Delegates connect in a new way for year-end meetings

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Sanitarium CEO Kevin Jackson addresses the meeting.

In a year like no other, the end-of-year Division Executive Committee (DEC) meetings looked very different this year.

Held last week (November 11,12), the meetings were run out of the old South Pacific Division (SPD) warehouse where just a few of the delegates gathered. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, most of the delegates connected to the meetings via video conferencing technology.

Joining the delegates were General Conference (GC) special guests Pastor Geoffrey Mbwana (general vice president), Pastor Gary Krause (associate secretary) and Daisy Orion (associate treasurer). World Church president Pastor Ted Wilson also joined the meeting for a short time on Thursday morning, sharing greetings from the GC and a word of encouragement.

The delegates—a mix of union, conference and mission representatives, and lay people—were presented with a number of reports from department and institutional leaders.

A few delegates gathered in the old Division warehouse.

Among the important matters voted on was new leadership teams for the Papua New Guinea Union Mission and Trans Pacific Union Mission.

Another significant item on the agenda was a change of status for American Samoa from an attached field to a mission. Baptisms have gone up 8 per cent, tithe has increased 17 per cent and five new churches have been established in American Samoa over the past five years.

Trans Pacific Union Mission president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga said American Samoa becoming a mission is a dream come true for church members and past and present leaders. “I am very excited about it,” he said. “It’s the beginning of a new era for our work in American Samoa. It’s a sign of maturity and I envision greater success for our work there.”

The DEC was presented with a new five-year strategic plan for the South Pacific Division, the result of many hours of discussion and consideration by representatives from across the Division. Leadership has now been added as a special strategic focus.

“The SPD has focused on discipleship, health, media and mission to the cities these last five years,” SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend said.

“As we have been working in all the countries and entities of the SPD we have also been listening to the needs of the people.  ‘Leadership development’, ‘creating a leadership culture’, ‘we need to mentor a group of potential leaders’ were the kinds of comments we continually heard. So the SPD has a new SPD wide leadership capability framework, a SPD wide strategic plan and a plan for the office at 148 on how this office will help with growing more and better leaders for health care, pastoring, education, manufacturing, business, IT and all the areas in which the Church works.”