As we stand on the brink of 2024, it fills us with gratitude to witness the continuous blessings bestowed upon us in the Central States Conference. Our churches are holding their own, and our financial standing is on an upward trajectory. As we step into the new year, our guiding theme is “COMMITTED!” — a testament to our unwavering dedication to God’s work in the Midwest and the establishment of healthy, Bible based, multicultural communities of faith.
In the capable hands of Mrs. Kelley Paris, our Treasury Department has excelled in its responsibilities. Notable achievements include a Year-To-Date tithe increase of 3.47 percent through October 2023 and receiving an Unmodified Opinion from our 2022 Audit (the best rating). Undergoing a transformative phase, we are actively working on automating systems within the Treasury Department. Louinie Louissant, our business intern supported by North American Division, made a significant impact during her year with us before embarking on a new chapter in her life: marriage.
Welcoming consultants Phyllis Ware-Lee, Elaine Hagele and the recent addition of Nancy Jones as an accounting consultant reflects our commitment to operational excellence. The engagement of Nelson Account for our church audits signifies a promising journey toward completion by mid-2024. Our aim is to enhance efficiency by transitioning to ACH for 100 percent of funds and remittances.
As of now, our membership stands at 9,318, distributed across 55 congregations, 35 churches, and 20 companies. In 2023, we welcomed 213 new members, comprising 87 baptisms, 73 professions of faith, 41 transfers in, and 12 membership adjustments. The growth of our conference, particularly in the Hispanic work, is evident with two new congregations in Freemont, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Pastor Tomas DeGyves, our multicultural director, has played a pivotal role in this success. Notably, the Claremont Adventist Church in Pueblo, Colorado, merged with the Palace of Peace Church in Colorado Springs, reflecting strategic decisions to further our mission.
Elder G. Alexander Bryant, NAD president, graced our territory by conducting a successful evangelistic meeting in Springfield, Missouri. The Providence Church there experienced a revival, witnessing 21 individuals giving their hearts to Christ, resulting in 18 baptisms and 3 professions of faith.
Five key initiatives
Looking ahead, we are driven by five key initiatives in the Central States Conference. The first is Christian education—aiming for increased enrollment, preparing our scholars not only for this world, but for the world to come. The second, evangelism, seeks to cultivate a culture of winning souls for Jesus within our churches. The third initiative focuses on youth and young adult engagement, valuing their active involvement in the church. Debt elimination is our fourth initiative, recognizing its significance in maximizing our impact for the Lord. Lastly, healthy pastor families form the fifth initiative, acknowledging the profound impact of well-adjusted pastoral families on the church.
We invite your prayers as we embark on our mission across the Midwest, and in turn, we offer our prayers for the work across the Mid-America territory. Together, let us commit to a year of steadfast dedication and growth.
Roger A Bernard, president; Cryston Josiah, vice president of administration; and Kelley Paris, vice president of finance for the Central States Conference