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Appeal to Don King - What is the Charge - Sept. 2013
Letter to Don King
President, Atlantic Union Conf
on Sept.  1, 2013
  Requesting him to uphold
the Church Manual
changing the charges
prior to the hearing
                                                                                                                Message #  486
                                                                                                               September 1, 2013
Dear Don King:
  Manhattan Church voted to disfellowship me on August  3, 2013 after a ‘disciplinary hearing’ that violated all the rights that the Church Manual gives to members to protect them from unfair discipline and to protect the church from making the mistake of removing a member that God has brought into the church to be a witness for Him.
 Regarding unfair discipline the inspired writings say .  .  .
"In dealing with the erring, harsh measures should not be resorted to; milder means will effect far more.  Make use of the milder means most perseveringly, and even if they do not succeed, wait patiently; never hurry the matter of cutting off a member from the church.  Pray for him, and see if God will not move upon the heart of the erring.  Discipline has been largely perverted. Those who have had very defective characters themselves have been very forward in disciplining others, and thus all discipline has been brought into contempt. Passion, prejudice, and partiality, I am sorry to say, have had abundant room for exhibition, and  proper discipline  has been strangely neglected.  If those who deal with the erring had hearts full of the milk of human kindness, what a different spirit would prevail in our churches.  May the Lord open the eyes and soften the hearts of those who have a harsh, unforgiving, unrelenting spirit toward those whom they think in error. Such men dishonor their office and dishonor God.  They grieve the hearts of his children, and compel them to cry unto God in their distress.  The Lord will surely hear their cry, and will judge for these things." 
Review & Herald, May 14, 1895  also Christian Leadership, page 65.1
Regarding the mistake of removing a member who God wants to remain in the church
“. . . The plain, straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel because of their sins. God holds His people, as a body responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them. If the leaders of the church neglect to diligently search out the sins which bring the displeasure of God upon the body, they become responsible for these sins. . ."
Testimonies, Volume 3, page 269, par. 2        
  You have not responded to any of the e-mails I sent you since August 24th and if I do not hear from you this message will be made public so Adventists can be made aware of the situation.  I have asked you to uphold the right of a member to seek fairness, when his fundamental rights have been violated. Others may express their concern for the rights given to members.
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
  These rights are granted to a member to prevent unfair treatment and any violation of these rights can be the grounds for appeal for re-instatement (see page 67 quoted below). 
  You are familiar with the differences that I had with my former pastor, and in fact, the Union received many accusations of misconduct by the pastor from several members over the last few years. Many of these grievances were never resolved. What has happened now is that the Church Board decided rather than deal with the issues and differences between us to recommend that the church remove my name from church membership.
  I was not charged with a sin, and sin was not the reason I was disfellowshipped, therefore, I believe that I am still covered by the precious ‘blood of Jesus’ and I have a crown waiting to me if I remain faithful to Him.
  When I received notice of the hearing I contacted Gerson Santos, he sent me a message clarifying the position of the Greater New York Conference.
E-mail from Gerson Santos                                              Dated:   July 20, 2013

Dear Mario

I am aware of the letter sent to you. This is a local church decision. It is between you and the Manhattan Church.

Gerson P. Santos

Copy sent to Earl Knight, Carlos Gonzalez, Steve Cassimy, Hermann Kuma, Anthony Romeo         

  Several members wrote to the conference about their concerns for a fair hearing and Earl Knight sent Pastor Nikolaus Satelmajer to the Aug. 3rd business meeting ( disciplinary hearing ) as the representative of the Greater New York Conference. Unfortunately, he allowed many violations of the church manual and proper procedure to take place.
  On Aug. 12th I wrote a letter to Gerson Santos informing him of my intention to appeal the decision and gave him a list of the violations and mistakes made by the conference representative. Here is a LINK to the on-line version of Message 245 to Gerson Santos   http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/2787/
  Since the conference sent a representative to insure fairness and he allowed so many violations, I asked the GNYC to correct the mistakes made by their representative. This was not done (Gerson Santos’ response is shown at the bottom of the URL above).  
   I asked him several times and his last response said . . .
E-mail from Gerson Santos                                                  Dated:   Aug. 14, 2013

Dear Mario

I want to repeat my previous recommendation and this will be the last time I will answer this matter. If you want to appeal start the process with the local church. If you are not satisfied the conference can get involved, but you need to go to the church first.

