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Stan Patterson, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Church Leadership and chair of the Department of Christian Ministry at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. This sermon was recorded at the 2013 Georgia-Cumberland Conference South Georgia Camp Meeting in Macon, GA.
Thanks to Carmen Lau and Bille for recommending this sermon.
Constituency delegates approved a series of changes to La Sierra University’s bylaws during a special meeting held on the campus on May 23. The revised bylaws document passed by a vote of 69-10, or 87 percent, well beyond the two-thirds vote required for passage. The bylaws revisions provide refinement to La Sierra University’s governance, while addressing some concerns about the university’s bylaws expressed since 1996 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, La Sierra’s regional accrediting agency.
This follows an information session held on February 21 in which constituents offered feedback and suggestions on the proposed bylaws revisions.
“We all need to appreciate the difficult task that our Articles and Bylaws Committee members have had to complete,” said Ricardo Graham, Pacific Union president and current La Sierra University board chair. “During their nearly two years of study and review, committee members have listened to constituency delegate feedback, and have used care to ensure the revised bylaws meet current governance needs while reinforcing La Sierra University’s clear and unequivocal connection to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its mission and philosophy.”
The significant bylaws changes fall into two main areas:
Changing the way in which the board chair is selected.
Making clear the specific roles of the Board of Trustees and the university President.
Delegates approved bylaws changes that require, in consultation with Pacific Union Conference officers, La Sierra University’s Board chair to be elected by the board itself from one of the four ex officio member Union officers, rather than automatically being the Union president. This change allows the trustees to select their own chair, while simultaneously ensuring that the chair will always be an officer of the Pacific Union. An additional key limitation would be that neither the chair or vice chair of La Sierra’s board can serve concurrently as chair or vice chair of another university or college board. This resolves Pacific Union Conference’s unique issue in its operation of two institutions. La Sierra University and Pacific Union College both faced questions from the accrediting agency on this issue that are not faced by institutions in the rest of the North American Division.
Since 1990, La Sierra’s board membership has included nine ex officio members (the Pacific Union Conference president, secretary, treasurer, vice president; the Pacific Union Conference education director; the presidents of the Arizona, Southeastern California, and Southern California Conferences; and the university president); and 14 members elected by the constituency. No change in that composition was considered during this process. Additionally, the revised bylaws require all 14 elected trustees be members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Previously one elected trustee could be from outside the Church.
The approved bylaws charge the Board of Trustees with ensuring that the mission and major policies of the university reflect the goals and objectives of the Adventist Church. Other changes recognize the limitations of expecting a board to manage day-to-day details of a complex institution.
The board will continue to appoint the president, provost, and vice president for financial administration, and grant tenure to members of the faculty. This allows the board to have direct interaction with the administrative, academic, and financial leaders of the university. It allows trustees to maintain financial oversight of the university, and to establish the policies necessary to university governance. The president is identified as the university officer accountable for implementing the board’s broad policies into daily operations.
Trustees will also focus on providing strategic vision for the university, establishing governing policies, and protecting the university’s assets. The full bylaws document identifies 18 specific governance functions retained by the trustees under the revised bylaws. The full document will be posted on the university website after the bylaws committee completes editorial changes voted by the delegates
“God’s spirit was evident throughout the session,” Graham said. “I appreciated how delegates cared so much about these issues, as demonstrated through the robust discussion and their insightful questions.
“I am optimistic about La Sierra University’s future,” Graham concluded. “The board, administration, and faculty are committed to building this outstanding institution of higher education and developing the Christian commitment of every student.”
On May 21, 2013, United States Senate Chaplain Barry Black prayed the following at the General Conference headquarters to mark the 150th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Author and Finisher of our faith, You have been our Hope in ages past, and our Hope for years to come.
Thank You for this opportunity to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and for the privilege of unveiling a new exhibit on Adventist history at this world headquarters building today.
Lord, for a century and a half, You have used this church to bring deliverance to captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, and to free those who suffer.
Forgive us for the chapters in our history when we were missing in action and unavailable to help the lost, the lonely, and the least. Lord, forgive us for being silent when we should have spoken, and for speaking when we should have been silent. Forgive us, O God, for our sins of commission and omission. We claim Your promise in First John 1:9, that if we confess our sins, You are faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thank You, Lord, for your forgiving power.
Continue to challenge us as a church when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams came true because they are too small, when we arrived safely simply because we sailed too close to the shore.
We recommit ourselves today to accomplish Your great mission. We recommit ourselves today to Calvary and the blood that sets us free. We recommit ourselves, O God, today to bring Your love to all who need encouragement, to all who lack food and clothing, to all who are cold and cheerless, to all who are sick and shut-in, to all who are incarcerated, and to all who long for home and friendship.
We recommit ourselves today to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas, where storms will show Your mastery, where losing sight of land we will find Your stars.
O God of ages past, push back the horizon of our hopes and lead us into a future fueled by faith, focus and fortitude.
And hasten the day when the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ rise, then may those of us who are still alive and remaining be caught up to meet our blessed Savior in the air and to live with Him throughout the ceaseless cycles of eternity.
Maranatha, even so come, Lord Jesus. We pray this prayer, in the majestic name of our soon coming Savior and King.
Image: Ansel Oliver/ANN.
Early one Sunday morning when I was a teenager, I experienced the tantalizing smell of something I just had to eat. I was a student residing at the dormitory at Spicer Memorial College in India at that time. The smell, I thought, was something special on cafeteria’s breakfast menu. However, nothing on the menu that morning came close to the smell I had experienced earlier. A week went by, and at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning it returned—the same mouth-watering scent.
