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Northern California Conference Votes New Officers and to Move the Conference Office


Marc K. Woodson was elected president of the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists at the regular conference constituency session on September 30, 2018, and the delegates empowered the Conference Executive Committee to proceed with the purchase of a new conference office building in Roseville, California and to sell the present office building in Pleasant Hill. The conference has been in preliminary discussions with Adventist Health to purchase its Douglas Boulevard building in Roseville when Adventist Health moves to its new larger building that is under construction across town.


The assembled delegates also turned down the opportunity to discuss at length five proposals from local churches that had been appropriately submitted to the conference for inclusion on the agenda. When the Conference Executive Committee voted unanimously not to include the items and notified the churches of their decision, the topic lit up social media discussions.


The Executive Committee explained their decision saying that some of the proposals were not germane to the conference’s jurisdiction, in others factual errors were provided as the reasons an item should be considered, one proposed item was generally addressed in committee and not at a constituency session, and one of the proposals concerned church membership and did not meet the criteria set out for agenda items of being applicable to the entire conference.


There was a brief exchange at the beginning of the meeting about who gets to decide what actually goes on the session agenda with Parliamentarian Meredith Jobe noting that NCC’s Bylaws are unusual in that it gives the chair the responsibility for preparing the agenda and that a two-thirds vote would be needed to change it. However, a motion was made to ask the delegates whether or not they would like to discuss the proposals. Once all five items were shared with the delegates, there was a vote on whether or not to add them as a block to the agenda. The motion failed with a vote of 61% no and 39% yes. The topics the delegates declined to discuss were:


1. That the NCC Executive Committee report to constituents the measures they take and have taken when official beliefs and practices have been publicly violated in our universities.


2. To discourage and eliminate the promotion of unbiblical doctrines and practices by removing errant pastors and teachers at our universities and by screening students who are not in harmony with the church’s fundamental beliefs.


3. To amend the Conference’s Mission Statement to be aligned with how our mission is defined in the three angels message of Rev. 14.


4. To cease the implementation of the Executive Committee votes pertaining to ordination without regard to gender in order to be in harmony with the world church.


5. To ask the Pacific Union Conference to rescind both the credentials and ordination of the Chico Church pastor who allowed and supported the baptism of a lesbian woman as well as the retired ordained pastor who performed the baptism, and to subject the Chico Church to the official disciplinary process as outlined in the church manual for congregations in apostasy.


Later, when the credentials and licenses for the entire conference were being approved, a question was raised as to whether or not all the people on the list adhered to the 28 Fundamental Beliefs and with some discussion it turned into a motion that the credentials list be sent back to committee for screening as to whether or not the individuals on the list  accepted the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. The motion to refer back was defeated with a 55% no vote and 45% yes. And then the credentials were approved on a vote of 64% yes and 36% no.


Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham, who had chaired the Nominating Committee, presided over the voting on the conference officers and departmental directors.


Woodson, who had previously served as the Executive Secretary of the conference, and interim president after the retirement of James Pedersen earlier this year, received an 89% yes vote and 11% no vote when his name was brought forward to be the new president.


Jose Marin was nominated to replace Woodson at the Executive Secretary position. Marin leaves the same Executive Secretary position in the Arizona Conference to join NCC, but he had also worked as the Hispanic ethnic coordinator for the NCC from 2014 to 2016.


Once the vote on Marin’s election (88% yes to 12% no) was completed, Patrice Kielhorn from the Golden Feather Church went to the microphone. She said there had been irregularities in the Nominating Committee process and asked for information about what had taken place in those meetings.


Graham replied, “Those discussions are closed and not open for discussion on the floor.” And the meeting proceeded with the voting of the various departmental directors.


The 84% yes vote for Youth Director Heinrich elicited extended applause. His name had initially been pulled from the Nominating Committee’s list of department directors, only to be restored after the Committee held several more meetings.


North American Division President Dan Jackson was present and offered the prayer of consecration for all those who were elected during the session.


The meeting concluded as it had begun with songs of praise and prayers of thanks.



Further Reading:

A Reflection on the Northern California Conference Constituency Meeting by Susan Parker Fleming



Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.


Image: Tasked with selecting leaders for the next four-year term, the delegates elected Marc Woodson, current NCC executive secretary, to be president. They also elected Jose Marin, current Arizona Conference executive secretary and ministerial/evangelism director, to be executive secretary, and they reelected John Rasmussen, NCC treasurer. From left to right: Jose Marin, Marlene Rodriguez Woodson, Marc Woodson, Raelene Rasmussen, John Rasmussen. Not pictured: Cynthia Marin. Courtesy of the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.



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