Gerson P. Santos

Copy sent to Earl Knight, Carlos Gonzalez, Steve Cassimy, Hermann Kuma, Claude Morgan         

 I changed the topic, my next message to Gerson Santos was about an e-mail from Pastor Romeo to Gerson Santos which accused me of making “gross misrepresentations” in Message # 245. I maintain that my message is accurate and I pointed out that this was his opportunity to learn the truth. I asked him to find out which parts of this message were “misrepresentations” and if I could not prove my statements I would correct the on-line version and inform those that viewed it of the correction. If I could prove my statements, then he would know the truth and he would know who was actually making “misrepresentations” – That message was sent on August 14th – you can see it on-line http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/2800/  
  I sent several follow up messages, however, the reply above remains his last answer, and he says it is his final answer. It appears that Gerson Santos is not interested in the truth. These messages are posted on-line because many Adventists are following this with grave concern for their own rights, and if my rights are not upheld by church leaders what does this mean if they have legitimate concerns and are treated like the Church Board or Manhattan Church decided to deal with my concerns.
  Gerson Santos says that I need to go to the church first, but I believe the mistakes made by the conference representative need to be corrected first.  If the Conference did not send a representative, I would not be entitled to appeal to the Union Conference, but they did, and the decisions made by Earl Knight’s chosen representative have not been corrected, so they stand as the conference decisions. By telling me that I need to go to the church first is his way to avoid correcting the mistakes made by the conference representative.
 It was the responsibility of the Greater New York Conference to uphold the rights and protections given to members in the church manual and now that the GNYC has failed to correct serious errors and Gerson Santos has discontinued communication with me on the matter, I am coming to you.  
  I am appealing an important point that needs to be resolved before I can follow the process described in the Church Manual which says the next step is a letter of appeal to the church. It would have been the next step if not for the conference representative allowing the church board to change the charges and allow improper charges to be read the church and to vote based on an improper charge and all the other things that should have been done but were not done properly.
“Removing individuals from membership in the church, the body of Christ, is the ultimate discipline that the church can administer. Only after the instruction given in this chapter has been followed, after counsel from the pastor or the conference when the pastor is unavailable, and after all possible efforts have been made to win and restore them to right paths, should an individual be removed from membership.”
        Church Manual, page 63

  According to Gerson Santos, I need to appeal to the church first and then the conference will get involved.  It appears that this is based on his understanding of the following text . . .
Rights  of  appeal for Reinstatement
“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 applications 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 reinstatement to membership. But if membership is still refused by the church, then 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

