Jackson to lead church in North America; Ruguri, Biaggi to lead East African, Russian-area divisions

Jackson to lead church in North America; Ruguri, Biaggi to lead East African, Russian-area divisions

Business Meetings | Atlanta, Georgia, United States | Mark A. Kellner, Adventist Review

Beardsley heads Education; Olivers to Family Ministries; Kapusta for Trust Services

Lisa M. Beardsley was elected as the church's Education director. She is the first woman to serve in the position. [photo: Gerry Chudleigh]
Lisa M. Beardsley was elected as the church's Education director. She is the first woman to serve in the position. [photo: Gerry Chudleigh]

Blasious Ruguri, left, backstage with his wife after being elected president of the church's East-Central Africa region. At right is Agustin Galicia, associate world church secretary. [photo: Josef Kissinger]
Blasious Ruguri, left, backstage with his wife after being elected president of the church's East-Central Africa region. At right is Agustin Galicia, associate world church secretary. [photo: Josef Kissinger]

Dan Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada, is the new president of the church's North American region, elected June 28 by delegates of the world church at their business session in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jackson, 61, was proposed by the church's Nominating Committee and confirmed by the General Conference Session delegates. He replaces Don Schneider, who has served as president since 2000.

Separately, Lisa M. Beardsley has become the first woman to serve the Adventist Church as Education Director. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University, a doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, and a Master of Business Administration from the Claremont Graduate University in California.

Beardsley, previously vice chancellor for academic affairs at Loma Linda University, came to the world headquarters in 2005 as an associate in the Education Department.

Willie and Elaine Oliver, who currently lead Family Ministries for the church in North America, will succeed Ron and Karen Flowers in running the program for the world church.

Willie Oliver holds a doctorate in Family Sociology, and master's degrees in Pastoral Counseling and Family Sociology. Elaine holds a graduate degree in Higher Education with concentrations in student development and counseling. She is associate vice president for Enrollment Management at Washington Adventist University and serves with Willie in ministry, conducting marriage conferences, retreats, and relationship seminars. The Olivers have been married for 25 years and are the parents of university students Jessica and Julian.

The Nominating Committee also recommended and delegates voted, to appoint a department director Monday. Thomas A. Kapusta will be the General Conference Director of Trust Services. He is currently the director for planning giving for Florida Hospital Foundation. His prior service includes being the Southern Union director of Planned Giving and Trust Services.

The new North American president, who had been featured in a February, 2010 Adventist World profile, reacted to his election: "God never calls us to do things we are capable of, and this thing is so much bigger than me. But He has called, and I accept this with the greatest humility and with extreme gratitude to Don Schneider," Jackson said.

Responding to the vote, Schneider said, "Jackson is a wonderful Christian whose leadership has demonstrated a commitment to the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church."

Jackson is a native Canadian and, with the exception of five years of service in the Southern Asia Division, has lived and ministered in Canada. He is a graduate of Canadian Union College (now Canadian University College) and Andrews University, from which he holds a Master of Arts in Religion in systematic theology.

During his career, Jackson has served the church as a pastor, teacher and administrator. He is currently the president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada. Dan and Donna, his wife, have three children and four grandchildren.

"My thoughts and prayers are with him," said Carlton Byrd, pastor of Atlanta Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church here. "I had the privilege of meeting him at session and I look forward to working with him."

Jackson is one of three new division presidents in the Adventist Church. Blasious M. Ruguri is the new president of the church in East-Central Africa, succeeding Geoffrey G. Mbwana, who was elected a world church general vice president. Guillermo E. Biaggi will succeed Artur A. Stele as Euro-Asia Division president; Stele was also elected a general vice president.

Other regional presidents were returned to office: Bruno R. Vertallier in Euro-Africa; Israel Leito, Inter-American; Jairyong Lee, Northern Asia-Pacific; Erton C. Kohler, South American; Barry D. Oliver, South Pacific; Paul S. Ratsara, Southern Africa-Indian Ocean; John Rathinaraj, Southern Asia; Alberto C. Gulfan, Southern Asia-Pacific; Bertil Wiklander, Trans-European and Gilbert Wari, West-Central Africa.

--additional reporting by George Johnson, Jr.