Affirmation and anticipation

Changes in the Ministerial Association

James A. Cress is the Ministerial Secretary of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Following the recent General Conference session, we take opportunity to affirm the ministry of several colleagues who are departing our staff and to welcome others.

For example, this issue of Ministry is the final product of the decade-long tenure of the editorial team of Willmore D. Eva and Julia Norcott. Will, who is returning to pastoral ministry as associate pastor of the Spencerville, Maryland church has brought a professionalism to his task which has emphasized both spirituality and scholarship. I express personal appreciation for the excellence with which Will has pursued every undertaking over the 25 years in which I have been privileged to associate with him.

Our readers can expect that Julia Norcott's future pursuits will be accomplished with the same thorough eye for detail and preciseness that has contributed to her management of the magazine. Our staff heartily extends best wishes to both these individuals.

Even as we reflect with appreciation on these past accomplishments, we also look forward with keen anticipation to new editorial leadership under the direction of Nikolaus Satelmajer. Most of our readers already know Nik through his dynamic leadership of Ministry Professional Growth Seminars, a vision for professional development which he pioneered to bring the best continuing educational opportunities to pastors by satellite downlink.

Born in Yugoslavia of German parents, Nik immigrated to the United States as a teenager and has served the denomination, both here and in Canada, as a pastor, church administrator, college campus chaplain, scholarly writer, and adjunct professor of practical theology.

Nik's vision for greater internationalization will bring Ministry to an ever-widening readership among Adventist ministers as well as pastoral colleagues of many denominations. Watch for greater inclusion of pastors from a global perspective in both planning and production of our journal.

Anthony Kent, who has been elected Associate for continuing education and interaction with clergy of other denominations, comes to this assignment from serving as Ministerial Secretary of the South Pacific Division.

Coupled with his strong evangelistic and nurturing background, Anthony's has the unique capability of contextualizing ministry within the cultural milieu of those he serves. I have watched him interact with and instruct pastors in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Kenya, as well as readily relating to pastors in Australia or North America. He is also known for expanding opportunities to fellow ministers for personal growth and skill development.

We also bid farewell to Joel Sarli, who honored our request to continue his responsibilities through to the GC Session even though he had retired earlier. Through the years, I have associated with no better personal counselor, warmer friend, or wiser colleague. Joel began his ministry as one of the Brazilian King's Heralds, pastored in Brazil and served as dean of South America's theological seminary, and pastored in Canada and the United States. I appreciate Joel's legacy of developing dynamic resources for training local church elders.

Jonas Arrais, who has previously served in the South American Division's Ministerial Association, has been elected to fill the assignment of Associate for local church elders. Jonas' role also includes publication of our quarterly magazine, Elder's Digest. He has already impressed his colleagues with exciting plans which will build on our solid base to expand encouraging, empowering resources for training and equipping local church elders.

Jonas has a strong background in team ministry and will demonstrate, by his leadership as well as through his teaching, the essential meaning of pastoral leaders and lay elders working together for more effective service.

Two of our associates, Peter Prime (Evangelism and Church Growth) and Sharon Cress (Pastoral Spouses and Families), were re-elected to continue their vital functions of nurturing and motivating pastoral excellence and clergy family care. Our resource production coordinator, Cathy Payne, will continue to develop and deliver practical products.

Please pray for our entire team as we move forward in appreciation for God's leading in the past and anticipation of His blessings for the future.

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James A. Cress is the Ministerial Secretary of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

September 2005

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