"It's All About Jesus" Spiritual Emphasis Guides Washington Conference Business Session

All officers and departmental directors were re-elected during the 57th session of Washington Conference on Sunday, April 9.

John Freedman, Washington Conference president, asked delegates from the start to consider the session to be a spiritual convocation as they listened to reports, praised God, made decisions and elected officials.

With the spiritual tone set in place, delegates representing 77 churches, 17 companies and 22 schools re-elected conference leadership for another term and made decisions about conference business and policies.

Electronic voting allowed for instant calculation of voting percentages when the votes were entered through handheld keypads.

“Our process here today would have been much longer without this system,” said Jim Boyd, a Bremerton delegate. “I highly recommend it. I’m planning to tell my friends in other conferences about it.”

Session reports included presentations with an overview of the Washington Conference strategic plan and another plan specifically for education. Both plans were approved for further development and implementation.

The five areas of the conference strategy address: positive Adventist image; church growth and revitalization; passion for young people; community building; and spiritual leadership training.

“Any one church doesn’t have the resources to complete all these goals,” said Lowell Blankenship, a delegate from Everett Forest Park Church, during a lunchtime discussion group. Kent Church delegate Karen Hodge agreed. “We need to be partnering with other churches,” she said. “The conference should be the hub for all the conference ministries.”

During the afternoon session, Keith Hallam, Auburn Adventist Academy principal, presented a recommendation from the Land Use Committee about the possible creation of a recreational vehicle (RV) resort to utilize the camp meeting facilities year-round to benefit the academy.

Safety and the Sabbath are two main concerns about the development of an RV resort at Auburn Academy.

After lengthy and animated discussion covering many aspects, delegates voted 55 percent to 42 percent (with 3 percent abstaining) to continue exploring the development and implementation of an RV resort.

Among constitutional change recommendations was a proposal to change the four-year Constituency Session pattern to a five-year plan. The approval percentage narrowly missed the required two-thirds vote and the recommendation was not passed.

New growth means new leaders. With an average of 722 baptisms per year over the last four years, conference leadership expects the membership in Western Washington to surpass 20,000 members in 2006.

This growth was reflected as Washington Conference formally welcomed and seated delegates from four new church congregations— Russian Center for Spiritual Enrichment, Lynnwood Spanish, North Cascade Spanish, and Renton Spanish.

The “It’s All About Jesus” theme for the next four years focuses Washington Conference’s mission and commitment to grow healthy churches to “Tell Everyone” the gospel message in Western Washington and around the world.

“[As president] I want to do everything I can to increase the spirituality of this conference,” Freedman said at the close of the session. “Above all, I want all of us to be ready for heaven.”

June 01, 2006 / Washington Conference
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Heidi Martella, Washington Conference communication intern