The President's Post
Memorial honor Las Vegas shooting victims
It’s early Sabbath morning and I’m sitting on our patio contemplating all that has transpired this past month and what it means to us as Seventh-day Adventist Christians. My brother lives in Las Vegas and has sent me pictures from the make shift memorial that has been temporarily set up across from the Mandalay Hotel & Casino. I could feel the pain in those pictures and the heartache from loved ones. The loss of life and the pain inflicted by one man remains unimaginable to me. “Come Lord Jesus!”
Southern Board of Trustees
I attended Southern University for their Board of Trustees meeting. I met with a subcommittee which discussed a survey taken by students regarding dress code. The University employee, who led out in the discussion, said the real issue with the dress code is lack of enforcing it. It doesn’t make any difference what the student manual says if it’s not enforced. I found it interesting that the younger the faculty becomes, the less of an issue the dress code is. Forty percent of the students surveyed said to leave it as is. Many students said in response to the question, “If you could change one thing in the dress code what would that be?” Their response was overwhelmingly, “I would allow shorts in the classrooms.” We discussed this and felt we could make allowance for this with the proper length of dress shorts and we recommended to the Executive Committee that this adjustment be made. The Committee stressed that if a student breaks the dress code the issue be dealt with in a redemptive way.
I don’t mean to give you another news report in this Post, but it’s kind of hard to ignore. The hurricanes that have hit Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and most recently the hurricane which impacted our conference territory. I was in contact with our Principal Scott Bowes at BASS Academy; he assured me that all precautionary measures had been taken to provide safety to our students and staff. I just can’t tell you the comfort I have working with Scott Bowes. We are blessed to have this family influencing our young people. Please join me in praying today and every day for our Academy, churches and everyone in harm’s way through the hurricane season. I checked in with most of our Pastors in the Gulf Coast area and all seemed as ready as could be. The last report I received everyone and everything was fine.
I was in Silver Spring Maryland attending the Annual Council meetings of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. I enjoy being a part of the world church body. It’s truly something to behold. I bumped into (literally) Mark Finley and rubbed shoulders with Clifford Goldstein, Doug Batchelor and Dr. Neil Nedley. I visited with Randy Roberts for a good portion of the afternoon. People gather from all over the world to discuss and go over budgets but most of all, it’s about the mission of the church. Our General Conference President Ted Wilson presides over most of the meetings.
Let me summarize how I interpreted Monday’s meeting regarding Women’s Ordination. As you are well aware it’s a split issue with powerful people on both sides. It’s an issue that has been tossed back and forth for 27 years. President Ted Wilson asked the GC Executive Committee to vote on a 14-page document regarding compliance with GC policy and votes. Something you would think we could agree on. But when the issue of Women’s Ordination comes up, we are totally stalled.
The document is titled “Procedures for Reconciliation and Adherence in Church Governance.” It’s a document on issues of non-compliance. For instance, if a Conference, Union or Division is out of compliance with the GC Working Policy, how do you proceed? I was impressed with President Ted Wilson’s demeanor and how he led us through the discussion. Non-compliance is an issue that needs to be addressed. If one of our churches, in the Gulf States Conference, was out of compliance with our policies and procedures -- we would address it.
The issue remains that several Unions and some Divisions across the world don’t accept the GC vote not to ordain women as pastors. There are currently 200 female pastors in North America. Most Unions are not actively ordaining women pastors, but they are persistent in wanting to overturn the decision and allow each Union to decide for themselves. An example of how divided we are on this issue: the Sweden Conference has surrendered all ordinations of their pastors and officers and everyone male and female is commissioned.
After about 6-7 hours of discussion, a secret ballot vote was taken and it ended up being defeated and returned to the GC Committee. The Committee was asked to rework the policy and have it brought back next year at Annual Council.
I think this was a good decision for this time. I look forward to next year and the improvement that can be done to the document. My prayer is that our Lord help us avoid a split in our church. This is the worst possible time to be divided on any issue. There is so much work to do in our broken world.
Annual Council 2017: Sabbath Sermon from Ted N.C. Wilson
I’m finishing this Post in a hotel on a Sunday morning in Charlotte. In a few hours I will be attending the memorial service for Ken Ford. Ken worked in Trust Services at the Union Office, prior to that he pastored throughout the Southern Union. He was a kind and sensitive gentleman. Our prayers go out to his family for comfort and God’s Grace.
Until next time,
Pastor Dave Livermore
Ken was committed to his Lord, his family, and his church with all his heart. He had a passion for photography, music, healthy living, Adventist education, and Adventist heritage. Ken has passed the torch to his co-workers, friends, and surviving family: his wife, Renee (France); sisters, Linda Ford, Kathy Henderson, and Lori Hathaway; daughters, Jaclyn Knight and Stephanie Powell; sons-in-law, Ryan Knight and Andy Powell; and grandsons, Jackson Kenneth (age 5), and Jordan Patrick (age 2). He looked forward to the day when there will be no more death and no more partings, when he will see his best friend, Jesus, and hear the words, "Well done, My good and faithful servant."
A tribute to Ken's memory can be made by remitting donations to the Worthy Student funds of Shenandoah Valley Academy in New Market, VA, and Mount Pisgah Academy in Candler, NC, or to the Ellen G. White Estate in Silver Spring, MD.
Memories of Ken or a thought for the family may be shared online using the link: https://goo.gl/forms/rSWIGBwjDXqesbLj2 .
Upcoming GSC Events
Gulf States Conference Elders and Deacons Retreat
Friday, Dec. 1st, 6pm
1771 Camp Alamisco Road
Also, don't forget your own linens and personal care items! Rooms will be assigned on a first come first serve basis.