59th General Conference Session of Seventh-day Adventists

International

70,000 Visitors Expected at 2010 Adventist World Synod in Atlanta, Georgia, USA uparrowprint printable versionemail mail article to

Atlanta, Georgia/USA, 18.06.2010 / APD

The world synod of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, being held June 23-July 3, will bring additional international flavor to the already diverse city of Atlanta, Georgia, business meeting planners said.

"Atlanta is well known for its rich cultural diversity, heritage, and Southern hospitality throughout the USA," said Sheri Clemmer, associate session meeting planner for the Adventist Church. "Atlanta has a long history of hosting national religious organizations and gatherings, " Clemmer said.

This session gathering will be representative of the more than 25 million Adventist families from around the globe, with the theme of "proclaiming God’s grace."

"Grace is a powerful, living force; it changes and animates us," said Adventist world church President Jan Paulsen (75). "When God’s grace reaches into our lives – and into the life of our church – it’s impossible to go on with business as usual. It opens our eyes to needs around us; it compels us to go into our communities. By focusing on this theme, we’re acknowledging that the experience of grace is absolutely central in the life of each believer, and we’re asking: 'How can we as Seventh-day Adventists reflect more clearly its depth, breadth, and transforming power? "'

The Session, scheduled for June 23 to July 3, is primarily a business meeting for the global Adventist Church. Denominational leaders are elected, church business is attended to, and policy decisions are made. Because the core "business" of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that challenge will permeate activities at the Atlanta 2010 convocation, Paulsen said.

"Unlike previous sessions, this coming session in Atlanta will be known for its creative use of technology and its strong presence in the media," said Rajmund Dabrowski, director of Communication for the Adventist Church headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland/USA.

"We want the Atlanta community to feel and know that the Seventh-day Adventists are in town, and we are hoping this session will break all records for attendance," Dabrowski added.

Organized by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the administrative body of the world church, the quinquennial world synod will be the 59th for the denomination since 1863.

The Atlanta convocation marks just the second time Adventists have held a worldwide gathering in the United States in 20 years. Daily attendance at the event is expected to average more than 35,000 people; on the two weekends, more than 70,000 are expected to attend. According to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau the direct economic impact of this top convention for the city is estimated at US$80,930,000.

Some 2,400 voting delegates from all over the world will gather at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta to participate in meetings that will determine many of the church’s administrative actions for the next half decade. They will receive reports on the church’s growth in those parts of the world where the Christian message is reaching the unreached, and have the opportunity to meet fellow believers and church workers from other world regions.

Hundreds of personnel will assist Session managers George Egwakhe and Sheri Clemmer in staging the event. Staff and volunteers from the world church headquarters and the 13 world divisions including leaders from its North American region will be working with the Georgia Dome and Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, to handle the logistics involved in bringing delegates and visitors to the event, as well as housing and feeding them. As during previous events, Session participants will eat at what might be the largest vegetarian restaurant in operation.

Participants of such world convocations have often favored the international evening programs, which feature reports from all over the world. These reports will be translated into 15 different languages, as well as American Sign Language for the hearing impaired.

Other special events associated with the World Synod will aim at creating a global awareness and sensitivity to the world community, which is a part of the Adventist mission to the world. In the exhibitor hall, church departments and entities will host booths and interactive displays. Exhibitors include the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Women’s Ministries, Adventist colleges and universities from around the world and many more.

Organizers are planning to use the media to bring the Atlanta 2010 event to viewers of Hope Channel (www.hopetv.org) and listeners of the Atlanta 2010 Today podcast, as well as other Web-based media. Regular reports will be available to Session delegates and church members around the world through the church’s weekly magazine, Adventist Review, and the worldwide press coverage of the Adventist News Network (ANN). For the secular print media in Europe special press coverage will be made by the church-owned Adventist Press Service (APD) with its editorial offices in Basel (Switzerland) and Ostfildern (near Stuttgart/Germany).

The meetings are open to the general public. More information can be found at www.gcsession.org.

About the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Around the world, the Adventist Church is among the fastest- growing denominations today. Adventists are present in 204 of the 232 countries and areas recognized by the United Nations, and communicate in more than 880 languages through print and audio ministries. Adventists operate one of the largest Protestant educational networks in the world, with 7,500 elementary through university-level schools worldwide, and nearly 1.6 million students enrolled. Of those, 107 are colleges and universities.

About the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Atlanta
There are 217 Seventh-day Adventist churches in Georgia which includes 11 congregations in the city of Atlanta. The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates 34 educational institutions in Georgia which includes three in the city of Atlanta. Also, the Church operates two medical facilities in Georgia. [Editors: George Johnson Jr., and Christian B. Schäffler for APD]

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Countdown to Atlanta: How are Adventist church leaders elected?
Voting process at church uparrowprint printable versionemail mail article to

Silver Spring, Maryland/USA, 18.06.2010 / ANN/APD

For many Seventh-day Adventists who make the trek to General Conference Session every five years, it's a long-anticipated chance to celebrate the church's culture and values on a global scale. But for thousands of delegates, it's also a voting marathon.

