Beginning on August 29, the Office for Regional Conference Ministries sponsored a series of 5 roundtables on 5 Sabbaths, at 5:00 p.m., Eastern. The series was called “5 At 5”. The intent of this series was to follow-up on the issues raised during the Regional Conference Convocation, July 8-11.
The ultimate goal is for this continuing dialog to lead to policy proposals on issues affecting the work among people of color in the United States in areas such as Evangelism, Education and the more efficient use of people and financial resources. These policy proposals will be discussed and recommendations made to the nine Regional Conferences, the churches on the west Coast and on the island of Bermuda at the Regional Conference Summit, March 5-7, in Dallas, Texas
The hope is to have an in-person summit, but if Covid 19 renders that hope impractical, the plan is for the summit to be done virtually.
The first two roundtables were Part II of discussions that began at the Regional Conference Convocation. The first was on Seventh-day Adventist Education, led by Dr. Leslie N. Pollard, President, Oakwood University. He led his panel of educational administrators, church school principals, philanthropists and recent Oakwood University graduates in a discussion on the present and future of Adventist Education-with a particular emphasis on education at the K-16 level. Some of the topics included how to make Christian Education more affordable to our constituents, making Pine Forge a nationally subsidized entity (like Oakwood University), etc.
The following week, the Regional Presidents took center stage. Tri-hosted by Office for Regional Conference Ministries Executive Director, Elder Dana C. Edmond, South Central Conference Treasurer, Mrs. Sonja M. Crayton and Howard University doctoral student, Ms. Rebekah Jackson, the Presidents Council took on candid questions such as Presidential succession planning, administrative support for innovative ministry, whether or not Regional Conferences should pull away from the current organizational structure and form their own organization, among other questions.
Following the Regional Presidents to the roundtable was a millennial group known as “NextGen”. Formed as an advisory group to the ORCM in order to get some younger voices at the Regional leadership table and also to expose a younger set of leaders to leadership, the NextGen Caucus Roundtable talked about things such as how to get younger people more involved in the selection of church leaders, their view of things such as tithing, post-Covid 19 ministry and other issues. Elder Jermaine Jackson, Vice President for Finance for Allegheny West and the NextGen Caucus Co-Chair, moderated a lively discussion.
The fourth “5 At 5” roundtable was led by Mrs. Yvonne Collins, Treasurer, Lake Region Conference and also the Chair of the Regional Treasurer’s Caucus. Mrs. Collins guided the discussion, which addressed such things as where do the tithe dollars go and how mission is funded.
After a one week hiatus for the Justice and Conscience Convention, the “5 At 5” series concludes this Sabbath with the Regional Conference Secretaries. Elder Edmond and Ms. Jackson will co-host, as the second officers of the Regional Conferences lead a discussion into their duties.
ORCM looks forward to continuing to host and sponsor this continuing dialog on the relevant issues facing Regional Conferences with our constituents.