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Letter to President of GNYC - March 30, 2014
Letter to 
G. Earl Knight

March  30, 2014
Greater New York Conference
                                                                                                            Message # 377
Dear Elder Knight:
 O happy day at Ridgewood church, what a blessing to be at the worship service yesterday, with two baptisms, and the Holy Spirit moving me to respond to your appeal and to come to the front even though I do not feel the need of rebaptism, I seek to return to church membership via the appeal process. 
On January 18th, Carlyle Simmons gave the sermon at Ridgewood Church and I spoke to him about the rights of members to seek fairness’ found on page 67 of the Church Manual, and he agreed to consider my arguments. The section ‘Right of appeal for Reinstatement’ found on page 67 gives former members rights to seek fairness. I claimed that it gave me the right to seek fairness from him. Here is the on-line version of the e-mail I sent him http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/3063/ - (please open LINK this after reading this message) when I spoke to him again he did not agree that I have the right to come to him, he told me that this applies to the local conference level.  Unfortunately, he was not willing to put it in writing or to even recommend to you that you should deal with my request. As a result my appeal is stuck in a ditch – I have been trying to exercise my rights to seek fairness and appeal for a hearing in accordance with the church manual text that says that my next appeal should be based on unfair practices at the August 3rd business meeting (disciplinary hearing)  but the question is; what is the charge that should be considered at the appeal. My case is complicated by the fact that the church board changed the charges four days before the hearing.
I have been requesting a copy of the letter you sent to Manhattan Church in July 2013, which introduced Pastor Nikolaus Satelmajer. A disciplinary hearing is for members only, however, the church manual gives you authority over any meeting in the GNYC territory, the exact wording is on page 32 . . .
 “. . . He (conference president) has access to all the churches and their services, business meetings and boards without vote unless granted by the church, or unless he is a member of that congregation. He may, by virtue of his office, preside over any meeting of any church when necessary. He has access to all church records . . .”
Church Manual, page 32   
 It is not my intention to contest Pastor Satelmajer’s involvement as chairman of the hearing because I know that you do not have to personally attend the meeting to exercise your authority, you can send a representative. Your letter was read to the church at the business meeting and Pastor Satelmajer assumed the role as chairman of the disciplinary hearing.
 Your sermon yesterday, said that God gets to the root of the problem, and can address the issue at the source. I believe the root of the problem is that Pastor Satelmajer did not talk to me, he only heard the Church Board side of the story, and he had no idea what was true or what defense I had to the charges. The Church Manual says, 
“All heaven is interested in the interview between the one who has been injured and the one who is in error. [Matthew 18: 15-17 quoted] No church officer should advise, no committee should recommend, nor should any church vote, that the name of a wrongdoer shall be removed from the church books, until the instruction given by Christ has been faithfully followed. . . ”
Church Manual, page 57
 If he had spoken to me, I would have told him that the church board did not follow this process, they did not speak to me even once, and still I was prepared with a defense that I felt would show that I had been falsely accused and that the charge was not even a valid reason for discipline. I could have answered any question he had. However, when he accepted their story, and neglected to hear mine, he became a participant in the unfair practices.
 I heard the pastor of Manhattan Church tell the congregation several times, that the church manual is a guideline only, and does not have to be followed. The Church Manual says differently, but the congregation believes the pastor, and therefore, I do not expect Manhattan Church will give me a fair hearing, and so I plan to introduce two proposals to change the church manual to make the process more fair and to help to prevent future occurrences like this where members are disfellowshipped unfairly.
 Of course, I can not introduce any proposed change because I am not a member, it will be done through members in good standing, and they need to know that what I am saying is correct. Your letter to Manhattan Church is an important aspect to this and I would like to have a copy of the letter to be accurate about what happened.
  In the attached Word.doc you will find thirteen messages that I have sent to you since Aug. 6th asking you for a copy of this letter. When I spoke to you yesterday at Ridgewood Church, you were receptive to my request, but said that you may not have the letter any more. It is probably in your ‘Sent Mail’ folder (it was sent in July 2013), but if you can’t find it, then may I ask for a brief letter authorizing me to get if from the church clerk. The church manual gives you access to all church records, they may reject my request unless you give me the authority to ask for it.
 I plan to make proposals to improve the church manual, suggestions which are intended to bolster the changes that were made to the church manual at the last GC Session. At the last GC Session they gave several new rights to members regarding the disciplinary hearing process including a better definition of the required ‘due process’ – they also improved the appeal process by adding 73 words that make it clear that the appeal is based on fairness. This is detailed in my message to Carlyle Simmons  http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/3063/  (same LINK as in second paragraph).
Briefly, I want to propose that if the conference president attends the disciplinary hearing (or sends a representative) that he should talk to the accused to get their side of the story.  Participating in the meeting without talking with the accused would violate the above quote from page 57, and give grounds for appeal based on fairness.  The other proposal I want to make is that the local conference should investigate any claims of unfair practices at the hearing and make recommendations which can be included in the written letter of appeal to the church or the Executive Committee. Although this is common sense, it was not followed in my case, and the question of which charge should be considered at the appeal is critical to the appeal (see last paragraph of my letter to Carlyle Simmons).
 The inspired writings talks about FAIRNESS; “Liberality of feeling, generosity and nobleness of spirit, fairness and candid judgment and mildness are the essence of Christianity, and the neglect of this, wounds our redeemer, and bring a reproach upon the cause of God . . .” PHO43 36.2  and here is one quote about unfair dealings.
“A false balance [Proverbs 11:1] is a symbol of all unfair dealing, all devices to conceal selfishness and injustice under an appearance of fairness and equity. God will not in the slightest degree favor such practices. He hates every false way. He abhors all selfishness and covetousness. Unmerciful dealing He will not tolerate, but will repay in kind. God can give prosperity to the working men whose means are acquired honestly. But His curse rests upon all that is gained by selfish practices.                                          
Our High Calling, page 225.2   also  {3BC, 1158.5}
 Fairness is an aspect of God’s character. Fairness was demonstrated by Jesus Christ ( 9T 216.5 ). Consider that God could have squashed the rebellion of Lucifer and the angels who took his side, instead he cast them out of heaven. On Earth, Satan took the form of a serpent and tempted Eve and caused sin to enter the world and ruined the garden of Eden, yet God did not destroy them, instead he announced His great plan of salvation which is found in Genesis 3: 15 (I was paying attention when you touched on in your sermon) and it is God’s plan for the last days to withdraw his protection (but not from His people) and allow Satan to have control of the earth in the last days, God does this so that Satan is allowed to demonstrate the principles of his government to the universe. Everyone is watching the drama unfold, created beings and humans in the unfallen worlds can compare them with the principles of God’s government. When God does end the rebellion, there will be no question throughout the universe that he dealt fairly and wisely with the problem of sin.  Fairness is an important aspect of God which has been overlooked by the Church Manual until 2010 when the GC delegates introduced fairness into the Church Manual’s appeal process. 
 In 2010, the church manual was changed to have a fairer disciplinary hearing and to make fairness the grounds to appeal, but this was not enough to get the Church Board to conduct a fair hearing, I believe this happened because they do not believe they are required to follow the church manual as I explained to the grievance committee in 2011. 
 In the last six months I have asked church leaders to uphold the church manual and they will not respond or when they do, they say “this is outside my jurisdiction.” At this point, I am not asking you to uphold the church manual or to write a letter. I am asking for a copy of a letter you have already sent so that it can be helpful in the future, to help me explain what happened at the hearing and possibly to improve the church manual disciplinary process, to give fairness to former members who want to return to their church. But this aspect of the case is explained in another letter I sent to Carlyle Simmons however, I want to keep it simple, and only ask you for a copy of the letter that you have already written and sent to Manhattan Church in July 2013.
In conclusion, the foundation of my request to you is based on the unfair practices at the hearing which removed me from church membership, these unfair practices reveal that the church board at Manhattan Church does not reflect the character of Christ, they have manipulated the members to vote to remove me from membership because they did not want to deal with my grievances, and the issues that even the conference grievance committee failed to resolve, because they would not follow your recommendations.
I hope I will hear from you soon.
In God We Trust