For the Record: North American Division Appoints 14 Leaders at 2015 Year End Meetings

SILVER SPRING - The North American Division Year End Meetings continued Friday morning with the first report from the Nominating Committee.

Unions caucused Thursday to appoint their representatives on the nominating committee. The following individuals made up the committee tasked with recommending names for approval by the voting body:

Atlantic Union Donald King G. Earl Knight Linda Griffin (layperson) Maria Barreto (layperson

Canada Mark Johnson Ron Francis (layperson)

Columbia Union Dave Weigley Paula Barnes (layperson) Vince Wahn (layperson) Jose Cortes Sr.

Lake Union Don Livesay Clifford Jones Sandra Simms (layperson)

Mid-America Union Gary Thurber Gil Webb

North Pacific Union Max Torkelson Todd Pascoe (layperson) John McVey

Pacific Union Ricardo Graham Sandra Roberts Berit von Pohle Ellie Kaanaana (layperson) Tony Anobile Tania Acuna (layperson) Shirley Chang (layperson)

Southern Union Randy Robinson Will Winston Debra Fryson Shana Taylor (layperson) Jorge Meyer Ernie Bowden (layperson) Selwin Carington (layperson) Julie Murphy (layperson) Dana Edmund

Southwestern Union Buford Griffith Steve Orian Timo Chacon (layperson)

Oakwood University Leslie Pollard

NAD Officers (ex-oficio members) Dan Jackson G. Alexander Bryant Tom Evans

The morning's business paused for a few moments of levity as delegates took test votes with electronic voting devices, briefly calling to mind the voting device debacle that took place during the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio. As delegates familiarized themselves with the devices this morning, some worried that there might be technical issues with the devices again. Michigan Conference president Jay Gallimore called into question the number of votes returned, drawing the irritation of North American Division president and session chair Dan Jackson. Jackson refused to entertain the idea that the devices might not be used. Alex Bryant clarified the number of total registered delegates, allaying fears over the devices' efficacy.

When it became clear that the devices were functional, North American Division Secretary Alex Bryant began reading the names from the nominating committee one by one. Midway through the voting process Dan Jackson took an opportunity to speak on behalf of involving young adults in leadership. "We need to be very serious about vetting younger people," Jackson said. "We are committed—I know people have wondered about our level of commitment to young adults—we are very committed."

Then Jackson explained the complications involved in involving more young leaders. "We would not want to subject a younger person who has a family to the travel that the presidential and vice presidential offices require." That is not a barrier, Jackson noted, but it is a consideration. "One area where we need to grow as an organization is in mentoring the young into leadership positions," Jackson said. He suggested that leaders are needed who are "committed to Jesus and his church and to teachings and beliefs of Adventist Church. People should have experience in the organization and understand how the church works."

"We are thinking about it, praying about it, and we have our eye on young people," Jackson said.

Delegate Shirley Chang noted that there is also a need to remember women when thinking of leadership positions. She noted the North American Division's initiative to involve more women in pastoral ministry, and said that women are also in all areas of leadership.

Immediately after, Paul Hoover, president of the Upper Columbia Conference, recommended "a system of term limits to force a constant turning over of leadership." Jackson responded favorably to the suggestion, noting that the Allegheny East Conference has imposed limits. "Others in NAD have done the same," he said. "To be honest, I think those systems are working very effectively."

With those discussions filling in the spaces between votes, the North American Division overwhelmingly voted into office the following nominees, all of whom, it should be noted, were incumbents.

Larry Blackmer - VP for Education Paul Brantley - VP for Strategic Planning and Assessment Debra Brill - VP for Church Ministries R. Ernest Castillo - VP for Multilingual Ministries Alvin Kibble - VP for Training & development, communication, social media, PARL, Publishing and Regional Conference Ministries Gordon Pifher - VP for Media

Kyoshin Ahn - Associate Secretary Michael Jamieson - Undertreasurer Sharon Mabena - Associate Treasurer Michael Park - Associate Treasurer

J. Alfred Johnson II - Director Adult Ministries Paul Anderson - Director Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries Maitland DiPinto - Director, Community Engagement Development for Adventist Community Services Sung Kwon - Executive Director for Adventist Community Services

Photo Credit: Dan Weber / North American Division Jared Wright is Managing Editor of, and is reporting from Silver Spring on the North American Division Year End Meetings.

