During its regularly scheduled spring meeting on Wednesday, March 28, the Mid-America Union Executive Committee received updates and reports and voted to accept the union’s proposed budget for 2018.

The 26 members present also voted unanimously to grant emeritus credentials to two retiring pastors and approved recommendations for ordination for seven pastors in three different conferences. One of the pastors, Lou Alfalah, was also voted to serve on the MAUC Executive Committee as a replacement for a member who has moved out of the territory.

A highlight of the morning was the fact presented by Troy Peoples, MAUC vice president for finance, that there was a 1.69 percent tithe gain in 2017, which enabled the union to end the year with a small amount of carryover.

Supporting ministry in MAUC

A profile of Adventist pastors in Mid-America, shared by MAUC ministerial director Mic Thurber, showed that of 196 full-time pastors and 28 half-time pastors over half hold master’s degrees, nine have earned terminal degrees, and 15 are currently enrolled in a Master of Pastoral Ministry program.

AdventSource director Brad Forbes reported that the organization currently employees 25 full-time staff and 35 Union College students. Forbes presented a brief history of the organization, which started as a department of Union College, became a for-profit company, then transitioned to a denominational entity in 1997 under the umbrella of the Mid-America Union. “We are currently engaged in a process of exploring possibilities for aligning with the North American Division,” Forbes said. More information will be presented and discussed at a later date.

During her report Dr. Vinita Sauder, president of Union College, stated that instead of espousing the “scarcity mindset” prevalent these days in higher education Union College is embracing an “opportunity mindset” by proactively investing in developing an occupational therapy assistant program, preparing to offer online courses in 2019, and focusing on student success and retention. In tandem with fiscal conservativism, “this investment-orientated thinking will help shape our future,” Sauder stated. The college posted a 100 percent pass rate for the Physician Assistant program in 2017, and for the 12th consecutive year earned a place in the top tier of U.S News and World Report’s annual college rankings.

Wider connections

MAUC president Gary Thurber shared information and pictures from a recent visit to the two elementary schools in Chuuk, Micronesia, that the Mid-America Union has “adopted.” One of the plans for supporting these schools includes helping to recruit and mentor more student missionaries as teachers. Thurber also reported on the questionnaire that was sent from the General Conference to division and union presidents. Results were published online March 23 in the Adventist Review (view questions and results).

Special guest Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division, reported that 256 churches were planted in the NAD in 2017. He also shared that 20 tons of fresh produce has been distributed from NAD headquarters to local families in need. “We are committed to using our new building for ministry,” Jackson said.

The MAUC Executive Committee will convene at headquarters again on November 15, 2017.