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Adventist Lawyers meet to discuss Church’s legal issues

Meeting designed to 'foster networking and collaboration' among Adventist lawyers

 Todd McFarland, Associate General Counsel at General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists during his presentation on Church structure and organization. (Photo: Nigel Coke)Punta Cana, Dominican Republic…April 23, 2012…Nigel Coke

Recognizing the need for better collaboration and unity among Adventist lawyers, the Office of the General Counsel of the Adventist World Church hosted a Legal Conference at the Barcelo Bavaro Hotel and Convention Centre in the Dominican Republic, on Monday, April 23, 2012.

Coordinator of the meeting and Associate General Counsel at the General Conference World Headquarters, Todd McFarland, said the meeting was designed to educate and inform Adventist lawyers who work for and represent the church about how they can do that more effectively.

“It was also design to foster networking and collaboration among the group and to allow them to meet the general counsel personnel from world headquarters, said McFarland. “We were happy with the attendance and the enthusiasm shown and hope this kind of dialogue will continue not only at this level, but also the local one.”

The conference was held a day before the staging of 7th World Congress of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) to be held at the same venue.

“It was an enlightening in that I was exposed to previously unknown information regarding Church structure and operation,” said Carla-Anne Harris-Roper, a lawyer from the Jamaica Union Conference. “I believe the meeting was relevant because it exposed certain deficiencies in the legal framework which relates to employment and labour practices “in certain parts of the world”.  It has provided a catalyst for further discussion and recommendation for the benefit of the Church.”

Randall Hector, a lawyer from the Caribbean Union Conference had high praises for the conference.  “It information and was quite useful and informative,” he said. “I wish we had more time to discuss some of the issues we looked at. The initiative to gather Adventist lawyers is a wonderful idea, which I am sure will benefit to the wider church based on the representation we had here.”

The keynote speaker was Judge Daniel David Ntanda Nsereko who was recently appointed as Appeals Chamber Judge of the International criminal Court at the Hague. On March 12 this year he was appointed as the new Appeals Chamber Judge.

The Office of General Counsel provides legal services to church entities located within the General Conference headquarters office complex. It has six staff lawyers who serve both General Conference and North American Division administration, departments, and services with responsibilities for areas such as corporate, tax, pension, trust and estate, constitutional, religious liberty, employment, and immigration law and litigation.