In many ways, the August 18-20 constituency meeting ushered in an era of change, with 9 new directors in departments as wide-ranging as Camp Frenda, Communications, Family Life, Ministerial, Personal Ministries, Property Management, Sabbath School and Stewardship. To accommodate both new and re-elected directors—comprising the largest group of directors in Conference history—administrators set out to realign support staff and relocate departments for greater efficiency. For instance, the decision was made that the Camp Frenda and Youth departments should be in the same area with a shared secretary in between them. As President Mansfield Edwards explained, “The new directors have been strategically positioned to facilitate alignment in their departmental efforts."
Following the constituency meeting, the Conference was abuzz with activity as support staff, re-elected and outgoing directors got their hands dirty clearing out accumulated materials in offices and storage rooms, and moving offices. While their task seemed “Herculean” at times, it was truly “all hands on deck,” said Edwin Martin, Adventurer/Pathfinder/Master Guide director. Jelene Decena, Property Management secretary, particularly appreciated seeing leadership in the forefront. “If you see Pastor Dave [Schwinghammer, Executive Secretary] and Lila [Oliviera, HR] pulling out stuff, cleaning, it makes you think, you know what? They’re giving 100%. I need to give everything for the team.”
New directors joined in the excitement three weeks after session, with an official start date of September 12. For many, the days or even hours leading up to their arrival were characterized by seismic shifts—e.g., relocating (some with family), leaving home at the crack of dawn from Brampton and other far-flung places to make it in for 7:30 am worship, holding down the fort at their churches until the Conference could begin pastoral reassignments and more.
Furthermore, while some directors took over departments with minimal clutter, countless others were met with piles of decades-old resources, including such gems as cassette tapes and VHS videos found in the communications storage.
“In the transition of moving offices, there were supplies, materials and resources all over the place, and everyone worked together,” said Elizabeth Pule, Family Ministries director, adding with a laugh, “I don’t think anyone will forget that.”
Edwards also spoke in terms of the new team gelling together during the transition process, saying, “I welcome the new directors to the joys and challenges of their new responsibilities. I affirm the maturity of the outgoing directors who have willingly assisted in the transition process.”
Regardless of any inconvenience, Conference staff remained in good spirits. Jakov Bibulovic, Evangelism director, touted the spiritual and social benefits of the reorganization exercise. “I love the way we started cleaning as soon as we came back to the office. I believe it’s biblical to start with a cleaning. Revival in the Bible always starts with a cleaning of the temple, as in Nehemiah’s time. And the process of cleaning and organizing connected us together.”
The new directors’ early weeks also included an orientation to the Conference’s strategic vehicle, REACH Ontario. Directors started to get a sense of how their department could contribute to the Conference setting and reaching audacious goals in the areas of Revival and transformation; Education for discipleship; Alignment within the church; Community outreach & evangelism; and Healthy leadership & management. This general orientation was reinforced by an individualized orientation with administration which opened new directors’ eyes to the scope of their new role and functions, as well as creative opportunities therein. Most new directors would concur with James Rooney, Camp Frenda director, who said of his shift from pastoral ministry, “If I were to choose an adjective, astounding. Just totally different expectations, different scenarios and needs.”
All change takes time, but by aligning resources, as facilitated by the shifting of offices and support staff, what seemed like a Goliath can be conquered. Speaking for the directors as a whole, the re-elected Martin said, “Little by little things are falling into place and we look forward to fulfilling the mandate set forth for the next five years.”
Schwinghammer concluded, “Time has not stood still since the beginning of this quinquennium. Many great things are happening and God continues to be faithful.”