Adventist leaders gather together


New South Wales, Australia

Senior leaders from the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church gathered together at Avondale College of Higher Education in Cooranbong, New South Wales, from January 28 to 30 for the 7th Global Leadership Summit.

I hope each attendee goes home with a better appreciation of Australian culture, the beauty of Sydney and the work of the Adventist Church in the South Pacific.

Dr Branimir Schubert, leadership and professional development manager of the South Pacific Divison (SPD), organised the event on behalf of the General Conference (GC). The theme of the summit was “Adventist Leadership: A Spiritual Responsibility”.

A number of GC officials attended the event, including president Pastor Ted Wilson, vice president Pastor Pardon Mwansa and executive secretary Dr G T Ng.

The purpose of the summit was to evaluate the leadership and professional development of current and future leaders. It also provided an opportunity for informal networking and social interaction.

Speakers included guest presenters from Andrews University, the SPD, and other Adventist entities. There were also reports from world divisions outlining their leadership development programs and events.

It wasn’t all work and no play for those who attended, though. The attendees took some time on Thursday to learn more about the Adventist Church and Adventist institutions in Australia as well as Australia in general.

The group spent the morning touring Sunnyside and also the South Sea Islands Museum in Cooranbong, which features a unique collection of various gifts presented to Adventist missionaries working in the Oceania. With a 16 metre canoe that transported an English Duke and parchments of the Bible in native dialects among its treasures, it is little wonder that this museum has been rated as the finest collection of Oceanic artefacts in Australia. Adventist Heritage Centre curator Rose-lee Power was present to share stories about the artefacts’ origins.

Rose-lee Power at the South Sea Island Museum.

Another stop on the tour was Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company, where the group had to don some interesting outfits in order to enter the factory.

Dr Barry Oliver, Pastor Glenn Townend, Dr Danijela Schubert and Dr Branimir Schubert.

The clothes weren’t the highlight of the visit, though – that honour went to Dr Barry Oliver, president of the South Pacific Division, who tried out the Sanitarium employee fitness program and put on a pair of boxing gloves! An expo provided the group with information about the CHIP program, Sanctuary and various products. Sanitarium CEO Kevin Jackson gave a presentation and Grant Lewis coordinated a tour of the factory.

Dr Barry Oliver, president of the South Pacific Division, tries out Sanitarium’s employee fitness program.

They also had the opportunity to visit the SPD headquarters and other Adventist institutions in the near vicinity such as Wahroonga Adventist School and the San’s new clinical education centre.

After lunch, the group headed to Australia Reptile Park where they were lucky enough to see some koalas and Tasmanian devils—no sign of drop bears, though! Some of the braver participants even held a spotted python. Evening activities included sightseeing in the city and a cruise in Darling Harbour

Many of the attendees made positive comments about what they had seen. Pastor Almir Marroni from South America was especially impressed with Sanitarium. He said that the mission of the company and its support of the work of the church was a great model for others to follow.

“I hope each attendee goes home with a better appreciation of Australian culture, the beauty of Sydney and the work of the Adventist Church in the South Pacific,” said Dr Schubert.