Annual Council’s final day promotes community


Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

During the final day of the 2012 Annual Council, delegates approved new outreach initiatives, learned about plans for the denomination’s 150th anniversary, and received updates on other business session items.

Officials at the business meeting also announced Day of Hope, an initiative that seeks to bring 10 million visitors to churches on April 5, 2014.

Among the initiatives announced Wednesday is a new ministry called Team PK – the acronym for Pastor’s Kid – that seeks to support the unique needs of pastoral families so their children remain churched.

Vice president Armando Miranda introduces the Team PK initiative, which reaches out to children of pastors. He is joined on the platform by Jerry and Janet Page of the Ministerial Association, as well as other pastors’ kids. [Photo courtesy: Ansel Oliver]

The initiative offers a toolkit of programs and services that are similar to efforts already offered in different parts of the world.

“Many PK’s are alienated from God and his Church,” said Janet Page, head of GC Shepherdess, a ministry for pastors’ wives. “As we travel around the world, we are seeing that we are losing some of our kids, and we know you have that same burden.”

Team PK is supported by various departments, such as Family Ministries, the Ministerial Association, Sabbath School and Personal Ministries, Children’s Ministries and Youth Ministries.

Page praised similar initiatives that exist in other places, particularly in the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division. “We know that it’s been going on for a number of years in many divisions; our hope is that it can get even more intense.”

The global initiative will foster pastors’ children with their Christian growth and spiritual support through resources, training and networking. The toolkit, which includes a video and PowerPoint presentation, teaches Church leaders how to start a PK ministry in their own conference.

“With fervent faith, prayer, and wise, gentle judgment,” Page said, “this disengagement can be reversed.” 

Adventist Risk Management president Robert Kyte introduces to Annual Council delegates The Seven Campaign, an initiative to end child abuse.

Also on Wednesday, an initiative released this year, The Seven Campaign, was promoted by Adventist Risk Management (ARM) to raise awareness about child abuse and help end it.

Harrowing statistics displayed through a video presentation announcing the initiative stated that a child is abused every 10 seconds, the average age of a victim is nine years old, and a quarter of girls are abused. Worldwide, 40 million children will be abused this year, and one in seven children will be bullied or be bullies themselves, according to the video.

“This is not just about Adventist Risk Management – we simply are the catalyst, the organisation, that has chosen to help get this launched,” said ARM president Robert Kyte.

He encouraged the Annual Council audience to “make a positive difference for children in the world today – we want to invite you individually and as your organisation to be a partner in the campaign.”

Officials at the business meeting also announced Day of Hope, an initiative that seeks to bring 10 million visitors to churches on April 5, 2014.

Day of Hope will offer resources such as sermons to local churches in preparation for the event. Every Adventist is being requested to invite at least one person to church on that day, which falls during Easter week, when Church leaders said community members are already likely to attend church.

“We want this to be an expression to the world of the hope that we have,” said Mike Ryan, a world Church general vice president.

Annual Council delegate Dedrick Blue, right, prays for the leadership of the Adventist Church in Burundi Association. The Executive Committee had just voted to change Church structure in the Western African nation to become the Burundi Union Mission, recognising growth in membership and leadership.

Also, it was voted that the Burundi Association will become the Burundi Union Mission, a step that demonstrates the growth of the Church in the West African nation. Church leaders in the country report a membership of approximately 130,000.

Delegates also heard updates from the church’s recently-formed Special Needs Ministries. The ministry is reaching out to those with disabilities.

Delegates also learned about technological updates from Nebraska-based Christian Record Services for the Blind, which served 20,000 people last year, including people of other faiths and beliefs.

Christian Record is also making progress in distributing hundreds of Braille Bibles (at $350 each), producing audio recordings of the Spanish-language magazine El Centinela, and making products available for children and military veterans.

In another report, Jim Nix of the White Estate and David Trim of the office of Archives, Statistics and Research, outlined plans for the 150th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They called for churches around the world to set aside May 18 for prayer and recommitment. They also announced a traveling exhibition on Church heritage, including historical artifacts and photos.

Separately this week, the committee also voted to change the name of the Euro-Africa Division, based in Berne, Switzerland, to the Inter-European Division. Last year, the division’s territory in Africa was aligned with the newly-created Greater Middle East Union. This week, the committee also renamed that union the Middle East and North Africa Union with an acronym of MENA. “MENA,” as an acronym to describe the region, is in common use by businesses and non-governmental organisations, said Homer Trecartin, regional Church president.

Delegates also received an update on The Great Hope project, an initiative to distribute millions of copies the book “The Great Controversy,” written by Church co-founder Ellen White. Since the launch of the project in May of 2011, more than 75 million copies of the book have been distributed, and another 75 million copies have been downloaded.

Additionally, Church leaders announced the funding of The Record Keeper project, a movie depicting themes of the book, “The Great Controversy.” Leaders said they hope the movie can be used to attract younger audiences unfamiliar with Adventist beliefs.