Town Hall Meeting on Regional Conferences This Weekend

(Spectrumbot) #1

The Allegheny East Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists will hold a town hall-style meeting this weekend on regional conferences featuring North American Division president Daniel Jackson, Pioneer Memorial Church senior pastor Dwight Nelson, and presidents of regional conferences. The event, entitled "Are We Still Relevant?" will be broadcast live on the Allegheny East Conference website. Pastor Frank E. Legette, III will serve as moderator, and Allegheny East Conference president Henry J. Fordham III and former president Charles L. Cheatham will serve as commentators.

On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Dwight Nelson preached a sermon calling for the unification of the Adventist Church and the removal of racial dividing lines. His sermon elicited a wide range of responses, many of them critical of his perceived call to eradicate ethnic conferences.

Along with the sermon came a petition sponsored by the Pioneer Memorial Church directed at the North American Division. The petition, originally entitled "Let's End Ethnically Separate Conferences," was renamed "Let's Unite in Christ." As of this article's publication, it has garnered 1,504 signatures.

The new petition page includes a clarifying update:

Jan 28, 2015 — Because the point of this petition is to unite rather than divide, a new picture reflects a new title, “Let’s unite in Christ!” Some have mistakenly concluded that this petition is about shutting regional conferences down. It is not. It is rather about organizing all conferences (State and Regional) on the basis of unity rather than race.

What this will look like, perhaps nobody but God knows—but couldn’t we trust the vision that is in His heart?

Where we have wronged each other, let us repent—where we have been wronged, let us forgive. Both repentance and forgiveness precipitated the Holy Spirit’s outpouring in Acts 2—they must precede His outpouring today. Only as we are in Christ can God “do a new thing.”

The flyer for the "Are We Still Relevant?" meeting promises "a candid discussion about regional conferences" with some of the key players in the discussion present together.

The event takes place on Saturday, February 28 at 6:00pm in the Allegheny East Conference Center 1. It can also be viewed online at

Jared Wright is managing editor of

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Steve Mga) #2

Multiculturalism in the SDA Church.
Lets face it Multiculuralism HAS come to the SDA church. And that is OK up to a point.
And, I think we already recognize this.
White churches.— in various styles and various Languages. English, French, Middle Europe.
Brown Churches — Spanish, Portuguese
Black Churches — English, various African languages, various Carribean groups.
Other Groups – Far East. Korean, Filipino, perhaps others who want to fellowship together in their
own language, in their own traditions.
Some cities/counties have more than one SDA group.
Unfortunately, up until now, each SDA group stayed isolated from each other. It was easy
NOT to visit each other’s members. Easy to NOT plan evangelism activities in the area as
a United Group. It was easy NOT to do ANY evangelism. Just use the sign on the lawn to
do ALL the Evangelism, that is if anyone was or might be interested. Maybe the door opening
times were on the sign, maybe not.
I am ALL FOR Unity, but not giving up Cultural identity, Cultural Autonomy. I am all for all the
churches members getting to know each other. To hang out with each other, to socialize the SDA
Message in the Community together.
Perhaps even having ONE SDA SCHOOL together. And Organized as to how it seems best to them.
There are lots of ways to brain storm Unity within Diversity at the Local Church Levels.
And, this Unity within Diversity would certainly impact the Conferences and the Union of Conferences Level.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #3

the three P’s will dominate position, power, prestige. Tom Z

(Phillip Brantley) #4

This conference is timely and important. It is interesting to see that racial segregation is causing a feeling of angst for others. See

(Steve Mga) #5

In our town of Macon Georgia we have two, yes [2] First [1st] Baptist churches, and they are less than 500 feet from each other, and their address is on the same street. One on one corner, one on the other.
The original one began with both a white and black congregation. But soon the congregation enlarged with both white and black members.
The church split. The Black Members decided to begin another church and built one down the street. Since they were members of the 1st Baptist Church, they decided to name their black member church 1st Baptist also. After all, they WERE 1st Baptist members.
True story! Hope you enjoyed that.

(Kim Green) #6

If you have to ask the question: “Are We Still Relevant”…there’s a good possibility that you aren’t but I suppose there’s no harm in having conferences about it.

(jeremy) #7

at the very least, this town hall meeting should be interesting…i wonder how blunt things will get…


Hey Jeremy,

Also, shame C.D. Brooks isn’t going to be there. As I was reading through the list of speakers, I was hoping to see his name.


Is there anything like racial segregation in the SDA Church today???

(Cfowler) #10

“If you have to ask the question: “Are We Still Relevant”…there’s a good possibility that you aren’t…”

Very good point, Kim.

