New leadership teams for PNGUM and TPUM

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SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend and Jane Gibson-Opetaia, special assistant to the Division secretary, during yesterday's meeting.

New leadership teams were elected for the Papua New Guinea Union Mission (PNGUM) and the Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) at this week’s year-end meeting of the South Pacific Division Executive Committee (DEC).

Pastor Malachi Yani was elected as the new PNGUM president. He will serve alongside Pastor Leonard Sumatau as secretary and the incumbent CFO Russell Strahan. Pastor Yani is currently serving as president of the Western Highlands Mission and Pastor Sumatau as president of Northern Milne Bay Mission.

Outgoing PNGUM president Pastor Kepsie Elodo was thanked for his service to the Church in Papua New Guinea. “Pastor Elodo was valued for his strong spiritual leadership in prayer and reconciliation ministry,” South Pacific Division president Pastor Glenn Townend said. “He gave a very gracious speech as he exited the meeting.

“The former secretary, Pastor Henry Monape, was appreciated for his vision and desire to communicate well. Please pray that these pastors and their families adjust to new ministry possibilities.”

Pastor Maveni Kaufononga was re-elected president of the TPUM. He will serve alongside a new secretary (a call has been made and is being considered) and new CFO Fraser Alekevu (currently the associate CFO). Former secretary Pastor Bob Larsen was recently appointed president of the North New Zealand Conference, while former CFO Kingsley Wood is the new secretary/CFO for the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference.

Pastor Kaufononga.

“I praise the Lord for the opportunity He has given to me and my family,” Pastor Kaufononga said. “I vow to do my best in leading TPUM in following the Lord’s leading in making disciples and preparing this world for His soon return.

“I want to thank the TPUM family for their support in the past five years and I am looking forward to another exciting five years.”

Pastor Townend appealed for prayer for the new teams and their families as they come together to lead the two Unions over the next five years.

“I will be delighted to work with the new teams as they lead significant Adventist membership in the countries of the Pacific,” he said. “Becoming a disciple-making ministry is our focus and these people know how to lead by example in this direction.”

The DEC meeting, held on Wednesday and Thursday (November 11 and 12), looked very different this year. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, most delegates joined the meetings via video conference.

Pastor Townend said despite the internet being slow and cutting out at times, it was a very successful meeting.