Officers Re-elected at Oklahoma Constituency Session
Session Theme “Something More” Motivates for Next Quadrennium
The 70th Constituency Session of the Oklahoma Conference was held April 18, 2021, at the Wewoka Woods Adventist Center in Wewoka, Okla. More than 300 delegate representatives elected conference officers and directors for the next quadrennial session, 2021 to 2025.
The day began with prayer and welcome from James Shires, president of the Oklahoma Conference, and special music by Cory Leinneweber, member of the Choctaw Seventh-day Adventist Church. A devotional message was then presented by Helvis C. Moody, young adult and youth director/prayer ministries coordinator of the Southwestern Union. Moody spoke passionately on the theme of the session, “Something More,” and encouraged the delegates to seek more of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The devotional was followed by a prayer session led by Shires, in which he asked delegates to pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The session officially began with the reading of the call and seating of the delegates. The regular delegate count presented to the audience as of 10:15 a.m. was 220. Rodney Grove served as parliamentarian and representatives from the Southwestern Union included Larry R. Moore, president; Buford Griffith, Jr., executive secretary; John Page, treasurer; Elton DeMoraes, vice president; Eduardo Canales, vice president.
Three new churches were officially added to the sisterhood of churches: Abundant Life Edmond; Durant Spanish; and Garnet Spanish. These churches were organized from May 2019 to August 2019. One church, Tulsa New Life, was disbanded on Oct. 25, 2018.
Administrator and Departmental Reports
The administrative officers presented their official reports, beginning with James Shires’ president’s report. Shires reported on the spiritual momentum that has been gained over the past four years, and gave a special spotlight on the way pastors, leaders, and members worked together during the COVID-19 pandemic to use innovative technologies make sure that ministry continued. Executive secretary Apple Park presented his report, sharing that there were 921 in the past four years, and a membership at the end of 2020 of 8,613. In his treasurer’s report, Carlos Portanova shared that tithe had increased 2.2 percent over the last quadrennial session, with a total tithe for the last four years standing at $31,351,360. The session continued with video reports presented by departmental directors.
Following the administrator and departmental reports, Michael Merrifield, CPA, CGMA, General Conference Auditing Service Regional Manager, shared the December 31, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017 audit report for the Oklahoma Conference. The conference received an unmodified or “clean opinion,” which is the best opinion review an organization can receive, for all four years.
Nominating Committee Report
Larry R. Moore, Southwestern Union president, introduced the nominating committee report to the delegates. He recognized the committee and thanked them for their work. The nominating committee report was read and voted, and the following positions were confirmed:
Officers: President, James Shires; Secretary, Apple Park; Treasurer, Carlos Portanova.
Departmental Directors: Associate Treasurer, Tamra Clark; Adventist-Service Laymen’s Coordinator, Apple Park; Asian Ministries Coordinator, Apple Park; Children’s Ministries Coordinator, Cinthia Portanova; Communication Director, Daniel Ortega; Community Services/Disaster Relief Coordinator, Apple Park; Education Superintendent, Tim Kripps; Evangelism Coordinator, Nic Coutet; Health Ministries, Sherry Fisher; Hispanic Ministries, Luis Prieto; Men’s Ministries Coordinator, Robert Quintana; Ministerial Spouses, Julia Shires; Native American Ministries, Robert Burnette; NSO, Tim Kripps; Planned Giving & Trust Services, Carlos Portanova; Public Affairs & Religious Liberty, Brad Jones; Stewardship Director, Robert Burnette; Women’s Ministries, Karol Mosebay; Youth Ministries Director, Daniel Ortega.
The positions of family ministries director, ministerial director, prayer ministries coordinator, and Sabbath School/personal ministries director were voted to be referred to the Oklahoma Conference Executive Committee.
“It’s been an honor to be a part of our conference for the last four years. Thank you for your confidence, and I to ask you to pray for me as I pray for you,” said Shires upon his re-election.
Following a brief recess, delegates discussed proposed changes to the constitution and bylaws for the conference. Delegates voted to refer all proposed changes to the constitution and by-laws back to the constitution and by-laws committee.
Prior to the close of the session, the administration recognized Ciro and Susan Castillo; Jack and Linda Francisco; Rodney Grove; all for their many years of service to the Oklahoma Conference.
The meeting came to a close just after 3:00 p.m. The administration thanked the delegates and staff for their work during the day and dismissed the meeting with prayer. Congratulations to all of the elected personnel, and we pray for God’s guidance and blessing to be over those individuals elected to serve the Oklahoma Conference for the next four years, their families and their ministry efforts.