A Reflection on the Northern California Conference Constituency Meeting

On September 30, 2018, about 600 delegates met at the Lodi Fairmont church for the 2018 constituency session of the Northern California Conference.

The large church filled quickly as the NCC constituency meeting began. I stood at the back of the church with others who had not found a seat soon enough and now there were none left.

We heard the wonderful testimonial of a member of the Concord International Church in which a small group had come together there to pray intentionally for the neighborhood around their church and for “the Lord of the harvest to send workers.” They’ve since experienced exponential growth and many from the neighborhood around the church.

My happy excitement for this was soon dulled as the voting began and there seemed to be a small group voting “no” on everything, even things that seemed beneficial to all. Why would this be happening? Are these the people that want to see our youth director Eddie Heinrich replaced and are showing discontent in this manner? I simply couldn’t understand if this behavior was linked in that way.

As the morning continued on, a few delegates began the process of bringing attention to the fact that five items were submitted to the conference to be included in the agenda and needed to be added. Kathleen Nixon began this process at the point of order microphone by stating that this constituted a point of order violation. Marc Woodson clarified that the executive committee of the conference evaluates whether all items for the agenda are beneficial to the conference as a whole.

These items we soon learned included expecting SDA colleges and universities to report to the constituency when a breach of doctrine has occurred in the institution. One even went as far as expecting students to be screened and not allowed into the institution if they aren’t in agreement with our doctrine. Thankfully one delegate pointed out that the constituency does not sit on the boards of higher education institutions and doesn’t know how each problem area is decided. We are not privy to that information and it wouldn’t be appropriate to bring it to this group.

The first of the possible agenda items in question dealt with a pastor within our conference that allegedly baptized a person whose sexual practices are in question. As the discussion went on I was horrified that something of this nature was paraded out in this venue. This is a personnel issue and a large constituency meeting is not the place to throw out this information. Such a large number of people, and even those that thought they clearly understood the situation, are not privy to personnel information, nor should we be. Quite frankly, I wished my ears had not been tainted. I’m grateful every day that I don’t sit in a position where I have to have those difficult discussions and make difficult decisions in personnel issues.

Over and over I see that when we take up the sword to fight the Lord’s battles, we are entering the devil’s territory where he blinds us from the fact that the sword should be the Sword of the Spirit and used only to fight our personal battles within the heart. This was the problem with the crusades (and we know how that turned out), and as the “Christian” church focused on the terrible scourge of pagans in the far off lands, the devil was able to turn their eyes from getting to know their loving Savior and sharing that love with their neighbor.

The verses in Proverbs 6 flashed in my mind as I stood in the meeting. God has called speaking false witness and sowing discord among the brethren abominations. When we speak what we do not understand completely and in a place that is inappropriate to bring a positive change, we are doing the abominable before God. I understand this so well because I’m just as guilty and maybe more than anyone else; my extrovert self often speaks when I should be quiet. I often pray for wisdom to know when to hold my tongue and that I will speak only blessings and not curses. I want others to know me for my love. I want others to know my church for its love.

Ephesians 4:29 reads, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” I heard words of edification at the beginning of our constituency meeting, both from the member of the Concord International church and from Elder Ricardo Graham. I was edified by those words. I want that to be what our church meetings, our lives, our existence as a body of Christ are all about. God will fight for His church; let’s trust that to His all-powerful hands and be about the business of spreading His love to those within our sphere of influence.

Susan Parker Fleming is an educational specialist for South Sutter Charter School, a homeschooling charter located in seven counties of the Sacramento region of California.

Image courtesy of the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9056

That a small unloving, judgmental group would have the temerity and audacity to invade the privacy of a church member from another congregation is truly deplorable.

Individual church boards and pastors should have the ability to choose whom they wish to confer church membership on, without gestapo interference from other congregations.

Their invasive incursions into the purview of college and university boards deserves the apt Yiddish word CHUTZPAH…

That they would disrupt a constituency meeting with their tainted trivia is deplorable and despicable.

Hopefully these small minded, mean spirited and bigoted.disruptors will not be nominated to attend the next NCC constuency meeting!

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Sounds like this small group formed a committee to report perceived noncompliance to the next level of the organization. Where could they have gotten such an idea?

