General Conference Responds to Tom Lemon’s Departure from Unity Oversight Committee

On Tuesday, reports began circulating that Thomas Lemon, general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was no longer chair of the Unity Oversight Committee.

The Committee, which was created after the 2016 Annual Council, was tasked with reviewing the processes outlined in the document “Unity in Mission: Procedures in Reconciliation” and monitoring and assisting divisions toward compliance with General Conference policies.

On Wednesday, Lemon confirmed to Adventist Today that “he and GC president Ted Wilson agreed together that the committee should have a new chairman.”

Yesterday, the General Conference issued a short statement concerning the situation which read as follows:

While there has been a discussion of a possible change of leadership for the committee, no action will be taken until the Administrative Committee of the General Conference meets to consider the matter.”

Sam Neves, associate director of communications for the GC, confirmed that the Administrative Committee (ADCOM) must vote on any change in leadership before it takes effect. “There is no story,” Neves said, until ADCOM meets to vote. He added that the Committee could choose to keep Lemon on as chair.

According to Neves, ADCOM will not meet again for at least six weeks, after President Ted Wilson returns from his current travels.

Additionally, there seems to be confusion surrounding the proper name of the committee in question. In official documents, including the recent “Procedures for Reconciliation and Adherence in Church Governance Phase II,” the committee is referred to as the “Unity Oversight Committee.” However, during Annual Council last week, delegates on the floor started referring to the committee as the “Unity in Mission Oversight Committee,” a name which seems to have stuck, and has appeared in reports from various news outlets. Neves said the GC communications team is looking into which name is correct. The lack of consensus may stem from the fact that the name of the initial 2016 document that outlined the procedures for reconciliation with non-compliant entities is “Unity in Mission.” It seems in the weeks ahead, the Committee may be tasked both with finding a new chair and deciding on its official name going forward.

Thomas Lemon has declined requests for comment on the GC’s statement regarding his leadership of the Committee or ADCOM’s role in the matter.

See also: Thomas Lemon Removed as Chair of Unity Oversight Committee

Alisa Williams is managing editor of

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actually, i think there is a story here…why would lemon confirm to Adventist Today that he and TW had agreed that UOC should have a new chairman if they hadn’t agreed to it…the fact that lemon is declining requests for comment now means he did comment before, and regrets that he did…

i think the neves statement likely means the GC - read TW - has become aware of the optics of ousting someone at the head of a reconciliation and compliance directive who clearly stated he saw no rebellion in non-compliant unions or their divisions, meaning he sees no real need for anyone to reconcile or comply, thus undercutting the point of UOC…if ADCOM now votes to retain lemon as chair of UOC, it would alienate conservatives who’ve been rejoicing over lemon’s ousting, and indicate to suspicious progressives that it is adjusting optics merely to camouflage actual intentions…i don’t think ADCOM has a neutral deck to play with UOC at this point…

strictly speaking, of course, the chair of a committee tasked with completing phase one of AC2016’s directive before the second phase commenced, but who failed to do so, should be replaced…but at this point, given that phase two has been returned while phase one appears to be going nowhere fast, perhaps what is really needed is a new committee, not only with a new name, but with a new roster of members and a new commission…


“Thomas Lemon has declined requests for comment on the GC’s statement regarding his leadership of the Committee or ADCOM’s role in the matter.”

To decline to comment at this uncertain time may be Pastor Lemon’s greatest contribution to this entire fiasco.The “no-name” or “unnamed” committee members need our prayers as they go forward, or backward, or do nothing at all. Pastor lemon could give a suggestion or two to our US President, and members of Congress when it is wiser to say “No Comment” if you really have nothing to say.


“There seems to be confusion surrounding the proper name of the committee in question “

No wonder there is confusion.
There has been an epidemic of euphemism here.
The current gobbledegook nomenclature for the committee is official jargon for what should be honestly, transparently called THE PREVENTION OF WOMEN’S ORDINATION COMMITTEE.

Let us call a spade a spade!

The sole purpose of this committee is to implement TW’s obsession to obliterate all female participation in church affairs, other than organizing the church potluck and playing the piano,for the Cradle Roll division!

TW’s miserable and malignant misogyny is all the more remarkable when he prolifically uses a female power player, the church prophet, to promote the curbing of the aspirations and the abilities of ALL other Adventist women!

The composition of THE PREVENTION OF WOMEN’S ,ORDINATION COMMITTEE is an elitist bunch of largely elderly white male bureaucrats.

There is not a single women, nor a lay person, nor a millennial in sight to give wider input to this momentous controversial concern that impacts more than half of the church’s constituency ( In any church that I have ever visited there is always a preponderance of females in the pews )…

Let us rename this committee by its most apt and appropriate name, let us get an equal representation of women, lay people and millennials and let us be absolutely transparent as to the true intent of this committee.

