Delegates attending the 36th Constituency Session of the Southern New England Conference on July 14 voted to elect a new president and secretary to serve the conference for the next four years. David Dennis, pastor of the Village church in South Lancaster, was elected to serve as president, and José Alarcón, Hispanic Ministries coordinator for the conference, was elected to serve as executive secretary. Joel Tompkins, the conference’s treasurer, was reelected.
In his response to the delegates after the vote, Dennis called upon department heads and churches to work together as a family and as a team. “Let us bridge the gap between one another and become that family God wants us to be,” Dennis said. “If the world is going to be at war with God’s church in these last days, now is not the time for us to hide ourselves behind the safety and the security of the walls and doors of our churches. Now is the time to go on the offensive, throw open the doors of the church, invite these people in, and let them see the Holy Spirit work in their lives.”
Departmental directors returned to office are Tom Murray, association board secretary and Planned Giving/Stewardship director; Pat Giese, superintendent of schools; and Josué Feliciano, Youth/Family Ministries/NSO director. Judy Gilleo, the associate manager for the Adventist Book Center, was voted to serve as manager on an interim basis, and John Amoah, a pastor in the conference, was voted to serve as Ministerial/Evangelism director. New executive committee, constitution and bylaws committee, and association board members were also voted to serve for the next four years.
Eleven new churches were voted into the sisterhood of churches: Greater Hartford Ghanaian, Nouvelle Arche Haitian, Nuevo Amanecer, Lowell All Nations, Attleboro Spanish, Shrewsbury, Danbury Nuevo Horizonte Spanish, West Lynn Spanish, Pawtucket Cape Verdean, Leominster All Nations, and Mount Horeb.
Eight congregations were recognized as companies: Gardner Spanish, Taunton Cape Verdean, Greater Bridgeport Ghanaian, New Bedford Cape Verdean, Jerusalem Haitian, Fall River Spanish, Nantucket, and Bethunion Haitian. Three churches were disbanded: Cape Cod Portuguese, Medford Group, and Manchester Spanish Company.
Daniel Honoré, Northeastern Conference president, was present with his wife, Fritze, and he delivered the morning’s devotional, titled “Will the Real Leader Please Stand Up!” Honoré encouraged the leaders to leave the kind of legacy behind that when their story is told, it would be said of them “The Word of the Lord came to the leaders of the Southern New England Conference and they went into all of Southern New England preaching a baptism of repentance and the forgiveness of sins.”
Frank Tochterman and Whitford Shaw, who served as president and executive secretary and Ministerial/Evangelism director, respectively, announced their retirement prior to the constituency session. At the completion of the session agenda, both men took time to thank their wives, Sally and Gloris, for supporting them in their ministry. They also thanked the delegates for their support during their time at Southern New England.
The officers and directors elected for the next four years will provide leadership for the approximately 16,804 members in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, along with 116 churches, 13 elementary schools, two academies, one summer camp, two Adventist Book Centers, and many community services centers.
Ednor A. P. Davison is the editor of the Atlantic Union Gleaner and assistant to the president for communication in the Atlantic Union Conference.