personal Ministries, Sabbath School, and Stewardship departments will also have a liaison role..  Three other departments will continue to operate as before: Education, Publishing and Field Secretary (theology).

New positions appointed at the session included Dr Malcolm Coulson (Adventist Education), who is still to confirm his acceptance of the invitation, Dr David Tasker (Field Secretary & Ministerial liaison), Dr Branimir Schubert (Leadership and Professional Development), Danijela Schubert (Assistant to the President), Pr Joseph Talipuan (PNGUM President), Pr Leigh Rice (PNGUM General Secretary), and Francois Keet (TPUM Chief Financial Officer).                                                     

Pr Joseph Talipuan (Papua New Guinea Union Mission President)


According to Division president, Dr Barry Oliver, the Church’s mission statement  is best  summarised in the single word “discipleship”. He said that in Matthew 28: 20, Jesus’ command to “make disciples” is an imperative.  He added, “The  other three verbs “go”,  “baptise” and “teach” are participles.  They are important, but secondary to Jesus’ core commission for us to make disciples.”

General Secretary Lawrence Tanabose told committee members that while there are 420,844 baptised members across the South Pacific, on any given Sabbath, there are probably more than a million people attending church. There is one Seventh-day Adventist church member for every 86 people living in the region.

However, in some places like Papua New Guinea, where there is dramatic growth, a large number of people are leaving the church as well.  From a high number of 5000 in 2006, there are still 3000 people per year who stop attending. Committee members stated that nurture and proper places for worship will help.

Pr Waisea Vuniwa (Trans Pacific Union Mission President)

Chief Financial Officer Rodney Brady reported that following many years of tithe increase, the increase has slowed in the past 12 months. Nevertheless, the total tithe being received every year is heading towards AU$100 million. On average, Australian and New Zealand members contribute about $1,000 of tithe per baptised member each year.

Highlights from the various entities included:

  • Sanitarium has 42% of New Zealand’s cereal market well ahead of Kelloggs who have 25% of the market;
  • Sanitarium makes 700 million Weet-bix biscuits in Australia every year making it the number one breakfast cereal;
  • Adventist Media expects to receive 20,000 requests for Bible studies through its various ministries in 2011;
  • The number of baptisms resulting from people studying courses through Adventist Media make up about 10% of the Church’s growth in Australia and New Zealand;
  • Enrolments over the last 5 years at Avondale College have increased by 40% to 1300 students;
  • 22 students are currently enrolled at Avondale in the new doctoral program and 14 are completing research masters’ degrees;
  • Avondale College is looking towards full university status by 2016 and university college status before that;
  • Avondale’s mission is to be the preferred Christian private university in Australia;
  • The relocation of Fulton College to Sabeto, near Nadi, Fiji, has received the largest financial contribution by the world church of any 13th Sabbath offering project;
  • 20 hectares of farmland on the new Fulton College site has been established and planted, making it the largest farm on the western side of the Fijian main island of Viti Levu;
  • revenue at the Sydney Adventist Hospital has increased by 40.8% over the last 5 years;
  • According to a Press Ganey Survey, Sydney Adventist Hospital has the highest inpatient satisfaction rating of all other 300+ bed hospitals in Australia;
  • In the 2010 feedback survey, the church’s own health fund—ACA Health— received an 88.5% satisfaction result from its Customer Survey feedback;
  • Pastor Ray Coombe waspresented with a citation for 43 years of service to the church. Ray will continue in retirement as the voluntary director of Global Mission.


Church & Community Ministries: (4)

ADRA Director:                                     Greg Young

PM/SS/Stewardship Liaison:                  Pr Kevin Price

Adventist Health Director:                     Pr Kevin Price

Adventist Health Associate:                   Dr Chester Kuma

Global Mission (volunteer):                    Pr Ray Coombe

Church & Life Ministries: (5)

Family Ministries Director:                      Pr Trafford Fischer

Women’s Ministries Director:                  Erna Johnson

Children’s Ministries Director:                  Julie Weslake

Youth Ministries Director:                        Pr Nick Kross

Youth/Children’s Ministries Associate:      Litiana Turner

Adventist Education:                                Dr Malcolm Coulson

Adventist Education Associate:                 Ken Weslake

Field Secretary:                                       Dr David Tasker

Ministerial Secretary Liaison:                    Dr David Tasker

Publishing Director:                                  John Brereton

Publishing Associate:                                Tony Wall                 


Vice Chancellor PAU:                                 Ben Thomas

CEO, Sydney Adventist Hospital:               Dr Leon Clark

Deputy CEO, Sydney Adventist Hospital:   Phil Currie

CEO, Adventist Media Network:                 Neale Schofield

Director, Health Food Department:            Kevin Jackson

Division Services:

Manager, Risk Management Services:        Steve Andrews

Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Liaison: Dr Brad Kemp

Corporate Services Secretary:                    Ron Herbert

Assistant to the President:                         Danijela Schubert

People Services: (3)

General Manager:                                      David Potter

Leadership & Professional Development:     Dr Branimir Schubert

Union Mission Officers:

PNGUM President:                                       Pr Joseph Talipuan

PNGUM General Secretary:                          Pr Leigh Rice

PNGUM Undersecretary:                              Pr Blasius Managos

PNGUM CFO:                                               Solomon Agdon

PNGUM Undertreasurer:                               Joshua Wambillie

PNGUM Associate CFO:                                Rex Rosas

PNGUM Associate CFO:                                Praveen Saggurthi

PNGUM Associate CFO:                                Riches Christian

PNGUM Associate CFO:                                Vic Bonetti

TPUM President:                                          Pr Waisea Vuniwa

TPUM General Secretary:                             Pr Paul Cavanagh

TPUM CFO:                                                  Francois Keet

TPUM Associate CFO:                                   Matthew Brown

TPUM Associate CFO:                                   Mac de Mesa