On Thursday, March 17, the Executive Committee of the Pacific Union Conference convened in Westlake Village, California, for the first quarterly meeting of 2022.
The Executive Committee members come from all across the union’s geography to help develop and direct the work of the church in the Pacific Southwest. The members include lay members and employees, and the membership of the committee demonstrates the great diversity of the Adventist Church in our region.
As president of the Pacific Union Conference, Elder Bradford Newton leads this committee, which is deeply focused on both the day-to-day work and the development of long-term strategies that will impact our future.
President Newton reported on his day-to-day administrative duties to support and serve the union. From publishing editorials in the Pacific Union Recorder to chairing, vice chairing, advising, and being a member of several boards from Pacific Union College to Adventist Health, he focuses on the future of our churches, schools, ministries, and healthcare.
The union welcomed new employees during the meeting: Joseph Cadiz, associate director for Souls West/Literature Ministries, and Lynal Ingham, associate director for Elementary Education.
Executive Secretary Sandy Roberts gave a statistical overview for year-end 2021. Some interesting facts presented include:
- Number of churches - 806
- Number of pastors - 707
- Membership: January 1 - 220,791 and December 31 - 218, 863
- Baptisms and professions of faith - 3,249
- Transfers into the Pacific Union - 3,488
- Transfers out of the Pacific Union - 3,788
- Nevada-Utah Conference had a net growth of 1.16%
Giving back to the community
Treasurer Stephen Mayer reported on the budget for the Pacific Union. One of the most exciting aspects of the presentation was the update on the Riverside property ground lease. This project is taking our underutilized land and partnering with a developer to provide 80 units of low-income housing in the city of Riverside. It has been about three years in development, with the closing of entitlements and funding just last month. Once built, 39 units will be available to help prevent homelessness and another 40 units will be available to qualified low-income individuals.
Making education accessibleVice President for Education Berit von Pohle presented on how the union is making education accessible and affordable to those who need it most. The Education Endowment funds various scholarships. Now that the applications are online, it has saved time and funds can be allocated quickly and efficiently.
There are five scholarships available, and 538 children were part of the $640,010 in scholarships given. The union is now working on transition scholarships. Here are the two current scholarships, along with the amounts given and number of students granted the scholarships:
- Freshman: $95,381/134 students
- Kindergarten: $218,449/761 students
Finally, two special scholarships were presented: The Native American Scholarship and the Teacher Scholarship.
The daylong meeting also included presentations from Vice President Leon Brown Sr., Pacific Union College, La Sierra University, and Hispanic Ministries.
Our union and its leaders are looking to the future and working together to see how to best serve the conferences, churches, and members as they live out our mission of love, serve, lead. Please continue to pray for our churches, schools, ministries, and institutions—and for the members of the Executive Committee as they engage in the important work of the Pacific Union.
By Yara Enamorado