By Ansel Oliver and Mark A. Kellner, with contributions from Chantal J. Klingbeil
Ted N. C. Wilson, a general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was elected June 25 to serve as president of the 16.3-million-member global Protestant denomination.
Wilson, 60, was appointed by the church’s 246-member Nominating Committee and confirmed by the General Conference session delegation, an international body of 2,410 appointed members, the highest governing body in the church. He succeeds Jan Paulsen, who had served as president since 1999.
The appointment took place at the church’s fifty-ninth General Conference session, held June 23–July 3 at the Georgia Dome, adjacent to the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
This new responsibility “brings us to our knees,” Wilson said. “I do not know everything, but I shall seek wisdom from counselors and from the Bible and from the Spirit of Prophecy.”
He added, “The Spirit of Prophecy is one of the great gifts God has given to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It applies to the past and to the future. And, we are going home soon.” The church should “fall on our knees and ask for God’s guidance … and pray that the Holy Spirit would bring us revival and reformation,” Wilson said.
Reaction in the Georgia Dome was swift and positive. Wilson and his wife, Nancy Louise Vollmer Wilson, were greeted with a standing ovation as they walked out on the platform.
Wilson was elected as a general vice president of the Adventist Church in 2000 during the General Conference session in Toronto. His 36 years of denominational service include administrative and executive posts in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, Africa, and Russia.
Wilson began his church career as a pastor in 1974 in the church’s Greater New York Conference. He served as an assistant director and then director of Metropolitan Ministries there from 1976 to 1981. He went on to serve in the church’s (then) Africa-Indian Ocean Division, based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, until 1990. There he served as a departmental director and later as executive secretary, the second-highest officer.
Following his post in West Africa, he served at the church’s world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, as an associate secretary for two years before accepting the position of president of the church’s Euro-Asia Division in Moscow, Russia, from 1992 to 1996. Wilson then came back to the United States to serve as president of the Review and Herald Publishing Association in Hagerstown, Maryland, until his election as a General Conference vice president in 2000.
Wilson is the son of former General Conference president Neal C. Wilson, who served in the post from 1979 to 1990.
Seventh-day Adventist pastor G. T. Ng, a Singaporean who has served as associate secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for three years, was elected executive secretary of the General Conference.
Ng’s passion for mission was kindled when he began his ministry in war-torn Cambodia in the 1970s. He and his wife had to be evacuated shortly before the capital city, Phnom Penh, fell to Khmer Rouge forces. He was later transferred to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore where he served as a pastor, chaplain, health educator, and union departmental director.
Ng holds a bachelor’s degree from the Southeast Asia Union College in Singapore, a master of arts degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary (Far East) in the Philippines, and a doctorate from the Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He is married to Ivy. Up to the time of his election, Ng served as the secretariat liaison between the General Conference and three world divisions: Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD), Southern Asia Division(SUD), and Trans-European Division (TED).
Robert E. Lemon, world church treasurer since 2002, was reelected to another term in that office. He has held various finance-related positions in the church for some 40 years. From 1995 to 1998 he worked as associate world church treasurer, and from 1998 to 2002 he was undertreasurer. Lemon spent more than 10 years of his career in Africa, first in Zaire, and later the Ivory Coast.
Lemon commented that the goal of the treasury church work is to change offerings into “the eternal currency of heaven, to change cash for souls.”