President Calvin Watkins, Conference Executive Secretary, Stephen Brooks, Treasurer Philip G. Palmer and the vast majority of the departmental leadership were re-elected at the Southwest Region Conference Session that was held on September 21-22.
Approximately 700 delegates from across Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico assembled at the Keene SDA Church on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University.
The session begin Sabbath evening with delegate registration, music and a devotional message from Elder Dana C. Edmond, Executive Director, Office for Regional Conference Ministry. After the devotional, Secretary Brooks announced that the requisite quorum has been reached and President Watkins in his capacity as the Session Chair declared the session open.
After voting three new churches into the sisterhood of Southwest Region Conference churches and a few other items, the session recessed until the next morning, while the Nominating Committee resumed their deliberations.
At 9:00 a.m. the next morning the session resumed with a challenging and thought-provoking devotional message by Dr. Daniel Honore, President, Northeastern Conference. The morning session was mostly taken up by reports of what had transpired in the conference over the past four years from the three Administrative Officers, Elders Watkins, Brooks and Palmer. Their method of reporting was an interesting study in contrasting styles and personality. Especially interesting was the contrast between the speaking styles of Elder Watkins and Elder Palmer.
Each administrator gave their report via video where they were interviewed and asked about what had taken place in their various offices during their four year term. President Watkins supplemented his video with a verbal report. Sounding at times like the evangelist that he was for many years-and which he remains at heart-President Watkins reported on the blessings of the Lord to Southwest Region during the past four years: Substantially reduced debt, increased cash reserves, church growth, a 2 million dollar increase in the value of the campground property, etc. His passionate speech was well-received by the constituency, who responded with a standing ovation.
By contrast, the Treasurer, Philip Palmer, speaking third, delivered his financial report in his characteristic understated style. Speaking softly and briefly, the Treasurer highlighted the improved financial condition of the conference over the past four years and how in each of those years, the Conference received unmodified opinions or what are called “clean” audits by those responsible for auditing Southwest Region’s finances-the highest designation that can be given to a conference audit.
Reporting in the middle of Elder Watkins and Elder Palmer was the Conference Executive Secretary, Elder Stephen Brooks. He also spoke briefly and reported on-among other things-his training of the church clerks and the nationally recognized Justice and Conscience Conference in Houston Texas that his office had had a major role in planning and securing additional funding.
At the end of both Elder Brooks’ and Elder Palmer’s reports, Elder Watkins affirmed the leadership of both men and shared his appreciation for the working relationship of the Conference Administrative team.
After the administrative reports were given, it was time for the Nominating Committee report. The Nominating Committee’s first, partial report was its recommendation that each of the administrative officers, Elders Watkins, Brooks and Palmer be returned to their respective positions.
Southwest Region’s constitution requires that the vote on the three administrative officers be done by secret ballot. Elder Larry Moore, President of the Southwestern Union presided over the vote counting process, along with others from the union office. Though it took a while to hand count nearly 700 paper ballots that were cast for each position, before the delegates broke for lunch, they were informed that President Watkins, Executive Secretary Brooks and Treasurer Palmer had each been re-elected by large margins to second terms.
Each re-elected officer was then given the opportunity to address the delegates. Joined by their spouses, Mrs. Ruth Watkins, Mrs. Kennetia Brooks and Mrs. Ingrid Palmer, each officer thanked the constituents for the opportunity to serve again and their respective spouses for their sacrificial support during the past four years.
After lunch, the delegates returned for the afternoon session. Of the things that transpired in the afternoon session, the item of greatest general interest was the report of the Nominating Committee relative to the departmental leaders of Southwest Region. The Nominating Committee recommended and the delegates voted that virtually all of the incumbent departmental leaders be re-elected.
Below is a list of the departmental leadership of the Southwest Region Conference for the next four years:
Congratulations to President Watkins and his team for this affirmation of their leadership and may the Lord bless their ministry to Southwest Region these next four years.
Southwest Region Conference Constituency:
President: Calvin L. Watkins
Secretary: Stephen Brooks
Treasurer: Philip Palmer
Adventist Youth: Carl Ming (not picture)
Community Services: Durandel L. Ford
Church Ministries & Sabbath School: Charles Sanders
Diversity Ministries: Vanston Archbold, Jr.
Education: Buford Griffith, III
Family Ministries: W.S. Lee, Jr.
PARL: Kerwin Jones
Stewardship: Oswaldo Hernandez
Lay Advisory: Samuel Beale