Editor’s Note: On October 16, 2018, following the Annual Council vote, South Pacific Division President Glenn Townend issued a statement on his public Facebook page, which follows in its entirety:
Yesterday afternoon’s Annual Council meeting on the Compliance document went from 2-7 pm and was conducted in a very fair manner. Most people who chose to share their perspective in 2 minutes spoke against the document, but the vote was 185 in favour, 124 against with 2 abstentions. Votes in issues that we as a world Church have differences of opinion on are usually in this 60-40 range. That has certainly been the case since I have been a member of the GC Executive Committee and gone to GC Sessions — this vote was no different.
My read of the meeting was that most people wanted compliance and consequence to non-compliance. I have no issue with that. My concern was the way in which non-compliance was to be dealt with. This did not seem to matter. We as a Church have moved away from the voted representative body, the Executive Committee, dealing with non-compliant issues to delegate this to ADCOM, which do not have executive power and are not a voted representative body. However, despite many people noting this point, it did not seem to register on those who voted. From my perspective this is a significant shift in how we do Church business.
Some have questioned why SPD personnel did not speak up in the discussion. I cannot speak for the others from SPD, but I did not speak because the points I was going to make had already been made by many others — I have learnt that you don’t win votes by the number of words. I can also assure you though that the SPD members of the GC Executive Committee were united in their concerns on the document — we met together at the request of the GC president and shared openly the night before the discussion.
We cannot vote unity — the vote showed that again. I know the issue of compliance will not go away. The issue behind the consequences for non-compliance is still very current. Women’s ordination is a conscience issue and no one can shut down a person’s conscience.
In the SPD we have people with many different opinions and can and will continue to share openly. We will also continue to support women in ministry, work with those entities who are non-compliant and above all focus on God’s Mission to take His last-day message of good news to the world.
Image courtesy of Adventist.org.
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