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From the president of the Michigan conference, Jay Gallimore, here is an email regarding the cancellation of the Samuel Pipim rebaptism.
Some of you may have heard that Dr. Pipim was scheduled to be baptized tomorrow afternoon, June 9. The baptism has been canceled. Please see the attached letter [see below] from Pastor Danny Velez to his Ann Arbor Church, for the explanation.
Pastor Velez and his elders have worked hard for nearly a year in helping Dr. Pipim rebuild his spiritual defenses. From both a spiritual and a leadership standpoint, I want to commend them for the skill, honesty, and integrity with which they went about their work. Yet, not surprisingly, these efforts of restoration and reconciliation have, at times, been misunderstood or misinterpreted by some outside of their church. Nevertheless, they have steadily and faithfully endeavored to do the work of reconciliation assigned to them by the Lord Jesus and guided by the Church Manual.
Thanks, as always, for understanding the difficulty and surprises these situations can bring, given the fact that we are all fellow travelers. . . .
The pastor of the Ann Arbor Church posted the following letter:
Dear Ann Arbor Church Family;
Nearly a year has passed since Dr. Samuel Pipim’s repentance and membership removal by this church for a moral fall. During that time, the Ann Arbor Leadership, Elders and I have worked carefully to nurture him through the rebuilding of his spiritual defenses. As a result, we had planned his baptism for this Sabbath afternoon, June 9, 2012. On Thursday night June 7,2012, I received a call from a member of our church with a concern. For over two years he and his wife had information that implicated Dr. Pipim in another moral situation. For reasons, known to them, they did not share that information. Therefore it was unknown until Thursday evening, both to the Elders, myself and the Conference Leadership. On Thursday night, the member and I went to Dr. Pipim with the story. Early Friday morning, June 8, I was notified by Dr. Pipim that the information was true. This brings great sorrow to our hearts.
I called Pastor Gallimore, Conference President, this morning, Friday June 8, and shared with him the results of our visit. We both concurred that the baptism should not go forward given this new information.
After that phone call I visited with Dr. Pipim this morning. He also agreed with us that the baptism should not take place. While canceling this baptism brings grief, disappointment and ache to our minds and feelings, we are committed to the ministry of forgiveness and restoration. The Elders and Church Board will work through this latest situation with the hope of someday seeing everyone involved restored to the Savior and the church family.
Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement through this time. While the enemy of souls rejoices over our sorrow, we have a sympathizing Savior who does not want one soul to perish. How grateful we all are to experience the costly forgiveness of our Savior. So as long as our High Priest, Christ Jesus, pleads for all of us, we are committed to do all we can to foster His ministry of reconciliation.
In the Blessed Hope,
Pastor Danny Velez
Pastor of the Ann Arbor Seventh-day Adventist Church