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For the Record: North American Division Appoints 14 Leaders at 2015 Year-end Meeting


SILVER SPRING – The North American Division Year-end Meeting continued Friday morning with the first report from the Nominating Committee.

Unions caucused Thursday to appoint their representatives on the nominating committee. The following individuals made up the committee tasked with recommending names for approval by the voting body:

Atlantic Union
Donald King
G. Earl Knight
Linda Griffin (layperson)
Maria Barreto (layperson

Mark Johnson
Ron Francis (layperson)

Columbia Union
Dave Weigley
Paula Barnes (layperson)
Vince Wahn (layperson)
Jose Cortes Sr.

Lake Union
Don Livesay
Clifford Jones
Sandra Simms (layperson)

Mid-America Union
Gary Thurber
Gil Webb

North Pacific Union
Max Torkelson
Todd Pascoe (layperson)
John McVey

Pacific Union
Ricardo Graham
Sandra Roberts
Berit von Pohle
Ellie Kaanaana (layperson)
Tony Anobile
Tania Acuna (layperson)
Shirley Chang (layperson)

Southern Union
Randy Robinson
Will Winston
Debra Fryson
Shana Taylor (layperson)
Jorge Meyer
Ernie Bowden (layperson)
Selwin Carington (layperson)
Julie Murphy (layperson)
Dana Edmund

Southwestern Union
Buford Griffith
Steve Orian
Timo Chacon (layperson)

Oakwood University
Leslie Pollard

NAD Officers (ex-oficio members)
Dan Jackson
G. Alexander Bryant
Tom Evans

The morning's business paused for a few moments of levity as delegates took test votes with electronic voting devices, briefly calling to mind the voting device debacle that took place during the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio. As delegates familiarized themselves with the devices this morning, some worried that there might be technical issues with the devices again. Michigan Conference president Jay Gallimore called into question the number of votes returned, drawing the irritation of North American Division president and session chair Dan Jackson. Jackson refused to entertain the idea that the devices might not be used. Alex Bryant clarified the number of total registered delegates, allaying fears over the devices' efficacy.

When it became clear that the devices were functional, North American Division Secretary Alex Bryant began reading the names from the nominating committee one by one. Midway through the voting process Dan Jackson took an opportunity to speak on behalf of involving young adults in leadership. "We need to be very serious about vetting younger people," Jackson said. "We are committed—I know people have wondered about our level of commitment to young adults—we are very committed."

Then Jackson explained the complications involved in involving more young leaders. "We would not want to subject a younger person who has a family to the travel that the presidential and vice presidential offices require." That is not a barrier, Jackson noted, but it is a consideration. "One area where we need to grow as an organization is in mentoring the young into leadership positions," Jackson said. He suggested that leaders are needed who are "committed to Jesus and his church and to teachings and beliefs of Adventist Church. People should have experience in the organization and understand how the church works."

"We are thinking about it, praying about it, and we have our eye on young people," Jackson said.

Delegate Shirley Chang noted that there is also a need to remember women when thinking of leadership positions. She noted the North American Division's initiative to involve more women in pastoral ministry, and said that women are also in all areas of leadership.

Immediately after, Paul Hoover, president of the Upper Columbia Conference, recommended "a system of term limits to force a constant turning over of leadership." Jackson responded favorably to the suggestion, noting that the Allegheny East Conference has imposed limits. "Others in NAD have done the same," he said. "To be honest, I think those systems are working very effectively." 

With those discussions filling in the spaces between votes, the North American Division overwhelmingly voted into office the following nominees, all of whom, it should be noted, were incumbents.

Larry Blackmer – VP for Education
Paul Brantley – VP for Strategic Planning and Assessment
Debra Brill – VP for Church Ministries
R. Ernest Castillo – VP for Multilingual Ministries
Alvin Kibble – VP for Training & development, communication, social media, PARL, Publishing and Regional Conference Ministries
Gordon Pifher – VP for Media

Kyoshin Ahn – Associate Secretary
Michael Jamieson – Undertreasurer
Sharon Mabena – Associate Treasurer
Michael Park – Associate Treasurer

J. Alfred Johnson II – Director Adult Ministries
Paul Anderson – Director Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries
Maitland DiPinto – Director, Community Engagement Development for Adventist Community Services
Sung Kwon – Executive Director for Adventist Community Services


Photo Credit: Dan Weber / North American Division
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of, and is reporting from Silver Spring on the North American Division Year-end Meeting.


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