Annual Board of Directors Meeting

The General Conference’s board of directors held its annual winter meeting in Dallas, Texas, February 18-21. Board members are Dennis O’Banion (chairman), Kirk Grant (vice-chairman), Wayne Hrenyk (secretary), Greg Lincoln (treasurer), Ruben Beard, Narciso Betances, Ron Cummings, Tim Endecott, Daniel Flores Jr., Neftali Hernandez, Raul Romo, and Reuben Zaragoza.

General Conference President Loren Stacy and Executive Director Jody McCoy also attended the entirety of this meeting. Accountant Dawn Wayman and Communications Director Jamin Teran attended portions of the meeting to make presentations to the board.

Our board of directors wields all of the authority of the membership when the membership itself is not gathered to conduct the business of our church, with one exception: The board may not amend the General Conference bylaws. During its annual winter meeting, the board receives reports, requests, and recommendations from the president and the staff he leads. It also considers the state of the General Conference as a whole and evaluates the president’s performance during the previous year. The president is accountable to the board for everything that takes place in the districts, GC Ministries, and departments. The membership delegates responsibility and authority to the board of directors, and the board delegates responsibility and authority to the president and directs him by means of board policies. Additionally, the board perfects and adopts a budget for the GC and its Ministries for the upcoming fiscal year (April 1 – March 31).

In even-numbered years, the board also considers the president’s appointments of Ministries directors and district superintendents. During its February meeting, the board confirmed the appointments of Makayla Ross and Loren Gjesdal as co-directors of Artios Christian College, Keith Michalak and Jason Overman as co-directors of Publications, and Bryan Cleeton as director of Missions Ministries. It also approved all of the current district superintendents: Orville Rose (Western Canada), Larry Zaragoza (West Coast), Ronald Rousseau (Central), Chip Hinds (Southwest), Aubrey (Bill) Williams (Eastern Canada), Heber Vega (Northeast), and Steve Krome (Southeast).

Board of directors meetings always include daily time for prayer and the ministry of the Word of God. With God’s guidance and blessings, 2024 is bound to be another good year.

— Loren Stacy

GC President

Robert Coulter Visits Board

A highlight of this February’s meeting of the GC board of directors was a visit by former board chairman and president of the General Conference, Robert Coulter. Now 93 years old, Elder Coulter briefly met with the board during the final minutes of its Sunday session. Current GC President Loren Stacy led the board in prayer, thanking God for Elder Coulter’s long life and service to our church.

Elder Coulter and his son, William, then accompanied most of the board meeting participants to a cordial dinner at a nearby restaurant. Though using a walker to help him get around, Elder Coulter remains mentally sharp and interested in the General Conference’s progress.

License and Credentials Committee

This year the License and Credentials Committee met in Houston, Texas. With two members of the committee living in Texas and the board meeting in Texas the following week, this arrangement worked well.

We talked to ten candidates, some of whom were looking for ministerial recognition and others who were seeking elevation.

The L&C Committee has a great responsibility in deciding who is ready, or not, for the level of ministry they are applying for. On one hand, some decisions are difficult. On the other hand, the committee enjoys hearing the enthusiasm and love of the Lord expressed by these applicants.

The fellowship of working with the guys on the committee is such a privilege and joy. These meetings take a lot of prayer and, in some ways, endurance. We trust God for wisdom, insight, and strength.

While we would love to give a ministerial document to every man who comes to us, to do so when a person is not qualified or ready would be harmful to all involved, including the candidate. A bad experience at the beginning of a ministerial tenure is not good for a person wanting to be in the ministry. It could discourage him to the point that he may never recover and may discontinue the ministry. Having someone too inexperienced in the pulpit or the parsonage can badly damage, or even destroy, a local church.

It is important for the ministry candidate to realize that a setback now, like not getting a ministerial document, can make for a wonderful, fruitful, and fulfilling ministry in the future — if he takes it the right way.

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest”
(Matthew 9:37, 38, ESV).

— Steven Kyner

Chairman

Celebrating Marriage

The marriage retreat organized by Jorge and Brenda Martinez, with the participation of the Las Vegas church, attracted more than 60 couples from four states: California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The event took place January 12-14 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and turned out to be a blessing-filled experience.

During the retreat, the couples enjoyed moments of fellowship and communion. They also participated in workshops and heard inspiring testimonies. The workshops, led by Daniel and Kerenha Flores, were especially edifying for the couples. They left the event with a deep desire to place Christ Jesus at the center of their married lives.

The experience left all participants with a sense of joy and renewed determination. Many expressed interest in returning next year to continue strengthening their marriages.

Growth in Eugene

God’s church is growing, and the Eugene church is experiencing growth as well! New families and individuals are joining us in Sabbath worship and Bible study. Children and babies are being raised to be godly men and women. And sons and daughters are returning to their faith in Christ.

On Sabbath, February 24, we had the privilege of celebrating together in the baptism of Robert Watkins. Robert was baptized as a young person, served the Lord awhile, and then followed his own path for many years. We praise the Lord with his family that Robert has rededicated his life to Christ and wanted to be baptized again to confirm his rededication.

We are blessed to have Robert and his family fellowshipping here in Eugene. May the Lord bless him as he lives for Christ: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, NKJV).

Welcoming Churches.

On January 20, more than 200 brethren gathered at New Hope church in San Antonio for a Welcoming Churches workshop, presented by Moises and Pete Capetillo of Albuquerque, NM. This workshop is one of three General Conference Initiatives. We are thankful to Pastor Michael Mancha and his congregation for organizing this event. It brought the Area 1 churches together to honor God, worship His holy name, and learn about becoming the kind of church God wants us to be. The entire Sabbath was Spirit filled and enriched with strong, sweet fellowship. It’s easy to book a Welcoming Churches workshop at your local church. See page 7 for more information.

Celebration.

The Central church in El Paso celebrated its 27th anniversary on December 30, 2023. The members thank God for all the time He has been by their side and for allowing them to continue worshipping in their building. The congregation also celebrated their brothers and sisters over the age of 65, concluding with a celebratory dinner hosted in their honor. It was a blessed night of fellowship!

Baptisms.

Fellow “newborn” brethren in the El Paso church were baptized January 6: Francisco Sandoval, Abel Hernandez, Mary Anne Pinon, and Luis Meras. They all said goodbye to the old man and hello to their new creation in Christ. The congregation was truly blessed to witness these baptisms and is incredibly happy to see them join the body of Christ.

Declutter Your Heart

“Declutter Your Heart” was the 2024 theme for the women’s groups in our district. Wanting to serve in Spirit and truth makes us search our hearts to rid them of clutter. Many groups had their services planned through March.

It is awesome to see each group’s impression on how the theme should be presented. Ladies from these congregations have participated or will participate: Saginaw, Owosso, and Fort Wayne-Bowser, Michigan; Ossining, New York; Lanham, Maryland; Fort Wayne-Lafayette; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and United CoG7.