A Flurry of Reports Wrap up the Year-end Meetings — NADYEM19 Report 5

The North American Division Year-end Meetings wrapped up on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, with two dozen or so reports shared with the delegates.

The bulk of the morning was spent on discussion surrounding changes to the Adventist Retirement Plan for church employees in North America. Ray Jimenez, plan administrator and associate treasurer for Adventist Retirement, first went through the many changes that have occurred to the plan over the years, before sharing the latest proposed changes. These changes affect the health care assistance portion of the plan. Currently, the more years of service an individual has to the church, the higher the total annual contribution the person receives toward healthcare assistance. If you have 15-19 years, you receive $1,440 annually, on up to $2,400 for 35+ years of service. (Employees with less than 15 years of service are not eligible for healthcare assistance).

The proposed change, titled Option A in the presentation, would see the following changes:

• Pre-2000 (Defined Benefit) employees continue to accrue Service Credit towards maximum benefit

• Post-2000 (Defined Contribution) employees do not accrue Service Credit after January 1, 2020

• Not offered to post-2019 new employees

• No joint and survivor benefits for those not vested prior to January 1, 2020

• No new employers admitted to the Plan post 2019

After lengthy discussion, a motion was made to amend the proposed January 1 date to July 1 because teacher contracts are on a July 1 start date. The amendment passed with 167 in favor, 14 against, and three abstentions. The motion to “adopt the recommendation of the NAD Retirement Office (Option A) beginning July 1, 2020” was then voted and passed with 164 in favor, 29 against, and two abstentions.

Next, Kim Johnson from Sterling Volunteers presented. Sterling (previously named Verified Volunteers) is the volunteer background screening platform used by Adventist church entities in North America. Johnson shared that 28,360 individuals were screened in the past year, and of those five sex offenders were uncovered, 74 violent offenses were found, and two heinous child abuse cases were discovered. Additionally, Johnson stated that the month leading up to the Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee was their busiest time, with 7,835 Oshkosh volunteer applicants screened.

After lunch, the reports came fast and furiously, and the number of delegates slowly dwindled as people left to catch flights back home. The first item of business in the afternoon was returning to the “Statement of Confidence in the Writings of Ellen G White,” which had originally been presented to the delegates on Sunday. This statement was presented at Annual Council in October and approval was voted to send it on to the 2020 General Conference Session for official approval or rejection. The NAD delegates do not have any authority to either approve or reject — or edit — the statement; they simply must vote that they have received it.

Despite this, and despite the fact a “Statement of Confidence in the Writings of Ellen G White” is always voted at GC Sessions, discussion ensued. Delegates took particular issue with the paragraph that reads,

“We believe that the writings of Ellen G White were inspired by the Holy Spirit and are Christ-centered and Bible-based. Rather than replacing the Bible, they uplift the normative character of Scripture and correct inaccurate interpretations imposed upon it. They also help us to overcome the human tendency to accept from the Bible what we like and distort or disregard what we do not like.”

It should be noted that a nearly identical paragraph appeared in the 2015 GC Session statement that was approved by the Session delegates.

2015 GC Session “Statement of Confidence in the Writings of Ellen G White” (found on pg. 71 of the Session agenda):

Proposed 2020 GC Session “Statement of Confidence in the Writings of Ellen G White” (found on pg. 34 of the 2019 Annual Council agenda):

After several delegates voiced their concerns on the statement to be voted at the 2020 GC Session, Executive Secretary G. Alexander Bryant made a motion that the statement be received and the concerns officially communicated to the GC. The motion passed.

The NAD delegates also voted receipt of the “Statement on the Biblical View of Unborn Life and Its Implications for Abortion” which was voted by the Annual Council Executive Committee in October.

Erica Jones, assistant director of Women’s Ministries at the NAD, shared a moving report from enditnow, the church’s global initiative to raise awareness and advocate for the end of violence around the world. The organization recently teamed up with Sonscreen Film Festival to produce a documentary called #churchtoo about abuse within the Adventist Church, which was shared with the delegates. Jones also discussed the 2019 enditnow NAD Summit on Abuse. The annual event was held at Andrews University this year. A live-stream of the event is available on the NAD’s Facebook page in both English and Spanish.

