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With Black Friday shopping winding down, Giving Tuesday approaches. Have you heard of Giving Tuesday? It is a national day for sharing that follows the shopping days: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Thus, Giving Tuesday this year will fall on December 3. It is a day set aside to give back to the community.
To Spectrummites all over the world, we invite your participation on Tuesday.
Bringing together Adventist academics and church administrators for the Summit on Nurture and Retention produced a fascinating mix of presentations and conversations. With recent membership surveys in nine of the world divisions, there was data to inform program reports. Graduate student Katelyn Ruiz talked about nonverbal behavior in a case study of the welcoming program at a local church.
It was just so ironic. At the summit called to address why the Seventh-day Adventist church is losing one-third of its members out the back door, the one presenter who is known to be gay was disinvited at the last minute. And while he was told he was welcome to attend, he could not present his paper which had nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality. It was not because he is gay that he could not present, he was assured, but “because of the views you have publicly espoused on this subject."
With one third of baptized Seventh-day Adventist church members slipping out the back door, officials at the General Conference have decided it is time to address the issue in a major way. To do so, academic researchers and church administrators are meeting this week in Silver Spring to discuss the data and suggest a strategy to reverse the trend during the “Summit on Nurture and Retention, 2013: Discipling, Retaining, and Reclaiming”.
Amidst the avalanche of material that has been written on women’s ordination in the past several years, the North American Division Report presented this past week distinguishes itself as a comprehensive document that covers all the important aspects of the topic, includes material from multiple viewpoints and presents a way forward for the church.
It was the last day of Annual Council. General Conference Vice President Lowell Cooper was pitching a document on governing board autonomy, independence, and accountability in colleges and universities. He said the original version of the document had been circulated to the administrations and board chairs of the various Adventist colleges and universities. Recommendations from that group had been used to revise the document that was being presented. As usual the chair of the meeting asked if there were any comments. And this time, surprisingly, there were.
In the beginning there were movies about creation, animal encounters and beyond. And it was very good. There were also reports from every possible General Conference department on how they are participating in the “Creation: The World is a Witness” evangelism project for 2014. From creation care features in the stewardship magazine to children’s curriculum on creation, it seems every possible angle has been considered.
Annual financial reports were presented to the Executive Committee of the General Conference on Monday and a $175 million budget was voted. Treasurer Robert Lemon’s report mixed philosophical musings with the reality of the numbers. For a variety of reasons, he said, the September financial statement shows the church is $9 million behind where it was last year at this time.