When a single tithe contribution of over $100 million was given to the General Conference about ten years ago, a major conversation ensued over how this large amount should be handled. A large committee with all the stakeholders was convened at the General Conference and it determined that such a tithe could overwhelm a local conference and be counterproductive. The other members of the local conference might assume that they didn’t need to return tithe because the conference had plenty of money. It was decided that this “extraordinary tithe” would be shared with the world field on a special project basis. Divisions would have to submit proposals for how they intended to use the money in the furtherance of the Gospel. Each year’s General Conference financial documents contain a separate section that tracks how this money has been distributed.
When another large anonymous tithe contribution arrived at the General Conference more recently, the local conference and division were not even notified, in spite of the fact that Working Policy outlines how such a tithe payment is to be handled. North American Division personnel learned about it in committee conversations with the General Conference.
Now the Oregon Conference Executive Committee has requested that the General Conference follow the procedure for anonymous tithe that is outlined in the Working Policy. It voted to contact President Ted Wilson about this seeming non-compliance by the General Conference to its own policies. It is this policy non-compliance that is at the heart of the letter (below) and not the money, which was given by a member of the Oregon Conference.
In his letter on behalf of the Executive Committee, Oregon Conference President Daniel Linrud writes:
“GC Working Policy V 09 05 5.c defines the process that is to take place when an entity other than the local church or Conference (Union/Division/General Conference) receives a direct tithe contribution. The policy states: “Since tithe is returned to the Lord, not given, it is inappropriate for that tithe to come with stipulations as to how and where it is to be used. After being receipted by the treasury where it was received, such tithe is to be returned anonymously to the local conference/mission field/union of churches where the member holds membership.” (Italics added)
Linrud reports the action taken by the Oregon Executive Committee to Elder Wilson:
“VOTED, to respectfully appeal to the General Conference administration to protect the sanctity of the tithe system of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by adherence to the tithe policy and protocol as specified in the General Conference Working Policy, with regard to receiving tithe contributions from local conference members, which includes tithe recently received directly by the General Conference from a member of the Oregon Conference.”
Read the whole letter of the Oregon Conference Executive Committee below:
Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.
Image courtesy of the Oregon Conference.
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