SILVER SPRING, Md. — In a hastily-arranged yet highly somber break-away session from this year’s Annual Council meetings, Adventist leaders from around the world held up miniature coffins in defiance of the prospect of losing their jobs as a result of next year’s General Conference Session elections.
The “Over my Dead Body” ceremony had been organized as a response to an attempt by General Conference administrators to ready church officials for the elections and alert them to the reality that many would be voted out of office. The warnings had largely fallen on deaf ears.
“By holding this symbolic coffin in our hands we are saying “Over my dead body” to those jumpy whippersnappers that want to steal our jobs,” said South American Division Stewardship Director, Juan Empleo, the self-appointed organizer of the event. The leaders assembled were challenged by Empleo to place the boxes on their office desks and “take a good look at them whenever you think the church might need an infusion of new blood in leadership.”
Empleo said that while he sympathized with leaders that were anxious about next year’s elections, there was still plenty of time for campaigning ahead of the voting. He encouraged each leader present to “put your big boy pants on and fight the good fight.”