The dome at the America’s Center. The 61st General Conference Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, America’s Center Convention Complex, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, June 6-11, 2022. [Tor Tjeransen/ Adventist Media Exchange (CC BY 4.0)]
St. Louis, Missouri, United States | Angelica Sanchez, ANN

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022 marks the second day of the first hybrid General Conference (GC) Session in St. Louis, Missouri. The day began with a digital concert featuring linguistically diverse musicians from around the globe. Delegates and attendees were warmly welcomed and encouraged by Director of the Ellen G. White Estate, Merlin Burt. “It’s my prayer the Holy Spirit will touch our hearts … May we recommit ourselves to faithfully proclaiming the Three Angels Message,” said Burt.

During the morning’s opening worship, associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate, Dwain Esmond shared a practical, powerful, and Spirit-filled message entitled, “The Rest of the Story”, where he led listeners to understand that the story of earth’s history is not yet over. It is up to us to faithfully share the Three Angels Message so that others can also be part of the rest of the story. “When we accept God’s call to seek and save the lost, we become the rest of the story”.

Morning Business Session:

The morning business meeting was chaired by GC Vice-President, Thomas Lemon. The following agenda items were addressed:

Secretary’s Report

The session began with the Secretariat Report presented by Secretary of the GC, Erton Köhler who was accompanied by Undersecretary Hensley Moorooven, GC Associate Secretaries Claude Richli, Gerson Santos, Karen Porter, Gary Krause, and Elbert Kuhn, Director of the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR) David Trim, and VividFaith Manager Fylvia Kline. The comprehensive report summarized mission initiatives implemented throughout the World Church during the last seven years. Delegates later responded to the motion to approve the report, expressing favor of the report’s content. 

  • Motion was called to cease all debate and proceed to voting.
    • 1421 voted yes (95.4%); 69 voted no (4.6%).
  • Motion to accept the Secretary’s report (item 118).
    • 1568 voted yes (99.1%); 15 voted no (0.9%).

Nominating Committee Vote for Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice-Presidents

*At this time, Lemon passed the chair to GC Vice-President Ella Simmons. Lemon was required to step out as the Nominating Committee was voting to elect him as one of the GC Vice-Presidents. 

The Nominating Committee presented the following votes for the Secretary, Treasurer, and several Vice-President positions:

  • Vote to approve Erton Köhler as Secretary of the GC.
  • 1863 voted yes (96.1%); 75 voted no (3.9%).
  • Vote to approve Paul Douglas as Treasurer of the GC.
    • 1857 voted yes (97.4%); 50 voted no (2.6%).
  • Vote to approve Guillermo Biaggi, Abner De Los Santos, Geoffrey Mbwana, Thomas Lemon, Artur Stele, Audrey Andersson, and Maurice Valentine as General Vice-Presidents of the GC.
    • 1808 voted yes (96.7%); 61 voted no (3.3%).

Afternoon Business Session:

GC Vice-President Guillermo Biaggi chaired the afternoon’s business session, where the following agenda items were addressed:

Treasurer’s Report

The afternoon session began with the Treasurer’s Report, presented by GC Treasurer Paul Douglas, in which they summarized the Global Church’s financial performance over the past seven years. Jeffrey Strauss with Maner Costerisan then provided the Independent Auditor’s Report. 

  • Motion to accept the independent auditor’s reports on the Combined financial Statements of the GC from 2015-2021 as rendered by the accounting firm, Maner Costerisan (item 120).
    • Vote to accept the motion.
      • 1489 voted yes (99.1%); 13 voted no (0.9%)
  • Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report (item 119).
    • Delegates discussed the report prior to voting.
  • Motion to call cease debate and begin voting.
    • 1503 voted yes (97.4%); 40 voted no (%)
  • Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report.
    • 1556 voted yes (98.5%); 24 voted no (1.5%)

Church Manual Edits - Pastors and Elders

Gerson Santos moved to accept the following:

  • To amend chapter 4 to express the significance for pastors to empower and train local church leadership in the mission and work of the church. It also explains the role of conference leadership and who may be invited to speak at the local church (item 408).
    •  Delegates discussed the item at hand and expressed thoughts and concerns which were noted by the chairman and will be reviewed further.

Evening Business Session:

The meeting chair for the evening session was Undersecretary of the GC Hensley Moorooven. The following motions agenda items were addressed:

Church Manual Edits - Pastors and Elders Cont.

  • Discussion resumed regarding item 408.
  • Motion to cease discussion and vote.
    • 842 voted yes (95%); 44 voted no (5%).
  • Motion to amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual regarding local church officers to add a new section defining and explaining the purpose of the board of elders in the local church, how it’s organized, and who keeps it accountable (item 409).
    • Motion to cease discussion and vote.
      • 1246 voted yes (96.6%); 44 voted no (3.4%)
    • Vote to accept initial motion (item 409).
      • 1123 voted yes; 138 voted no.
  • Motion to amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual to further define and add instruction to church elders to help church members in Bible study, prayer, and with their relationship with Jesus (item 410).
    • Vote to accept motion.
      • 1351 voted yes (98.9%); 15 voted no (1.1%).
  • Motion to amend chapter 8 of the Church Manual regarding elder’s relationship to the pastor to clarify the process by which an elder can chair the church board (item 411).
    • Vote to accept motion.
      • 1218 voted yes (99.1%); 13 voted no (0.9%).

