Our Mission
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Mission

The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to call all people to become disciples of Jesus Christ, to proclaim the everlasting gospel embraced by the three angels’ messages (Revelation 14:6-12), and to prepare the world for Christ’s soon return.

From General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Oregon conference

It's All About Jesus!

KNOWING Jesus and others.
Intimately connecting in authentic relationships.

LOVING Jesus and others.
Passionately connecting in transformational community.

SERVING Jesus and others.
Actively responding to Jesus' call and peoples' needs.

SHARING Jesus with others.
Enthusiastically connecting others in a relationship with Jesus.

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oregon adventists

Governance

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Constituency Session
What's Constituency Session?

Every five years in September, delegates from all across the Oregon Conference territory gather for a regular constituency session. During this meeting, representatives – called ‘delegates’ – make final decisions whether or not to confirm key Oregon Conference officers for a new term and approve or deny changes to our governing bylaws.

The constituency session is, without a doubt, one of the most important decision-making bodies in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But it wasn’t designed for decisions to be made hastily. In fact, the road to the constituency session starts long before most people begin thinking about it, and it begins in a place you may not expect––your local church board.

Your local church board doesn’t just gather to make financial decisions or to approve membership transfers, they’re also the bridge between your church and the Oregon Conference. Usually made up of your local church elders and key ministry leaders like the Sabbath School Superintendent or Pathfinder leaders, the local church board is responsible for two things when it comes to the constituency session. The first is to choose delegates to represent their local church body at the constituency session. The second is selecting candidates to be considered for conference committees. One of those candidates is directly appointed to serve on what’s called an “Organizing Committee”––a large group of people representing every church in the Conference! The Organizing Committee’s job is to choose from the lists of names put forward by local church boards to serve on more specialized committees.

The first is a “Nominating Committee.” Its job is to recommend church officers, Executive Committee representatives, and Financial Review Committee representatives to the constituency.

The second is a group called the “Bylaws Committee.” Its job is to suggest revisions to the governing laws that dictate how this conference operates. The new Bylaws Committee will begin their work on revising our Oregon Conference bylaws right after constituency session for our next one!

That’s a lot of committees!

While it may seem like our church is overdoing the number of meetings and groups we use to make decisions––and that certainly comes up often––there are upsides to this system that may not be obvious. The first benefit is that it ensures a certain amount of representation from each local church in the decision-making process, and diversifies representatives to speak on behalf of both the laity and those employed by the church. Secondly, while our system can be slow to change, it also guards against erratic leadership, ensuring that no one person holds outsized influence on how the church operates or who serves in leadership.

Each regular constituency session is the result of the combined efforts made by the Nominating Committee (who put forward our administrative officers’ names, as well as names for the Executive Committee and Financial Review Committee that serve throughout the year to make executive and financial decisions) and the Bylaws Committee (who offered revisions to the bylaws we use to govern the Oregon Conference, including how we run meetings like constituency session!).

In order to prepare voting delegates for the constituency session, every delegate is mailed a physical copy of every potential change being suggested during the session, at least 15 days in advance of the session. In theory, this gives delegates time to thoroughly read through, pray over, and think about the potential decisions being made. Ideally, this also keeps the pace of voting down to a reasonable amount of time, ensuring that everything can be taken care of and final decisions can be made in one day so that everyone can return to the important work going on in their local area.

The Oregon Conference constituency session is an open meeting that is typically live streamed on––but only delegates have the responsibility of voting. Delegates are tasked with making the final decisions about policy and administrative leadership––setting up the next five years of Oregon Conference governance.

Electing Administrative Leadership

One of the important functions of a regular constituency session is to elect or re-elect our administrative leadership.

Many of us are familiar with basic corporate and governmental hierarchical leadership structures in which vice presidents report directly to the president. That’s not actually how the Oregon Conference works, however.

According to our bylaws, there are four co-equal officers that each report directly to the Executive Committee. Those officers are President, Secretary (VP for Administration), Treasurer (VP for Finance), and Superintendent of Schools (VP for Education). The four officers are differentiated by function, not by rank.  

When one of the officers retires, moves, or is unable function in their leadership role, the bylaws do not include any protocols for “succession” in which another officer could transition (even temporarily) to a different office. Instead, the conference continues to operate by committee with the remaining officers working together to accomplish the business and ministry of the conference under the authority and supervision of the Executive Committee. In accordance with our bylaws, the Secretary (VP for Administration) chairs any necessary committees in the absence of the president.

