Historically Diverse Administration Elected to Lead Pacific Union Conference
Bradford C. Newton has been elected president of the Pacific Union Conference, replacing Ricardo B. Graham, who is retiring after 14 years of service as president and more than 46 years of ministry. Elected to fill the role of executive secretary that Newton has held since 2008, Sandra E. Roberts, president of the Southeastern California Conference, is the first woman to serve in the administration of the Pacific Union Conference and within the North American Division.
Delegates returned Stephen V. Mayer to the position of treasurer, while Leon B. Brown, Sr., president of the Nevada-Utah Conference, was elected to serve as vice president, replacing Jorge Soria, who is retiring after 47 years of ministry. The elections were a significant part of the agenda for the delegates of the 31st Pacific Union Constituency Session, held August 15-16, in Tucson, Arizona.
Held every five years to conduct the official business of the church, more than 350 delegates participated in the constituency session. Elder G. Alexander Bryant, president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, served as the chair of the Nominating Committee for the constituency session and led the delegates in the balloting process. “You have just elected the most diverse group of officers in the history of the Pacific Union Conference,” said Bryant, a remark that received standing applause from delegates. Speaking directly to the members of the new administration, Bryant said, “This body elected you in an overwhelming fashion. Lead this union to the next level as we prepare for the soon return of Jesus Christ.”
Delegates also voted on the coordinators for ethnic ministries and adopted changes in the bylaws that redesignate these positions—along with the director of education—as vice presidents for specialized ministries. Serving in these positions are VicLouis Arreola III, vice president for Asian Pacific ministries; Virgil S. Childs, vice president for Black ministries; Berit von Pohle, vice president for education; and Alberto Ingleton, vice president for Hispanic ministries.
Elder Bradford C. Newton now takes up the leadership for the Pacific Union—in the field in which he has served in pastoral and administrative roles since 1995. “We stand in a very monumental time in earth’s history,” Newton stated. Reflecting on the theme for the 31st Constituency Session, he continued, “How we respond to Christ’s words, ‘So Send I You’ will impact not only our lives but our churches, schools, and communities. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is uniquely called to a prophetic role in our society. The way the Lord has led us in the past, and the promise of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, gives us confidence for the important work that lies before us.”
A big “Thank You” to our retiring president Ricardo Graham and our retiring vice president Jorge Soria from our All God’s People production team. We have appreciated your leadership, your support, and your friendship. Elder Graham is a co-founder of the program and has appeared in many of the episodes. Elder Soria has been a steadfast supporter of our work and a great friend to everyone on our team. Many blessings to you both in retirement!