New Presidents Elected in North American, East-Central Africa, and Euro-Asia Divisions
Beardsley heads G.C. Education; Olivers to G.C. Family Ministries
By Mark A. Kellner, News Editor
Delegates to the fifty-ninth General Conference session June 27 elected three new executives to head regions of the 17-million member world church.
Dan Jackson, 61, is the new president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. He replaces Don Schneider, who has served as president since 2000.
Elected as the new president of the East-Central Africa Division (ECD), a region that encompasses 10 nations and 2.5 million members from Eritrea in the north to Tanzania in the south, was Blasious Ruguri. He was formerly the secretary of the ECD, and succeeds Geoffrey G. Mbwana, who was elected a world church general vice president.
The new leader of the Euro-Asia Division (ESD) is Guillermo E. Biaggi. Stretching over the 12 nations that replaced the former Soviet Union, the ESD ministers to more than 135,000 members. Biaggi, the former treasurer of the ESD, will follow Artur A. Stele, who was also elected a general vice president of the church.
The new NAD president reacted to his election: “God never calls us to do things we are capable of, and this thing is so much bigger than me. But He has called, and I accept this with the greatest humility and with extreme gratitude to Don Schneider,” Jackson said.
Jackson is a native Canadian and, with the exception of five years of service in the Southern Asia Division, has lived and ministered in Canada.
Separately, Lisa M. Beardsley, who holds a Master of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University, a doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a Master of Business Administration from Claremont Graduate University in California, has become the first woman to serve the Adventist Church as Education Director.
Willie and Elaine Oliver, who currently lead Family Ministries for the North American Division, will succeed Ron and Karen Flowers in running the program for the world church. He holds a doctorate in Family Sociology, and master’s degrees in Pastoral Counseling and Family Sociology. Elaine holds a graduate degree in Higher Education with concentrations in student development and counseling. She is associate vice president for Enrollment Management at Washington Adventist University and serves with Willie in ministry conducting marriage conferences, retreats, and relationship seminars.
Along with the appointments of Beardsley and Oliver, other departmental directors elected during the fifty-ninth General Conference session include:
Paul H. Douglas, Auditing Service; Linda Koh, Children’s Ministries; Williams Costa Jr., Communication; Allan R. Handysides, Health Ministries; Jerry Page, Ministerial Association (secretary); Thomas A. Kapusta, Planned Giving and Trust Services; John Graz, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty; Howard F. Faigao, Publishing; Jonathan Kuntaraf, Sabbath School and Personal Ministries; Erika F. Puni, Stewardship; Heather-Dawn Small, Women’s Ministries; Gilbert R. Cangy, Youth.
Page, Kapusta, and Cangy are new appointments to the world headquarters. Page was most recently president of the church’s Central California Conference; Kapusta was Trust Services director at Florida Hospital; and Cangy was Youth director in the South Pacific Division.