On Thursday 13 June 2019 the British Union Conference (BUC) Executive Committee, met for their quartly meeting. Amongst the many items on the agenda were two significant ones pertaining to the role of BUC Education director to replace Kathleen Hanson and to review and appoint the Mission Officers.
The BUC Education director plays an important role in overseeing the Adventist institutions within the BUC, working on educational policy and strategy, staff and governors' training to name a few, and the committee voted to appoint Gina Abbequaye as the replacement. Speaking of her appointment John Surridge BUC Executive Secretary said, "Mrs Abbequaye has many years of experience as the headteacher at Hyland House School and also currently serves as the SEC Education director. We very much look forward to working with her at the BUC office."
Kathleen, whose present role continues until 24 June, has worked within Adventist Education for 24 years in various capacities which have included that of Teacher, Deputy and Head Teacher. She has a great passion and vision for the work and has achieved much during her time as Education Director. All who work with Kathleen will testify to her professionalism and commitment to excellence. Speaking of Kathleen's time in office, BUC President Ian Sweeney said, "I would like to thank Kathleen for her high quality of leadership and dedication. She has gone beyond the call of duty in her work and has raised the bar in establishing firm educational policies within the BUC." John Surridge expressed his appreciation, by saying, "Kathleen's work ethic in the office has been an inspiration to us all and will be greatly missed."
Speaking of her new appointment Gina said,
"The education of our children plays an important role in the future of our Church. As parents, we have been given the privilege of being stewards of our children's lives for a very short time, but the teaching and training we provide is eternal." Gina shared a statement of her vision of Adventist education:
Adventist Education is not limited to the four walls of an Adventist school, it begins in the home! Its philosophy is:
1) The aim of true education is to restore human beings into the image of God as revealed by the life of Jesus Christ. Only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit can this be accomplished.
2) An education of this kind imparts far more than academic knowledge. It fosters a balanced development of the whole person, spiritual, physical, intellectual, and social-emotional, a process that spans a lifetime.
3) Working together, homes, schools, and churches cooperate with divine agencies to prepare learners to be good citizens in this world and for eternity.
Its core curriculum goals are:
- CHILDREN will choose to accept God as their Creator and their Redeemer.
- CHILDREN will grow in their knowledge and understanding of God's creation.
- CHILDREN will creatively apply their spiritual, physical, intellectual, and social-emotional knowledge.
- CHILDREN will demonstrate their commitment to the Creator through service to others.
In today's climate of some questionable educational legislation, it is now more than ever that we need to champion Adventist Education!
I look forward to giving 100% to working in this area, supporting our schools, parents and members as we navigate the educational journey of our children in 'Modern Britain', preparing them for citizenship in the 'World to come'.
In other matters, the question of Mission Officers was discussed. For those who thought such decisions were made at the BUC Session, Surridge provides some clarification:
Regarding the Missions Officers, Article 10 of the BUC Constitution states, "Mission officers shall be elected by this Union Conference at the time of its regular session and by the Executive Committee not less than two (2) years and not more than three (3) years following a regular session." Although we are now near the end of that two to three year window, this has allowed the BUC Officers to attend two Missions Sessions, hear the reports, and listen to the feedback from the delegates.
The process for selecting the BUC Education director and the Missions Officers involved a meeting of the standing nominating committee, which was set up at the BUC Session in 2016. After discussing each name in detail the recommendations were put to the whole BUC Executive Committee. The decision was to reappoint the current Officers as follows:
Irish Mission President: Dan Serb
Scottish Mission President: Paul Tompkins
Welsh Mission President: Emanuel Bran
Missions Secretary: Jacques Venter
Missions Treasurer: Earl Ramharacksingh