Ontario Conference Elects Jakov Bibulović as President at 35th Constituency Meeting

Posted: June 9th, 2023

Pastor Jakov Bibulović is the new president of the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Delegates to the 35th Quinquennial Constituency Meeting, held on June 2 and 4, 2023, at the International Centre, Mississauga, voted 79% in favour to accept the nominating committee’s recommendation.

The vote occurred about an hour after the business session commenced on Friday afternoon, June 2.
Accepting the decision of the delegates President Bibulovic briefly spoke of his gratitude to God and to the delegates for the trust they placed in him. “We are in God’s hands,” he said. “We must place our trust in Him because Jesus is coming soon!”

He also paid tribute to his predecessor, Mansfield Edwards, as a visionary leader and said how much he enjoyed working with him and the treasurer as an administrative team.

Since late 2018, Bibulovic served as vice president for administration/executive secretary. He had been in his second term as Evangelism, Church Growth and Church Planting director when the board of directors asked him to replace David Schwinghammer as executive secretary.

Bibulovic first began pastoral ministry in Serbia, the land of his birth, before moving with his wife, Ljubica, and their daughter, Isabella, to Canada in 2001. Prior to being elected as a director in 2013, He served as pastor of the Toronto Yugoslavian Church for 11 years and then the Barrie Church for three years.

New Four-Person Administrative Team

Delegates also voted for a new four-person administrative team, replacing the former three-person one.  As vice presidents, Pastor Emile Maxi, Virene Miekle and Pastor Mansfield Edwards will join the president as officers.   Former Superintendent of Schools, Emile Maxi, takes on the role of vice president for administration/executive secretary. Virene Miekle continues in her role as vice president for finance/treasurer.  Former president, Mansfield Edwards will serve as vice president for Evangelism and Outreach/Seniors Ministry/Indigenous Ministry.

Confusion over Voting Procedures

When Pastor Paul Llewellyn, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada  (SDACC) and chair of the Nominating Committee, introduced the committee’s initial report on Friday some of the 461 delegates present were confused.  He explained that the report would be presented as a block of names. If there were any objections to any name, they were to be made against the block, not the individual name.  He also stated that objections and referrals back to the committee should only be made if there was a serious matter such as a criminal record or a moral or ethical reason.  Some delegates were clearly not pleased with this and said that they were being prohibited from exercising their right to object on other grounds.  Others disagreed, saying that the Nominating Committee should be trusted since they had asked the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Some delegates raised other areas for discussion, often unrelated to the motion that was on the floor but related to the constituency meeting as a whole. Among these was the question of why the conference’s vision, values and goals had not first been presented.  The delegate asked if the Nominating Committee had used these as the basis for selecting the right leaders. The chair was very gracious and allowed him and others to speak for a while before reminding them that they needed to speak to the motion.

Eventually, the chair agreed that he, along with Pastor Cyril Millett, executive secretary of the SDACC, would privately listen to all objectives and determine if a matter warranted being referred to the Nominating Committee. With that settled, discussion on the block continued before delegates voted on each individual name while he or she was outside the room.

The business was adjourned at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday at 8:30 a.m.

 Sunday, June 4

On Sunday, June 4, an additional 69 delegates registered, increasing attendance to 530 to resume business. Organisers had prepared for 761 eligible delegates.

The day began with a devotional message by Pastor Bonita J Shields, a vice president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

Pastor Mansfield presented the president’s report for the last time.  Following, Pastor Bibulovic presented the secretary’s report before assuming the president’s chair, left vacant for him by Edwards.

Before business continued, Pastor Anthony Kern, spoke highly of Pastor Edward’s leadership and moved that delegates voted to express appreciation to him for his visionary and spiritual leadership.
The motion was overwhelmingly passed and delegates stood and enthusiastically applauded the former president.

Pastor Andre Anderson moved that the vision and goals be visible throughout constituency meetings so that all decisions regarding personnel are made and guided by them.  Delegates approved the motion.

The confusion on Friday about the procedure continued and Pastor Millett carefully went through the General Conference rules of order.  This helped delegates, many of whom were attending a constituency session for the first time, to understand the procedures.

Throughout the day, the Nominating Committee presented blocks of recommended names for election as directors. Delegates approved all names:

Adventurers/Pathfinder/MasterGuides: Edwin Martin, Incumbent
Camp Ministries: Jason Perkins, Kingsway College staff, former principal of College Park Elementary  School
Church Planting/Evangelism/Church Revitalization: Serevudh Ly, pastor, Mt Zion Filipino
Communications/Media:  Shawn Ellis, associate pastor, Apple Creek
Family/Women’s/Men’s/Children’s Ministry: Elizabeth and Orlando Pule
Health/Prayer Ministries: Edith Missah-Habaradas, administrative assistant to the executive secretary
Ministerial Secretary: Frankie Lazarus, pastor, Toronto West
Associate Ministerial Secretary: To be voted by the board of directors
Ministries of Compassion: Andrew King, pastor, Downsview

Personal Ministries/Sabbath School:  Joel Nembhard, pastor, Toronto Central
Prison Ministries Coordinator: To be voted by the board of directors
School of Evangelism Principal: To be voted by the board of directors

Stewardship/PARL: Anthony Reid, pastor, Mt. Gilead
Superintendent of Schools: Reynold Hazelwood, former director, Personal and Prison Ministries, School of Evangelism, Bibleinfo
Youth/Young Adults/ACF/Singles: John Scott, Incumbent (singles added)
Youth/Young Adults/ACF/Singles: In Pyo Hong (associate), pastor, Hamilton Mountain.


Delegates also approved the treasurer’s report and the administration’s strategic report. The meeting was extended by 30 minutes in order to hear the strategic report which also featured the vision and goals for the next five years.

Business concluded at 5:30 p.m.