Reflections on the Special General Conference Session
January 18, 2022
Derek Morris | President, Hope Channel InternationalSilver Spring, MD
The Special General Conference Session on January 18, 2022, was a historic meeting. It had been almost 142 years since a Special Session had been called by the Seventh-day Adventist Church (March 1880). What was the reason for this historic meeting? The regularly scheduled General Conference Session, currently held every five years, had been postponed twice; first from 2020 to 2021, and then from 2021 to 2022. No further postponements were permitted by the General Conference Constitution. So, the question was asked, “What if travel restrictions related to the global health pandemic prevent a quorum of 900+ delegates from gathering in St. Louis, USA, in June 2022?” The General Conference Session would be unable to conduct any business of the church.
The answer to this problem was to call a Special General Conference Session on January 18, 2022, with the sole purpose of amending the General Conference Constitution to allow for virtual attendance for delegates with full voice and vote at future General Conference Sessions. A reduced number of 400 delegates were invited to the Special General Conference Session at the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, on January 18, 2022. Of that number, 247 attended, 115 more than the minimum needed for a quorum. As the President of Hope Channel International, I was privileged to serve as a delegate at this Special General Conference Session. The motion was presented to allow virtual attendance for delegates at future General Conference Sessions, with full voice and vote, and the delegates in attendance voted unanimously to approve the motion.
What are the implications of this constitutional amendment for our world church? No matter what conditions may exist around the world, no region will be marginalized. Even if delegates cannot travel to the General Conference Session location due to war, pandemics, or other hardships, they will be able to attend virtually, with full voice and vote.
The decision made at the January 18, 2022, Special General Conference Session ensures that all delegates will have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the decision making process of our world church at future General Conference Sessions.