General Conference president Dr. Jan Paulsen addressed the elephant in the Georgia Dome at the close of his address to delegates and observers Thursday evening. Paulsen, whose second five-year presidential term expires with this General Conference Session, admitted that he has been inundated with queries about whether he will seek reelection.
As Paulsen ended the President's Report, his wife Kari joined him on the platform. Paulsen stated that he had a personal remark to share. Many people have asked, Paulsen said, what will happen here in Atlanta. "Are you going to retire?" people have asked.
"Maybe this is the time for us to leave...maybe...maybe," he said.
"But we recognize that there is a process by which the church makes a selection," he continued.
"We have struggled and I’m not sure that we have the answer at this very very moment," he stated, suggesting that he would be open to reelection should the possibility arise.
Paulsen has served as president since March, 1999. He assumed leadership of the Adventist Church in a special meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee after Robert Folkenberg vacated the office amid accusations of impropriety. The Executive Committee named Paulsen president after a virtual tie between Paulsen and GC Vice President Calvin Rock.
President Paulsen was initially to serve only as an interim president, finishing out Folkenberg's term. However, Paulsen was reelected during the 2000 General Conference Session in Toronto, and again in 2005 during the St. Louis GC Session.
Other candidates for president include General Conference Vice Presidents Pardon Mwansa, Lowell Cooper and Ted N. C. Wilson.
"I want to leave you...leave you for now...leave you for now with the Irish blessing," Paulsen said:
May the road rise to meet you May the wind be at your back The sun shine warm upon your face The rain fall soft upon your fields And until we meet again May God keep you in the palm of his hands.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2450