|Seventh-day Adventist world church leaders recognized spiritual maturity and financial stability last month when they voted a change of administrative status for the North Philippine region of the church.
As a 'union conference,' the region is fully self-sufficient and responsible for electing its three main administrative officers: president, secretary and treasurer. Under their former 'union mission' status, the North Philippines received appropriation for operation from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, one of the world church's 13 administrative regions.
|[map: courtesy World Factbook]
Home to the nation's capital, Manila, the North Philippine region is the second largest and wealthiest of the church's three union conferences in the Philippines, said Claude Sabot, a world church associate secretary for the church's Southern Asia-Pacific region.
"We are grateful to God for enabling us to realize spiritual maturity, stability and the sustainability of [our] financial circumstances ... [to] attain this milestone," said regional church President Abner S. Roque.
With its new status, the region anticipates "greater autonomy" and "responsibility for self management," Roque said, adding that the North Philippine church administration would focus on stewardship, membership growth and the development of the region's medical and educational institutions.
The North Philippine Union Conference oversees the Adventist University of the Philippines, several church-run colleges, academies and the Manila Adventist Medical Center. One of the world church's biannual business meetings was held
in Manila last year.
Unity, strong leadership, financial independence and active outreach programs are among the criteria church officials consider when granting 'union conference' status to 'union missions,' Sabot said.
More than 230,000 Adventists worship in 1,306 churches in the North Philippine Union Conference. The Adventist Church was established in the Philippines in 1917.