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Annual Council Diary—Monday


Policies were once again the center of attention at Annual Council on Monday.

There was even a mock reading of the Working Policy as though it was Scripture in a skit that made the point that policy is not Scripture. It is not inspired—it is simply a summary of procedures that have been prepared by the General Conference. Policy can be changed.

“Welcome to General Conference University,” said G.T. Ng, executive secretary of the General Conference, to open the two-hour session titled General Conference Working Policy 101 in which the structure and details of the Working Policy were reviewed by five different professors. After each session Professor Ng gave a quiz. Right answers to the oral questions were rewarded with an apple—not an iPhone—a Fuji. The creative interactive approach to a mundane subject made the morning fly by.

In his lecture on organization and administration, Lowell Cooper, GC vice president, noted that the purpose of policy is to protect institutions from individuals, from reactive decision-making. He suggested that a policy book is like a filing cabinet, it is where you keep important information about the organization.

In the afternoon Delbert Baker, GC vice president, gave a report on The Great Hope project in which 75 million copies of The Great Controversy have been distributed worldwide. Evaluation forms were distributed to assist in the assessment of the project. He told the story of a motorcycle-riding couple in Sao Paulo who noticed a book by the side of the road. What intrigued them was that the pages were flapping in the air even though there was no wind. They picked up the book, took it home and read it. A few weeks later they spotted a bumper sticker on a car with the same pictures as those in the book, so they sped up behind the motorist. The driver was afraid when the motorcyclist knocked on his window and he drove off without responding. Finally after several attempts to get the motorist to talk, the man on the motorcycle said “Great Hope” and the motorist rolled down his window. Bible studies ensued and the motorcycle-riding couple has now been baptized.

Board governance was Director Lisa M. Beardsley-Hardy’s focus in her Department of Education report. She said that institutions of higher education have to balance independence with interdependence. She, too, noted the importance of policies to board governance.

Oakwood University President Leslie Pollard told of a study called Life Core the school developed to help them assess student life. The findings are being used by the administration to guide the development of a spiritual master plan. He said that 95 percent of the students sampled reported their adherence to the Bible as the guiding moral standard for their lives.

In other miscellaneous actions, without discussion the China Union Mission was reorganized. Division President Jairyong Lee said the reason for the reorganization was to advance the work in mainland China and to strengthen the work in Taiwan.

The action taken will retain the current mission status of the Chinese Union Mission and the Hong-Kong-Macao Conference and union institutions will remain under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Union Mission. However, the Taiwan Conference, Taiwan Adventist Hospital, Taiwan Adventist College, and the Signs of the Times Publishing Association will be attached to the Northern Asia-Pacific Division.

Cliff Goldstein gave one of the liveliest presentations in the afternoon. He told church leaders that he is putting his seminar and book 1844 Made Simple on a website where it will be available for all. “The sanctuary is how we can get salvation by faith,” he said. The resource site with podcasts and other features should be online by the end of the year.

With finances, response to the union conferences, and the statement on homosexuality all still awaiting attention, Tuesday will be a busy day.

Photo: (Pictured, G. T. Ng.) Adventist News Network—Ansel Oliver

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