My research led me to the college bakery. I was familiar with everything that they usually made, but this was different. They told me that at 6 a.m. that morning, the cook had made "bun filling," consisting of eggs and onions. I wanted then more than anything to taste one, but my pocket money did not stretch that far. On one occasion, I did have enough money to purchase one—and I never forgot the taste.
Years later, when I had my own home in India, I decided to re-create the scent and add a few more ingredients to the original to make it my own. So out of quiet desperation was born a recipe I've christened "egg chutney" because of its chutney-like consistency, and also because this dish by any other name would taste just as delicious. Since then, it’s become a family favorite at get-togethers, picnics or for “just because I feel like it” occasions. Each time I make it, I'm transported to that Sunday long ago.
It is a simple dish with just seven easy-to-find ingredients: onions, tomatoes, serrano pepper, cilantro, eggs, oil and salt—and an eighth ingredient, one pinch of reminiscence. I usually use pasture-raised eggs in this recipe for their taste as well as health benefits. Pasture-raised chickens are never caged and produce eggs that are lower in cholesterol and higher in lecithin and omega-3 fatty acids. I purchase mine from the farmer’s market near my home.
Enjoy it as a filling in buns, with toasted bread, or as an accompaniment with chapatis (unleavened flatbread also known as roti) or tortillas. Simple, mouth-watering and easy to make, it could become your family favorite for a Sabbath morning breakfast. As my three-year-old grandson Joshua used to say, "Try it, you'll like it!"
Susheela Rai is a former English professor and dean of women from Spicer Memorial (Adventist) College in Pune, India. She is now a medical transcriptionist in Southern California and attends the Eagle Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church. She is a proud wife, mother and grandmother.
Photo credit: Michelle Rai
This week’s recipe for Egg Chutney comes from Susheela Rai. She writes, “To easily maximize the flavor, let the onions cook for at least 10 minutes—preferably longer. During that time, you can organize your other ingredients. It is also important to use a neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed or another vegetable oil. Using a flavored oil like olive or coconut oil will change the taste of the chutney (however, refined coconut oil is OK—it just won’t have the coconut flavor).” Note: The egg chutney can be prepared the day before and heated just before serving.
Serves: 4 people (8 buns total)
Prep time: 15 min.
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 medium, vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
1 serrano chili pepper, deseeded and cut in half lengthwise (optional)
4 eggs, beaten
6-8 tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral-flavored oil
2-4 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
Salt, to taste
Whole-wheat, spelt, gluten-free or other burger buns
1. In a wok on medium heat, heat the oil. Add chopped onions and serrano chili and sauté until onions are golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
2. While the onions are cooking, chop tomatoes. After the onions have cooked, add chopped tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring often, until mixture attains a sauce-like texture. Add salt to taste. Remove serrano chili and discard.
3. Mix in beaten eggs at medium to low heat and stir until eggs are cooked and have melded with the tomato mixture. Add salt to taste.
4. Remove from heat and add chopped cilantro.
5. Spoon mixture into buns. Enjoy!
2. An article looking back 45 years to a tragedy in College View, Nebraska.
3. Four new unions created in West-Central Africa Division.
An argument over attorney-client privilege during the deposition of Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham has brought to light the role of General Conference President Ted Wilson in the saga of La Sierra University’s accreditation.
Depositions are now underway in the case of the three La Sierra University employees who were coerced to resign in 2011. On Friday, May 17, 2013, their attorney Richard D. McCune filed a motion to compel testimony by Ricardo Graham, the chairman of the LSU Board.
During his May 8 deposition, Graham refused to answer questions about a 2011 phone conversation that took place the day before Jeffrey Kaatz, James Beach and Gary Bradley resigned. Participating in that phone call with Graham were Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division; Larry Blackmer, NAD vice president for education; Karnik Doukmetzian, general counsel for the General Conference; and Kent Hansen, counsel for La Sierra University.
When McCune started asking Graham questions about the call, Michael Connally, who now represents La Sierra University, the North American Division and the General Conference in the case, immediately objected, citing attorney-client privilege. Graham’s attorney Jon Daggett also objected to these questions.
Was it in this phone conversation that the plan was formed to show Kaatz, Beach and Bradley the transcript of their private conversation at Beach’s home and invite their resignation? Why was the president of the university not included in this call? And why did Graham refuse to tell the president why he wanted to meet with Kaatz, Beach and Bradley the following day? Will the court force Graham to answer questions about the call? On June 21 the Superior Court of California will respond.
Along with the motion to compel testimony from Ricardo Graham, McCune provided the court with background documents that have been gathered in the discovery process.
One of the documents is an email message from General Conference President Ted Wilson, dated March 23, 2011, in which he is directing how the motion on LSU’s accreditation should be composed for presentation at the Adventist Accrediting Agency Board. Wilson says that their accreditation should be “provisional” and stipulates that:
La Sierra University faculty with special attention to the Biology and Religion departments, who do not believe in and endorse the voted SDA belief in creation be released from service for La Sierra University.
And Wilson's last stipulation was that “Board governance structure and function to be revised providing for a much fuller participation of the university board including the privilege for board members to visit and survey any and all programs on campus.”
It was the changes in the LSU accreditation recommendation for the AAA Board that set in motion the chain of events that prompted the resignation of the three administrators. The ramifications continue to this day. On Thursday, May 23, the La Sierra University constituency will meet to review changes in the university bylaws to ensure the independence of the institution’s board. To document that it was the General Conference president who specifically asked for LSU employees to be "released from service" is revealing in much the same way that the LSU employees' private recording made public their personal opinions.
—Bonnie Dwyer is the editor of Spectrum.
Click here to read the motion to compel testimony. The first exhibit includes pertinent parts of the May 8, 2013, deposition of Ricardo Graham.