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[:en]The Seventh-day Adventist world church headquarters auditorium Monday became a university lecture hall where hundreds of administrators visiting from around the world studied and reviewed sections of a voluminous book called the Working Policy.

Adventist world church Secretary G. T. Ng handed out apples to Annual Council delegates who answered quiz questions correctly. Various quizzes tested delegates' knowledge of the Working Policy. "How many times have you read it cover-to-cover?" he asked. The audience laughed heartily, if not sheepishly. (photos by Ansel Oliver)

In a twist from a typical business meeting during this 2012 Annual Council, top officials of the executive secretary’s office turned to skits and quizzes to maintain interest in what many jet-lagged pastors would probably consider a rather sleep-inducing subject: The content of a 900-page book that acts as a summary of the church’s policy and procedures.

Church officials this year decided to make administrators more familiar with the Working Policy after realizing that many of them did not often read the black-bound book, which contained only 63 pages when it was introduced in 1926.

«How many times have you read the Working Policy from cover to cover?» asked G. T. Ng, the witty General Conference Secretary. The response – loud laughter – didn’t surprise Ng, who awarded small, red apples to administrators who successfully answered his many quiz questions throughout the two-hour course.

Class began with Ng ringing an attention-grabbing hand bell at the podium. «Hello, good morning class, welcome to General Conference University, this is class GCWP101,» he announced, as ushers handed out a syllabus.

Ng’s presentation divided the Working Policy into five sections, each led by a General Conference official who offered the following highlights:

• Organization and Administration: Lowell Cooper, a vice president, explained the difference between the Church Manual and the Working Policy. The Working Policy, he said, is a collection of global leadership decisions stating how entities within the structure of the church should live and work together; the Church Manual, he said, guides churches on how they should operate in relation to their local conference. One book is not above the other, he said; they are to be used side by side.

In an on-stage drama, Undersecretary Myron Iseminger portrays a man at the head of the line at a bookstore who has secured the final copy the new 2012 Working Policy from the store manager, much to the dismay of those in line behind him who had hoped to buy a copy on its day of release.

• Departments and Agencies: David Trim, director of Archives, Statistics and Research, stated there were 13 sets of policies, one for each departments of the world church..

• Ministry and Training: Associate Ministerial Secretary Jonas Arrais emphasized the responsibility of conferences, missions and fields to supervise intern pastors and offer appropriate training, including three months or 350 hours of experience as a literature evangelist.

• Inter Divisional Employees Policies: Rosa Banks, an associate secretary, outlined a policy that states that missionaries are required to attend the Mission Institute to learn how to live in the mission field, which is especially useful when serving in a different culture than their own.

• Associate Treasurer Daisy Orion lectured about Financial Policies, which included reminders such as the requirement that financial audits be conducted, and core policies for compliance testing.

At the end of the class, ushers handed out a report card with the words «Congratulations! You survived Introduction to Working Policy 101.» The card included a prewritten letter grade: A+.

Ng then invited the students to attend next year’s class, GCWP201.

The auditorium organist concluded the lecture by playing the song most associated with graduations, «Pomp and Circumstance.»

for more photos of Annual Council, see the ANN Flickr account.

Oct. 15, 2012 Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Edwin Manuel Garcia/ANN
 
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