At their Year End meeting on Nov. 16 held at church headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, Mid-America Union Conference Executive Committee members received a number of reports, discussed relevant church issues, and voted multiple recommendations to conclude their work for 2017.

President and CEO of Shawnee Mission Health Ken Bacon reported that Shawnee Mission Health in Kansas has become the 17th hospital in the country to join the MD Anderson Cancer Network. The designation gives HMS staff streamlined access to doctors from the Houston-based hospital system that U.S. News and World Report ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for cancer treatment.

Other reports included the opening school enrollment numbers for Pre-K–grade 12 presented by Gerard Bann, associate MAUC director of education. Currently there are 3,288 students enrolled in Adventist schools, up 122 from last school year. Bann also discussed the relationship between Mid-America Union and the island of Chuuk. Each union in North America is partnering with a specific island in the Guam-Micronesia Mission to offer mentoring and support, particularly in the field of education.

Gary Thurber, MAUC president, shared an update on Hear Their Voices, the anti-sex trafficking initiative in Kansas City in September. He also reported proceedings from the General Conference Annual Council last month, including a vote to return a 14-page document to the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee for revisions. Responding to comments regarding church authority, Thurber stated that the “authority of leaders in the Adventist Church comes from the body of constituents who elect those leaders.” Thurber also addressed the rising issue in the Adventist Church of fake news and distinguishing fact from rumor and hearsay.

During the discussion that followed, Neil Biloff, president of the Dakota Conference, presented the following motion: “To request the Andrews University Seminary to biblically address in both articles and statements the headship theory being taught in many areas of the Adventist Church today.” The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

In other business, Gil Webb, vice president for administration, presented recommendations for ordination or commissioning for five pastors from three conferences in Mid-America territory, all of which were approved by the committee.

To conclude the morning, Troy Peoples, MAUC vice president for finance, presented a preliminary budget for 2018, noting that tithe numbers for the past three years have been flat. “There are lots of unknowns in guessing the tithe income, so this is a preliminary budget until we know at the end of January what the 2017 tithe figure is,” Peoples said. He stated that there will be a planned spend down of funds in 2018 due to the North American Division teacher’s convention being held in Chicago next August. “We have been saving for this for five years,” he added.

The next meeting of the MAUC Executive Committee will be on March 28, 2018. Questions or comments should be directed to Gil Webb.

Photo: Brennan Hallock