Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sabbath, July 4

A lot has happened since I wrote my first day post. Initial impressions? Amazing that despite as many as 65,000 attendees, the SDA world is very small, particularly if you've worked for the church for a while.

As I was boarding my flight out of Nashville, I saw Debra Jones and her grandaughter getting on the same flight, another friend from Madison Campus who's name I can't remember, and even as I stepped inside the airport, I immediately almost literally bumped into Giselle Kroll and her daughter who were preparing to fly to San Antonio.

And as I parked in the public garage across from the Convention Center in San Antonio upon my arrival?  I hear someone, in the garage, calling my name!  Greg Gerard, principal at GCA. Within minutes, walking the crowded hallways of the Convention Center, I began seeing people I've known over the years, and even some from our own beloved Kentucky-Tenn!

Pastor Mel and Juliet Santos are here. As are Fred Calkins, Dennis and Dorothy Altrogge, and our pastoral delegate, Lloyd and Sheila Schomburg. I have visited the massive convention center once, so far, and here are a few pictures of some of the booths, probably several hundred presenters/booths? A few pictures follow . . .

Colorful Menau Booth

Adra has a large "market place" look to their booth
The Union College rep and behind her a big table with "legos" for future 'some-day' students to enjoy!
A sizable 'theater' within the convention hall for preaching/presentations on behalf of World Mission

 A "replica" of the Wittenburg, Germany Church door and the 95 theses
The news from Friday was the re-election of Elder Ted Wilson as GC President, probably by around a 80 to 85% majority vote? Juan Prestol , former Undertreasurer of the GC, was elected GC Treasurer replacing Bob Lemon who retired, and G. T. Ng  (pronounced "ing") was re-elected as Secretary of the GC.  Speaking of voting?  The electronic voting devices failed to work for the 2nd day in a row, and all of the above voting had to be done by raising a voting card once again.

AT least one delegate challenged the nomination of Elder Wilson asking for the nominating committee to re-consider due to the failure of the voting process to honor the privacy of delegate voting as would have been possible with the electronic devices.  Without them working properly, one wonders what else could have been done?

A number of important items are slated for the business session starting tomorrow thru next week. New proposed language on sexual misconduct/church discipline issues, and, of course, the "big" Women's Ordination debate/vote slated for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the worships both last night and today were, as always the case at GC, outstanding! Mark Finely preached last night, a powerful sermon on continuing to prioritize evangelism, and, the sermon itself ended with a number of baptisms, the result of recent public meetings here in San Antonio. Today's worship was highlighted by Elder Ng who gave another powerful sermon on the "special" calling and work of Adventism, as identified in Daniel/REvelation and ended his stirring appeal with
data on how "big" the church has grown since 1863.

The music today was incredible! A choir from Montemorelos University, another choir from Washington Adventist University, and a full orchestra from throughout the NAD; the singing ended
with the hallelujah chorus, "We Have this Hope," and "Lift up the Trumpet" -  a "goose bump" experience in an auditorium with 50,000 people perhaps in attendance and singing?  Amazing.

A few more pics from today's worship:

Directly behind me, Elder Ralph Watts Jr., and his wife, President of Hawaii Conference, and to his left, Pastor Dwight Nelson, with his wife.

On the delegate floor for worship, beside me Pastor Lloyd and Shelia Schomburg, and to their left, Elder Steve Rose and his wife Doreen.

A little fuzzy, but from Elder Ng's sermon, "I don't search google, My wife knows everything" His point was "what are we SDA's supposed to know and share?"  He preaches with great humor; much appreciated by most!
Another fuzzy pic, but at the bottom, below the railing, is the orchestra, and above them, both the Montemorelos and WAU Choirs.

Pastor Dennis and Dorothy Altrogge got to the lunch line quick after Worship! With probably 10,000 people getting ready to eat, they were wise to get there in haste.

You can't see this well, and I didn't catch her name, but in the Missions report/Sabbath School today, Elder Kraus of GC Missions, told the story of this woman, now around 95, from Australia, who, when she was around 20 years old, went with her husband to the Solomon Islands as Missionaries, braved incredible adventure and dangers, and with no SDA presence on the Islands. Recently, she returned to the Solomons to see 1,000s of SDA's, the result of the humble efforts of her and her husband investing their lives there so many years ago.  A very moving tribute!

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