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Trask, Bridges, Hackett Re-Elected

The Rev. Thomas E. Trask, who has served as superintendent of the Assemblies of God since 1993, was elected to another four-year term during Tuesday afternoon’s business session.

The Rev. Thomas E. Trask, who has served as superintendent of the Assemblies of God since 1993, was elected to another four-year term during Tuesday afternoon’s business session.

"I pledge to you that in the days to come, should Jesus tarry, we will continue to herald this Pentecostal message and the power of Pentecost and the power of the Holy Spirit," Trask, accompanied by his wife Shirley, told the ministers and delegates after the election results were announced.

Trask was elected in the first round of balloting for the general superintendent position. He received 1,187 of the 1,381 votes that were cast; 922 votes were needed for election.

He asked the General Council to pay tribute to the men and women who have gone before us in the 100 years since the Pentecostal movement began in Topeka, Kans. The challenges and opportunities in the days ahead are great, and the AG "must rise to the occasion" and give God its best.

Trask has spent over 43 years in full-time ministry, including 25 years in the pastorate. Last year he was elected chairman of the World AG Fellowship, and he also is chairman of the Pentecostal World Conference.

Earlier in the afternoon, Trask presented his report to the General Council and highlighted some of the new _ministries that have been launched over the last two years, including the Commission of Ethnic Relations, the Children’s Ministries Agency, a ministry to singles, and new heads for the commission on evangelism and the commission on worship.

Two other top executives also were re-elected to four-year terms Tuesday: General Treasurer James K Bridges and Division of Home Missions Executive Director Charles Hackett. Nominations for those two posts come from the General Presbytery, and each man was the only candidate who received enough votes to be placed on the ballot for the General Council’s consideration. Delegates and pastors were asked to vote "yes" or "no" on each candidate.

Bridges received a "yes" vote on 1,277 of the 1,313 ballots that were cast, while Hackett got 1,285 "yes" votes on 1,315 cast ballots.

"This completes eight years that we’ve had the joy of working with the leadership team at Headquarters, and it’s been a special time for us," Bridges said, as wife Joyce stood alongside. "We’ve been given many opportunities to serve throughout our Fellowship. I can’t tell you what a joy it is to be among the people of God in this Fellowship."

Hackett thanked the Council for its decision to re-elect him to what he described as an "exciting and challenging" position. "We believe that God is going to do some awesome things in the next few months and years," he said, accompanied by his wife Dixie. "We’re going to do all we can to be part of that."

In addition to being elected to a new term, Hackett inherits a new name for his division, as the General Council also voted Tuesday to change the names of the Division of Foreign Missions and the Division of Home Missions (Resolution 1). DFM now will be known as Assemblies of God World Missions, while DHM will become Assemblies of God Home Missions.

The move was promoted by concerns that the "foreign" can carry "less desirable" connotations for U.S. missionaries working in countries around the world. The change for home missions was necessary to emphasize the parallel importance of both divisions in the work of the Fellowship.

The resolution changing the names was one of several items the General Council approved Tuesday with little or no discussion. But there was much discussion surrounding the issue of divorce and remarriage, specifically Resolution 14, which would remove the marital history requirements for a credentialed minister’s spouse.

The original author of the resolution, Philip Walton, said that after the 1997 General Council in Indianapolis, where a divorce-and-remarriage resolution for ministers was defeated, he began to examine the issue of whether it mattered biblically if the spouse was divorced and remarried.

His conclusion, based on scripture, was that a minister should not be disqualified from holding AG credentials if his or her spouse had been divorced.

Most of Tuesday’s debate focused on whether Resolutions 14 and 15 to a committee to study the issue and prepare a recommendation, along with a minority report, for the 2003 General Council. Resolution 15 would allow for the credentialing of divorced and remarried ministers, if the divorce occurred prior to conversion.

The motion to refer was amended so that the Executive Presbytery would conduct the study and issue the recommendation.

Several speakers said the referral was necessary because of different interpretations of the scriptures cited in Resolution 14 and because it would help ensure that the General Council reached a "reasoned" decision.

But others said that the Council was prepared to debate the resolutions. Divorce-and-remarriage resolutions came before the Council in 1991 and 1997, the speakers said, and sending the topics to a committee would needlessly delay the debate.

Finally, a vote to refer the resolutions was taken, and the motion was rejected. So, the debate over Resolution 14 will continue during this morning’s business session, which begins at 9 a.m.

The business sessions are running under "very, very tight (time) restrictions," Trask reminded the General Council on Tuesday. Organizers have scheduled just over five hours today for business items, and Trask told delegates and pastors that if all the business is not conducted by 4:30 p.m. today, an extra-hours session might be scheduled.

In other business Tuesday, the General Council:

• Approved reports from Trask, Assistant General Superintendent Charles T. Crabtree and General Secretary George O. Wood.

• Cast a first round of ballots for the non-resident executive presbyters. The results from that first round will be announced this morning.

• Renaming the World Ministries Giving Credit for Foreign and Home Missions (Resolution 2).

• Permitting missionaries from other countries to retain their credentials from their homelands while holding credentials from the U.S. Assemblies of God, if the missionaries are affiliated with a member body of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship (Resolution 3).

• Deleting an unnecessary paragraph from the Bylaws about the Commission on Christian Higher Education and the Foreign Missions Laymen’s Advisory Committee (Resolution 5).

• Revising the procedures for the General Council Policy Manual to ensure compliance with the General Council Constitution (Resolution 7).

• Modifying the election process for nonresident executive presbyters, so that if no candidate has won after the third ballot, only the top three candidates will remain and other candidates’ names will be eliminated (Resolution 10).

• Supported a resolution that expressed gratitude for the role and work of evangelists and encouraged continued affirmation of evangelists (Resolution 21).

• Passed resolutions granting honorary general presbyter status to 11 men: Roger Noel Perkin, William E. Ashpole, James E. Morris, Almon M. Bartholomew, Robert L. Brandt, Howard D. Burroughs, Arvid C. Kingsriter, Jose Leyva, David L. Nelson, Armon Newburn and E. Joe Wilmoth.