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@EB: From where could they have gotten such an idea?
It doesn’t take rocket science to work that one out, does it?

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Re. the above, as it is often said: The apple doesn’t fall
far from the apple tree.

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It seems that the KGC agents are being infiltrated everywhere.

If this Church keeps intentionally trying to violate privacy and freedom of conscience, the results will be disastrous. Who those people think they are?

This is the result of having someone at the head of the GC that appears to believe that God went on vacation and left him in charge of the Universe. Sick!!!

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This is the most apropos description of what’s going on that I’ve run across to date. Thanks :slight_smile:

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George, I generally agree with you on most issues, and there’s something about the “KGC” that seems fitting, but I think you should tone down the comments about the head of the GC. It’s fine to point out where you disagree with the man, or to summarize in reasonable terms what you think his views are, but we should probably leave it at that.

Of things to come…

This is the type of rampant abuse, slander and Kingly authority we have been warned and are warning against.

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Are ordained ministers or institutional employees mandated by the church to undergo training in confidentiality? Was the church pastor negligent of his responsibilities? Should he be disciplined by one of the newly minted GC Review Committees so he may learn his lesson by being shamed and humiliated as stipulated by the all-wise GC, the voice of God on earth?

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I Kings 9:3 ~ “And the LORD said unto him (Solomon), I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

It is great to see that someone else also recognizes the parable connections between Jerusalem (focus of the Crusades) and the ‘heart’ which God intended to be understood from the very beginning, when God chose that Jerusalem-heart of the land of Israel to be the one physical place of the heart-felt worship – through human eyes and imaginations – of Himself, alone.

That place, and the most holy ‘heart’ of it, especially, were God’s own, only. The Levite priests and the kings were merely living symbols of the various roles that God actually does fill, in the heart of every human who trusts Him. Trusts because of Christ, Who is both king and priest of the human ‘Jerusalem’-heart after the pattern set by Melchi-zedek.

Anyone else is a usurper of either the role of Priest-Ambassador from Heaven As David was when he numbered Israel for war and conquest, without the priests . . . or of the role of King of ‘Jerusalem’-hearts, as the scheming, seditious much-loved Absalom was, when he sought the favor of the people in order to take away and occupy his father David’s throne.

Both historical intrusions into the business of God-only resulted in extensive harm to God’s people, and both intrusions are apparently now being repeated by the SDA GC. The parable-parallels are too solid to ignore. (‘Duck and cover !’)

The SDA GC has no business invading the privacy of the ‘most holy’ place in the ‘hearts’ of any human claimed by and for the Holy Spirit, Christ and the Father, alone.

The SDA GC has no business invading the privacy of the King’s bedroom and publicly mating with the (Spiritual) ‘wives’ and ‘concubines’ ( as Absalom did) claimed by and for the Holy Spirit, Christ and the Father, alone.

These personal, heart-invasive atrocities by an alarming sect of SDAs are of the character of Hollywood, Wall Street, Washington ‘politics’, and Rupert Murdoch tabloids – not of the character of God’s own ‘heart and eyes’. . . of ‘Babylon’ and her suburbs , and not of the ‘New Jerusalem’ ‘Bride’ and ‘Kingdom’ of Christ.

. . . and No, God’s church-kingdom is NOT ‘Babylon’ !
So why is the SDA GC returning to ‘her’ ?

You can’t call others out of what you are in.

So, stop the presses . . . it appears that we have a new candidate for
‘The Omega of Apostasy’

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That’s true Jeff, we generally agree with each other.
But on this one I disagree with you. If we just “tone down” and “leave it at that,” what is the purpose of even starting to point out the absurdity of what is happening in out Church?

I never met the current “head of the GC.” Therefore, my reaction and comments are not about Ted Wilson as a person (don’t know him), they are about the actions of the current GC President ()whose actions we all can see) - a figure who should be leading the Church into the future. But he is not!

Yes, leading the Church forward, and not creating the current chaos based on what appears to be his obsession about grabbing more power, about continuing discrimination in the Church, with absolutely no regards to possibly creating a split, or at least destabilize the Church in a very serious way.This is basically my opinion.