  Please notice that there are things that happen before the “appeal in writing to the church” also please focus on the words, “the church is unwilling to reconsider the case” the question is WHAT IS THE CASE?  What are the charges against me?  What is unusual about this case is that the Church Board changed the charges. The first letter gave me the required two weeks notice, the second letter was received only a few days before the hearing. Here are the two letters http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/2781/
  The charges read to the church was the second letter, the members were not told what that original charges were when the second letter was read to them. The charge that was sent in accordance with proper procedure was not considered and the new charge that gave me little opportunity and time to defend myself was the charge that was considered. I am asking that the Atlantic Union Conference, step up and clarify what the proper charge should be so that the appeal could be written to proceed with the proper charge.
  It is the duty of the Greater New York Conference to uphold the Church Manual, but they failed. I believe that God is with me – and I believe that he will impress you with the importance of doing this correctly.  Satan seeks to destroy the family of God, and the members of Manhattan Church have voted that a member be separated from church membership. They are allowing Satan to use them to break up the family of God. The church members are ignorant of the protections provided in the church manual, and they think that the conference representative has advised them properly. This mistake needs to be corrected by the Union, now that the GNYC will not correct this mistake.
  When I write my written appeal to Manhattan Church, it should include a letter correcting the mistake that was made so that the church is more likely to accept the appeal and decide to redo the hearing because they considered the wrong charge. I believe fairness means that the correct charge should have been considered instead of the second charge which was done improperly. This letter should have come from the GNYC but they will not do it, therefore, I ask that the Atlantic Union uphold the church manual and give me a written decision that I can include with my written appeal.
  Changing the charges and NOT RESETTING the clock to the give proper two week notice has created a procedural error that needs to be addressed before I write my letter of appeal. If the church rejects my appeal, the church manual gives me the right to a final appeal to the GNYC Executive Committee, and they will be asked to make a decision based on fairness. It is logical to ask that the questions about procedure be resolved before the matter goes to the Executive Committee, so that their decision can be based on fairness. The middle step of a written appeal to the church is the proper time to correct procedural errors.
  It is possible that Manhattan Church will reject my “appeal in writing for a hearing.” The reason can be seen in the statement of my former pastor. Pastor Tony Romeo describes it better then I can, so I will let his own words explain it, in his message to Gerson Santos.
E-mail from Tony Romeo to Gerson Santos                    Dated:   Aug. 12, 2013

.  .  . If his agitation in our church continues, with his migration to speak to our members about how unfairly he has been treated, I look forward to asking him to leave the premises. Pastor Satelmajer, and I refrained from absolutely destroying him with all he has said and done in the volumes of documents and bogus websites he distributes. Many other members also held back from describing his past actions. This was done in order to preserve what ever dignity he has left, clearly to no avail.
Take care.
Tony Romeo
Copy sent to Earl Knight,  Carlos Gonzalez,  Steve Cassimy,  Hermann Kuma,  Nick Satelmajer, 
Karnik Doumetzian and to Mario         

 How can I inform the members about the errors made by the conference representative without getting accused of agitation in the church? Pastor Romeo says that he, “looks forward to asking [me] to leave the premises.” His position does not allow me to point out these errors in procedure, to avoid an escalation which involves the police I need a decision from the local conference or Union Conference. 
 This should remind you of the two Adventist ladies, he asked them to leave the premises, then the police became involved.  In fact, threats to call the police were made again on Aug. 3rd when [name of one lady] came to the hearing to testify as a witness in my behalf. So you may recognize the path that we are traveling here, and I would rather have a decision by you, then have my ability to attend Manhattan Church decided by a worldly court.  Since the Church Manual text quoted above, says it is my right to seek fairness, then it is my right to talk to the members of Manhattan Church who voted to remove me from fellowship without even knowing the facts. I was not given a fair chance to speak in my own defense.
  Pastor Romeo informed Gerson Santos that, Pastor Satelmajer, and I refrained from absolutely destroying him with all he has said and done in the volumes of documents and bogus websites he distributes.”  Notice how confident Pastor Romeo is that he could destroy me, but he still needed to insure that I was disfellowshipped by trampling on my rights to receive a fair hearing.  Of all these “volumes of documents” only one piece of this evidence from 2004 was introduced at the hearing and I was not allowed to defend myself or introduce evidence to refute it. All these unnamed members who held back describing my past actions, not one of them followed the instructions of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18 and came to me. Not one.  He implies that they went to him, because he knows that there were members who held back and why they held back. It is proper for them to come forward when the appeal for a new hearing is discussed.
  I am glad that “Pastor Satelmajer refrained from absolutely destroying me” but he also refrained from preventing any of the violations of my fundamental rights and as chairman of the hearing he ruled that an amendment to the motion to disfellowship me (which was properly seconded) was not proper, and then he would not allow a challenge to his ruling. This removed ‘censure’ as an option and left ‘disfellowship’ as the congregation’s only option.  He refrained from absolutely destroying me, but he devastated many souls in the congregation, who witnessed how unfair the hearing was. If ‘censure’ was voted on, this message would be much different, and a decision to censure me was logical because it would have given an incentive to resolve the differences that the church board claimed were irreconcilable. 
  It appears to me that without your help to correct the damage done by the conference representative the church will reject my written appeal. Without your help I will return to Manhattan Church expecting that the police will become involved, the congregation will be told that it was necessary. Just like with the two Adventist ladies last year.  The congregation has been damaged by this unfair hearing, and if the police become involved they may not want another hearing until after the criminal court trial.  This will introduce a new escalation into a matter that could have been resolved if the church board was only willing to talk to me about the differences that they feel can not be resolved.
  At this point the 33 members of Manhattan Church who voted to remove me from membership, do not know what a fair hearing is because of the errors by the conference representative, and since the conference does not correct it, their understanding of a fair hearing remains the same. A decision on the charges would help them to understand what needs to happen to have a fair hearing.
  This is necessary because the conference representative allowed these injustices to happen and in the words of Tony Romeo . . .
E-mail from Tony Romeo to Gerson Santos                    Dated:   Aug. 12, 2013

