Boring Good News from Silver Spring

With tithe giving up worldwide, there was good financial news for the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists as the members gathered in Silver Spring on Tuesday, April 10. Net assets are up, and depreciation funds were not touched in 2017, in spite of the vote taken at the previous meeting to make it possible to do so, given the dire financial picture at that time. Treasurer Juan Prestol-Puesan attributed the positive spring report to five things:

  1. U.S. market remained steady at the end of 2017 moving into positive territory,
  2. Total gross tithe by the North American Division in the 52 Sabbaths of 2017 was better than it was in 53 Sabbaths in 2016,
  3. Exchange fluctuation of overseas currencies remained steady,
  4. Fiscal discipline, holding expenses down, and
  5. Maintaining adequate liquidity levels.

Gross tithe giving is moving steadily upward. It stands at $2.4 billion, so reaching $3 billion by 2020 is probably possible, he said. The increased emphasis on stewardship in each of the divisions was seen as producing results.

The one major appropriation approved was for a comprehensive plan to establish 50 new congregations in and around a major metropolitan area in the Southern Asia Division. Currently there are four churches with 150 members in the area. The proposed budget for the effort there is $5.5 million, with the GC providing $2,232,410.

Looking ahead, Prestol-Puesan noted the plan to continue phasing in changes in the amount of the North American Division tithe percentage coming to the GC. In 2018, it will be 6.35%. That will drop to 6.0% in 2019, and in 2020 it will be 5.85%. The other world divisions send 2% of their tithe to the General Conference. In conclusion, he rejoiced in presenting the good financial news to them, noting that it might be considered boring, “but boring is better,” he noted, adding, “The most powerful transaction in the church is when a member gives. He creates a wave of energy around the world.”

It was a sparse crowd that gathered to hear this news. Union conference presidents are not expected to attend this meeting, cutting the size of the committee in half. The agenda, too, was slim, filled with routine changes in personnel and reports from departments.

Israel Leito, the longtime president of the Inter-American Division, who recently announced his retirement, was lauded, and then Elie Henry, the current secretary of that division, was elected to replace Leito. Leonard Johnson, currently president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union was chosen to be the secretary of IAD.

In other personnel news, Undersecretary Myron Iseminger has accepted a call to be president of the Egypt-Sudan Field in the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission. GC President Wilson made a major point of saying that this was a move that Iseminger requested, that he was not being pushed out of his position at the General Conference. Hensley M. Moorooven received the vote to take his place in the secretariat.

Norwegian psychiatrist Dr. Torben Bergland was elected as an associate in the Health Ministries Department. He comes from the Trans-European Division, where he was chosen to help the Division address mental health issues. Now the General Conference will benefit from his service. He takes the place of Fred Hardinge who has decided to retire. The Health Department also presented a medal of distinction to MuDr. Milan Moskala, a dentist who has devoted his life to mission service in Bangladesh.

The only discussion during the day came following the report from the Education Department about the meetings it has held around the world identifying needs and priorities for K-12 education in each of the divisions. Ricardo Graham rose to testify to the importance Christian education made in his life suggesting that he would not be there, if not for the years he spent in an Adventist school. Kathy Profitt pleaded for resources for schools. Ed Zinke thought the statement about biblically-based education that was brought to the floor for a vote was good, but needed slight editing to remove what he perceived as three philosophies running through it. Clinton Wahlen recommended that the Biblical Research Institute review the statement before final adoption. The three page statement was then approved.

At 5:45 p.m., the meeting was adjourned. With only three items left on the agenda, Wednesday will probably be a short day.

Editor's note: The name of a city has been deleted from this story due to cultural sensitivities.

Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.

Image: Juan Prestol-Puesan, Treasurer of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, presents the financial report during the Spring Meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. Photo courtesy of Adventist News Network.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

it’s so good when news about finances is boring and predictable…stress is inevitable when the unexpected throws things out of whack…

stability is what we want for our church, which is why a split needs to be avoided at all costs…


I like this. Where there is fiscal responsibility, there is peace; and where there is peace, there is happiness. Where there is happiness, opportunities arise for endeavours and the potential success of such endeavours in other areas. It is the reason why the USA, and not the DPRK for example, can afford to say, “Let’s go to Mars.”

I wish Mr Iseminger every success. The Muslim world needs a Pauline character:

  1. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
  2. Three times I was beaten with rods;
  3. once I was stoned;
  4. three times I was shipwrecked;
  5. a night and a day I have been in the deep;
  6. in journeys often,
  7. in perils of waters,
  8. in perils of robbers,
  9. in perils of my own countrymen,
  10. in perils of the Gentiles,
  11. in perils in the city,
  12. in perils in the wilderness,
  13. in perils in the sea,
  14. in perils among false brethren;
  15. in weariness and toil,
  16. in sleeplessness often,
  17. in hunger and thirst, in fastings often,
  18. in cold and nakedness —
  19. besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

– 2 Cor. 11:24-28

There is no greater good than investment in the future; and the future lies in the children. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14 And again, “Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.” Luke 16:9 NLT

But MOTHER has fallen into disrepute in favour of ASTRONAUT.



