Photo Caption: Standing in support of the newly-elected Northeastern Conference administrators Abraham Jules, president, third from right; Eldeen King, executive secretary, second from right; and Robert Chandler, treasurer, right, are Atlantic Union Conference administrators G. Earl Knight, third from left; Pierre Omeler, executive secretary, second from left; and Elias Zabala, Sr., left. [Photo: Odel Powell]
The Northeastern Conference convened its 28th regular constituency session (fifth quadrennial session) on Sunday, September 26, at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, under the theme “The Church Built on the Rock.” Leslie Pollard, president of Oakwood University, presented the devotional message.
Delegates voted three administrators to serve the Northeastern Conference (NEC) for the 2021-2025 quadrennium. Abraham Jules was elected president. Jules first received his call to serve as a pastor in the Northeastern Conference in 1983 and currently serves as pastor of the Community Worship Center in Jamaica, New York. During his ministry, he has baptized hundreds, has transformed small fledgling groups into large, thriving congregations, has successfully overseen and raised money for numerous church renovations and other projects, and has served on many denominational boards and committees.
“Today, we prayerfully participated in a spiritual process that speaks to who we are as a church—a movement of destiny. I come to this position with the clear understanding that this is God’s remnant church,” Jules told the nearly 1,400 delegates and guests in the arena. “The way forward will not be by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the living God. I am aware that there are plans to continue, challenges to encounter, and obstacles to overcome. Therefore, I solicit your daily prayers for God’s favor in directing my steps and guiding my decisions.” He added, “In spite of how you voted today, let me be clear, we are united in our desire to see this conference go from strength to strength. I have the utmost confidence that, if we work together and pray together, we will advance the cause for which each of us cares deeply.”
Eldeen King was elected to serve as executive secretary. King has pastored in the Northeastern Conference for more than 30 years and currently serves the Emmaus church in Brooklyn, New York. He has also served on several boards and committees in the Northeastern Conference, Atlantic Union, and North American Division.
Delegates reelected Robert Chandler to continue serving as treasurer. Chandler was elected treasurer by the Northeastern Conference Executive Committee in 2018 and officially began functioning as treasurer in January 2019. He previously served both the South Central and New Jersey conferences as associate treasurer.
“In spite of how you voted today, let me be clear, we are united in our desire to see this conference go from strength to strength. I have the utmost confidence that, if we work together and pray together, we will advance the cause for which each of us cares deeply.”
Outgoing president Daniel Honoré presented his report, highlighting the past four years, and thanking God for the nine years he was allowed to serve as Northeastern Conference president. Oswald Euell gave the secretary’s report, and Robert Chandler submitted the financial report to the delegates.
Six new churches were voted into the sisterhood of churches, and their delegates participated in the session: Dorchester Portuguese, First Rosedale, Luz de Lawrence, Gosen Franco Haitian, Rochester Outreach Community, and Waterbury Portuguese.
The administrators presided over the mergers and dissolutions of the following churches during the quadrennium. The Emmanuel Temple and Victory Temple churches in Buffalo, New York, merged and kept the name Emmanuel Temple. Four small Haitian churches in Brooklyn—Elim, Guilgal, Jorday, and Sychar—merged into the Hermon church. Two churches were dissolved during the quadrennium: Steinway Hispanic and Malden International.
The delegates voted the following departmental directors/associate directors to serve for the 2021-2025 quadrennium:
Adventist Community Services: Mario Augustave
Communication: Duddley Francois
Family Ministries: Samuel and Andrea Blair
Franco Haitian coordinator: Serge Lamour
Health Ministries: Joshua Deonarine
Hispanic coordinator: Hector Ramos
Ministerial: Dedrick Blue
Personal Ministries: Walton Rose
Portuguese coordinator: Marcos Seifert
Religious Liberty: Allen Martin
Sabbath School: Easton Marks
Stewardship: Clifford Manie
Trust Services: Ferron Francis
Women’s Ministries: Donnett Blake
Youth Ministries: Paula Olivier. She is the first female to serve NEC in this position.
Youth Ministries associate directors: Javier Alcon and Duddley Francois
Delegates voted to refer the positions of Adventist Book Center manager and superintendent of education to the Northeastern Conference Executive Committee.
This constituency session is the first session at which the term limits voted by the delegates at the 2012 constituency session fully impact individuals who can return to office. The conference’s constitution and bylaws allow for a two consecutive term limit for all administrators and directors. The exceptions are the treasurer and superintendent of education, who can serve up to three consecutive terms.
Delegates voted a 37-member executive committee that includes 17 laypersons as allowed by the recently-voted changes to the bylaws. The executive committee “is delegated the authority to act on behalf of the constituents between regular constituency sessions.”
The delegates reviewed recommended changes to the constitution and bylaws. Two significant additions to the bylaws include the vote to allow virtual attendance at constituency meetings based on certain conditions (Article II, Section 6) and the vote of guidelines regarding handling the postponement of regular meetings (Article V, Section 5).
In addition to electing those who will serve the conference for the next quadrennium, receiving reports, and voting changes to the constitution and bylaws, delegates completed all the agenda items. The meeting adjourned shortly after 8:00 p.m.
Representatives from the Atlantic Union Conference who assisted with the session were: G. Earl Knight, president; Pierre Omeler, executive secretary; Elias Zabala, Sr., treasurer; Jose Joseph, vice president for Haitian and African ministries; Dionisio Olivo, vice president for Hispanic and Portuguese ministries; and department directors, associate directors, and assistant directors. Also assisting the Atlantic Union team were representatives from two sister conferences: Miguel Crespo and Claudio Gomez, New York Conference president and executive secretary, respectively, and David Dennis and Cesar Perozo, Southern New England Conference president and executive secretary, respectively. Representatives from the North American Division included G. Alexander Bryant, president; Kyoshin Ahn, executive secretary; and Calvin Watkins, vice president for evangelism and regional conferences liaison. Todd Mayer from the General Conference Auditing Service presented the audited reports. Todd McFarland, associate general counsel for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, served as parliamentarian. The AUAM (Atlantic Union Adventist Media) team assisted the conference with the audiovisual presentations for the session.
The Northeastern Conference has more than 60,601 members who worship in 183 organized churches and 30 organized missions in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont (Atlantic Union Conference Second Quarter 2021 Secretary’s Statistical Report). The newly-elected Northeastern Conference administration and directors will serve these entities, in addition to the academies, elementary schools, early childhood education centers, community service centers, the summer camp program at Camp Victory Lake, and other entities and ministries operating within its territory.
Ednor A.P. Davison, Gleaner editor, and Debra Banks Cuadro, assistant communication director