Central California Conference Constituency Meeting Ends Without the Election of a President

The 34th Constituency Session of the Central California Conference convened at Fresno Adventist Academy on November 17, 2019. The highlight of the agenda was the election of officers and directors, but when the meeting concluded at 5:00 p.m., no president had been elected, although other officers and directors had been voted.

Conference President Ramiro Cano’s name was not brought to the floor for a vote. Instead, the Nominating Committee recommended Elden Ramirez, president of the Montana Conference, known in Central California from the time that he spent as assistant to the CCC president and Director of Youth Ministries. He left California to become the Director of the Office of Volunteer Ministries for the North American Division of the General Conference, and from there went to the Montana Conference. The first motion of the day was to send the Nominating Committee Report back to the committee and allow for delegates to speak to the committee. It passed overwhelmingly, followed by several positive speeches on behalf of Cano. Then 74 people followed the Nominating Committee to the library where over the next several hours the committee listened to comments, but did not change their recommendation for president. Then the constituents of the Central California Conference voted down Ramirez’s nomination to be president with 361 opposed to 209 in favor.

The Nominating Committee then needed to be quickly reconvened to approve a new name for president and for the vice president for ministries position.

It was late in the afternoon when the Nominating Committee returned. The meeting was scheduled to end by 4:00 p.m., so a ticking clock played into the drama that ensued. A vote was taken to extend the meeting until 5. Antonio Huerta’s name was presented for the vice president for ministries position. There was a speech in opposition to his election from the floor, but the vote proceeded. He prevailed with a vote of 236 to 232.

However, a delegate went to the microphone and claimed that her voting mechanism had not worked. She requested the vote be done over with paper ballots, which prompted its own controversy, including a comment about General Conference voting mechanisms. Then a woman came to the microphone and requested that the time again be extended, this time “by 30 seconds.” She corrected herself to say “by 30 minutes,” then said “30 seconds.” Someone came to her side and spoke to her and she concluded, “30 minutes.” The chair said he would take the 30 minutes, but the two-thirds vote needed to extend the meeting was not reached.

Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference and the chair of the Nominating Committee, announced that the Nominating Committee did not have a name to recommend for president. Reporting on the session earlier in the day when constituents were allowed to address the Nominating Committee, he said that everyone had had a chance to be heard. He said there were many different opinions expressed by members of the Nominating Committee and no particular side had dominated.

In a meeting that took a number of twists and turns, the climate was always civil and respectful, according to Chris Blake, pastor of the San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay Churches. “Many times during the day warm laughter filled the room, largely due to Ricardo Graham’s good-natured influence.”

Another vote on Huerta apparently remained, but delegates did not reach a two-thirds majority to extend the time again. By then it was 5, and the meeting was declared over. The next day (Monday), Graham clarified that the simple majority vote to elect Huerta as Vice President for Ministries stands.

Elder Cano will continue to serve as the president for the next sixty days. The presidential election will now be referred to the Executive Committee. December 8 is the date for its next regular meeting. Ten new members were elected during the constituency session for the 28-member committee. In the meantime, the Conference Bylaws require that Town Hall meetings be held when the election of the president is not done in a constituency session. However, there is an ongoing discussion about how to interpret that requirement, since Town Hall Meetings were held prior to the Constituency Session.

Nathan Renner, pastor of the Discover Life Church in Sonora and member of the Executive Committee, expects that the Committee will be looking for someone who is spiritual, passionate for evangelism, someone who has the ability to lead a diverse conference, and will continue the programs like the Life Hope Clinics that have been so successful. “There is broad support for the current direction of the conference,” he says.

Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash


(Nov. 19, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ricardo Graham chaired the constituency meeting in addition to the Nominating Committee. The constituency meeting was chaired by the incumbent president, Ramiro Cano. We apologize for the error.

Nov. 20, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to reflect a corrected timeline for the events of the day.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10029

I’ve heard this part of an effort to find a more conservative president that will make the conservative Central Valley Adventists happy. Not a good sign for many of the bay area churches.


"However, a delegate went to the microphone and claimed that her voting mechanism had not worked. She requested the vote be done over with paper ballots, which prompted its own controversy, including a comment about General Conference voting mechanisms."

When I read the first part of the sentence…I thought that I was reading a spoof until I read the last part. Incredible…


LOL…we still don’t know if this wasn’t the case- either here…or in San Antonio. :wink:


How many Adventists does it take to properly run an election?

We don’t know, it hasn’t happened yet. :wink:

Feel free to add other punchlines…


ROFL…best laugh I have had in months! Thank-you, Carol. :smiley:


In SA I was standing next to one of the senior GC Administrators someone I have worked with for 20 years and know well. When the system first failed, his initial assumption was conspiracy.

My faith in humanity is still stronger than my faith in Technology with buttons, just.


I suggest calling the local high school (or junior high) and have them conduct the voting…they do it all the time.


I have no faith whatsoever in people vs technology, especially Adventist people. There will always be those who cannot figure out which button to push. It’s diabolical when it comes to Adventist’s and voting machines, I swear! :japanese_ogre::flushed::laughing:


And cheaper and the students could do “tutorials” for those who need them. Good suggestion.


I don’t know if you were in attendance at the the GC 2015…however, my husband was and he wasn’t impressed with the leadership or some of the attendees from certain parts of the world. Let’s just say that he doesn’t rule out “conspiracy”…or necessarily, “incompetence”. Could possibly be a little of both.


This is an interesting case study in church governance. The constituency outlasted the nominating committee, which may have been engineered to replace the president. Even if the NC was successful in placing change agents on the new ExCom, president Cano will likely be reelected or resign as a way to unify the conference. Either way, beware, there are some powerful lay movements in CCC.


Grey’s Law: “Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.”


Isn’t all ballots paper even US and most national elections
Where is the conspiracy

Is it a case of God guiding in the process to over rule man?
Or a case of man trying to manipulate the process to be one up on the brethren?
It is a good time to pray for God’s will to be done.

No matter what peoples opinions are its great this voting is open and whole world is watching .

God guiding or man ?
Lets hope its biblical and church and bible 1st

No. (And the rest is filler to meet minimum posting requirements)


When I voted a couple of weeks ago here in Macon for a local issue
there were a bank of computers. I stepped to one and Voted.
It was the first time I used it. Instructions were very simple.

Antonio Huerta – “a speech by one against him” [I wonder what the complaint was. the article did not provide]. 236 YES, 232 NO.
There appears to be a HUGE voting block. I wonder what the ISSUES
are with them. The Article does NOT provide any Insight as to what is
happening between the Everything has been OK Crowd, and the WE
don’t like what has been Happening Crowd.
Is it “Independent Ministries” that have pushing a certain “mind-set” in

I do know some persons DO quote some of the Independent Ministries
like they are Ellen White successors.


I wonder what the backstory to Elder Cano is that has caused his re-election to be rejected? This does not happen very often unless there is serious malfeasance in office! Maybe he has failed to work cooperatively with influentially lay leaders?


Pastor Cano – It was a huge voting block against him. But there were many
who DID LIKE his policies.
Too bad the Article writer could NOT give us more insight as to the
POLITICAL PROBLEMS calling for such STRONG “Yes” Votes, such STRONG
“No” Votes.

There appears to be a LOT of DIVISIVENESS among the Adventists in that
When there is a lot of divisiveness it makes it difficult to “PROMOTE MISSION”.