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 be elected 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.
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.
The retirements of Elder Ricardo Graham and Elder Jorge Soria prompted emotional responses of gratitude from the delegates. They each spoke with affection for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and their appreciation for the many years of service in the Pacific Union. The retiring leaders each expressed gratitude to their spouses as their partners in ministry. Acting on behalf of the Pacific Union Conference, Bradford and Jennifer Newton formally recognized and expressed appreciation to Elder Ricardo Graham and his wife, Audrey Weir-Graham, and to Elder Jorge Soria and his wife, Lina Soria, for their dedicated service.
By Faith Hoyt and Ray Tetz