ADCOM Votes Recommendation to Postpone GC Session

Editor’s Note: Less than 24 hours after General Conference President Ted Wilson posted a special video message stating, “At this time, there have been no plans to postpone [the 2020 General Conference] Session,” the Administrative Committee (ADCOM) of the General Conference voted a recommendation to postpone the Session. The following article originally appeared on the Adventist News Network and Adventist Review websites on the afternoon of March 17, 2020 and is reprinted here in full:

Adventist leaders discuss options for the upcoming General Conference Session

In light of recent, very rapid, and highly unusual developments associated with COVID-19 and precautions taken by organizations around the world to curb the spread of the virus, Seventh-day Adventist world church leaders have initiated a series of meetings to discuss implications for the Adventist Church.

Over the course of several weeks, General Conference Session planners, health professionals, legal advisors and administrators have been carefully and prayerfully exploring possible alternative plans for the 2020 General Conference Session in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last few days, both the world Church’s International Crisis Committee and the General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM) have discussed specific possible alternative plans. At its meeting on March 17, ADCOM voted to forward the following recommendations to the General Conference Executive Committee:

Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and surrounding safety, travel, and visa implications on local and international church entities and members, as well as government restrictions on public meetings, it is

RECOMMENDED,

1. To postpone the 2020 General Conference Session for up to two years, depending on when rescheduling is feasible.

2. To reduce the number of attendees when the General Conference Session is rescheduled, inviting only delegates (spouses/dependent children), and a limited number of technical staff.

3. To reduce the number of days for the reschedule General Conference Session to between four and six days.

4. To not include exhibits at the rescheduled General Conference Session.

5. To note that the current term of office will continue for the duration of the postponement. The next General Conference term will end when the scheduled 2025 General Conference Session convenes.

GGM-GCC

RECOMMENDATION FOR FUTURE GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSIONS

Due to the need to reduce the financial and logistical footprint of General Conference Sessions and to be more efficient and effective in the handling of Church funds, it is

RECOMMENDED, To request the General Conference administration to review the current configuration for all future General Conference Sessions and make recommendations to the General Conference Executive Committee, on the following items:

1. That the number of delegates to General Conference Sessions be proportionately reduced.

2. That no special guests be invited to General Conference Sessions.

3. That the number of days for General Conference Sessions be established between four and six, including a Sabbath.

4. That no exhibits/booths be included at General Conference Sessions.

“The last thing we wanted to do is postpone GC Session,” said Ted N. C. Wilson, chair of ADCOM and president of the Adventist World Church. “However, after a process of consultation and analysis, in this very rapidly developing setting, we will need to discuss this as an Executive Committee. It is important for our church leaders and members to remember no decisions have been made yet in regards to Session. These are only recommendations to be discussed by the Executive Committee.”

A special meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee has been called for Thursday, March 19 to discuss the matter. Most members will attend via teleconference technology.

Geoffrey Mbwana, chair of the International Crisis Committee and general vice president of the General Conference, encouraged prayer for God’s leading in these very unusual developments. Further details will be released following the Executive Committee meeting Thursday, March 19.

Image: Wikimedia.org

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10281

It’s the prudent thing to cancel the GC meetings. The two year postponement seems a bit odd given the day and age we live in. I am sure there will be the conspirators who think TW put this together to remain in office. I happen to think he would be re-elected anyway.

All the homework is done and he has the votes. While we in the NAD seem to believe things like WO would be accepted if we have a different president, I don’t count myself as one of those people. TW will be re-elected with or without C-19

5 Likes

That sounds about right. Like all other denominational issues, problems are solved before the votes are taken. Religious people are not necessarily moral.

10 Likes

It is prudent to postpone GC. Many other denominations are postponing important events. If GC is to be postponed, that decision should happen now for logistical reasons. To insist on holding it could but hundreds/thousands of people at risk. Why would the church do that?

8 Likes

Is there a reason why the delegates cannot video-conference the discussion of items requiring votes, and then submit their votes via the internet, including voting for G.C. President, administrators and Executive Committee members? This is 2020! Many corporate bodies are doing this with ease and great success. That could be arranged in 3-4 months and would not require the exorbitant funds that even a reduced G.C. session would cost. It would also remove the two-year proposed postponement.

15 Likes

Whether or NOT there is a G.C. in 2020,
It is TIME the North American Division did the RIGHT THING.
Step Out, and declare that Pastoral Appointees and Ordination
[if Ordination is continued] will be Genderless.
Remember, “Ordination” is a hold-over from our Catholic Church
Roots. [Our Spiritual Great-Grandmother.]
The North American Division will “lay hands” on both men and women
whom the Holy Spirit calls.

13 Likes

Interesting, put off for two years! Really? Are members going to put up with that? Here in America? If that is what happens, then all complaints about the workings of the GC should stop! People get what they deserve when in silence they sit!!

