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9 July 2015 | San Antonio, Texas, USA [Victor Hulbert, tedNEWS] On Thursday, 9 July, the Trans-European Division Caucus meeting at the General Conference (GC) Session in San Antonio, Texas met to vote Director positions for the next five years. While generally the GC Session has seen minimal change in directors, the TED by contrast has decided to make a serious attempt at restructuring.

The purpose, according to TED President, Raafat Kamal, is that "we are not here to tick boxes and fill positions". A strategic thinker himself, he emphasised that even before recommending names for particular roles that it was important for the TED to clearly focus its strategy on the issues of Identity, Mission focus, and Relationships, and then from that, find those individuals best suited to fulfil those roles.

In explaining the rationale Raafat noted that the new vision and strategy has been developing since July 2014 and that the 'Focus meetings' in February this year had made 123 recommendations that Division leaders, and particularly the TED Spring meetings then carefully worked through.

As a result the TED will now focus on five specific topics, namely: Leadership development, Youth, Family, Children, and Mission. The Spring Meetings also suggested that the TED develop think tanks of the important areas of health, online resources, media and leadership.

Before Dr John Baildam, secretary of the Nominating Committee stood up to announce the nominations, Raafat made clear that "the intention is not to fill the positions but to get the right focus – to get a core team to work with us in September on the strategy". His intention is then to bring talented people from across the region who can assist in coming up with a further four or five names for TED Annual Council meetings this coming November.

When specifically looking at merging names and roles, he sought to make evangelism the focus of every single department. "We have actually abolished the evangelism department," he said. "Everybody at the Division is an evangelism department. Instead of one person we will have nine people. 75% of all the plans we develop have to be focused on Mission." To that end the committee looked for people with experience, competency, academic experience, but primarily attitude.

As the smallest Division in the world, but with perhaps the hardest missional challenge reaching out to secularised Europe, Raafat stated that with such a team we can "Vision beyond our resources".

Election Results

The Officer positions of President, Executive Secretary and Treasurer are voted by all GC delegates. The following roles were then voted by the TED caucus meeting.

President + Leadership development. He will also temporarily cover the roles of Public Affairs and religious Liberty (PARL), ADRA, and Stewardship, at least until Annual Council.

Executive Secretary + Archive, Statistics and Research; Internal HR; Online E-learning and Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS): Audrey Andersson. Until November she will also care for Communication, Media, Publishing and the Bible Correspondence Schools.

Treasury: In addition to being the Chief Financial Officer, Nenad Jepuranovic will also oversee Planned Giving, IT and Trust Services. Certain departmental functions will also move to Treasury including Event Management, Global Mission Database Management, Educational Sponsorship Funds and Ingathering (ADRA Annual appeal). Where needed, to oversee treasury work for attached fields.

Associate Secretary: Dean Papaioannou.
Associate Treasurer: Wederly Aguiar.
Field Secretary, Education Director & Adventist Mission Director (strategy): Daniel Duda.
Ministerial Secretary, Chaplaincy Ministries, Ministry to Clergy Families, Sabbath School, Personal Ministries: Patrick Johnson.
Youth Director: Janos Kovacs-Biro.
Public Campus Ministry Director – part time – focused on public universities and campuses: Tihomir Lazić
Teens & Community Service Director: part time: Alastair Agbaje.
Family, Children and Women's Ministries Director: Clair Sanches-Schutte.

The positions of ADRA, Health Ministries, Media, Communication, BCS, Stewardship and a second person for the Family, Children and Women's Ministries department will be made at Annual Council once the team and the strategy have been further developed. A further member of the youth services team may also be added at that time.

Change is always difficult, and Raafat found it both emotional and difficult to say thank you to four colleagues who ended their terms of service at the TED at this GC Session. Miroslav Pujić is almost 'part of the furniture' at the TED having given 20 years of creative and faithful service and developing programmes such as LIFEdevelopment, LIFEconnect, and a series of innovative media projects. "There is no question that he has exceptional qualities of creativity", Raafat commented. "I want to thank you for the areas that you have pioneered in our office. Together with Esti you have been a solid support in our office."

Paul Tompkins concludes 15 years of serving the youth within the TED. A well-loved leader he developed the 'church of refuge' programme and has been the motivating force behind a series of excellent congresses, camporees and other youth orientated events as well as providing excellent training. Raafat concluded, "He has a fantastic heart."

Stephen Cooper served eight years as ADRA Director but with a change in focus on the development of ADRA across Europe the role at the TED is reduced. A man of experience his skills are already being sought elsewhere. He was also appreciate for his active role in Health Ministries.

Michael Hamilton has equally been a faithful leader with a passion for Mission and particularly developing the Bible Correspondence School programme alongside Sabbath School and Personal Ministries. He is again a man with a great heart. With the restructuring and new strategic focus on mission across all departments the focus of his past roles will be covered in the cross-linking of all departments. It is anticipated that Michael will return to service with the South England Conference.

Beverly Coysten, who has served as Assistant Executive Secretary for the past two years, requested to return to her former role as Executive PA to Secretariat. She will remain an important member of the team.

Two of the new positions are part time. Alastair has made a significant difference to the spiritual life of the Newbold Campus and will continue to be based on the campus for 75% of his time. Tihomir will also continue to be based at Newbold where he teaches systematic theology part-time while completing his PhD at Oxford University where he is already involved in public campus ministry.

In asking Janos to serve as Youth Director the TED are sending a clear message that youth are a significant and important part of the Mission power for our church. Already well loved by youth across the Division he will work with them to empower them for mission.

"It is not what we do but what God does through our broken vessels that is important," Raafat concluded. "For us, the local church and the church member is the supreme focus." [tedNEWS]


tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
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