My name is Delvin Hansen and I live in Harvey, North Dakota.  I have attended numerous conference constituency sessions, but this was my first time to a General Conference Session.

Upon arriving, my cell phone was given an app to facilitate electronic voting during the session.  Typically the session is two weeks long, but this one was condensed into one week.  We met at 8:00 am for worship and had three sessions throughout the day ending at 9:00 pm.  

On Monday we started the GC Session with worship highlighting the Holy Spirit.  We heard from Mark Finley on “The Power of the Holy Spirit,” Dwight Nelson asked us to “Seek the Holy Spirit,” and Barry Black said to prepare our life for the “Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”  These were powerful messages and I was hoping that I would be able to discern who indeed was being led by the Holy Spirit throughout the week.  

Approving the Agenda

As we started the session to approve the agenda, a motion was brought to the floor to include discussion on the immunization statement passed by ADCOM (the GC administrative committee) in 2015 and 2021.  Elder Ted Wilson in an authoritarian manner made it clear that this topic was not open to discussion.  He said that “it is an administrative item; it is not a Constitution and Bylaws item; it is not a Church Manual item; and it is not a fundamental beliefs item.”  I thought, Excuse me, Elder Wilson, my understanding is when we are called into session the delegates are now the governing body.  

The discussion was cut very short on this item, but Jonathan Zirkle did present a petition with over 25,000 Seventh-day Adventist signatures from 138 countries, 1,929 pastors and 4,164 medical professionals who signed the petition.  Elder Wilson reiterated several times that it is the free choice of each individual whether they get vaccinated or not.  The reality is students in health care had to get vaccinated, as did health care workers, or face expulsion.  

The AdventHealth system was adamant about the vaccine mandate. Religious exemptions were as elusive as the tooth fairy.  So, Elder Wilson, your noble statement of free choice is a paradox when faced with mandates. Thank you for introducing us to that approaching time when you cannot buy or sell unless you capitulate. 

My biggest disappointment was that Elder Wilson, the spiritual leader of the Adventist world church, did not express an ounce of compassion, empathy or sympathy to church members whose lives had been profoundly devastated by the consequences of mandates attacking free choice. The motion did not pass.

The nominating committee was then dismissed to do its function and we proceeded to vote on changes to the Constitution and Church Manual.  Most of the items went smoothly so I will try to highlight several of the more noteworthy ones.

Church board meetings are now allowing members to participate through electronic methods. 

Ordination service for deaconesses are not necessary if they’re already ordained as an elder.

Facts and Figures

The North American Division represents 6% of the world church membership, so our representation at the GC Session makes up 6% of the delegates; we had 214 delegates.  If we add Europe, Australia and New Zealand to our number, we then make up 10%.  The GC receives 44% of its tithe from the NAD. 

There are 30 GC delegates-at-large, due to church positions or organizations where they are employed.  One delegate from Michigan was informed last month that he would not be a delegate to this year’s GC Session.  No explanation was given, but it is highly speculative that it is related to his protest of the GC ADCOM’s support of vaccine mandates.                                       

Ted Wilson was voted GC president with 73% yes and 27% no.

All voting was done electronically via cell phone, laptop or internet (Zoom) through an app known as Election Buddy.  When it worked it went smoothly. At times it was a challenge to hook up to the server. It appears some delegates were trying to live stream the GC Session back home.

Tuesday started off with another excellent worship service. The speaker, Dwain Esmond,  talked about the Three Angels Message:  1) the blessed of the story; 2) the blessing of the story; 3) the rest of the story.

The delegation from Ukraine wore their national dress and handed out Ukrainian flags with “Pray for Peace” on them.  Special prayer was offered and collection jars were available for donations to the Ukraine.

Reports and Questions

Reports from GC Secretariat and the Treasury were given.  We are approaching 22 million world members, over 90,000 churches and 2.7 billion in tithe (over five years).  An interesting comparison is that in the 1930’s 60 cents of every dollar the GC received went to the missions program and today only 3.5 cents of every dollar goes to missions. One may ask why the disparity; I believe there are more organizations involved in missions within and outside the GC that people have reallocated their donations to.

The nominating committee brought their report for GC department heads that were voted in a block of names. Ladies from Iceland, Western Norway and Central States Conference expressed their concern for the lack of or low ratio of women nominated to leadership positions; it was less than 10%. These individuals met with the chairman of the nominating committee for about 20 minutes to express their concern and their options.  They came back and made a motion to return the list to the committee; it failed to pass by 35% to 65%.

Wednesday we did more revisions in the Constitution and Manual.  We voted on the presidents of the 13 world divisions. The question arose again: Why were there no women or young people elected as the division secretary or treasurer?  The GC HR individual came to the rescue to inform us that approximately 32% of the GC employees are women. I sat smiling to myself: You did not really answer the question with your generic response.  How many of those women work in housekeeping, cafeteria, as personal secretaries, delivery people, ancillary staff… and how many are actually in administrative positions?  Furthermore, how do these numbers compare to the world division offices?  Ah, now that is going to be a ticklish topic, as we delve into cultural barriers.  