(Steve Mga) #11

Diversity? YES!!
Isolation? NO!!
Jesus prayer was, "That we all may be one."
We can only do this as we meet and greet and fellowship on some scheduled basis.

(Bille) #12

Not so… given the circumstances of being attacked for no reason other than that they exist. This gives them a chance to face their accusers and to show reason why many think/feel that they DO have good reason to consider that they are indeed “relevant” in today’s world.

Please read the whole of the introduction AND take five minutes to listen to the promotional video that is included in the original Spectrum essay. The list of those who are meeting there is, IMO, a very impressive one.

(Cfowler) #13

I read and listened.

I wish them well. I don’t think much will come of these discussions, as far as changing the separate black and white conference situation.

I think a lot of this is about white embarrassment over having separate black conferences, and how it looks to others. But, that’s just my opinion.


Nice video message.

Removing conferences that are based on race is a no brainer. If is ironic that recently the NAD president issued a press release about race relations when the structure that he heads can’t even figure out how to be represented as one.

But how to move forward? The non-black conferences are run very poorly in the Midwest. Education is a mess and in general they have no relevance to the local church. Dismantle all conferences and start again by region and have the elected representatives explain how they intend to advance the message. Who cares what race they are. Being a church representative is not a birthright. The system appears to be run by generational Adventists who have little passion to truly advance the gospel or to be good stewards. The church is not alone in being poorly run. Associated entities who trade off the Adventist name such as the hospitals and schools are also poor examples of stewardship. We need a balance of the old, but some newly converted Adventists who have a passion for the Adventist message who have no political history or birthright to paid positions.

(Kim Green) #15

Agree with most of what you say…but it appears that Health Care actually DOES make money :slight_smile:

(Steve Mga) #16

This was a great presentation! A lot of SDA history that usually is not talked about.
A lot of urgent issues that need to be addressed by the Church.
SDA flight from the the Inner Cities.
There were around 500 who watched. Some left early.

(Bille) #17

Thanks for your report, Steve. I missed it… wondering if it is archived so those of us who couldn’t meet the time slot will still be able to see it.

What intrigues me however, is that another “report” from someone who watched it that was waiting for me when I turned my computer on a bit ago claimed that the two major speakers that had been promised, namely Dan Jackson and Dwight Nelson, did not appear. This other person also claimed that there was essentially no one there to represent those who had agreed with Dwight… thus it didn’t live up to its billing of being a “town hall” meeting where free discussion would take place.

I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on this “other” report.


Your kidding me…

It seems that only while it was live were all invited to view it. But now if you go to watch it a message comes up, saying: “this video is private, sorry about that.”

I would hope it would be uploaded onto YouTube again; I was looking forward to seeing what people had to say.

(Steve Mga) #19

There were 2 bands during the event.

  1. There was the band that carried the video/audio part.
  2. The other band next to it allow one to see the various comments from listeners as they typed in on their various types of “computers” and made comments to each other about what was being seen and heard on the video.
    If it does go up on YouTube or Vimeo, you won’t get the comments from the home audience.
  3. It would be great to put it up on YouTube. There was a whole lot of Church History provided that no one talks about, and probably would not want talked about.
  4. Looking forward to the next presentation on March 15. I believe they said 8PM EST USA.

(Steve Mga) #20

The program was 2 hours long. This particular presentation was to give background about the history of the SDA church as it began the work among Blacks. A little about Edson and his Morning Star. Ellen’s call for work among Blacks after the Civil War, and then again in the early '90s.
It discussed Segregation in the SDA church. The development of the division between the black and white ministerial groups. Non-white treatment at our hospitals. The problem of white flight when blacks join a white church. Adventist flight from the inner cities, and that it is only the black churches who minister to the inner cities when it is done. They also discussed the giving status of the combined black churches in N.A. Making it the 3rd largest in the World.
Two [2] hours was REALLY NOT enough time for the amount of material that NEEDED to be covered. Hopefully, they will continue with this presentation next time BEFORE they have have Dwight and Pres. Jackson on. They need to come on for the 3rd presentation. Not before.
In my little community, as I have mentioned before here. The white church and black church have no communication. [the former pastor – he just left for a church in Atlanta – told me that he talks to the Black SDA pastor. But there is no discussion about a combined effort to evangelize my town. No mention was made 2 years ago when Southern students came down and an evangelist came from Nashville for 3 weeks that it was a united effort of both churches. I would say close to $50,000 was spent for the 3 week event by our white church and the Conference and Southern.
Reason I brought this up, because what was said on the presentation, I have seen in real life over the past 10 years right in my SDA community.