Church Manual Edits - Church Officers and Departments

  • Motion to amend chapter 9 of the Church Manual regarding the election process of the Nominating Committee. This amendment provides for a standing Nominating Committee (item 412). 
    •  Delegate discussion was paused for announcements from the Nominating Committee.

Nominating Committee - Undersecretary, Associate Secretaries, Undertreasurer, Associate Treasurers, GC Auditing Board Members and Services, and Directors of GC Departments

*Business meeting Chairman Moorooven passed over the chair to Executive Secretary Erton Köhler, as he was being voted for the undersecretary position. 

The Nominating Committee presented the following vote for the Undersecretary and Associate Secretary positions:

  • Motion to vote Hensley Moorooven as Undersecretary of the GC, Gerson Santos as Associate Secretary (AS) of the GC, Claude Richli as ASGC, Gary Krause as ASGC and Adventist Mission of GC, Elbert Kuhn as ASGC and AVS of GC, Karen Porter as ASGC and IPRS of GC, and Saw Samuel as ASGC.
    • Vote to accept motion.
      • 1616 voted yes (98.1%), 31 voted no (1.9%).

The Nominating Committee presented the following vote for the Undertreasurer and Associate Treasurer positions:

  • Motion to vote Raymon Wahlen II as Undertreasurer of GC, Timothy Hiroki Aka as Associate Treasurer (AT) and Investments of GC, George Egwakhe as ATGC, German Lust as ATGC and IPRS of GC, Daisy Orion as ATGC, Josue Pierre as ATGC, and Richard Stephenson as AT and Tech Operations & Strategy of the GC.
    • Vote to accept motion.
      • 1615 voted yes (98.1%); 32 voted no (1.9%).

The Nominating Committee presented the following vote regarding GC Auditing Board Members and Services positions:

  • Motion to vote Patrick Bob Ojera (ECD Lay Rep.), TBA (ESD Lay Rep.), Ventsislav Bosev (EUD Lay Rep.), Hyden Gittens (IAD Lay Rep.), John Satelmajer (NAD Lay Rep.), Masao Yanaga (NSD Lay Rep.), Ailton Dorl (SAD Lay Rep.), Philip Ndlovu (SID Lay Rep.), Anette Barlow (SPD Lay Rep.), Jeffrey Eman (SSD Lay Rep.), Victor Singh (SUD Lay Rep.), Frensly Panneflek (TED Lay Rep.), and Kwaku Danso-Abeam (WAD Lay Rep.) as Auditing Board Members. In addition, Ex-officio Members: GC President Ted Wilson, GC Secretary Erton Köhler, GC Treasurer Paul Douglas, GC Vice-President Thomas Lemon, and GCAS Director Robyn Kajiura.
  • Motion to vote the Robyn Kajiura as Director, Gary Blood, Boris Cardenas, Daniel Hezrel, Guillermo Leal, and Maurine Wahlen as Associate Directors (AD), JoJean Birth as AD for North America, Furaha Mpozembizi as AD for Trans Africa, Rogelio Cortez as AD for Trans America, Jeremy Smith as AD for Trans Asia Pacific, and Sandra Grice as AD for Trans Euro, all as members of the GC Auditing Service Leadership.
    • Vote to accept both motions.
      • 1598 voted yes (99.3%); 11 voted no (0.7%)

The Nominating Committee presented the following vote regarding Directors of GC Departments:

  • Motion to vote Ivan Omana as Director of GC Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, William Costa as Director of GC Communication, Orathai Chureson as Director of GC Children’s Ministries, Lisa Beardsley-Hardy as Director of GC Education, Wilbert Oliver as Director of GC Family Ministries and Elaine Oliver as Associate Director, Peter Landless as Director of GC Health Ministries, Ramon Canals as Ministerial Secretary of GC, Aurora Canals as Associate Secretary, Ganoune Diop as Director of GC Public Affairs & Religious Liberty, Almir Marroni as Director of GC Publishing Ministries, James Howard as Director of GC Sabbath School & Personal Ministries, Dennis Carlson as Director of GC Planned Giving & Trust Services, Marcos Faiock Bomfim as Director of GC Stewardship Ministries, Heather Small as Director of GC Women’s Ministries, and Busi Khumalo as Director of GC Youth Ministries.
    • Several delegates expressed concern regarding the report presented due to lack of diversity within the group. After a period of discussion, a break was taken.
    • Motion to refer the report back to the Nomination Committee.
      • 590 voted yes (37.5%); 985 voted no (62.5%).
    • Motion to approve the report.
      • 1311 voted yes (83.7%); 255 voted no (16.3).

In conclusion, Director of the Ministerial Association Jerry Page led a moment of group prayer asking God to continue guiding the session week. 

The recorded livestream of today’s opening remarks, worship, and business meeting can be viewed on Youtube here. You can also access more information regarding GC Session, including the session agenda here. For information on the GC Session 2022 app, go to: