Office Re-openings: The first Regional Conference Office openings have taken place. South Atlantic Conference, headquartered in Decatur was the first to re-open, on May 26. The workers worked in split shifts in order to reduce the number of people in the office at any one time. Additionally, the staff donned masks and gloves when they were outside their individual office space.
The next to open was the Central States Conference, who re-opened on June 2. The Central States Conference is headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas. Central states is the smallest of the 9 Regional Conferences, and as such, has a smaller office staff-notwithstanding, strict safety measures were undertaken to protect the safety of the office staff and guests.
The Office of Regional Conference Ministry-headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama- is set to re-open on June 24. The office is being re-configured to address coronavirus concerns: 3 ionizers were purchased and installed, “sneeze guards” are being purchased and installed, masks, face shields and gloves have already been purchased and will be required when outside one’s office.
ORCM Fitbit Challenge: For the purposes of maintaining office camaraderie in these days of working from home and being apart-as well as to encourage fitness, the office engaged in a month-long Fitbit Challenge.
The office staff was divided in half and a report was given by team and by individual each week. Cash prices were awarded to highest individual totals and highest team totals. Team Lee, captained by ORCM/Regional Conference Retirement Chief Financial Officer, Mrs. Lee and her team literally “walked” away with the competition.
Altogether the 8 staff members walked a total of 3 million steps, or 1,500 miles during the month of May (the time of the contest)-or, approximately the distance between Huntsville and Salt Lake City.
ORCM Returns Funds to Conferences, 2 West Coast Unions: ORCM wanted to demonstrate its support for the financial challenges that all Seventh-day Adventist entities are facing as the result of the coronavirus pandemic. It reduced its 2020 budget approximately 10% and returned the savings to the Regional Conferences, the Pacific and North Pacific Unions in the form of an appropriation.
Regional Conference Convocation: The Regional Conferences, the Pacific Union and the North Pacific Union will be collaborating for a virtual convocation. The dates are July 8-11. There will be a nightly preaching service, followed by a one hour discussion on various issues that affect Regional Conferences and what is being done to find a collective strategy for those issues. This will culminate in a full program on Sabbath.
The nightly discussions are intended to lead to a Regional Conference Summit in the spring of 2021. Each conference will be asked to send representatives from their Conference Executive Committee to formulate specific proposals to take back to their respective conferences for approval. Details to follow.
Regional Presidents Discuss Response to George Floyd Tragedy: On Friday, June 5, the Regional Presidents Council were guests of Elder Calvin Watkins, President, Southwest Region Conference, on his weekly “Fireside Chat”. The Regional Presidents Council, which includes the 9 Regional Conference Presidents, the Vice Presidents for Regional Affairs of the Pacific Union and North Pacific Union, the President of Oakwood University and the Executive Director of the Office for Regional Conference Ministry, shared their response to the George Floyd tragedy and their plans for additional collective action. They also shared plans for a Regional Summit in the spring of 2021 where representatives of each Executive Committee and the administrators of the 9 Regional Conferences will meet together to formulate plans and a collective strategy for Regional Conferences going forward.