Delegates Elect New Jersey Conference Leadership Team at 41st Constituency
Story by V. Michelle Bernard / Photos by Jorge Pillco
More than 390 delegates to the New Jersey Conference’s (NJC) 41st regular constituency meeting recently gathered at the Robbinsville church to review and celebrate the ministry achievements over the last quinquennium and to vote in the executive leadership team for the next five years.
Members represented 95 organized churches, 13 companies, 11 church plants/groups, and five Seventh-day Adventist education institutions—including seven new churches and seven new companies that were officially voted into the conference at the meeting.
Delegates also voted in the conference’s executive leadership team: President Jorge Aguero; Executive Secretary Stephen Lee; and Treasurer Carlos Portanova.
Aguero, the re-elected president, shared a video report highlighting the conference’s accomplishments by way of local churches, pastors, schools and teachers over the last quinquennium. He also reported that, despite the pandemic, the conference recently celebrated “100 Sabbaths of Victories”—welcoming a total of 2,600 new members through baptisms.
Mario Thorp, who served as executive secretary for the last five years, reported that in August 2017, church membership was at 16,532, and as of June 2022, it stood at 18,126—an increase of 10 percent.
In his treasurer’s report, Portanova said, “During the last five years, faithful members of the New Jersey Conference have returned over $66 million compared to over $56 million in tithe in the previous quinquennium. That is an increase of 18 percent. The year 2021 was a great year on tithe income despite the global pandemic.”
Lee, the newest member of the executive team and who pastors the Robbinsville and Princeton churches and is the conference’s Adventist Community Services director, said, “It is my desire to follow Christ in supporting my mentors and colleagues in administrative and pastoral ministry, teachers who hold a pulpit in their classrooms, the office staff who work behind the scenes, and laity who sacrificially serve their local congregation.”
At the meeting, delegates also voted in a new executive committee—comprised of 19 people—who will meet quarterly to oversee the operations of the conference.
“It was a very exciting and interesting experience,” says Sebastian Campos, a member of the Union City Spanish church and a first-time delegate. “I was very intrigued by how everybody discussed the topics on the agenda and collaborated on electing the leaders for the new term. I truly believe that God has blessed the New Jersey Conference over and over again. I’m confident that the new leaders will do everything in their power to make sure that the mission is a success and to ultimately do God’s will, impacting other lives for the better.”
Aguero concluded the meeting charging the delegates to surrender their lives to Jesus and to make disciples, reminding them, “No matter our differences, you are part of this church, and we’re here to serve you.”