From: Winlock & Onalaska Church Boards of Elders
To: Boards of Elders, North Pacific Union Conference Local Churches
"The North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) website announced on August 17 that the nominating committee had overwhelmingly voted to recommend that NPUC constituency delegates invite John Freedman, Washington Conference President, to replace Max Torkelsen as NPUC president.
We are writing this to you to express our deep concern about this nomination. The Gleaner announced, in the December 2015 issue the adoption of a “New Mission-Focused Leadership Belief Statement” by the Washington Conference, led by John Freedman.
The new Washington Conference Mission-Focused Leadership Policy is stated as follows:
1. That we continue to recommend both ordination and commissioning candidates to the North Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee for their approval.
2. That we give conference-wide approval for those currently holding Commissioned Ministerial Credentials to perform weddings and baptisms. And that we grant approval for those currently holding Commissioned Ministerial Credentials outside of our conference the same privilege.
3. That we give conference-wide approval for participation in the functions of organizing a church or uniting churches to those currently holding Commissioned Ministerial Credentials in consultation with conference administration as is practiced by those holding Ministerial Credentials.
4. That we give permission to those holding Commissioned Ministerial Credentials and who have been ordained as elders the privilege of ordaining elders, deacons, and deaconesses in their local church.
5. That we request that all individuals currently holding Commissioned Ministerial Credentials be granted ordination at a time when the World Church approves the ordination of men and women.
6. That both commissioned and ordained pastors be allowed to serve in any position of the Washington Conference including conference president.
The new policy results in no meaningful differentiation between the Commissioned Ministerial Credential and the Ministerial Credential (ordained pastor) and is a de facto ordination of women. Further, policy numbers 3, 4, and 6 are in direct conflict with NAD policy. Simply stated, the adopted policy is in effect rebellion against the North American Division policy and against the will of the World Church as expressed in numerous votes taken in multiple full sessions of the General Conference, including the recent 2015 session!
The Gleaner announcement stated that the policy, “respects the world church’s ordination requirements. It is a practical approach to allow commissioned ministers to participate, along with ordained ministers, in the new General Conference Total Member Involvement (TMI) initiative, to fulfill the Gospel Commission commanded by Christ Jesus in Matthew 28.” The announcement implied that this new policy is a “practical” response to the TMI initiative. No further information was given about the TMI initiative in the announcement. In Ted Wilson’s sermon introducing the initiative, “Everyone a Sower”, one cannot find a single statement by Wilson that could be construed in any way to be in support of the Washington Conference rebellion.
The Winlock and Onalaska churches wrote a letter to the Washington Conference, dated April 2, 2016, requesting the Washington Conference to immediately rescind the Mission-Focused Leadership Policy and bring the Conference into full alignment and fellowship with the World Church. The Washington Conference Executive Committee met on August 23rd and rejected that request.
This is a most critical time in the history of our beloved church. We are distressed that the leader of the rebellion in the Washington Conference has been nominated to bring this same leadership to the North Pacific Union Conference. We are writing to the Board of Elders in every church within the NPUC to urge you to examine the Washington Conference Mission-Focused Leadership Policy and confirm for yourselves that this policy constitutes a rebellion, not only against the stated policy of the North American Division, but also against the votes of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church including the 2015 General Conference session.
If you agree that we cannot allow this kind of rebellion in our Church, we urge you to do two things:
1) Contact the NPUC and express your concern, and
2) Contact a delegate to the September 25th NPUC Constituency Session and urge them to reject this nomination. If you are a Washington Conference church, we urge you to also contact/write the Conference and tell them that your church will not be a party to their rebellion.
The NPUC is at a crossroads. Will we faithfully walk with the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church or will we go our own independent way? We believe the answer is in your hands. We have challenged the Washington Conference and they are determined to walk independently. What will you do?"
Winlock & Onalaska Church Boards of Elders
Mission-Focused Leadership Policy:
Total Member Involvement Initiative: