BURLESON, TEX. – The Executive Committee of the Southwestern Union met for its last regularly scheduled meeting of 2020 on Nov. 12 through the Zoom digital platform.
Alex G. Bryant, North American Division president opened the meeting with a powerful devotional message focused on Psalm 46, which served as a stirring reminder that God is our refuge and strength, and that we should always call on Him in times of trouble
Following the devotional message, Richard C. Dye, president of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference presented a conference report, highlighting the conference’s growing membership, which was 12,516. Dye noted that there had been 150 baptisms and a tithe increase in 2020 despite the COVID-19, pandemic.
Southwestern Adventist University
Ken Shaw, president of Southwestern Adventist University, shared several updates and highlights about the university, including a positive report about the university’s financial status. The university has a composite financial index of 6.7, compared to the Adventist college and university average of 4.1. The university has an unallocated net worth of more than $6 million.
Academically, the university’s nursing program’s current NCLEX passing rate is 91 percent, and the university is currently offering a fully online RN to BSN program. Students graduating from the university’s teaching programs are passing at 100 percent on core subject exams and 90 percent on pedagogy and professional responsibilities exams.
Shaw reported that the university has received positive rankings from U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges, stating that the university ranks 11th in the West Region, and ranks 2nd in social mobility in the West Region.
Shaw also shared that the university has created a new department and team for student success after the university was given a $2.5 million Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education over five years. The university also recently hired a new vice president for enrollment, Rahneeka Hazelton.
Penny Johnson, president and CEO of Texas Health Huguley Fort Worth South and AdventHealth’s Southwest Region, reported on the smooth construction and permitting process for the opening of the Texas Health Mansfield hospital, AdventHealth’s newest facility. Texas Health Mansfield is a 59-bed facility based in Mansfield, Tex.
Additionally, Johnson shared that Texas Health Huguley has expanded its capacity by opening its sixth floor with another 38 beds.
Eduardo Canales, Southwestern Union vice president for evangelism and multicultural and personal ministries director, shared that the Southwestern Union will be partnering with Adventist World Radio to bring more than 200 meetings to the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas in 2021 in partnership with the Texas and Southwest Region Conferences.
John Page, Southwestern Union treasurer, presented the September 30, 2020, operating financial statement and revolving fund reports. Page noted interest rate changes for revolving fund accounts, lowering loan accounts to four percent, and deposit accounts to two percent, effective January 1, 2021. There were no changes to Southwest Estate Services and SWUC endowment accounts.
The committee voted to approve these reports and changes, and also approved the distribution of operating gains for 2021 to be split between the five conferences and the union’s seven senior academies.
Elton DeMoraes, vice president for ministries and men’s ministries and stewardship director, presented on the Equipped for Ministries virtual training event that would take place on Nov. 14, sharing that the event was intended to provide specific ministries training using digital platforms, as has become a necessity and assisted many in ministry who have been unable to meet in person.
DeMoraes also shared that the in-person Equipped for Ministries meetings planned for the first months of 2021 in Houston, Albuquerque, and Bentonville, Ark., would be canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Buford Griffith, Jr., Southwestern Union executive secretary presented an update on the planned 2021 General Conference Sesssion in Indianapolis, Ind., in May, sharing that General Conference administrators will meet on Jan. 7, 2021 to determine the viability of holding the session in 2021. An update will be given regarding the session after Jan. 7.
Griffith also shared the following dates for constituency sessions in the Southwestern Union territory in 2021: Oklahoma Conference, April 18; Southwestern Union Conference, April 25; Southwestern Adventist University, April 25 (immediately following the Southwestern Union Conference session); Texas Conference mid-term constituency session, May 16; Arkansas-Louisaiana Conference, June 27; Texico Conference, Oct. 17.
The meeting was adjourned with prayer by James Winegardner, pastor. The next executive committee meeting will take place on March 17.