Reports, Elections, Preaching and Baptisms – July 3, 2015

This morning we heard a report from the General Conference Secretary, N.T. Ng, with a report of the size of the membership of various divisions, and the growth of the world church.

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This was followed by a report from the Director of the office of Statistical Report. Mr. Trim noted that our statistical membership records indicate that we have much lower rates of death than the general populace, and so significantly lower, that it is evident this is not from healthy living! The director of statistics shared with us that through research over 15 years, it is obvious that our membership records do not reflect an accurate accounting for when our members die. Recently the General Conference has implemented a new membership tracking system to more accurately reflect the actual membership in the world church. This will not show up yet with this session’s report, but show help in the future.

One item of note, was that our ratio of membership increase and membership decrease (baptisms and professions of faith compared to dis-fellowship, etc) is narrowing. We are “losing” members at a higher rate than in the past. The delegates expressed a great desire for us as a church to make a concentrated effort to do better in this going forward in the future.

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Just before lunch, the Nominating Committee brought in a recommendation (151-80) for the position of President of the General Conference. A delegate requested that the report be returned to the Nominating Committee. The delegate was invited to meet with the chair and secretary of the nominating committee. The concern was not at all related to the issue of women in ministry, but other matters that were appropriate to raise. After some consideration the original name was put before the session. A different delegate then requested the name be referred back again. This delegate was also invited to meet with the chair and secretary of the nominating committee. Again, after consideration the original names was put before the session. Then a delegate requested that the session vote on this by secret ballot, as the electronic voting devices seem to have some issues and it had been felt they were not recording all votes accurately, so were not being used. This request was declined, and all were instructed to use their voting cards for the vote. The General Conference in session elected Ted Wilson for another 5 year term. Some observed that in their opinion, this was the first time a name for president was presented to the delegates and there was a request (much less 2 requests) to refer the name back to the Nominating Committee.

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In the afternoon, Elder N.T. Ng was re-elected General Conference Executive Secretary and Juan Prestol was elected General Conference Treasurer.

Elder Jerry Page opened the evening meeting by leading the delegates and the thousands of guests in the Alamodome to pray for mission to the cities.

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Charles Huagabrooks and Christine Womman sang a moving duet, “Little is Much, When God is in It.” The words of this song have always appealed to my heart.
“In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! The voice of God is calling,
To the harvest calling you.

Refrain:
Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame;
There’s a crown, and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus name.

In the mad rush of the broad way,
In the hurry and the strife,
Tell of Jesus’ love and mercy,
Give to them the Word of Life.

Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem so small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.

When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
“Welcome home, My child—well done!”

Kelly Mower was at the piano.

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Then tonight, Pastor Mark Finley gave an impassioned sermon for mission and reaching the lost. He appealed to the delegates that we be united around mission and not just be here for debate.

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Charles and Christine closed with the song, “I Dreamed of a City Called Holy,” and “The Holy City.”

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This was followed by the congregation singing the last stanza and candidates entered a baptismal pool and were baptized!  One lady moved here to San Antonio knowing no one and having no family. She came in April to the free medical clinic and now has joined the Adventist family and now has family here in San Antonio!! Others were also baptized tonight, including a husband and wife who participated in a small group ministry, “Homes of Hope.”

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