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

It is very difficult to facilitate change when the nominating committee does not see a need for change. The President and others may be making all the right noises, but no one is listening.

Alternatively, the delegates may be thinking that with such an awesome leadership team in place, why change it.


Do all denominational employees pay for their travel expenses for these meetings? Do all the lay members pay for their own travel expenses?

If young people are truly desired as representatives and voting members on committees, why should they be eliminated unless they can pay their own way? This effectively eliminates nearly all young representation.


I think term limits are an excellent idea - especially when the goal is to make a space for younger leadership and for more women in leadership (for which Jackson and Chang, respectively, made an appeal). For a church wishing to reduce the perception of a hierarchical “old boy network” administration, this appears to be a good solution.


I hope this group is full of effective leaders for our church to grow and be blessed.

An appointed church leader is an individual assigned by a higher church authority to an organizational unit, usually in a managerial capacity to a team. A leader can also be appointed by the team itself, either from within or recruited from the outside. As a manager, they may be given an official title, but in reality they have to earn the “leader” title by transforming a group into a team, or by enhancing an existing one. A team that becomes demotivated degrades to a group and can become dysfunctional.

An appointed leader in our nominations and in our church election process will be respected, but not necessary liked, if they have the competence and commitment for the role, and if they treat others fairly consistent the values and guiding principles of the enterprise. In fact, if the leader is respected, the team will compensate for gaps in their competence by sharing accountability mutually to get things done.

Appointed leaders are common in most of our churches that are highly structured. Appointments should be made based upon competence and commitment, and potential for the future growth of the appointee, the enterprise, and its constituencies. However, appointments may be made on the basis of political intentions by those with vested interests regarding authority and power. As such, the appointee may “win” but the enterprise and its constituencies may lose.

An emergent leader develops organically from within a group or team, either because the group is not a team, or because the appointed leader is not performing. Emergent leaders evolve because of need; they have a “can do” mindset but are not individual contributors. They can establish an environment for motivating others to build accountability mutually. Emergent team leaders can evolve anywhere in the enterprise where there is a need.

Emergent leaders are needed in our Adventist church where roles, responsibilities, and activities are often vague and unstructured. They take solutions, not problems, to the entrepreneur or management that have “buy in” from others. They may become appointed leaders or they may never be formally recognized at all. However, it is usually widely understood within the enterprise as to who got the job done, sometimes in spite of others. Emergent leaders are well respected.

1 Like

Same old. Same old. One nominee per office. Term limits, anyone?

The following quote deserves to be in another thread regarding Dan Jackson’s dreams for the NAD. Dream no 7.“iron-law-oligarchy”-and-tithing
“Iron Law of Oligarchy” and Tithing
Posted July 22nd, 2009 by Ervin Taylor

There have been many calls for the downsizing of the Adventist clerical bureaucracy by consolidating local and union conferences. Almost all of these calls have been either ignored or studied to death in a committee. The reason is clear. It is one of the corollaries of the “Iron Law of Oligarchy” is that “All other things being equal, no bureaucrat-secular or religious-is going to vote to have his position in the hierarchy eliminated.” It is not at all a matter of these individuals being devious or ungodly. Far from it, most (regretfully, there are exceptions) are sincere, honest, hard working members of the clergy. But they are human.
Only under great pressure does major change happen in any large, institutionalized, bureaucratic system. In the modern world, almost the only circumstance that will force major changes is a lack of resources, i.e., funds, i.e., money. Since the overwhelming source of funds that keeps the Adventist ecclesiastical bureaucracy functioning are the tithes and offerings of it members, the only realistic path of reform of the Adventist political system is if a large group of ordinary lay person redirects his tithing to other worthy causes. It is here proposed that the most worthy cause would be the local Adventist Church.
A question: Would tithing to the local Adventist Church be a good or bad thing?

Between local congregations and the GC executive committee, the consolidation of union and local conferences (acting as union of churches) should be sufficient and more efficient than continuing with the various divisions of the GC. IMHO, world divisions, not excluding the NAD, have all become unnecessary and irrelevant.

1 Like

Could Spectrum provide the number of years each of these 14 individuals has served the NAD in their current capacity? Term limits are overdue, not to mention leadership development.