On the opening day of its three-day constituency meeting at College Park Adventist Church, delegates of the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists have voted Pastor Mansfield Edwards to a five-year term as president. It is Edward’s third term, having been elected for the first time in 2009 and then again in 2013.
Delegates also voted Pastor David Schwinghammer as vice-president for Administration/executive secretary, and Virene Meikle as treasurer. Schwinghammer has served as interim executive secretary since the end of 2016 after his predecessor, Pastor Gary Hodder, was elected as president of the Alberta Conference in October 2016. Schwinghammer was also director for Stewardship and Worship. Similarly, Meikle, who was associate treasurer at the time, was appointed as treasurer after Ulysses Guarin had been elected as treasurer of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada in August 2016.
He was voted with 82.3 percent of the vote.
After his election, Edwards spoke of the humbling task of being asked to serve for the new quinquennium.
“I am humbled that God has placed this on me. I am also humbled by the confidence that you, as delegates have placed in me. In my own strength, I know that it is misplaced, but I ask you to pray with me that God’s Spirit will be the president of this great conference and that I will be here to do as He commands.”
He also spoke of the task before him, the administration and board of directors.
“We are at a decisive point in our earth’s history and I am confident in the soon-coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our role as a Conference is to carry out the mission that God has given us. It is not only the theme for our weekend, but it is a declaration of the direction in which we believe the Holy Spirit is leading His church in Ontario. Let us work together to ensure we are part of this mission.”
Under Edward’s tenure the Conference has focussed on mission. It is his belief that the church must have a clear mission, defined aims and realistic goals. He has led Conference directors to work in alignment, create events, activities and provide training that speaks to the mission of the church. In recent years, Ontario has become known in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists as a conference that operates strategically.
Ontario’s move from a four-year to a five-year term was voted at the 2013 constituency meeting and follows the trend among other Canadian Conferences.