The Office for Regional Conference Ministries (ORCM )is continuing its efforts to communicate with the constituencies of the Regional Conferences and their affiliates on the West Coast and in Bermuda about the vital importance and the ministries of the Regional Conferences of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
These efforts began with the Regional Conference Convocation in July of 2020, when the Regional Conferences and their affiliates combined for 4 days of virtual programming of inspiration and information. Each night there was a worship service that was preceded by a panel that addressed a specific issue relevant to ministry among people of color.
A number of issues were raised and ideas were shared in those panel discussions-things such as nationalizing subsidies for Pine Forge Academy so that more conferences other than Allegheny East would be involved in financially operating it. Another issue was a potential Regional Conference media network.
A commitment was made by ORCM to follow up on those issues and to attempt to bring closure to them in the Regional Conference Summit that had already been planned to take place March 5-7, 2021. The coronavirus pandemic made an in-person summit impossible but the work on addressing the issues that have been raised continues.
Additionally, there was such interest generated by the closing panel-the Regional Conference Presidents Council-with so many questions that could not fit into the designated 90 minute time frame, that the Regional Conference Presidents were asked to return as part of “5 At 5”-5 program on 5 consecutive weeks in the fall that featured the Regional Conference Presidents, the Regional Conference Secretaries, the Regional Conference Treasurers, the Regional Conference Next Gen Caucus and Regional Conference educators.
That was followed in the spring of 2021 with “This Is Our Story, Too”, a series of panel-orientated programs titled “Our History” (with retired former North American Vice President-NAD- Elder Alvin Kibble and Mrs. Ethel Bradford, wife of retired former NAD President, Elder Charles Bradford and the last surviving office worker from the early days of the South Atlantic Conference), “Our Sisters in Ministry” (featuring pioneer women of color in ministry-Dr. Ella Simons-first female General Conference Vice President, Mrs. Celeste Ryan Blyden, first African-American female to be a Union Vice President, Pastor Lisa Smith Reed-first female Pastor in a Regional Conference and Pastor Shawn Jackson Moss, first female Pastor in the history of the South Central Conference to be a lead Pastor), “Our Entities” (featuring Elder Orville Brissett, Pastor, Germantown SDA Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was standing in for Dr. Jessie L. Wilson, AssociateProfessor, School of Theology, Oakwood University and the Director of the Pastoral Leadership Evangelism Council, or, PELC, and Elder Patrick Graham, Chairman, Black Adventist Youth Directors Association , or BAYDA), “Our Media” (featuring Dr. Carlton P. Byrd, Senior Pastor, Oakwood University Church and the Speaker/Director for Breath of Life and Attorney Carmela Monk Crawford, Editor, Message Magazine) and lastly, “Our Academic Entities-Oakwood University and Pine Forge Academy (featuring Dr. Leslie N. Pollard, President, Oakwood University and H. Clifford Reynolds, Headmaster , Pine Forge Academy).
The intent is for these programs to lead into a regular monthly program about Regional Conferences called First Sabbath, which is set to debut in April.