This summer in Atlanta, Georgia, those delegates will consider upcoming agenda items during the 11-day international business meeting from June 23-July 3, including the election of top church leadership.

They'll accept reports from world church leaders and the church's 13 world regions, approve new church administrative bodies, elect officers and departmental directors, propose amendments to the church's constitution, bylaws and manual and consider any number of miscellaneous items added to session agenda by the church's Executive Committee.

While all 2,410 delegates vote on Session agenda items, only a select number actually nominate church officers.

During their first day in Atlanta, delegates from each of the church's 13 regions will meet and appoint a prescribed number of their members -- typically around 235 total -- to the Nominating Committee, according to guidelines set by the church's Working Policy.

Delegates vote at the General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri in 2005. [ANN file photo]

Those selected as Nominating Committee members then convene to recommend candidates for various offices and departments at world church headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland (near Washington DC).

Any candidate the Nominating Committee chooses is immediately presented to the full body of delegates, where a majority vote determines if the nominee is elected. If he or she isn't, the Nominating Committee reconvenes to recommend someone else.

The church's highest positions -- those of world church president, secretary and treasurer -- are the first nominations. Presidents of the church's world regions are nominated next, the Working Policy states.

While Nominating Committee members are free to recommend reelection for incumbents, they can also suggest another candidate. While the process is less straightforward than say, national elections, church leaders said it's designed to discourage campaigning in the run-up to Session by narrowing the time between nomination and voting.

The church's Constitution doesn't specifically dictate delegate make-up, but it's "expected and assumed" that delegates include both genders, as well as a broad range of age groups and nationalities, said Larry Evans, world church undersecretary.

The 300 members of the church's Executive Committee, which include representatives from each of its 13 regions, are automatically considered Session delegates. The remaining 2,000 and some delegates are selected proportionally as outlined in the church's Constitution. Consideration is given to factors such as church membership and the number and size of administrative entities and regional institutions in a given church region. Minimum quotas are also in place to ensure that laypeople and other non-administrative employees are among the delegates.

While it's impossible to eliminate what he calls the "human element" of the nomination and voting process, Lowell Cooper, a world church vice president, said the process is not skewed toward self-advancement.

"It's not so much the person looking for the job, so much as the job looking for the person," making the notion of campaigning immaterial, Cooper said.

Even if a potential nominee were to try to influence votes in his or her favor, Evans said it's nearly impossible to determine a delegate's vote on all issues, given the volume of agenda items considered during Session.

"Because so many things are voted on at Session, there is no feasible way of predicting each vote, or stuffing the [ballot box]," Evans said.

Delegates are given a prepared agenda of voting items, called recommendations, at session. These items are approved ahead of time by the church's Executive Committee, a process outlined in the church's Constitution and designed to give church leaders time to study the implications of any given item well before it's voted on, Evans said. While individual delegates can still "technically" add or subtract agenda items, such new proposals are generally referred to a steering committee for future consideration, he said.

"Since each change takes a substantial amount of consideration before it's voted on, it's not likely the agenda will change at Session itself," he said.

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Adventist World Session 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia: 70,000 Seventh-day Adventist Visitors Expected uparrowprint printable versionemail mail article to

Silver Spring, Maryland/USA, 18.06.2010 / GC/NAD/APD

The world session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will bring additional international flavor to the already diverse city of Atlanta, Georgia, business meeting planners said.

“Atlanta is well known for its rich cultural diversity, heritage, and Southern hospitality throughout the USA,” said Sheri Clemmer, associate session meeting planner for the Adventist Church. “Atlanta has a long history of hosting national religious organizations and gatherings,” Clemmer said.

This session gathering will be representative of the more than 30 million Adventist families from around the globe, with the theme of “proclaiming God’s grace.”

“Grace is a powerful, living force; it changes and animates us,” said world church President Jan Paulsen. “When God’s grace reaches into our lives – and into the life of our church – it’s impossible to go on with business as usual. It opens our eyes to needs around us; it compels us to go into our communities. By focusing on this theme, we’re acknowledging that the experience of grace is absolutely central in the life of each believer, and we’re asking: ‘How can we as Seventh-day Adventists reflect more clearly its depth, breadth, and transforming power?’”

The Session, scheduled for June 23 to July 3, is primarily a business meeting for the global Adventist Church. Denominational leaders are elected, church business is attended to, and policy decisions are made. Because the core “business” of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that challenge will permeate activities at the Atlanta 2010 convocation, Paulsen said.

“Unlike previous sessions, this coming session in Atlanta will be known for its creative use of technology and its strong presence in the media,” said Rajmund Dabrowski, director of Communication for the Adventist Church.

