Constituents of the Pacific Union are meeting just now at the Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa near Phoenix, AZ, to consider, among other things, changes to the bylaws of the Union.
Of special interest are two of the proposed changes. First, under Art. XIV, Amendments, the bylaws currently state that:
"The Bylaws of this Union, which are essential to the unity of the church worldwide, may be amended, revised, or repealed from time to time in order to comport with the spirit of the Model Union Constitution and Bylaws as voted by the General Conference Executive Committee."
The proposed change would add the clause:
"or to advance the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Union."
Yet more ominously, the following sentence is proposed to be struck out:
"The Bylaws may be amended, revised, or repealed, provided such changes are in harmony with the spirit of the Model Union Constitution and Bylaws."
Taken together, these changes would allow the bylaws to be amended not just to conform to the spirit of the Model Union Constitution and Bylaws, but for any purpose that the those who want to revise the bylaws believe will "advance the mission of the SDA Church in the Pacific Union." Harmony with the model constitution and model bylaws propounded by the General Conference is specifically excluded as guidance for amending the bylaws.
In other words, this change would give license to effectively depart from the General Conference template and revise the bylaws for any reason.
Second, there is a proposal to change the dissolution clause from this:
"In the event of the dissolution of this Union, all assets remaining after all claims have been satisfied shall be transferred to the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists, a non profit religious corporation organized pursuant to the laws of the District of Columbia, with headquarters in Silver Spring Maryland."
"In the event of the dissolution of this Union, all assets remaining after all claims have been satisfied shall be transferred proportionally based on membership to the individual conferences comprising the Pacific Union at the time of dissolution."
The effect of this bylaw change is obvious: if the Pacific Union is dissolved, its assets go to its conferences, not to the world church. The reason for this change could scarcely be any clearer: It is a shot across the bow of the General Conference regarding any attempt to discipline this rogue union by dissolving it.
Fulcrum7 readers are well aware that that one of the Pacific Union's constituent conferences, the Southeastern California Conference, is out of compliance with General Conference policy in having a female conference president. There's been no effective discipline for this rebellion against clearly stated church policy, a rebellion now several years old.
One form of discipline, albeit drastic, would be to dissolve the Pacific Union if it refuses to deal with the SECC. These changes to the bylaws are clearly an attempt to head off that form of discipline. If the Pacific Union's corporation were to be dissolved, its considerable assets would go not to he General Conference but to the local conferences, the Southern California, Southeastern California, Central California, Northern California, Arizona, Nevada-Utah and Hawaii.
This is open rebellion against the world church. How will the world church respond?
Article 14 -- giving authority for the PUC Union to act out of harmony with model bylaws was dissipated today.
Article 16 -- which would give local conferences PUC assets instead of the GC -- if the Union dissolved -- was sent "back to committee."
Pacific Union Conference Constituency preserved church unity for now, and rejected dramatic structural changes.