Members of the Mid-America Union Executive Committee gathered on April 18, 2024, at union headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, to receive updates,

vote ordination/commissioning recommendations from local conferences and launch a new scholarship funding initiative for Union College, soon to be Union Adventist University.

The 38-member group is composed of institutional leaders, pastors, educators and lay members from all six conferences in the union.

Calvin Watkins

Dr. Calvin Watkins

The day began with biblical lessons drawn from the story of Jesus crossing the lake with his disciples, presented by Dr. Calvin Watkins, a vice president of the North American Division. With the theme of “Almost is never enough,” Watkins challenged the group to dream big and reach our full potential in Jesus Christ. “I want to go beyond my possibilities and walk in the promises God has for me,” he said. “We must act on the dreams God gives us.”

During his remarks, MAUC president Gary Thurber mentioned the upcoming retirements of Iowa-Missouri Conference president Dean Coridan and Union College president Vinita Sauder. Sincere thanks was expressed to both Coridan and Sauder for their years of faithful service.

Thurber also shared updates on plans for the International Pathfinder Camporee coming to Gillette, Wyoming, in August, and the Mid-America Union ministerial retreat being hosted in Kansas City in July.

Mid-America Union Conference

MAUC Officers Dave VandeVere, Gary Thurber and Hubert J. Morel, Jr.

The NAD’s evangelism thrust for 2025 titled “Pentecost 3,000” also received attention. Churches hosting reaping events may receive special funding from the NAD under this initiative.

Hubert J. Morel, Jr., MAUC vice president for administration, presented 11 ordination/commissioning requests from four conferences, three internship applications, one ministerial credential and one emeritus/honorary ministerial credential.

Morel also shared the union’s statistical report, which showed a slight overall increase in membership across the union’s territory in 2023.

In his financial report, MAUC vice president for finance David VandeVere reviewed 2023 financial results as well as comparing departmental ministries to their allocated budgets. A final vote approved the union’s 2024 budget. VandeVere also discussed specifics from the union’s Revolving Fund. 

Finally, VandeVere referenced the vast labor shortage in all areas across the division and the efforts being taken by various unions to provide scholarship funds for students attending Adventist colleges and universities. “We hope to have a unified structure division wide in the future that will be more sustainable.” said VandeVere. “You’re going to be hearing about this for a number of years in the future as we seek solutions.” 



Dakota Conference

(foreground) Darla Anderson, Dakota Conference lay member, and Mark Weir, Dakota Conference president

Union College president Dr. Vinita Sauder, who is retiring May 31, reported that in addition to welcoming a new president (Dr. Yami Bazan) the school will undergo a name change, becoming Union Adventist University effective May 5, 2024. 

Retiring presidents Dean Coridan (Iowa-Missouri Conference) and Dr. Vinita Sauder (Union College/Union Adventist University)


Sauder also gave updates on the Reiner Wellness Center, scheduled for an August 18, 2024, ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening.

 Continuing on the theme of health, CEO of AdventHealth Rocky Mountain Region Brett Spenst  outlined the strategic plans, projects and facilities of AdventHealth’s ministry, which continues to grow in multiple areas. 

“AdventHealth’s goal for all their hospitals is to be either a 4 or 5 star rated hospital,” said Spenst. “

All five of our hospitals in Rocky Mountain are currently in that category. We want to do this because Jesus’ healing ministry was perfect and our mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ.”

Brad Forbes, president of AdventSource, presented a “show and tell” of new resources being released by the NAD in the area of church ministries, children’s ministries, financial training, grief support, evangelism and event planning.

The final report was presented by Roberto Correa, MAUC multi-lingual, disabilities and Hispanic ministries director, who shared demographic statistics showing that one million immigrants enter the United States each year. “We have 23 language groups worshiping together on Sabbaths in Mid-America,” said Correa. He also notes that 37 percent of church attendees are currently ethnic minorities and across the division 60 percent of our members under age 18 come from ethnic minorities. 

The next Mid-America Executive Committee is scheduled for November 21, 2024.

Photos: Hugh Davis/MAUC