“We want the Atlanta community to feel and know that the Seventh-day Adventists are in town, and we are hoping this session will break all records for attendance,” Dabrowski added.

Organized by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the administrative body of the world church, the quinquennial world session will be the 59th for the denomination since 1863.

The Atlanta convocation marks just the second time Adventists have held a worldwide gathering in the United States in 20 years. Daily attendance at the event is expected to average more than 35,000 people; on the two weekends, more than 70,000 are expected to attend.

Some 2,400 voting delegates from all over the world will gather at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta to participate in meetings that will determine many of the church’s administrative actions for the next half decade. They will receive reports on the church’s growth in those parts of the world where the Christian message is reaching the unreached, and have the opportunity to meet fellow believers and church workers from other world regions.

Hundreds of personnel will assist Session managers George Egwakhe and Sheri Clemmer in staging the event. The world church will be working with leaders from its North American region as well as the Georgia Dome and Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, to handle the logistics involved in bringing delegates and visitors to the event, as well as housing and feeding them. As during previous events, Session participants will eat at what might be the largest vegetarian restaurant in operation.

Participants of such world convocations have often favored the international evening programs, which feature reports from all over the world. These reports will be translated into 15 different languages, as well as American Sign Language for the hearing impaired.

Other special events associated with the Session will aim at creating a global awareness and sensitivity to the world community, which is a part of the Adventist mission to the world. In the exhibitor hall, church departments and entities will host booths and interactive displays. Exhibitors include the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Women’s Ministries, Adventist colleges and universities from around the world and many more.

Organizers are planning to use the media to bring the Atlanta 2010 event to viewers of Hope Channel (www.hopetv.org) and listeners of the Atlanta 2010 Today podcast, as well as other Web-based media. Regular reports will be available to Session delegates and church members around the world through the church’s weekly magazine, Adventist Review, and the worldwide press coverage of the Adventist News Network.

The meetings are open to the general public. More information can be found at www.gcsession.org.

Around the world, the Adventist Church is among the fastest- growing denominations today. Adventists are present in 204 of the 232 countries and areas recognized by the United Nations, and communicate in more than 880 languages through print and audio ministries. Adventists operate one of the largest Protestant educational networks in the world, with 7,500 elementary through university-level schools worldwide, and nearly 1.6 million students enrolled. Of those, 107 are colleges and universities.

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Critically acclaimed documentary film «The ADVENTISTS» to show at World Session uparrowprint printable versionemail mail article to

Silver Spring, Maryland/USA, 18.06.2010 / APD

The ADVENTISTS, the new one-hour documentary film now airing on PBS stations, will have a special showing at the General Conference Session of Seventh-day Adventists on June 30th at 4 pm in the Georgia Dome.

“The film has broken new ground by taking the Adventist story - and particularly the Church’s emphasis on health and healing – to mainstream America,” says Fred Kinsey, who directs communications for the North America Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “This special presentation at the General Conference Session will be an opportunity for the worldwide Church to see what all the excitement is about. The fact the film is made by a non-Adventist makes it even more unique.” Kinsey and filmmaker Martin Doblmeier will discuss the film before its presentation.

The Adventists – now a best-selling DVD on Amazon for documentary/religion, explores the history and contemporary story of the American-born faith whose members are some of the healthiest and longest-living people on the planet – living on average 8-10 years longer than most Americans. Formed in the mid-19th Century, Seventh-day Adventists are by their own description a conservative religion that holds as a central tenet that Jesus Christ is returning again, soon. At the same time Adventists are pioneers in medical technology and health care exploration. For them, waiting for the Second Coming is not a time for fear, but for preparation and hope.

Filmed on location at hospitals and health care facilities in Florida, Ohio and California, the film also contains a re-enactment of the 1844 event called The Great Disappointment which gave birth to Adventism, and a profile of the charismatic figure, John Harvey Kellogg whose Battle Creek (MI) Sanitarium set the standard for progressive health care in the early 20th century.

“This winter and spring I had the privilege of traveling to a number of leading Adventist churches and colleges to present the film and speak to its core themes,” says filmmaker Martin Doblmeier, who has directed more than 20 award-winning films on religion and faith, including the best-sellers BONHOEFFER and The POWER of FORGIVENESS. “At a time when our country is deeply divided over the health care debate, this film reframes the issues beyond economics by raising the notion that the body is “the temple of God,” and hospital and health care work is “sacred work.” In many ways, the Adventist approach is revolutionary - yet at the same time solidly based in Scriptures.”

The ADVENTISTS is a produced in high definition by Journey Films of Alexandria, VA. It is written and directed by Martin Doblmeier, produced by Dan Juday and edited by Gayle Añonuevo.

For more information visit: www.journeyfilms.com

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Adventist Press Service (APD)
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Herbert Bodenmann (verantwortlich), Journalist SFJ
Christian B. Schäffler, Journalist BR/SFJ
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