Thursday worship was presented via zoom by Charissa Torassian. She is the prayer/women’s ministry leader in Australia and spoke on Mary Magdalene. As I listened to her, I put her at the top of my list of speakers for the GC Session.  I will give you a brief synopsis of her message: Do you still follow Him when He does His will?  When you are devoted to Jesus, you respond to:

  1. Live for Him
  2. Learn from Him
  3. Listen to Him
  4. Long for Him
  5. Love Him
  6. Loyal to Him
  7. Look for Him

One drop of the perfume would be noticed in the room; the whole bottle would overwhelm the room.  When we love Jesus we give Him the best we have! Angels announced Jesus’ birth; Mary announced His resurrection. “I preach the everlasting gospel because I never quit talking about Him.”

Final Votes

Thursday was the wrap up day—we needed to complete all our transactions.  A clarification in the Church Manual for premarital counseling for a “couple” was requested to be sent back to committee to define “couple” as a Biblical couple.  The chair said that would not be necessary as a “couple” was already defined in the family section of the manual and in our 28 Fundamental Beliefs.  If the premarital counseling is part of the family section or on the same page, I see no problem.  My preference is that if they are separated by several pages in the manual, then re-enforce the “Biblical couple.”  Regardless, the chair moved on and there was no further discussion on this item. We had a deadline to meet.

In the afternoon we were presented with the “Resolution of the Holy Bible.” It indeed is a very concise affirmation, taking us from creation to the creation of the new earth. Several individuals expressed concern on wording in certain areas, so after 30 minutes of discussion it was voted 2:1 to send it back to committee.  My objection was the statement, “Its record of creation in six literal days…”  We have always referred to creation as creation week—yes, six days of amazing miracles culminating with the Sabbath.  Our name “Seventh-day Adventist” emphasizes the importance of the seventh day of creation.  Yet, there is no mention of the Sabbath anywhere in this resolution. I voted to send it back.

“Delegates, this is Thursday afternoon; there is no way we can send this back to committee and still pass it this session.”  Enter Mark Finley. He had not been present since his devotional on Monday.  “Brothers and sisters, this resolution has been carefully scripted with much thought and prayer. It is perfect as it is written and these little nuances are not necessary.” After this speech, we revoted and it was accepted and does not go back to committee.  I voted no; I still want “Its record of creation in six literal days and on the seventh day the Sabbath was sanctified” included.  Ah, the power of the chairman.

Quite disappointing was the habitual clapping after a motion was passed, in spite of the chair’s request for respect.

One individual had a frequent propensity to “call question on the motion,” which immediately stops discussion (when voted) and then a vote is taken on the original motion. It was generally welcomed as it stopped a lot of unnecessary rambling.

My observation is that when the GC makes resolutions or changes to the governing guidelines of the church at Fall Council or by ADCOM, they expect us to accept them in totality, which we did the majority of the time.  A few times they acknowledged that a return to committee was appropriate and a few times it was not welcomed.  I pray that the GC will not evolve into a modern day version of the old Jewish Sanhedrin.

Wrapping Up

My total mileage for driving to St. Louis and back was 2,000 miles. My expense for attending the GC Session was around $2,400.  My guesstimate is that the GC spent over 7 million dollars to put on this Session.  My understanding is that at least one third of the delegates have to be physically present for the session to be called into order.  We had 1,768 present and approximately 400 attending electronically via zoom.  Those attending via zoom were obviously from all corners of the world, which saved the GC a tremendous amount of money.  

From what I observed the hybrid approach (including internet Zoom) worked well. There was frequent interaction with them.  My heart goes out to those who were 12 time zones away, as they were up all night to meet with us.

I am grateful for the unified message of Jesus Christ that we share as a world church.  However, as a church, we have a daunting task to harmoniously function with so many culturally diverse regions and countries.  

Delvin Hansen is a retired dentist who has lived in Harvey, North Dakota, for 40 years.


Jonathan Zirkle, JD, Requests Adcom’s actions be reviewed in an effort to bring unity on libert – YouTube

Pres. Ted Wilson Explains Why Adcom’s Vaccination Statements Should NOT Be Discussed at GC Session – YouTube

Immunization –                                                                               

Mandate from AdventHealth that students MUST be vaccinated

08.13.2021-Vaccination-Mandate-Application-to-Students-at-Adventist-Health.pdf (

This is a listing of all the items that we discussed/voted on at GC Session.                                

Go to 120GS for the “Resolution of the Holy Bible”

session-agenda.pdf (                     

Documents – General Conference Session (

Thursday morning devotional

“The Life and Ministry of Mary Magdalene” with Charissa Torossian | #GCSession 2022 on Vimeo