Oregon Conference Constituency Report
More than 500 delegates from western Oregon and southwestern Washington gathered at Portland Adventist Academy’s gymnasium, on Sunday, Sept. 18, for the Oregon Conference’s quadrennial constituency session. Delegates, by a majority of 95 percent or more, re-elected officers Don Livesay, president; Al Reimche, vice president for administration; Randy Robinson, vice president for finance; and John Gatchet, vice president for education.
Conference leaders welcomed delegates from five newly organized churches: Eugene Korean, LaPine, Maranatha Spanish (Medford), Salem Spanish and Sisters. In addition, the Hazel Dell and Ridge Dell churches have been merged into a single congregation in what is now called the Whipple Creek Church. More than 3,600 new members were baptized conference-wide during the past four years. Last year 27 churches had growth figures by baptism or profession of faith of 5 to 18 percent.
Big Lake has continued to operate the largest summer camp ministry in the North American Division, and the Gladstone campground campus has received ongoing improvements, with more than 500 RV sites renovated this year.
Conference leaders also acknowledged ongoing challenges. They are actively seeking ways to contain dramatically increasing medical and retirement costs for pastors, teachers and other employees. Education is a major part of the conference budget, yet Youth Education Fund contributions from members have steadily declined over the past four years. Yet, even with these financial challenges, conference reserves seem to have stabilized for the present.
Delegates heard a report on the status of three areas approved at the 2001 constituency session for capital projects: academy support, Big Lake improvement and Gladstone campground campus development.
Academy support has begun with the proposed new administration and classroom buildings at Columbia Adventist Academy. Big Lake improvements, including a new lodge building, are awaiting the submission of a master plan to the U.S. Forest Service for approval. In 2001, the sale of the present conference office building seemed imminent, and plans to build a downsized office on the Gladstone campus were approved. The pending sale was never consummated, and no adequate offers have since been received. Officers are currently exploring options.
Don Livesay, newly re-elected president, responding to the overwhelming support of the delegates, pledged that each officer would work for the Oregon constituency “in a way that honors God.” He outlined several ongoing and new initiatives as part of a conference-wide strategic plan for the coming four years (see sidebar).