Regional Conference Leaders, Breath of Life Speaker and City Officials Break Ground On New Ministry Complex
On Friday, April 19, the leadership of the 9 Regional Conferences, the 2 West Coast Union affiliates, the Speaker/Director of the Breath of Life Television Ministry and various Huntsville government leaders-led by Huntsville Mayor, Tommie Battles-broke ground on a 30,000 plus square feet facility that will house all of the ministries operated and/or subsidized by the Regional Conferences. North American Division President, Elder Daniel R. Jackson and Executive Secretary, Dr. G. Alexander Bryant were present and gave congratulatory remarks, along with Dr. Ronald C. Smith, President of the Southern Union. Also present and giving remarks was Alabama State Representative, Laura Hall.
Though the day was unseasonably cold and rainy, the bad weather did not dampen the good mood. The groundbreaking culminated nearly 18 months of planning. It will bring together the Office of Regional Conference Ministry, the Regional Conference Retirement Plan, Breath of Life Television Ministry, Message Magazine and The Regional Voice under one roof. Currently, these entities are scattered in three different locations and are paying rent that over the next 20 years would provide millions of dollars in rental income to others. With the construction of this building, that will change.
The KPS Group, which built the McKee Business Tech Building and other buildings on campus, as well as Phase II for Oakwood Academy and is currently building Phase III, along with the reconstruction of the building that is now First Church and the Oakwood University Church Family life Center, is the architect for the as yet unnamed Regional Conference ministry complex. A major donor is Mutual of America, which operates the Regional Conference Retirement Program. They are contributing nearly $500,000, including a major personal contribution from its Chief Operating Officer, John Greed.
Among the planned features of the building is the first African-American Adventist History Museum, along with a classroom that will be provided to Oakwood University with the intent that a course on Adventist African-American History be taught in that building.
Recognition of the vital partnership between the Regional Conferences-who annually contribute approximately 6 million dollars to the operation of Oakwood University-and the University, was demonstrated by Oakwood’s leasing the property on which the ministry complex will be built to the Regional Conferences for 99 years at one dollar per year.
Prior to the Regional Conference leadership, Breath of Life and the government official’s departure at the end of the groundbreaking program for the on-site tent that was thoughtfully arranged to shield the symbolic groundbreakers from the persistent cold drizzle and the wind, a powerful charge and prayer was given by the iconic Adventist statesman, Elder Charles E. Bradford, the former President of the North American Division-the highest ranking African-America official in the history of that division.
The building is scheduled to be completed in late fall of 2020. To God be the glory!