The 52nd Constituency Session of the Alberta Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was convened on May 7 at College Heights Adventist Church in Lacombe, Alta. Delegates present had the opportunity to receive reports of the work done by the conference over the past six years, vote on bylaws changes, and elect conference leadership for the next term.
Very early in the morning, the nominating committee met for final deliberations before submitting its report to the delegates. The general meeting started with a devotional message by Paul Llewellyn, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada (SDACC), in which he challenged the membership to be a church where Jesus is intentionally lifted high.
With the session declared open, the first votes taken by delegates had to do with the election of conference officers for the new term. Jeff Potts, who currently serves as senior pastor of College Heights Adventist Church, was elected president. Potts is recognized as a pastor at heart and passionate church planter. He has pastored churches in various provinces and conferences across Canada. After serving in Ontario and British Columbia, Potts went to the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference in 1999, where he planted four new churches in four years in the Winnipeg area before being called to serve as ministerial director and subsequently executive secretary for that conference. Potts has earned both a master of divinity and a doctor of ministry from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. In July 2017, he was invited to pastor the College Heights church, located on the campus of Burman University. Jeff and his wife Nancy have four daughters and three grandchildren.
Speaking of Potts’ election, Paul Llewellyn said, “I have great confidence in Jeff as he takes on the role of president for this great conference. Jeff and Nancy have a life of dedication to ministry, to Christ and to the people of His church.”
For the office of executive secretary/vice-president for administration, delegates elected Melissa Cooke, who since November 2021 has served in the same capacity at the Maritime Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Cooke was born in Houston, Tex., to El Salvadorean parents, but was raised in Toronto, Ont. The province of Alberta is no strange place for her, as she earned her bachelor’s in religious studies from Canadian University College (now Burman University). After graduating from Burman, Melissa pastored in British Columbia and worked on obtaining her master of divinity from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, which she completed in 2017. Melissa and her husband, Jason, have two young sons.
Keith Richter, who has been with the Alberta Conference since 2006, and serving as treasurer since 2011, was re-elected as treasurer/chief financial officer. Richter is well-loved by the constituency and recognized as a faithful steward of church resources. He is someone who loves evangelism, supports outreach efforts, and facilitates the employment of resources to help congregations grow in their ministry.
A moving moment occurred at the session when all pastors present surrounded the newly elected leaders (with Melissa Cooke joining by phone) and accompanied Paul Llewellyn in his prayer of dedication of the officers.
Llewellyn joined the Alberta Conference staff in thanking outgoing president Gary Hodder—whose retirement became effective at the end of the session—and his wife, Almyra, for their dedicated service to the conference and the church in Canada, wishing them a happy retirement.
Endearing words of gratitude were also offered to Wayne Williams, outgoing executive secretary, in recognition of his dedicated ministry and service in his office. Paul Llewellyn revealed to attendees that Williams has called him regularly over the past few years just to ask how Llewellyn was doing and pray for him.
The session program ended with words of encouragement and a prayer by newly appointed president, Jeff Potts. Delegates and attendees left the building having the sense of a truly spiritual, uplifting experience. We solicit your continued prayers for the work in the Alberta Conference and its new leadership team.
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada
Oshawa, Ont., May 11, 2023