George @GeorgeTichy I’m glad GC has replaced us and they will gladly have a mental health professional available 24/7 in their premises. We still can still be of service in many ways particularly to those who have chosen to retain their ability to regress to infantile temper tantrums into their adulthood as evidenced by 2017AC and will require a child psychiatrist’s expertise.


Elmer, there is a reason why I don’t do child psychology: dealing with children requires a special gift that I don’t have. Therefore, I will refer those cases to you. But will gladly continue making my services available to adults in general.

Yes, at least there is a MH professional close to those premises… Thus we can focus on those who we can help online… :wink:

Should we offer a Nutcracker Clinic to Fulcrum7?.. :innocent::innocent::innocent:


Can someone please post the three-page statement on education that was approved?


Ed Zinke thought the statement about biblically-based education that wascbrought to the floor for a vote was good, but needed slight editing to remove what he perceived as three philosophies running through it.

Ed Zinke is–if nothing else–predictable. Always on the lookout for nefarious philosophical undercurrents.

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Other than teaching the precepts of the Bible during Bible Class,
WHAT IS a Biblically-based education?

I do remember in my Junior and Senior year of Academy there was talk of some SMALL groups attempting to teach Math from the Bible. Attempting to teach other subjects through the words of the Bible. and at even that time of my life I thought it quite bizarre.

Biblically-based Education – Certainly DOES LEAVE a lot of Questions hanging around, especially ones that ASK-- What Is Excluded that might be important to a student to know later on in their educational life???

Question –
Do we have Donald Trump to thank for the boom in the Economy so that more persons
are making increased wages, and more SDAs are finding work?
Or more SDA businesses are selling more goods and services, hence an improved
income base?
What if we go into what the pessimists call a Recession or an actual Depression after
all of this??? Then the Fiscal Report will certainly NOT be as exciting. And could go
into a deficit, with MAJOR LAYOFFS of church employees.


I agree.

“Biblically-based education” is perhaps a misnomer. Maybe it should be “Christian education” instead, meaning that the curriculum, extra-curricula activities and conversation at school would reflect the ideals of the Christian worldview, i.e. due recognition would be paid to the demands of God in life, in the pursuit of knowledge and happiness.


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Zinke is particularly sensitive to anything that is “spiritual” or generically “Christian.” He needs it to be “Bible-based.” What that means is anyone’s guess. It usually means what the person saying it wants it to mean. Keep in mind that it’s Zinke who has hosted all of our Seminary professors and their wives at a conference on hermeneutics in Cancun last May, all-expenses paid. He using his money to buy influence over Adventist theology.


i’m guessing it’s a six-day fiat creation and heterosexual marriage…these can have implications for biology and sociology classes…

This sounds interesting…care to elaborate? :slightly_smiling_face:


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Who is Zinke? I am not familiar with him.

If one has money it’s not difficult to buy influence among our leaders.

Usually it is NOT “Sola Scriptura,” but the main emphasis being on reading the Bible through EGW’s glasses, and being happy!


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Jeremy –
Biology Class – Are you talking about Sex Education to 9th and 10th graders??
I DID do that when i taught Senior Health – [about 6 months of Anatomy and Physiology]
when we discussed the Endocrine System. I also showed the PBS film “The Miracle of Life”.
I also discussed the various STD’s.
When I discussed the Circulation System and section on Blood Cells I would bring in HIV
and discuss it.
I taught Senior Health for about 22 years.
[NOTE-- I had full reign to teach what i wanted in my classes. I never had any complaints from
parents or students, and I had absolutely no oversight from administration.]

Jeremy – HOW would you teach FOSSILS? HOW about Carbon Dating???


Well, many people just shout, “Baloney!” and change the subject as fast as they can… :wink:

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I’ve no argument with that, but many do. The argument against carbon dating that I recall from my schooling was that post deluge the carbon content in everything changed, thus throwing off the constant that carbon dating scientists used as a baseline for determining age, post deluge vs. pre deluge, making the pre deluge dates figure in the millions of years rather than in the thousands. I think that theory (excuse?) flies out the window in light of more recent core samplings that move the recordable age of the earth back far beyond the young earth creation narrative.

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Yes it’s so hard to face the facts.

I love the shirts that say:


If one cannot teach Ted Wilsonhow in the world could you teach fossils.?