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Hanseatic Conference President Responds To Incorrect Fulcrum7 Article

In a statement provided to Spectrum, Dennis Meier, president of the German Hanseatic Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, rebuked a misleading Fulcrum7 article published on June 9, 2024.

The piece asserted that the Hanseatic Conference (misidentified as the “Hanse Conference”) replaced Saša Gunjević, a former pastor at the Hamburg-Grindelberg Adventist Church, with Annette Schildt, drawing particular attention to her gender. “Not only is a gay male not qualified to be a shepherd of the flock, a female is not as well,” the anonymously written article reads.

According to Meier, Schildt was already a pastor at the Hamburg-Grindelberg Adventist Church and has recently retired. “FACT: Annette was chosen two years ago (long before Sasa’s coming out) as the replacement pastor for Christian Moeller, who was transferred to another post,” Meier wrote in the emailed statement. “Last Sabbath was Annette’s last workday, and [she] is now retired.”

Continuing his efforts to correct the erroneous Fulcrum7 piece, Meier said they are looking for a new pastor for the congregation, but only because of Schildt’s retirement. The church previously employed two pastors but “no longer has the membership numbers to justify that, and in the future will only have one pastor (male or female).”

The Fulcrum7 article additionally suggests that Gunjević was “dismissed” by the Hanseatic Conference a year after he publicly came out as bisexual, citing so-called “pressure” from the North German Union and Inter-European Division. 

Gunjević resigned from his position as a pastor at the Hamburg-Grindelberg Adventist Church in April. “I’m not losing my faith, and I’m leaving in peace,” he said in an Instagram post originally written in German. “The church or any higher-level leader had no influence on this decision that I have made unanimously with my employer.” 

Spectrum reached out to Gerry Wagoner, who is listed at the top of their masthead as Fulcrum7’s “janitor,” regarding the blog’s editorial standards, fact-checking process, and procedures for anonymously authored articles. Wagoner’s first request was to be off-the-record, but after three hours of interaction, he did not address questions about his organization’s reporting and did not comment on the record. 

Alexander Carpenter contributed to this report.

Images by Fulcrum7 and Hanseatic Conference.

Samuel Girven

About the author

Samuel Girven is the Special Projects Correspondent for Spectrum. You can email him at samuel@spectrummagazine.org More from Samuel Girven.
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