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Columbia Union Officers Re-elected

Story by Celeste Ryan Blyden
Photos by David Hittle


(pictured left to right): executive secretary Neville Harcombe, president Dave Weigley and treasurer Seth Bardu, flanked by their wives Cindy, Becky and Theresa, were re-elected for the 2011-2016 term.

Last night delegates to the 26th Constituency Session of the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists unanimously voted to re-elect officers for the 2011-2016 session, including Dave Weigley, president; Neville Harcombe, executive secretary; and treasurer Seth Bardu. Despite a torrential rainstorm, hundreds of delegates and guests packed the Southern Asian Seventh-day Adventist in Silver Spring, Md., for the session where they closed the Sabbath with a vespers concert by Washington Adventist University’s renowned choir and orchestra before commencing the business session and its first agenda item: President Weigley’s quinquennial report. Afterwards North American Division president Dan Jackson assumed chairmanship of the meeting to oversee the election of officers. It took less than 10 minutes for delegates to unanimously vote to return all three officers for the next five years.



Once the business session was officially open with nearly 200 delegates seated, Weigley gave his President’s Report to delegates reviewing six priorities outlined by the union’s Executive Committee in late 2006. The 70-minute report, streamed live on the Internet and recorded for DVD production, included nine video stories and live interviews with members, pastors and leaders from across the Columbia Union. Weigley also spoke with Mountain View Conference member Delsie Pack via skype (see slideshow above). The member of the Lewisburg, W.Va., church was featured on the cover of the September Visitor because of her zeal to share Christ with everyone she meets. “At one time I had more than 30 Bible studies going,” she told Weigley and her virtual audience. “From those, eight people have been baptized.” She could not attend the meeting in person because she is currently conducting an evangelism series—her third—in her hometown of Renick, W.Va., with 15 people attending including her supportive pastor, Linden St. Clair.

“It was gripping to say the least. I like the mix of video and live, which brought it home and made it personal. I really, really enjoyed it,” commented S. Peter Campbell, assistant to the vice president for administration for the Allegheny East Conference.


(pictured left to right): Frank Bondurant, vice president for Ministries Development; Hamlet Canosa, PhD, vice president for Education; and Walter Carson, Esq., vice president and general counsel
On Sunday, the enthusiasm continued as delegates handily returned the union’s three vice presidents to office, Frank Bondurant, vice president for Ministries Development; Hamlet Canosa, EdD, vice president for Education; and Walter Carson, Esq., vice president and general counsel. During the four-hour meeting, they also heard reports from the treasurer, auditor, Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Nominating Committee and the presidents of the union’s three major institutions—Adventist HealthCare, Kettering Adventist HealthCare and Washington Adventist University. In addition, special guest Katia Reinert, North American Division Health Ministries director, promoted a new initiative called "Adventists InStep for Life,” designed to advance the church’s health message and get members exercising. “Some 33 percent of America is obese,” she shared, encouraging attendees to join her for a September 25 marathon at the Review and Herald Publishing Association complex in Hagerstown, Md.

In his closing challenge, union president Weigley outlined a plan to build on the initiatives started during the last quinquennium and called for continued focus on engaging youth and young adults, strengthening Adventist education, growing the union’s two healthcare systems that serve over 1.45 million people each year at 12 hospitals, and fervent soulwinning for all ages groups, especially among Baby Boomers. “Too many people are going to Christless graves,” he said. “Let’s do all we can to preach the gospel, the three angels messages and invite people to be part of this great advent family,” he said. With the help of fellow officers Neville Harcombe and Seth Bardu, he then presented a check for $100,000 to Jose Cortes, president of the New Jersey Conference to help launch a special evangelism initiative in unentered areas of the state. “Thank you, Columbia Union, for partnering with us in Operation Caleb to reach the cities and towns of New Jersey,” said Cortes. “We want to claim them for Christ.”