. . . For the record, Pastor Satelmajor was clear headed, focused as ever, and displayed a significant ability to keep the spirit in the room, on a high road to civility.  .  .
Copy sent to Earl Knight,  Carlos Gonzalez,  Steve Cassimy,  Hermann Kuma,  Nick Satelmajer, 
Karnik Doumetzian and to Mario         

 He may have kept “the spirit in the room” but he kept my witnesses out of the room and it is my right to produce witnesses to testify. So what Tony Romeo calls civility, is actually a violation of my right to have a fair hearing. Statements like this from Pastor Romeo conflict with my account of what happened and I thought Gerson Santos would want to know the truth. But it appears that he is not interested in the truth here.
 Since the GNYC will not correct the mistakes made by the conference representative then an appeal to the Executive Committee seems to be the only real chance of reinstatement. But the Executive Committee can not call for a redo of the hearing, they can recommend reinstatement of membership. The members still will not know what was unfair about what they did. It is this stage in the reinstatement process that allows for corrections in procedure to be presented to the church so that they can decide my appeal to redo the hearing. 
  While my proposed solution will make it easy for the Executive Committee to decide if the church treated me unjustly or unfairly. It does not undo the damage done to the members by the mistakes that were made.  By you making recommendations of how it should be done in order to give me a fair hearing, the members can decide to redo the hearing properly by considering the proper charge.
  I believe it is imperative that the Church Manual be upheld. A decision by the Union that the charges in the first letter (dated July 15th) are the charges to be considered by the appeal is the best way to deal with this matter. A decision by the Union Conference that the conference next step is to address what the Church Board did when they “Changed the charges” and this will also allow the appeal to proceed. If the GNYC decides that the second letter (July 27th) was correct, this would show you where the problem lies, and would justify the concern by many Adventists that are following this matter, and some are members of the GNYC who wonder if their own membership is secure.
  In case you are confused about what I am asking, I would like the Atlantic Union Conference to correct the errors made by the GNY Conference representative by a written decision addressing the unfair practice of changing the charges and not resetting the hearing date to give me the required two weeks notice.  Instead of this, or in addition to this you could decide that Gerson Santos is in error when he says, “I need to go to the church first” and that the matter of “changing the charges” needs to be addressed first by the GNYC.
 In conclusion, there were many violations of my rights, but the most important point is still the charges. The key question is what will be the charges that will be appealed? The first letter which gave me the required two weeks notice, or the second letter which was read to the congregation as the charges against me. But this letter was mailed to me four days before the hearing, which is a violation of my right to receive proper notification.  
  I hope to hear from you regarding this request.
In God We Trust
Reply from Union Conference
I have been Blacklisted and all e-mails bounce back as "failure to deliver"
Please help me to contact Don King