The Northern California Conference had its Constituency meeting last Sunday. There were several weighty items discussed in that meeting.
Fulcrum7 published two articles on issues that came up before the meeting, and here is a combined account of the meeting from three delegates who attended.
My overall impression is that most of the constituency are uninformed voters, and didn't have the slightest clue regarding the true issues at hand. They have an unwarranted trust in the leadership and process, making them excellent rubber-stampers. This is just as the conference officials would have it.
From all appearances—if there were winners and losers—conservatives lost the battle. According to inside reports, pretty much anything that came from a conservative (or World Church supportive) mindset was shot down. Conservatives are being vilified and people are buying it. Thankfully, we know that God wins the war.
Three Specific Observations
1) “It doesn’t seem to bother the Conference officials if they violate bylaws.
The fact that they did not allow five motions from three different churches on the agenda is quite suspect. It also troubling that none of the five motions met their qualifications to be on the agenda.
While we may not have worded the resolutions in the same way, we (conservatives) all agreed with what they said. What matters is it was not the Executive Committee’s place to make the decision (under the supervision of Marc Woodson) to not place these items on the agenda. The constituency should have been able to weigh the merits of these motions in advance of the meeting. The motions were brought to the floor of the meeting by concerned delegates but there was no way they could have been fairly addressed. The vote to include the five items on the agenda was voted down by a margin 61 to 39%.
2) The irregularities surrounding the nominating committee, and the fact that they were brought back twice to vote on the youth ministry director is more than disconcerting. Very few people in that constituency meeting had any idea regarding the methods used to bring this about. The Chair of the Nominating Committee (Ricardo Graham) kept calling for the Committee to re-vote the same issue until he got the result he wanted.
(See Facebook post of Richard Magnuson and Brenda area 6 Pathfinder leader—the unethical campaigning for the incumbent youth director)
On top of that, when one person got up to the microphone to try to voice their concerns about what had taken place, they were immediately shut down by the chairman, Ricardo Graham. He wasn’t about to give me a voice regarding methods used to bring about the results.
3) When it came time to vote the credentials, questions were asked about the Chico Church pastor, in regard to the baptism of an openly practicing homosexual. The question was asked
“What kind of measures have been taken, to remedy this situation? This minister obviously disregarded the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church.”
President Marc Woodson, skillfully got out of giving an answer, saying “It is a personnel issue.” It was, however, a public sin, and the members of this Conference deserve answers.
It was stated that “leaders and ministers should be held accountable when they take actions that are at odds with the SDA beliefs; there needs to be transparency, and there needs to be oversight. If they aren’t in agreement with the church, they should be honest and leave the church. There should be disciplinary measures taken on the part of church officials.”
The Executive Committee overstepped their authority and rejected the motion amendments in direct violation of church policy. This was pointed out by a bylaws committee member from the floor microphone. And as a result, the five motions were projected onto the screen and read aloud by the chairman to the constituency delegates.
In the end, a motion was made from the floor to bundle all the motions. This motion was approved. When the bundled motions were voted on to be placed on the agenda they were voted down (61—39%).
As a result of not bringing each individual motion separately before the Constituency, we never found out how they would have voted on the motion related to the Chico Church. A lesson hopefully learned by all of us for the future.
The agenda also featured a list of 300+ employees whose credentials/licenses were up for renewal pending a majority vote.
A delegate came forward to ask a valid question about the Chico Church pastor (Dan Wysong), whose name was also on the credentialing list. Wysong had previously authorized the baptism of a woman involved in a lesbian “marriage.”
As a consequence, the NCC Administration had expressed their disapproval of this action in 2017, while also reaffirming the church’s position on marriage as being the union of one man and one woman. In light of the Chico pastor making the credentialing list, it was asked if it was safe to assume that he had admitted to his wrong doing, had expressed remorse, and had sought to correct the unbiblical and perilous precedent that he had set within the church.
If the Chico pastor had not done any of the above, the chair was asked if someone from the Conference could please explain why the constituents were being asked to reaffirm the credentials of an NCC pastor who still remained out of compliance with the Word of God and established Church policy. The Chairman didn't seem to grasp what was a very valid, logical and unambiguous question.
The question was asked a second time but again received no answer. The chair was reminded that people could not vote intelligently if such necessary information was not forthcoming. In spite of such a reasonable and common sense request, the whole constituent body was denied any such information. The only response was that the matter involved the issue of confidentiality which prevented the chair from saying anything further. In other words, the matter was closed, yet all present were still expected to dutifully cast their vote!
The chair (Marc Woodson) was further asked if a means was in place to refer questionable names back to the credentialing committee. No such mechanism was cited. The process demanded the approval of everyone or no one. A motion was made that all names go back to the credentialing committee to ascertain the posture of each nominee toward the “28 Fundamentals.” This was subsequently voted down.
The final vote to affirm all names en masse was no problem for 55% of those in the room. The final vote on the credentials was 55—45% (extremely close when you factor in all the Conference employee delegates who typically vote in support of Conference agendas).
They approved all candidates, including the Chico pastor, with no knowledge of where he still stood, or whether he would endorse the baptism of another “married” lesbian or homosexual.
The delegates were obligated to vote with no assurance that leadership would actually correct the wrong that was committed in Chico. That 55% of delegates should still vote the motion up with no such guarantees, was either an act of scandalous apathy and inexcusable unconcern or the result of progressive values gaining yet more ground within the church. Or both. Whatever the cause, it's clear that many NCC Adventists are willing to trek down some strange and perilous paths!
That said, the 45% who voted the motion down is still a sizable contingent that our leaders cannot afford to ignore — especially in the polarizing arena of the Chico scandal. This reprehensible debacle has brought reproach upon the name of God and shame upon His Church. There will be an account to render before heaven one day soon.
In spite of their usual skewed jaundiced view of things, even Spectrum magazine painted a more honest picture of Sunday's event than did the NCC the day after.
The October 1st edition of the NCC e-newsletter “Northern Lights” presented a sanitized and squeaky-clean report which said nothing about the previous day's clash of ideals, values, and the attempted suppression of five valid motions by the Conference Executive committee—in blatant violation of their own bylaws
Remember, 45% of the delegates in the room voted to send the credential list back, this is hugely significant.
You can draw your own conclusions as to what this means and where it will lead us in the NCC. It's either sheer apathetic and careless unconcern or the growing impact of progressive values, or both. Probably both.
That said, the 45% who voted this down is still no small number and our leaders cannot disregard them or consider them insignificant.
Unless the Northern California Conference leadership and constituency addresses the Chico SDA church incident with more transparency and decisiveness they will erode whatever credibility they still have.
This issue will not go away. It will have to be resolved and the sooner the better!
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).