The function of the Oregon Conference office is to support the ministry of our churches and schools. That support continues, even during a leadership transition. Key decisions will be processed by the administrative team and referred to the Executive Committee, as necessary. Meanwhile ministry directors continue to serve churches in their areas of expertise.

Current Oregon Conference Administrative Committee
  • Kara Johnsson, VP for Administration (Secretary)
  • Ron Jacaban, VP for Education (Superintendent of Schools)
  • Jonathan Russell, Assistant to the President
  • Juan Pacheco, Assistant to the President for Communication
  • David Paczka, Latino/Hispanic Ministries Director
  • Rick Jordan, Ministerial Director
When is the next Regular Constituency Session?

The next Oregon Conference regular constituency session is scheduled for September 19, 2027.

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Oregon Conference Executive Committee

Executive Committee is the governing committee of the Oregon Conference. Between regular constituency sessions, our bylaws state that it has “full administrative authority to conduct the business of the conference.” These duties include overseeing policies, personnel, and committees that perform the work of the Oregon Conference. During their five year term, the group works with conference administration to make the decisions that guide the work of the conference.

On September 17, 2022 the Oregon Conference constituency met at Portland Adventist Academy to conduct business during our 59th regular constituency session. One of the tasks at hand was to appoint the lay people, pastors, and teachers, recommended by the Nominating Committee, that would compose the Executive Committee for the coming term. Currently, 23 people make up the group with a few others as non-voting participants. Of these, over half are lay people from nearly every part of the Oregon Conference territory.

Current Oregon Conference Executive Committee Members

Kara Johnsson – VP for Administration
Ron Jacaban – VP for Education
Ann Beckett – Your Bible Speaks Community Adventist Church, member
Kip Bradford – Gateway Adventist Church, pastor
Marie Brucker – Corvallis Adventist Church, member
Jerson Caluya – Lents Adventist Church, member
German Escalante – Milwaukie Spanish Adventist Church, member
Sharon Fleshman – Tabernacle Adventist Church, member
Linda Foxworth* – Sharon Adventist Church, member
Edwin Gibbons* – Madras Adventist Church, member
Pattie Gilliland – Meadow Glade Adventist Church, member
Dave Heusser – Dallas Adventist Church, member
Dan Hughes – Journey Adventist Church, member
Kyle King* – Adventist Health - Portland
Monty Knittel – Bend Adventist Church, member
Ted Mackett – Sunnyside Adventist Church, member
Christina Orozco-Acosta – Tualatin Valley Academy, principal
David Paczka – OC Hispanic Ministries representative
Belinda Rodriguez* – McMinnville Spanish Adventist Church, pastor
David Rodriguez* – Whipple Creek Adventist Church, member
Lynette Schenkel – Springfield Adventist Church, member
Brian Simmons – Hood View Adventist Church, pastor
Rory Wold* – Medford Adventist Church, member

*members re-elected to a second term

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Documents
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Learn more about church governance

If you want to learn more about how our church works, be sure to listen to a quick history of our system of governance from our friends at the “How the Church Works” podcast!

Oregon Adventist History

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Who We Are

The Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists represents over 130 churches and 32 K-12 schools in Oregon and southwest Washington. The conference headquarters, located in Gladstone, Oregon serves its constituency by providing ministry and logistical support to pastors, teachers and over 36,000 members.

The Oregon Conference is part of the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church which has a ministry presence in 217 nations and includes over 20 million members.

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Oregon Conference History

Adventist doctrines were introduced to our state when Isaac D. Van Horn arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 1874. He had first lived and worked in the Walla Walla Valley of the Washington Territory. He held meetings and organized churches at several eastern Oregon locations such as Milton, Weston, Pendleton, and La Grande.

In May 1876, the Isaac Van Horn family and his assistant—Alonzo T. Jones (a recent convert who had been serving in the army)—moved to the Willamette Valley. Their first evangelistic meetings in what is now the Oregon Conference was in Oregon City. They next went to Salem and held meetings. On January 14, 1877, they officially organized the first church in the Willamette Valley—Salem. From there more and more churches and companies formed in response to the great Advent truths.

