New leaders named for SPD unions

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Wahroonga, New South Wales

Pastor Maveni Kaufononga has been named president of the Trans-Pacific Union Mission (TPUM).

We walk by faith not by sight. This isn't about me. It's about what God can do with anyone.

The announcement was made during the first day of the South Pacific Division’s (SPD) Executive Committee meetings, which are being held at Division headquarters in Wahroonga, New South Wales, over the next three days.

Pastor Kaufononga had been serving as Union secretary for the TPUM, a role he stepped into at the start of 2015. Prior to this he served the Union as Youth Ministries director, and also took on the role of special assistant to the president in 2014.

The Tongan pastor has also served as Youth Ministries director in the Cook Islands (where his wife is from) and a university chaplain in Fiji.

“I know who I am with the limited experience I have,” said Pastor Kaufononga. “It says a lot about our South Pacific leadership that they’d put their faith in me.”

“We walk by faith not by sight,” he added. “This isn’t about me. It’s about what God can do with anyone.”

His appointment as president fills the gap left by Pastor Glenn Townend, who was named president of the SPD during the this year’s General Conference Session in San Antonio (USA) in July.

A second new union president was also announced this afternoon, with Pastor Geoffrey Pomaleu named president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission (PNGUM). He replaces Dr Leigh Rice, who announced his decision to return to Australia earlier this year.

Pastor Pomaleu, originally from Manus Island, had been serving as president of the Morobe Mission.

I’m very humbled by this appointment,” said Pastor Pomaleu. “It’s not something I’ve sought. I’ve always believed that where the Lord calls I will go. I’ve never turned down a call in my life.”

The PNG pastor paid tribute to the “very good team” from which he is taking over, and acknowledged the “superb plan” they have already put together.

“I want us to play in field they mapped out, in harmony with the SPD and GC plans,” he said.

A number of other appointments were also made during today’s meetings. 

Dr Carol Tasker will take on the role of Adventist Education director for the SPD. She replaces Ken Weslake, who recently announced his retirement.

Dr Tasker had been serving as associate director of the department since July 2013.

The following is a list of other SPD leaders who were reappointed today to their respective positions:

  • Greg Young | ADRA (SPD) director.
  • Dr Graeme Humble | Field secretary and Adventist Mission director. He was also named Spirit of Prophecy coordinator.
  • Dr Branimir Schubert | Ministerial assocation secretary.
  • John Brereton | Publishing director.
  • Tony Wall | Publishing associate director.
  • Prof Ben Thomas | Pacific Adventist University vice chancellor.

The first day of the SPD Executive Committee meetings began with morning worship, with the gathered delegates from across the SPD praying together in small groups.

In his morning address, Pastor Townend invited everybody to “be a part of the Adventist movement going forward.”

“The Holy Spirit has been given to each and every one of us,” he said, making reference to Joel 2:28. “Let us move forward together under His guidance.”

More details to follow.