General Ontario Conference


Empowering Change: Ontario Conference Selects Dynamic Directors for Key Roles

Top Left: Allen Chichester, Raul Gonzalez | Bottom Left: James Rooney, Patricia Lopez

Posted: July 13th, 2023

The Ontario Conference Board's inaugural meeting was an important gathering aimed at addressing staffing needs within the organization. With several key positions left vacant due to recent departures, positions remaining unfilled from the previous conference session, and positions that typically arise during the transition of a new administration, the agenda focused on filling these crucial roles. This outcome of the meeting helped to shape the future of the Ontario Conference to ensure its continued effectiveness in serving the province.

Pastor Allen Chichester, previously known for his role as the director of Children's Ministry, has been appointed as the Director of Family and Men's Ministry. With a Doctor of Ministry degree, his graduate studies specifically focused on ministering to the needs of families. From 1997 to 2001, he served as a lecturer at the University of the Southern Caribbean, teaching courses on family life education. Notably, Pastor Chichester has successfully organized Men's ministry programs abroad, as well as family life retreats and marriage recommitment weekends for churches within the Ontario Conference. He is certified by the North American Division Children's Ministries Department in Child Evangelism. With his extensive experience and unwavering commitment to supporting families and fostering positive relationships among men, Pastor Chichester is exceptionally well-suited to excel in this vital position.

Pastor Raul Gonzalez, pastor of Spanish Bet-el-Adventist Church and Dios Con Adventist Group, has been appointed as the Associate Ministerial Secretary. Pastor Gonzalez has extensive ministerial experience serving churches in Ontario and in Mexico. He has served as the Hispanic coordinator for the Ontario Conference and is currently the vice president of the Greater Toronto Ministerial Association. In that role he is known for his active involvement in working with pastors in Toronto and supporting their educational and professional needs. Pastor Gonzalez will work alongside the current ministerial secretary, Frankie Lazarus.

Drawing from his extensive property management skills, Pastor James Rooney, the former Director of Camp Frenda and Camp New Lowell, has been appointed as Property management assistant and has assumed the responsibility of Kingsway Pioneer Home administrator. Pastor Rooney's expertise and dedication to excellence will ensure the smooth operation and maintenance of conference facilities.

The Board has also appointed Patricia Lopez to lead Children's and Women's Ministry. Patricia brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role. She has successfully facilitated, directed, and overseen numerous Women's Ministry Events, making her a highly sought-after guest speaker at Women's Ministry retreats. Additionally, Patricia has developed a five-day workshop called "The Lady Lazarus" and is currently working on a book with the same title, which will add to her existing two books. Patricia is also a teacher at College Park and served as a teaching principal at the London Adventist Church, amassing a total of 23 years of experience. Her unwavering passion for children and women's ministry will undoubtedly inspire and empower others.

Pastors Chichester, Gonzalez and Ms. Lopez will officially begin their new positions on August 1, while Pastor Rooney will commence his responsibilities on September 1.

In addition to the personal appointments, the board also selected members for the Pastoral Placement Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Board of Education. These important committees and the Board will play vital roles in ensuring the smooth functioning and growth of the Ontario Conference and its educational institutions.

Jakov Bibulović, President of the Ontario Conference and Chair of the Conference Board of Directors, commended the board for giving of its valuable time to provide thoughtful discussions and contribute to an efficient decision-making process. Bibulović remarked, "The selected directors, committee members, and board members will have a great impact on the Ontario Conference. I firmly believe that their addition, along with the current Director team, strongly positions us for a bright future of spiritual growth and community engagement in Ontario as we carry out the Gospel mission of Jesus."