By Elizabeth Lechleitner, Adventist News Network, with contributions from Chantal J. Klingbeil
Seventh-day Adventist Church delegates June 27 voted down a motion that would have altered the time frame for choosing associate directors of departments at the church’s world headquarters.
The action would have shifted appointments from the General Conference session to the first Annual Council, or business meeting, after the session, usually held in October.
Church officials initiated the item to give newly elected department heads more time to shape their respective departments by choosing complementary associates. In the past, some delegates have suggested that, given the volume of elections voted on at session, the process of choosing associates is conducted in a cursory manner, lacking in discussion and adequate consideration.
After lengthy, animated discussion, the two-thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional motion was not achieved.
Many delegates opposing the motion cited representation and logistics. Some were opposed to the perceived threat to the authority of the Nominating Committee to choose associates, while others questioned the practicality of the item.
Several delegates debated whether deferring the decision to the world church’s Executive Committee meeting in October really made much difference in representation. Kevin Jackson, of the church’s South Pacific region, said the “key difference” was the inclusion of the presidents of each of the church’s 13 world divisions on the Executive Committee.
“I would suggest that their inclusion actually brings rigor to the process, enhancing the quality of the decisions,” Jackson said.
Church officials, moderating the discussion, confirmed that the Executive Committee, with 305 members, is a larger body than a session Nominating Committee, which has slightly more than 200 members.
However, delegates pointed out that approving the motion would effectively block the votes of the approximately 2,400-member delegation. Session delegates can vote to accept or reject any recommendation made by the Nominating Committee, broadening the input, while at Annual Council, there is no body to check or balance the decisions of the Executive Committee.