Delegates of the Lake Region Conference re-elected R. Clifford Jones as president and Yvonne Collins as treasurer, while voting Garth Gabriel to serve as its executive secretary.
The 28th Quadrennial Session held at Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University on Sunday, May 20, officially opened at 10:10 a.m. with 631 registered delegates, for the expressed purpose of electing officers, departmental directors and governing committees; voting on amendments to the constitution and bylaws, as well as hearing reports of the conference’s work over the last four years.
After Jones presented his president’s report outlining various achievements over the last quadrennial, he was re-elected by a wide margin. He said that continuing under the banner of “Christ Alone,” he plans to focus on these five areas: Revival and Reformation, Evangelism, Adventist Education, Stewardship Education and Camp Wagner.
In the secretary’s report, Timothy Nixon highlighted several accomplishments, including 1,746 baptisms between 2014-2017, along with last year’s successful Leadership Summit organized with the intent of motivating and equipping church leaders for greater service. Following a robust discussion period, Detroit’s Conant Gardens Church pastor, Garth Gabriel, was elected to serve as the new executive secretary. “I have approached everything in my life as an opportunity to minister,” Gabriel later said. “So, if I can minister in this role, I will be thrilled.” He further indicated that he plans to learn his new role by prayerfully seeking heavenly wisdom and “asking lots of questions.”
Chief financial officer Yvonne Collins emphasized in her financial report the clean year-after-year audits, and steady annual tithe flow of $10–$11 million. However, she issued a cautionary note about the future due to a ten percent decrease in giving last year. After her re-election, Collins said she is privileged to have a supportive team and thanked the delegates for placing their trust in God’s ability to use her for another term. “I prayed, and I know the Holy Spirit will lead,” she said.
Before his re-election as vice president of Multicultural Ministry, Eduardo Allen detailed in his report the rapid expansion of immigrant and refugee groups throughout the Lake Region. There were 642 baptisms in multicultural churches, representing 37 percent of the total number of Lake Region baptisms. In spite of the encouraging growth, Allen said, “There is a lot of unfinished work. I plan to invest more in evangelism and church growth. We have many communities where little is being done to share the Gospel. That must change.”
Another topic of great concern centered on Adventist education. Despite a few bright spots, such as the Gary Mitzpah School launching a 9th grade class last year, enrollment continues to decline and delegates wrestled to decide the best path forward. In a close vote, they elected Helen Bryant as the new superintendent to oversee the eight LRC schools. Bryant, who replaces Renee Humphreys, is an educator with 32 years of teaching and leadership experience in the Detroit public schools, as well as a record of strong advocacy for Adventist Christian education. “I am humbled,” said Bryant. Acknowledging the momentous task before her, she maintained, “I know with God’s leading and being in the center of His will, we will be successful. Collaboratively, we will move forward.”
Other business conducted at the session included the following:
Three new churches were received into fellowship: Abbotsford, Wis.; Round Lake Hispanic, Ill.; and Westside Ministries, Ind.
An amendment to the constitution was voted to accommodate a smoother transition of personnel. The new bylaw reads: “All officers and directors may be extended a 14-day transition period for their orientation and briefing by the former officers and directors. When deemed necessary, the transition period may be extended to 30 days.”
About the Lake Region Conference: LRC, the first regional conference, was organized in 1945 and currently represents 31,000 members in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis/St. Paul in Minnesota.
Listed below are the executive committee members and departmental directors to serve during the 2018-2022 quadrennial term:
LRC Department Directors
Leon Bryant, Sr Adult Ministry Director
Pamela Daly Children's Ministry Director
Debra Davis-MoodyAdventist Community Service Director
Joseph & Deirdre Garnett Family Life Directors
Doris Gothard Women's Ministry Director
Michael Horton Ministerial Director
Cory Jackson Urban/Inner City Ministry Director
Dolby Knott Prison Ministry Director
William Lee Men's Ministry Director
Jason North Youth & Young Adult Ministry Director
Christina Wells Health & Wellness Ministry Director
Edward Woods Ill Public Affairs & Religious Liberty Director
Deborah YoungAdventist Laymen Services Ministry Director
Paul Young Communications Director
LRC Executive Committee Members