In 1902, the portion of Oregon that lies west of the Cascade Mountains and south of the Columbia River became the Western Oregon Conference with Francis M. Burg serving as President. Further organization came in 1910 as several southwestern Oregon counties separated to become the Southern Oregon Conference. In 1920, the Western Washington Conference decided to close its two academies (Mt. Vernon and Battle Ground) and start one centrally located academy in Auburn. However, the members in southwestern Washington refused to close their academy; they left the Washington Conference to join the Western Oregon Conference. In 1932, the Southern Oregon Conference rejoined the Western Oregon Conference, for economy’s sake, becoming known as the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Adventists Worldwide

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Adventist History

Around the world, individuals from many different faith backgrounds, including Baptist, Methodist, and Christian Connection, were preaching that the second coming of Christ was imminent. In North America, William Miller, based upon his understanding of Bible Prophecy, set a date – October 22, 1844 – for when the Lord would appear. Eagerly he and his fellow believers, known as Adventists, prepared for the appointed day. When it came and went, they suffered a great disappointment; the message had been sweet in their mouths but very sour in their stomachs just as Revelation 10:9, 10 had foretold.

Many of these early Adventists bitterly renounced their beliefs, but a small group decided to restudy the prophecies to understand what had happened. Gradually they came to a new realization: though Christ's return was imminent, a specific date could not be set. As they continued to study, more and more Bible truth came to light: the sanctuary message, the state of the dead, and the seventh-day Sabbath.

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Adventist Organization

Realizing organization was essential to the successful spreading of these Bible truths, in 1863 this faithful group of North American Bible students officially launched the Seventh-day Adventist Church with an initial membership of 3,500. Today the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a worldwide movement composed of over 20 million members in more than 200 nations. Each day, more than 2,000 people become part of the Adventist family through baptism or profession of faith.

The world church organization, known as the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, is divided into thirteen divisions: East-Central Africa, Euro-Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Inter-American, Inter-European, Israel Field, North American, Northern Asia-Pacific, Southern Africa-Indian Ocean, South American, South Pacific, Southern Asia, Southern Asia-Pacific, Trans-European and West-Central Africa.

Our North American Division (NAD) is comprised of nine unions: The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada, Atlantic Union Conference, Columbia Union Conference, Lake Union Conference, Southern Union Conference, Mid-American Union Conference, Southwestern Union Conference, Pacific Union Conference, and North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC).

Our union, which is often referred to as the NPUC, is made up of six conferences: Alaska, Washington, Upper Columbia, Montana, Idaho and Oregon. Our conference is comprised of 133 congregations with a total membership of almost 36,517.

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Our Church Name and It's Use

The name Seventh-day Adventist includes vital beliefs for us as a Church. 'Adventist' reflects our passionate conviction in the nearness of the soon return ('advent') of Jesus. 'Seventh-day' refers to the Biblical Sabbath which from Creation has always been the seventh day of the week, or Saturday. View a list of our beliefs.

The name Seventh-day Adventist represents the Seventh-day Adventist Church, its institutions and organizations, its local churches and its members. The name and the logo are trademarked and registered identities.

As with all proper names, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to spell, pronounce, abbreviate and otherwise use this name.

Spelling: Seventh-day Adventist, including the hyphen and a lower-case “d” for “day”.

The pronunciation: Seventh-day Ad’-ven-tist with the accent on the first syllable.

The abbreviation: Adventist. Not “SDA”. As with most longer names, abbreviations grow out of their common use and often reflect an air of “those in the know”, much like contemporary slang is used. This is the manner in which “SDA” has come to be used in place of “Seventh-day Adventist”. However this usage runs counter to the purposes of a church, which is to reach out and be inclusive to all. The term “SDA”, out of context and without prior knowledge, can represent any number of organizations around the world, many with functions and purposes very different from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In a few parts of the world, this term has become fully embedded in the public mind, but for the majority of the world it remains an unidentified or exclusive term. The preferred abbreviation, therefore, is the word “Adventist” for all official or public communication. The Church’s identity should always be clear and accessible.

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What Adventists Believe

Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as the only source of our beliefs. We consider our movement to be the result of the Protestant conviction Sola Scriptura—the Bible as the only standard of faith and practice for Christians.

Currently, Adventists hold 28 fundamental beliefs that can be organized into six categories—the doctrines of God, man, salvation, the church, the Christian life and last day events. In each teaching, God is the architect, who in wisdom, grace and infinite love, is restoring a relationship with humanity that will last for eternity.

Visit the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist site