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Greater New York Conference - June 18, 2011 Update

Conference Administration refuses
to allow the Executive Committee
to investigate accusations of
professional misconduct
by the Conference President

Pastor assigned to another church and
the new pastor did not start on June 4th

You can help  -  With your prayers
    The power of united prayers

On April 10th we announced that a member who has been complaining to the conference about no business meeting for over 32 months and no elections for over four years was blocked from entering his church and the police were called to arrest him if he tried to attend the worship service.  He left without attending the worship service.
On April 13th we announced our support for this member who appealed to the President of the Greater New York Conference and his request for permission to attend his church was rejected by G. Earl Knight who is also President of the Corporation that owns the local church property. The police were not interested in what the church manual says about member's rights or proper church procedure says, in cases of trespassing they are only interested in what the owner of the property says.

On June 9th the Conference Administration Committee (President, Executive Secretary, Treasurer) rejected requests by the member for permission to attend his church and decided not to put accusations of professional misconduct on the agenda of the next Executive Committee meeting on June 16th. 

This presents a question about the Working Policy that protects the the integrity of the office of Conference President.  The policy says . . .

           NAD  Working  Policy  L-60 section 15  

"In the event the integrity or the moral or professional standing of an executive officer of a division, union, or local conference/mission/field is called into question, the process to be followed to safeguard the integrity of the ministry shall be set out in the division policies.  Should those processes fail and the matters involved be of such a character that the executive committee of the organization served by the officer is unable to resolve the difficulty, the matter shall be referred to the next higher organization. The administration of the higher organization shall call, and its president shall chair, a meeting of the executive committee of the organization served by the officer in question. The officers of the higher organization shall meet with the executive committee of the lower organization in an endeavor to resolve the matter, provided those exercising voting rights shall not exceed ten percent of the membership of the executive committee of the lower organization present . . .    [ for details ]
Is it proper for the person facing accusations of professional misconduct to abuse the power given to him to try to prevent a proper investigation of the accusations?
In cases where the President of a local conference controls or influences the agenda of the Executive Committee meetings. NOT putting accusations of misconduct against himself on the agenda accomplishes what is described in the working policy - - “the matter be of such a character that the executive committee of the organization served by the
[accused] officer is unable to resolve the difficulty. . .”
In my opinion, the writers of this working policy should have realized that a President of a conference / Union / division who has committed acts of misconduct also has the power to prevent accusations from reaching the Executive Committee by not allowing it on the agenda. Why didn’t they write this into the policy?
It is my opinion that they did not specifically write a solution for this situation into the policy because preventing an investigation into your own professional conduct is in it self and act of professional misconduct which is "of such a character that the executive committee of the organization served by the [accused] officer is unable to resolve the difficulty. . .”
Therefore, it is my opinion that the wording of the policy actually does cover attempts to prevent an investigation into the matter by the abuse of the power held by the accused, and the member who has made the accusations against the President of the Greater New York Conference agrees with me. 

On June 16th the Executive Committee will meet and if they do not consider these accusations than the "process" referred to in Working Policy L-60 section 15 will fail and the matter can then be referred to the next higher level, which is the Union Conference.
The President of the Atlantic Union Conference has not commented on this situation but if he does I will post it in the next update.

The administration of DiggingforTruth.org website has been reporting the developments at this conference since January. The author of this webpage is a member of the church involved and in my opinion what has occured is the most serious violation of the church manual that a pastor and church board can do to a member of the congregation. For the Conference President to allow this injustice to stand and not correct it is conduct that should be reported and this injustice must be corrected.

Here are some reasons why diggingfortruth.org takes this position.

If the congregation had disciplined a member in the way this member was treated the Church Manual text that could be used is found on page 67 of the Church Manual

While it is the right of the church to administer discipline, this does not set aside the rights of members to seek fairness. If members believe that they have been treated unfairly by the local church, or not had the right to be heard fairly, and the church is unwilling to reconsider the case or if the officers refuse to consider their application for reinstatement, the former members have a right to appeal in writing to the church for a hearing. The church should not neglect or refuse to grant such hearings. If it does, or if the former members still feel unfairly treated by the church after the appeal, they have the right to a final appeal for a hearing to the executive committee of the conference.

If, after a full and impartial hearing, the conference committee is satisfied that an injustice has been inflicted by the church, the committee may recommend the reinstatement to membership. But if membership is still refused by the church, than the conference committee may recommend membership in some other church. On the other hand, if it finds good grounds for sustaining the church in refusing to reinstate the former members, it will so record its decision.”

Church Manual, page 67  (18th edition)

            The following Church Manual text could also be used

Fundamental Rights of the Members
Members have a fundamental right to prior notification of the disciplinary meeting and the right to be heard in their own defense, introduce evidence, and produce witnesses. No church should vote to remove a member under circumstances that deprive the member of these rights. Written notice must be given at least two weeks before the meeting and include the reasons for the disciplinary hearing.

Church Manual, page 64  (18th edition)

What makes this matter so serious is that the police were called to enforce a discipline beyond what the Church Manual calls the ultimate discipline,

"Removing individuals from membership in the church, the body of Christ, is the ultimate discipline that the church can administer."   Church Manual, page 63

The 'illegitimate' church board acting without the authority of the congregation sought to arrest this member for trespassing and put him in jail.

Threatening to arrest a member who enters church property has the same affect as “removing an individual from membership in the church”  the church board has violated all the rights mentioned on page 64, and the Church Board had no right to discipline a member, that is done by the congregation at a business meeting.

The police are not concerned that any injustice is being inflicted on this member, they are not interested in the church manual texts, they are only interested in what the owner of the property says. If the owner says this person is not welcome here, he has been warned to stay away from the property, arrest him for trespassing, the police will arrest him.

However the President of the Conference does know what the Church Manual says and his decisions should be guided by it. By taking the side of the Church Board he has commited professional misconduct. The Church Manual does not offer a solution to the situation that has occured because it says,

"The board may recommend to a business meeting the removal of members, but under no circumstances does the board have the right to take final action .  .  ."  Church Manual, page 64

Unfortunately, the member can not evoke the text quoted on page 67 because it applies to "reinstatement" after disfellowship.  The church board has clearly operated outside the church manual procedures but the member can only appeal based on church manual procedures and church working policies.

Any conference officer that allows this situation to stand uncorrected needs to be corrected himself, so that the integrity of the office he holds can be maintained. The members only option is Working Policy L-60 section 15

 Update on the situation at the local church

The Pastor and Associate Pastor were assigned to other churches in April.  The Pastor's successor was named at the same time.  The new pastor did not appear on his first Sabbath as Pastor, and he did not appear on the second Sabbath ( 6/11 ), and he did not appear on the third Sabbath ( 6/18 ).

There are concerned members who don't know if they have a pastor. Is it the Pastor who does not want to start at a troubled church?  Or is it the conference who ignores the fact that the Pastor they assigned to this church has not come to work for three weeks. The conference has not responded to inquiries about, Where is the Pastor?
There has not been a business meeting for over 32 months and the last election of church officers was over four years and two months ago, which means that not only is there a vacuum in pastoral leadership, the church is run by members without the authority of the congregation, by an 'illegitemate' church board whose term of office expired over two years ago.

Please pray for this situation which gets worse every week

     The working policy says this is "a matter of general denominational concern"
-  so it is proper for any concerned Seventh-day Adventist to express their concern

 If you are impressed by the Holy Spirit to do something 

We suggest you contact 

 G. Earl Knight,  President of Greater New York Conference   
to ask him why he did not allow the matter on the agenda of the
Executive Committee ( June 16th )
Don King,  the President of Atlantic Union Conference  
and encourage him to follow Working Policy L-60 section 15
and call a meeting of the Executive Committee.


 Here are the e-mail addresses for
            Don King               dking@atlanticUnion.org
           G. Earl Knight       President@GNYC.org
               Please send a copy to   churchmanual@gmail.com 
                           and we will keep you informed of developments.

                           Related pages:
Update:  April 13    Conference President rejects request for member to attend his church

Update:  April 10    Member barred from church, police called

Update:  April  2     Pastor Defies Local Conference decision

Update:  Feb. 22    Meeting at Conference Office - Pastor agrees to resolution 

                Feb. 9      When did GNYC ask Pastor to call meeting and elections

                                 Appeal to Union Conference

               April 19     Appeal to President of Atlantic Union Conference

North American Division - Decision by President, Dan Jackson - Dec. 28th
                                            - Revised decision by Dan Jackson - Jan .26

                                 Working Policy L-60 Section 10  -  Section 15
Please pray that The Holy Spirt will convict the church

leaders that action is needed.

There is power in united prayer
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