Nevada-Utah Conference Hosts 34th Constituency Session
The 34th Quadrennial Constituency Session of the Nevada-Utah Conference convened at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel on May 6, 2018. In attendance were over 200 delegates, which included representatives from the Pacific Union Conference and North American Division. Delegates voted on the Conference administration, two ethnic coordinators, and the executive committee, as well as discussed mission to the Navajo Nation, and addressed the merger of the Nevada-Utah Conference with the Nevada-Utah Association.
During the voting of Conference administration, delegates voted to re-elect Elder Leon B. Brown Sr. as president. Brown has served as president since June, 2016. He and his wife Julie joined the NUC from the Northern California Conference, where Brown served as the urban, men’s, and African American ministries director. Brown has a Masters of Divinity, a Masters of Business Administration in Management, and a Doctor of Ministry degree. “I’m excited about what God is getting ready to do in this Conference,” Brown said.
Following the vote on the president, delegates voted to re-elect Carlos Camacho as executive secretary. Camacho and his wife Samantha joined the NUC as executive secretary in 2014. He has a Masters in Pastoral Studies with an Emphasis on Youth Ministry and Young Adults. Camacho previously worked as the sales and marketing director for Pacific Press, and also pastored in the NUC and Southeastern California Conference. “The chance to see what has been planted actually grow and develop into something beautiful is a privilege not always experienced,” he said. “The opportunity has been graciously given.”
The voting of administration concluded with the treasurer position. Delegates chose that Karen Schneider should assume the role of treasurer for the NUC. Schneider has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has served as Associate Treasurer at the Pennsylvania Conference since 2007. She previously worked at the General Conference and North Pacific Union. “For me, being a treasurer for the church is not just about the numbers, but about the ministry,” Schneider said. “I look forward to seeing how God will use the skills He gave me to benefit ministry in the NUC territory.”
Following the voting of administration, delegates voted that Oneil Madden and Benjamin Carballo continue in their roles as Regional and Hispanic coordinators, respectively. Delegates then voted to accept the nominating committee recommendation on the members of the executive committee. Representing the Reno area for District 1 will be Arlene Hill, Brenda Goodwin, Hector Vasquez, and Phil Vecchiarelli. District 2 in Salt Lake City will be represented by Robyn Cordova, Rosanna Juarez, Sheri Hannon, and Alex Ramirez. Finally, the District 3 area centered in Las Vegas will be represented by Brenda De Leon, Josue Epane, Leopoldo Sandro, and Peter Neri.
The delegates also received the treasury report and General Conference auditing service summary. The treasury report noted that the Conference has nine additional full-time pastors since 2014, as well as an additional full-time teacher and three office interns. It also noted that from 2014 to the end of 2017, the NUC saw a 2.1 million dollar increase in tithe.
One change recommended at the session is the merger of the Nevada-Utah Conference and the Nevada-Utah Association. “The Nevada-Utah Association is the legal entity that hold the assets for the Nevada-Utah Conference,” Camacho said. “It used to be necessary and recommended to have both entities for legal purposes, but in the last several years, laws have changed so that having both entities is a potential liability.” The merger was approved by a significant margin, allowing the Conference to move forward on what the other conferences in the Pacific Union have done to eliminate potential legal liability.
In another report brought before the session, administration discussed the location and focus of the Monument Valley Mission. Due to numerous obstacles, the Conference is now tasked with transitioning the ministry, including the church and school, from Monument Valley to Kayenta, Arizona. The Conference is also re-evaluating the effectiveness of their outreach efforts. “On the Navajo Nation, we have one Adventist for every 900 people,” said Nancy Crosby, ministries and development director for the Monument Valley and Kayenta mission for the NUC. “Here in our own backyard, we have a huge mission field with the Navajo Nation.” Referring to this opportunity, Brown said, “We want a powerful, positive representation of Adventism on the reservations.” The Conference will work with Crosby on greater efforts to reach those on Native lands with the gospel.
Not only is the NUC gearing up to change ministry in Monument Valley, the Conference is also setting major goals to achieve by 2022. These goals include transforming churches into safer, more welcoming places for the community, increasing church member involvement in relevant community ministries by 20 percent per area, engaging and empowering at least 50 percent of youth in church leadership and ministry, mobilizing an increase of 20 percent of church members in outreach efforts (resulting in the planting of two new congregations per area), and increasing enrollment of new students in NUC schools by 25 percent.
The session concluded with recognition of the spouses of the administrators, and a prayer over the leaders.