R. Steven Norman III
North American Division
R. Steven Norman III
R. Steven Norman III
South Central Conference held its fifth Quinquennial and 26th Constituency Meeting on Sunday, July 24, 2022. Nearly 700 delegates assembled at the Oakwood University Church in Huntsville, Alabama, to discuss the business of the Church. Due to pandemic restrictions in recent years, the session, initially scheduled for 2021, was moved to 2022 by a vote from the Conference committee to allow for in-person meetings.
Setting the tone for the constituency session, Roger Bernard, president of the Central States Conference, led out with a powerful devotional titled “Deep Waters,” highlighting the Church’s bend toward self-sufficiency and desperate need for total dependence on Jesus Christ.
As the meeting progressed and the reports for the president, executive secretary, and chief financial officer were presented, Benjamin Jones Jr., South Central president, described the two realities he credits with helping to shape his understanding of God’s revelation of end-time events. “The first reality is that I’m convinced that we are living in the closing period of the great controversy between Jesus and Satan, which will usher in the second coming of Christ …. The second reality is that at the same time, God has promised a movement of the power of God upon the Earth through the working of the Holy Spirit among the people of God that will surpass the Pentecostal anointing of the first-century church,” he said. In her financial report, Sonja Crayton, chief financial officer, shared South Central’s successes through the COVID-19 pandemic and its bright future ahead. “Although marred by unusual catastrophies, disasters, and unanticipated circumstances that impacted hundreds of families, this quinquennium immortalized God’s intervention in the lives of His children, His faithfulness in keeping every promise, and His tender leading in the affairs of His church — the apple of His eye,” said Crayton.
Delegates voted to re-elect Benjamin Jones Jr. as Conference president, and Sonja Crayton as chief financial officer. Vandeon Griffin, D.Min., was elected as the executive secretary. The delegates also voted for Conference directors and associates, and elected an Executive Committee to serve for the next five years. As Larry Bailey, executive secretary, steps away from his post, he expressed his gratitude to the constituents and his administrative colleagues. “…to the constituency, it has been a privilege and honor to have served these past six months as executive secretary,” he said.
As the constituents were given opportunities to discuss and vote on important Conference business, a first-of-its-kind event took place. A motion brought from the floor allowed the suspension of the General Conference rules that permit a single name to be presented by the nominating committee. The motion (which pertained only to the Office of the President) was passed by the delegates on the floor. Three names were presented and voted, and Benjamin Jones Jr. was selected by an overwhelming majority as president. This session also included changes to the Conference bylaws. After a period of discussion, the delegates voted to accept many of the proposed changes recommended by the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
Some of the items voted include the following: The president and executive secretary will be elected quinquennially and serve no more than two full successive five-year terms. The chief financial officer, directors of departments, associates, services, and members of the Executive Committee, Constitution, and Bylaws Committee, and associate Board members will be elected quinquennially. The purpose of these changes is to provide clarity and to serve better the current needs of South Central’s churches and constituents.
In response to his re-election as president, Jones commented, “My heart is full right now, and I want to thank you for trusting me to be your leader for the next quinquennium. I love you with all my heart. I’m praying for you; I know you’ve prayed for me. Together we’re going to get near home and bring Jesus home. God bless you. The choice of this year’s theme, ‘Nearing Home,’ reminds us of the importance of finishing the Work as we draw nearer to Christ’s return. We are grateful for what God has done amidst the changes and challenges in ministry in recent years, and are excited to see what He has in store for South Central Conference. May God continue to bless and guide our leaders as they share the Gospel in this part of His vineyard.
DL South Central | October 2022