Close to 200 staff from the South Pacific Division (SPD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church gathered recently in Cairns (Qld) for the SPD Business Convention.
Held every five years, the convention provides an opportunity to network and earn extra hours for those completing a professional development plan. Representatives came from all unions and Division institutions across the South Pacific, including the areas of finance, information technology, human resources, auditing, education, aged care and management. This year, the world Church was also represented through four staff members from the Middle East and North African Union, the West-Central Africa Division and the Southern Asia-Pacific Division.
“This event highlights the SPD’s renewed commitment to intentionally develop its employees and leaders professionally,” said SPD Leadership and Professional Development manager Dean Banks. “It was a great opportunity to learn from a diverse spiritual and professional knowledge base.”
Chief financial officer for the Vanuatu Mission, Apisalome Seru, agreed, saying it was especially important for those in senior Church positions to encourage younger colleagues.
“We need to start exposing our younger leaders to these sorts of events so that they can feel as though they are important, and know that the Church is thinking of them for the future,” he said. “Our team certainly learnt a lot from this convention, and we are inspired to go and implement some of what we have learned back home.”
More than 30 presenters, five from the General Conference, gave updates about current issues in their field and presented a range of workshops for the attendees. A key speaker was General Conference treasurer Juan Prestol, while morning and evening workshops were taken by Dr Jim Gibson, head of the General Conference Geoscience Institute at Loma Linda University.
At the end of the three-day convention, Risk Management Services (RMS) hosted a special dinner where presentations were made by several of the overseas divisions about the key areas of mission operating within their territories. SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend concluded the event with a leadership challenge to the group.
“An event like this contributes to collaborative work culture, engagement and builds knowledge and capacity to adapt to rapidly changing times—all vital factors to better equip us for our mission of growing disciples of Jesus,” Mr Banks said.