13 October 2019 | Thursday evening (10 October) the Annual Council of the executive committee of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination’s General Conference (GC) began at the GC headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC. This is the governing body of the denomination and consists of about 300 people, most of them denominational executives from around the world.
Friday was devoted to an in-service education event for denominational executives and staff. Friday night and Saturday, the group (many with spouses along) celebrated the Sabbath together, as did Adventists everywhere. Today the business meetings started that will last through Wednesday (16 October).
There are a total of 97 items on the agenda, plus some rumors about a few additional items that may come up unannounced. Nearly half the items are on the General Agenda, one or two of which are of major importance, but most consist of various reports, constituency sessions for subsidiary organizations such as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and even a reminder of the denomination’s mission statement.
There are eight items on the Constitution and Bylaws Agenda. These are proposed amendments to the fundamental legal documents of the denomination. Most simply change a small portion of language here and there.
The Policy Agenda has 34 items. These are proposed amendments and additions to the General Conference Working Policy, the volume that runs about 800 pages and directs how the denomination is to operate in all its various organizations and institutions.
The Nominating Committee Agenda has only one vacancy to fill. It is an associate director position in the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) Department. Additional vacancies may surface during the meeting, of course.
The Consent Agenda has 11 items. This is a set of proposals that are adopted simply by no member’s objecting to any of them and thus triggering discussion. Most of these are calendars of major meetings and special days scheduled for the next three or four years. It includes all of the offerings that are taken in all churches around the world.
Dr. Loren Seibold, the executive editor of Adventist Today, is covering the meeting and has already started to post quick bulletins on our Facebook page. He will write a daily overview to be posted here on our website.