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ATLANTA: On Thursday, July 1, Central California Conference president Jerry Page (pictured, right) was voted into the Adventist headquarters at the General Conference offices in Silver Spring, Maryland. He will replace James A. Cress* as Ministerial Secretary and will begin his new job in the autumn.
Significantly, on June 21, the Central California Conference Executive Committee under Jerry Page's leadership sent a letter to the La Sierra University Board of Trustees urging faster and severer action in their treatment of the pedagogy of origins issue. Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham expressed a different view in his July Recorder editorial: Why I Support La Sierra University.
In a surprising move, immediately after the election of Jerry Page, Nominating Committee chairman Robert E. Kyte asked that the nomination of Jerry Page's associate directors be delayed until the fall meetings of the Annual Council. Newly elected GC president Ted N. C. Wilson rose and spoke in support of this delay, noting that he wanted an "extremely spiritual approach to how we conduct our church life." He added that this move would help to "create an environment of revival and reformation" with a focus on prayer and the Holy Spirit thereby allowing the releasing of the "latter rain." Wilson stated that more time would allow for changes to be made.
Ted Wilson responds to the delegates, Ella Simmons and Agustin Galicia look on.
Many delegates spoke in opposition to this, seeing it as a shift of their responsibility and a strange exception being granted to one director, while all the others had to have their associate directors approved by the General Conference in session. As Gerson R. Perla, a lawyer from California noted, Jerry Page seemed to be asking for an exception to the rules. He pointed out that all directors want a spiritual emphasis - not just one.
Janet and Jerry Page are presented to the delegates.
In an other exceptional move, Joanne Davies, a businesswoman from the South Pacific Division and a member of the Nominating Committee spoke from the floor testifying that the Pages had stayed in her house, where she had fed them and washed their clothes and observed them closely. She urged the delegates to grant Jerry Page's request for an exception because he and his wife are people of prayer. Another member of the Nominating Committee spoke from the delegate floor in favor of the Page/Wilson request in light of their spirituality.
Robert Bolst of the South Pacific Division asked what sort of changes the men would like to make. President Wilson addressed that by stating that "it is certainly the case that a church or an organization" rises or falls according to the "spiritual content of those who are leading." He added that since Jerry Page was new to the Ministerial Association where as other new directors were mostly promoted from within the department or within the building an exception was warranted and that it was not outside the session rules. Concluding his remarks, he asked for more time to carefully review the Ministerial Association for ways to "best lift our vision in a highly spiritual way."
A vote was called and despite scattered opposition from the division representatives from much of the developed world, the motion to postpone the nomination of associate directors of the Ministerial Association until the fall, passed.
*Because this story was still unfolding, the original report had a different first name.
Photo: Robert East/ANN