The allocation of NAD delegates to GC Session was briefly discussed, and a motion by Executive Secretary Bryant to send union officers and conference presidents as delegates passed unanimously. Additional delegates to Session will be allocated by the unions. As mentioned on Sunday during General Counsel Karnik Doukmetzian’s presentation on how the new NAD president will be chosen, there will be 157 delegates from North America, out of 2,600 or so total delegates.

The NADYEM19 meetings were live-streamed and are available on the NAD’s website here: https://www.nadadventist.org/news/2019-nad-year-end-meeting-news-and-video-coverage as well as on the NAD’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/NADAdventist/

Follow us on Twitter were we live-tweeted the meetings at: https://twitter.com/spectrummag and see the discussion at #NADYEM19.

Alisa Williams is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org

Image: Ray Jimenez presents proposed changes to the Adventist Retirement Plan. Photo by Pieter Damsteegt, courtesy of the NAD on Flickr.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10000
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Thank you for the detailed report! You’re doing a great job.
I don’t remember that the GC15 EGW Statement and the AC19 one are so close in wording. We already screwed up. Nuff said.

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Several questions about these “flurry of reports” at the GC:

  1. Why didn’t they get done properly, on time?
  2. Were some reports a waste of time and effort?
  3. Are we raising questions that people are not asking?
  4. Why is there a “flurry of uncompleted reports”?
    we ALL need some accountability!

Our church has always been devious when dealing with the facts of EGW’s “gift”.The truth is that the
“Statement of Confidence…” fails to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

For example, do “we believe” the findings of the multi-year General Conference study of the amount of copying in The Desire of Ages? (A.K.A. The Veltman report)

Do “we believe” that Ellen White refused to include any acknowledgement of Marian Davis’s contributions to The Desire of Ages, despite the fact that in private conversations she referred to her as “my bookmaker”?

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“In this fast age, the less exciting the food, the better. Condiments are injurious in their nature. Mustard, pepper, spices, pickles, and other things of a like character, irritate the stomach and make the blood feverish and impure…Condiments and spices used in the preparation of food for the table aid in digestion in the same way that tea, coffee, and liquor are supposed to help the laboring man perform his tasks. After the immediate effects are gone, they drop as correspondingly below par as they were elevated above par by these stimulating substances. The system is weakened. The blood is contaminated, and inflammation is the sure result.” EGW 1905, 1896.

I wonder if it would possible for EGW teachings to abstain from all spices, in our food preparation, including hot spices such as pepper could be voted as policy for the world church? If such was put to the floor for a vote–could it pass by a majority?

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PICKLES???
Oh no! Hands off pickles!!!

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Pickles made with Lemon Juice would probably pass Ellen’s inspection.
But I don’t know about putting cloves or other flavorings in them.
Pumpkin pies with cinnamon, nutmeg, ETC. would be questionable.
No brown sugar and butter on sweet potato casserole.
New England squash soup???
So many tasty dishes – OUT!

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Gee, she sounds an awful lot like Sylvester Graham (and others before her). He died in 1851.

Graham is considered to be one of the fathers of the early American vegetarian movement. It was Graham’s particular notion that Americans could shield themselves from debilitating stimulation and find salvation through clean living and healthy food. The Graham Diet consisted of simply-prepared bland foods with lots of whole grains, mostly fruits and vegetables, and no spices, meat, alcohol or tobacco. Even pepper was banned. And whatever foods were permitted were to be eaten in small quantities at just two meals per day. Graham also advocated radical ideas about health and hygiene such as bathing regularly, taking in fresh air and sunlight, drinking clean water, wearing comfortable clothing, and exercising daily.

Nothing would surprise me…:smirk: :wink: :slightly_smiling_face:

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Not sure our Spanish friends, our Korean friends would go for
NO SPICES in their foods.
Only BLAND prepared foods.
Can’t imagine our friends from India not having their spiced tea
with cream.

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Nor would I! Nor should anyone else, unless they don’t like the taste, or have an allergy or physical issue with certain items. This is :crazy_face: talk. So hard to believe that people still take this stuff seriously.

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