We need (asap) a GC President who has the ability to lead. Enough of someone who is persistently spending time and money on creating plans aimed at increasing the CONTROL in his hands. Enough of this ongoing nonsense at the GC level.

As I said, … just my opinion.

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I would like to see more information as to the content of the five items were attempted to be placed on the agenda. Fulcrum 7 will likely report on them and I would like to see something from a different perspective.

I did not attend that meeting. But, I suspect that the five items were more intrusive than reported here.

Gregory,
The level of intrusiveness is most certainly not visible yet. They wouldn’t reveal it all ahead of the meetings. Whatever they are publishing now has superficial titles and content; the true nature of the issue is most probably still undetectable now.

Like the infamous 14-page document they came up with at the AC/17. So much stuff hidden, so much of a bad intention, so much deceit a the last minute with no time to even read/digest the document. Nothing but a strong marching order, “SIGN IN HERE!!!” I am glad it backfired.

Therefore, nobody will know the intensity of the intrusiveness until the moment it is revealed. Now we see only the leopard’s footprints in the mud; wait until we are confronted by the real beast! …

For now, be content with this:

Image result for leopard's footprints

But be ready for this:

Image result for leopard's footprints

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Is part of the problem in our denomination uninformed members?

The constituency of a conference (even delegates to a conference constituency meeting) have no say or authority in the operation of a “UNION” college such as PUC or La Sierra. They have no say as to who may be accepted as a student at one of those institutions. And do they not know that, for years, our colleges and universities have enrolled students who were not Seventh-day Adventists?

Attempted micromanagement of PUC and La Sierra is an unfortunate mistake which can only threaten their good!

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George, I think that you and I largely agree.

I think that it would be well for the Adventist public to better understand the five (5) issues and the extend to which people came prepared. E.G. It might be well for the Adventist public to know whether or not an Attorney was a delegate who came with comprehensive knowledge of the NCC Constitution and Bylaws and was prepared to raise objections to rulings by the Chair.

However a problem exists in that some of the proposed additions to the Agenda clearly violated common issues of privacy and confidentiality. I am personally troubled that publication of the proposals would compound those violations.

I guess I will close that some issues/actions should not be the result of decisions reached by such large bodies. They should be made b administrators and other such people. If we do not trust them enough to make those decisions, we should change those administrators, rather than bringing them before such large gatherings.

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This reminds me of “the first ‘Index of Forbidden Books’, banned for their heretical or ideologically dangerous content, was drawn up by order of Pope Paul IV and published in 1559 by the Sacred Congregation of the Roman Inquisition. The Sacred Inquisition acting as the zealous guardians of the Faith executed their office with severity. Intellectuals were pursued vigorously for their acceptance of Protestant doctrines, or for heretic ideas.” [Encyclopaedia Britannica]

Where is this headed? To control the convictions and quiet the questions of individuals is generally due to their lack of sound support. I mean, who questions the need of love, mercy and forgiveness? These are beyond question. They need no legislation to enforce them. All sound doctrine should be the same!

More frightening is idea that leadership feels empowered to force the conscience of others. Sadly they may have more self-interest in mind to keep their positions of influence. I hope not.

I wonder if people are aware that any reach of confidentiality has potential legal consequences. Attorneys know this. I hope Pastors and Church administrators know it as well…

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It appears that some influential Church leaders are determined to establish a regime of terror in the Church. I often think of what it would be like if a whole country was governed by a SDA government. Can you imagine the horror???

Those people are not reading the Bible. Neither are they reading EGW anymore. They must be reading some torture manuals used by the RCC in the days of the inquisition and persecution of anyone who dared to not support the Church’s beliefs 100%, or asking any questions.

As I said many times before, this GC administration must GO! Enough of this abuse of power!

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It seems that this small group has forgotten that EVERYONE who is baptized is a sinner and always will be! If Jesus died “WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS”, then baptizing sinners is Christlike! Perhaps this group sins by judging that other’s sins are worse than theirs. Jesus spoke about that problem, too.

As in the days of Jesus, we seem to be plagued by people who stand on the corner and loudly thank God that they are better. That is the sin of hypocrisy. And it is a threat to our church.

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