No more euphemistic gobbledegook nomenclature.

No more “.secret “documents foisted on an esteemed assemblage trying to do the church’s business!


It could be possible that he was instructed not to say anything. I wouldn’t doubt that for a moment…in fact, I’m very inclined to believe that this is the case.


This is reminiscent of the Nixon’s era when John Dean pronounced “There is a cancer on the presidency.” First it was the ever-ongoing inconclusive TOSC, followed by the SA2015 GC where the booing and hissing of a former GC president was allowed while the current GC president was on the dais, then the AC2016 debacle and its now famous Gestapo-like 14-page document and the trail seems to end at the office of the GC president when TW and TL agreed for a new chairman of the UOC. At some point in time one will have to jump out of a sinking ship. It is now becoming evident that the issue of WO and the Unity Oversight Committee also known as The Prevention of Women’s Ordination Committee @ezbord are just a facade of a deeper fundamental defect among our GC leaders. What could that be?

I cannot imagine how it is like working nowadays at the GC. The psychological posturing and jostling is palpable. It would only rival psychiatric evaluations and court hearings on custody issues between hostile parents.

May God have mercy on us all.


To state the obvious, if Lemon truly wants to end his chairmanship of the committee, the committee is not going to make him continue. I think we can take his comment at face value: he and TW have agreed that the committee needs a new chairperson.

The more certain thing is that the next chairperson will be a man.


My feeling is that Tom Lemon probably would be OK with continuing with the Committee.
My feeling is that Pres. Wilson is ADAMANT AGAINST having some one Pastor Lemon’s superior mind on that Committee.
Pres. Wilson needs DULLARDS on those Committee. YES MEN [no women please!!!] That is WHY he NEEDS ancient minds on those Committees.


Curiouser and curiouser. - Alice


Interesting statement for an associate director of communication. Looking at the social media I would have thought there was one.

How about the intention of the committee? “Unity in Mission” would be quite a different aim than “Compliance” (let alone “punishment”). There is an impression of creatively and euphemistically vailing the issue. [quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:14622”]
Thomas Lemon has declined requests for comment on the GC’s statement

Is this meant to be interpreted as “he should not have spoken up in the first place”? By the way - I couldn’t find the statement from which this article is quoting. It may be interesting to read the full statement - including its context.


Please give the source of the short statement of the General Conference: “While there has been a discussion of a possible change of leadership…” Thank you!

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The acronym of the “renamed” committee is richly ironic;
UMOC. Almost as funny as the “Oversight” on unity.
Ted Wilsons “oversight” has blinded many…but opened other eyes.
Let him who hath eyes…


The source of the statement from the General Conference is the General Conference Communication Department.

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The GC’s statement is in the article above. Paragraph four and five read:

Yesterday, the General Conference issued a short statement concerning the situation which read as follows:

"While there has been a discussion of a possible change of leadership for the committee, no action will be taken until the Administrative Committee of the General Conference meets to consider the matter.”

As stated, that is the full statement.

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I am very bothered by the direction that this administration is taking our Church to. The governance style is clearly inspired by the Soviet style. The wasting of time and money to perpetuate discrimination of women is ridiculous (remember that just TOSC costed over $1mi only to be tossed and never used!)

How come such practices are allowed in a religious realm? Where is this toxicity coming from? And nobody does anything to stop the fiasco and the nonsense?


Thank you, @webEd . Strikes me as odd that there is a statement without the name of the committee or the person the statement is about, nor a context of the trigger for such a statement. Together with your reply as to the source of the statement and the fact that it cannot be found elsewhere, I assume it has been sent to you as reply to a request for comment. A brief and cryptic statement indeed.


Yes, that is correct, @andreas. We always reach out to the General Conference to provide them the chance to respond to situations that arise. We feel it important to always publish both sides of a story, and we do so if and when that information is made available to us. In this instance, we reached out, and they sent the brief statement we included in the article.


How about:

or this is nice:

or perhaps:

These also are nice, but already taken:
Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition
Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

But we could change them:


“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” SOM

In other words: let our communication be free from evasion, hedging or given with hidden meanings. But transparent, simple, honest, self-evident, undisguised, unambiguous, unconcealed, above board and open for inspection.

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.…” SOM


This is the ethical issue, the crux of the matter, the troubling “hiding” and attempt to rubber stamp a 14-page English language document with major changes in the operation of the AC for 2018, including voting and voice. Issues that had not even cleared through the Church’s legal counsel. “Unchartered territory,” Counsellor Todd McFarland called it.

This form of communication is not Biblical, ethical, or leadership.