On Thursday, July 22, the General Conference Executive Committee met by Zoom. The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss and vote on six leadership positions within the world field.
Following a brief worship led by Ted N.C. Wilson, focusing on John 17, a time of prayer was held focusing on various requests coming from executive committee members.
The announcement was made that the 2021 Annual Council (to be held Oct. 7-13, 2021) will be a “hybrid,” with resident GC executive committee members meeting in person in the GC auditorium in Silver Spring, with all other members connecting virtually. Deep appreciation was also expressed by the chair (Wilson) to the divisions and unions “who have been responding beautifully regarding our January 18 Special GC Session,” which will include only one item on the agenda-—to adjust the constitution to provide for electronic connection for the GC Session scheduled to be held in St. Louis in 2022.
Following announcements, the meeting moved into the main agenda items of filling various leadership positions. The following positions and names were discussed and voted and are effective immediately.
Daniel Kwame Bediako, Associate Director, Biblical Research Institute (BRI)
Daniel K. Bediako, Ph.D., has served as Vice Chancellor/President of Valley View University in Ghana since 2015. Previously, he served as Academic Vice President and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Valley View. He is an associate professor of Old Testament Language and Exegesis with special interest in Biblical Hebrew Textlinguistics. Dr. Bediako has authored five books, forty articles and has presented more than twenty conference papers. He has also edited twelve works, including The Sabbath in Old Testament and the Intertestamental Period: Implications for Christians in the 21st Century (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 2020), Prosperity Gospel: A Biblical-Theological Evaluation (Accra, Ghana: Advent Press, 2020), and associate-edited the Andrews Bible Commentary: Old Testament (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2020). Dr. Bediako has been a member of the Biblical Research Institute Committee (BRICOM) since 2010.
Robyn W. Kajiura, Executive Director, General Conference Auditing Service (GCAS)
Robyn Kajiura has more than 30 years professional experience in the field of auditing. Prior to being elected GCAS Executive Director, she served as GCAS Associate Director with responsibilities for the North America Area operations. In this capacity, she led a team of 80 professional staff and managed a budget of approximately US$10 million. With a personal background influenced from her time living in India and Australia, Robyn appreciates the importance of cross-cultural understanding and brings to her leadership responsibilities a keen sense for respecting others and building relationships to get things done. In addition to her work in the United States, Robyn has led teams on assignments to Australia, Brazil, India, Russia, and Switzerland.
J. Francois Keet, Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer, South Pacific Division (SPD)
Francois Keet has much experience in executive financial management in various Seventh-day Adventist entities, as well as in the commercial banking world. Since 2017, he has served as associate treasurer for SPD. Previously, he served as treasurer of the Australian Union Conference (2016), and the Trans-Pacific Union Mission (2006-2015). He was vice-president for finance at Avondale University from 2006-2010, and an audit manager for GCAS from 2003-2005. He has also served in managerial roles for several commercial banks. Originally from South Africa, Keet is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Internal Auditor. He is a committed Seventh-day Adventist who is actively involved in his local Adventist church.
Michael B. Sikuri, Secretary, South Pacific Division (SPD)
Originally from Fiji, Michael Sikuri has most recently served as president of the South New Zealand Conference since 2016. Previously, he served as ministerial secretary and church pastor in that conference. He was in the Trans-Pacific Union Mission from 2009-2014 where he served as HR Director, Family Ministries Director, and Children’s Ministries Liaison. He also served in various pastoral/chaplaincy capacities for four years in the Fiji Mission. “My objective as a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to lead people to the Lord in whatever capacity the Lord calls my family and I to,” states Pastor Sikuri. “My motto [is] to do all to the glory of God and be faithful to the calling placed upon us.”
Jennifer Gray Woods, Associate Director, Public Affairs/Religious Liberty (PARL)
Jennifer Gray Woods has served as Associate General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at the General Conference since 2015 where she has overseen the areas of copyright, trademark, and privacy for the Adventist Church. Previously, she was an attorney in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., where she gained extensive experience in interagency and governmental affairs. She has also worked as an attorney in Los Angeles, California, where she provided complex health care regulatory guidance, litigation assistance, transactional advice and more. Ms. Woods is a graduate of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Harvard Law School.
Ivan H. Omana, Associate Director, Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries (ACM)
Since 2015, Ivan Omana has served as the Assistant Director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries for the North American Division, providing support, encouragement, and denominational oversight to more than 300 chaplains in all areas of chaplaincy in the Pacific Union Conference and the North Pacific Union Conference. Previously, he served as senior chaplain at Florida Hospital Kissimmee (2002-2015), and as a chaplain in Adventist Care Centers (2000-2002). During the 1990s, Omana was as a pastor in the Central West Venezuelan Conference, where he also served as the official translator for every major evangelistic and ecclesiastical event.