The eighth quinquennial Mid-America Union Constituency Session convened on Sunday, Sept. 11 in the College View Church in Lincoln, Nebraska for the purpose of receiving reports, celebrating accomplishments and voting church business.

The one-day session, themed Collaborating for Ministry in the Heartland, brought together nearly 290 delegates—representing 69,000 members in six conferences—to review and discuss the progress of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mid-America from 2011-2015.

The afternoon began with musical praise from the Union College Unionaires, led by Dr. Ricky Little. Elder G. Alexander Bryant, secretary of the North American Division, shared a devotional thought based on Jesus’ conversation with a Samaritan woman by a well. Bryant pointed out how she tried to elevate the question of where to worship to an inappropriately high level. Bryant challenged delegates to remain focused on the most important topics in church ministry.

During his president’s report, Elder Gary Thurber thanked Elder Tom Lemon for his four years of leadership in the Mid-America Union before Lemon was called to serve at the General Conference in July 2015. Thurber also thanked the conference presidents for their leadership in Mid-America.

Elder Gil Webb, MAUC vice president for administration, reported that Mid-America has seen slow but steady membership growth during the past five years, and Troy Peoples, vice president for finance, reviewed the union’s fiscal records, showing moderate positive trends. Vinita Sauder, president of Union College also shared a report, as did Brad Forbes, director of AdventSource and Ken Bacon, representing Adventist Health System. Tom Evans, treasurer for the NAD, was also on hand to assist with proceedings.

Following a lively discussion, delegates rejected a proposed change to the union’s constitution and bylaws that would have reduced the size of the MAUC Executive Committee. Delegates strongly favored retaining 35 members to ensure adequate representation.

Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president, led the Nominating Committee in conducting a thorough review of incumbent evaluations before receiving the recommendation that each be re-nominated. Delegates voted by generous majorities to elect all officers and departmental directors to another five-year term: Church/Youth Ministries, Hubert Cisneros; Communication, Brenda Dickerson; Education, John Kriegelstein; Human Resources, Raylene Jones; Ministerial, Mic Thurber; Women’s Ministries, Nancy Buxton.

On behalf of his team, Thurber thanked the delegates for their confidence, adding that it is a privilege to collaborate for ministry with the 556 churches and companies, 75 schools, nine summer camps, seven Adventist hospitals and countless community service centers across Mid-America territory. “As we think about the next five years, my challenge is that each of us will don the character of Christ in whatever place we find ourselves,” Thurber said. “That means we must spend more time with God. My prayer is that the Mid-America Union will become known as a union that reflects the character of Christ in all we do.”