Tuesday afternoon’s much-anticipated discussion of possible discipline for church entities deemed not compliant with ordination votes and policies witnessed surprising turns as delegates to the Annual Council wrestled with competing values.
Multiple speakers underlined the contrasting importance of preserving church order while also acting with fairness toward church organizations whose constituents have voted for alternate approaches to voted positions on ordination.
On the floor were two separate motions to accept recommendations outlined in the document entitled Recommendations Resulting From the 2018 Annual Council Compliance Action. The document proposed warnings for four Seventh-day Adventist union conferences and public reprimands for the presidents of two other union conferences.
Delegates voted to accept the first recommendation to provide warnings to certain unions and voted to amend the second recommendation, altering the recommendation to deliver a public reprimand to two individual members of the committee, to a warning of the respective church organizations they represent.
Introduction to the Proposed Action
“This is not at all an easy situation,” said Adventist world church president Ted N. C. Wilson as he introduced the proposal. “I have personally struggled with the Lord over this situation.”
Wilson, who chaired the session, then laid out the steps taken by the General Conference (GC) since the action voted by the 2018 Annual Council that outlined a process for addressing perceived non-compliance and disciplinary measures for those deemed noncompliant. The process mainly involved giving divisions, the regional administrative bodies of the General Conference, time to assess and address perceived non-compliance within their territories. In addition, a letter was sent by the GC to the divisions in question on June 4, 2019 reminding them of the stipulations of the 2018 action and requesting they report back on the status of such organizations within their territory.