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Pacific Union “All God’s People,” August 13, 2021 S5:E30

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Constituency Sessions – What Are They For?

When Elder W.T. Knox, president of the Pacific Union in 1902, spoke to that very first session, he posed the fundamental question, “What can be done for the improvement of the ministry?

When the delegates to the very first Pacific Union Conference constituency session met, many were surely asking the same kind of questions we ask today. Way back in 1902 at that first meeting in Portland, Oregon, some were probably asking, “What is a constituency session actually for?” Elder Knox answered their question with a question: “What can we do to improve our ministry?”

There’s certainly a lot of organizational business to attend to—electing administrative and departmental officers, dealing with policy matters, making sure we take care of the “nuts and bolts” of “doing church.” Doing things “decently and in order” has always been an important Christian principle for us. But that’s not really what sessions are all about.

Every five years we take this opportunity to come together and think seriously about fulfilling the Great Commission given to us by Jesus. This year the theme is “So Send I You,” a direct reference to the task Christ has given His church.

From its beginnings in 1901, the Pacific Union has played a major role in shaping the Adventist Church. Many of its best innovations came from the West in areas as diverse as healthcare, education, and evangelism.

A Prayer of Gratitude and Consecration

In February 1959, at the 18th session of the Pacific Union Conference Constituency, held in San Francisco, it was reported that there were over 72,000 church members in the churches in the Pacific Southwest. In gratitude for God’s providence and blessing, the delegates took this action:

As representatives of the cause of God in this territory (sensing deeply the urgency of our task as we view present world conditions), we rededicate our hearts and lives to the service of God in this mighty hour, with a high resolve that we will labor energetically and pray earnestly for the speedy finishing of God’s work on earth, and with united hearts we offer the following prayer of gratitude and consecration:

For thy numberless blessings, O God, we give Thee thanks.

For Thy protection and tireless care, O God, we do rejoice.

For Thy presence with our workers in all parts of the Pacific Union Conference, we acknowledge Thy goodness.

For Thy work upon the hearts and minds of men—resulting in thousands of baptisms—we praise Thy great and holy name.

For the sacrificial liberality of Thy people in supporting Thy work so loyally, we are thankful.

For numerous openings for the advancement of Thy work, we are challenged and deeply grateful.

For the happy, hopeful, united family of Advent believers in all the earth, we lift our hearts and our voices in thanksgiving.

For Thy promises, we love Thee.

For the opportunity to live for the glory of Thy name, we thank Thee.

For the privilege of speaking to others concerning Thy matchless love, our hearts breathe humble gratitude.

For all this we speak our thanks. But for the gift above all gifts—the gift uplifted for us on Calvary—the gift of Thy Son, through whose blood we have remission of sins—our hearts find no fit words with which to respond. We, Thy people, in Union Session assembled in the year 1959, can only express our thanks by a complete and unreserved rededication to all that we are to the speedy finishing of the task committed to us. This we now do.

The Pacific Union Conference Constituency Session takes place this weekend, August 15 & 16, in Tucson, Arizona. May the same spirit of gratitude and commitment demonstrated in 1959 be with the delegates and attendees this weekend.

Read the 1959 Recorder Magazine

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“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
– Philippians 1:2

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Pacific Union “All God’s People,” August 13, 2021 S5:E30

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