These changes will appear in the 20th Edition of the Church Manual - which has not been printed yet
Changes to Section 10 Services and other Meetings
Chapter 10: S e r v i c e s a n d o t h e r m e e t i n g s
The proposed change as it appears on page 53 of Agenda for 61st GC Session
SEC/ChManSub/ChMan/401-12GS/ChManSub/401-13GS/ChManSub/ChMan/GCDO14AC/ 14AC/ChMan/14AC/401- 14GS/ChMan/15GCS/ChMan/400-15GS/ChManSub/ChMan/400-16GS/ChManSub/ChMan/ADCOM(Steering)/17AC/400-17GS/400-18GS/400-19GS/400-20GS/ 400-21GS to GPS-22GCS
400-22GS UNAUTHORIZED SPEAKERS - CHURCH MANUAL AMENDMENT
RATIONALE: This item clarifies who may be invited to speak in the church and addresses confusion caused by the implication that a layperson could not preach because they do not hold credentials.
RECOMMENDED, To amend the Church Manual, Chapter 10, Services and Other Meetings, pages 120-121, Unauthorized Speakers, to read as follows:
[ Remove the existing wording ] Unauthorized Speakers — Under no circumstances should a pastor, elder, or other officer invite strangers or any unauthorized persons to conduct services. Individuals who have been removed from the ministry or who have been removed from membership in other places, or designing persons who have no authority from the church, should not be given access to the pulpit. Those worthy of confidence will be able to identify themselves by producing proper credentials.
[ Replace it with following wording ] Authorized Speakers — Only speakers worthy of confidence will be invited to the pulpit by the local church pastor, in harmony with guidelines given by the conference.*
The local elders or church board may also invite speakers, in consultation with the pastor, and in harmony with conference guidelines. Individuals who are no longer members, or who are under discipline, should not be given access to the pulpit.
At times it is acceptable for government officials or civic leaders to address a congregation, but all others should be excluded from the pulpit unless permission is granted by the conference. Every pastor, elder, and conference president must enforce this rule. (See pp. 34, 32 118, 119.) _____________________________
* See “Terms Used in the Church Manual” p. 18
Vote taken on Monday, June 6, 2022 -- YES 1,336 NO 137 This change will appear in the next edition
Comment: The change does not clarify the situations where a pulpit is not used at other meetings such as Town Meetings, Prayer Meetings and church functions where people meet at the church.
One of the delegates made a comment in the discussion period before the vote was taken
Jeff Scoggins commented that the new wording was less restrictive than the former wording but did not describe the differences. Jeff Scoggins is Planning Director of Adventist Missions
DiggingforTruth.org agrees that by removing the words "Under no circumstances" the new policy has to be less restrictive, because it opens the door for private interpretation by church leaders as to the circumstance that they are allowing someone to speak.
See Changes to Church Constitution - By Laws
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