5 Likes

this will still result in thousands of attendees, which is illegal in all states now, and into the foreseeable future…it makes more sense to keep the GC configuration as is, but postpone the GC session until all crowd size restrictions in all states are lifted, assuming the GC must be held in the U.S…

in the mean time, i agree that items such as votes for administrators, including the GC presidency, can and should be done via internet, without being post-poned…new staff can oversee a delayed GC session just as well as current staff can…in any case, no-one’s really going to be new, and uninitiated…

2 Likes

The Policy says that the session “can be postponed for maximal two years” and not that it must be so. I think that this administration has deliberately chosen the maximum just to stay in office and prepare for staying two more years. If this postponed session is going to be a temporary solution without any pomp and hosts of visitors and with reduced number of delegates, it could be held anytime after the end of this pandemic. Obviously we are facing an illegitimate taking over of the office by the incumbent administration.

10 Likes

Postponing was inevitable. Up to two years seems reasonable with the needs of reserving a venue and planning, even with the much-needed downsizing (great decision on the latter!). This is not a power move; it’s simply being realistic. Let’s move on.

2 Likes

Our governmental system is tightly controlled leaving next to nothing the average SDA member can do to influence the system. Thus the majority sit in helpless silence, paying their tithes. Since God is in charge of his church, members should not be concerned about church matters, so many members believe.

I do telepsychiatry. I do not postpone medical decisions until a favorable time. Prescriptions are sent to the pharmacies and psychosocial interventions continue. If a colleague is unable to provide medical coverage, we pitch in help.

Why can’t the church agenda continue as planned? Have the votes by teleconference. We already know the outcome, so no need to be surprised. Extending the current tenure by another two years can be deemed as a hijack. No need for duplicity behaviors.

12 Likes

Elmer –
As a physician I am sure you realize, like most of us, that this
Flu Season will NOT last 2 years.
The Swine Flu did not. The Asian Flu did not. And most other
Flu Seasons do not.
It has been obvious that many of the items coming from
General Conference Committees have been handicapping the
progress of the “Church”. And obvious that some of them are
“spirit” inspired. But not necessarily Holy Spirit inspired.
There are other “spirits” at work here also.
But as we have seen from the time of the Exodus from Egypt
that God seldom intervenes in religious activities that have His
Name on them. God allows humans the freedom to act and to
Legislate and Enforce.
Over the past generations we read – “God respects ALL PERSONS”.
But then in PRACTICE we see the “Dis-respect of Persons” within
the policies and traditions of the Church leadership that filters down
to the Local church communities.

PS-- This does give God 2 more years to decide when to Schedule
the 2nd Coming so that this Administration can hand over the Keys
to the General Conference Building.

4 Likes

Most people are simply focused on election of the Executive forgetting that a session is much much more than elections. Im also concerned by the single minded focus on WO by some here. The church needs to surgically remove US church politics & its ordination cancer from World wide church business. Session delegates & budget needs to be reduced so much that even African states can easily host a GC session. If we are truly a world church, this is very imperative. The NAD has done a lot to womb the GC but now its time for delivery & other Divisions have a share. It wld disinfect the GC from its preoccupation with US/Western issues. The Adventist world population has far exceeded the 1900s composition & policy changes must reflect that.

2 Likes

The other side of this coin is to rid the GC conference of cultural factors. Neal Wilson had supported WO but made his biggest mistake by including it as a world church agenda. His son Ted Wilson, a good child of Neal Wilson, has refused to redefine WO as a regional issues. Perhaps unable to rule against his father subconsciously because of unresolved Oedipal complex factors. One more reason why nepotism should be outlawed in our church organization.

11 Likes

Global travel and all countries may take 12 months or more

1 Like

Generally, if the corporate statute and bylaws permit this manner of carrying on shareholder meetings, an electronic is permitted. I don’t know if the GC incorporation documents and by-laws permit a remote members meeting. These documents can generally be amended, but usually only at a duly called and held members’ meeting.

Wouldn’t Fall Council be considered a duly called meeting? I remember hearing the use of video conferencing suggested during G.C. 2015 in San Antonio. Did it fall on deaf ears? We had five years to figure this out and we didn’t. We still conduct our meetings basically the same way we did 100 years ago. I find it disturbing.

Might I add that I enjoy attending General Conference sessions and have worked at several of them. However, we could have shorter sessions (5-7 days) where the nominating committee has already met via video conferencing, their recommendations were already communicated to, and voted on electronically by the delegates, and we were meeting essentially to make all of the other decisions, i.e., changes to the Church Manual, reports from the divisions, etc.

1 Like

There are some real advantages to in person meetings however, you sometimes have to make the best of your situation. For me, and I only speak for myself, I don’t trust what DJT or TW says. As RR said, " trust but verify ".
If you wish to remain in power and don’t want to disrupt your base, a two year shut down that you can blame on something else such as C 19 your in hog heaven. There is a certain level of mistrust which came to a head in San Antonio with any and all descisions that just don’t pass the smell test. I am lacking in confidence with both secular and spiritual leadership right now.

5 Likes

Sad, yet true. :frowning_face: