August 29, 2016
Constituents of the Pacific Union are meeting just now at the Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa near Phoenix, AZ, to consider, among other things, changes to the bylaws of the Union.
Of special interest are two of the proposed changes. First, under Art. XIV, Amendments, the bylaws currently state that:
“The Bylaws of this Union, which are essential to the unity of the church worldwide, may be amended, revised, or repealed from time to time in order to comport with the spirit of the Model Union Constitution and Bylaws as voted by the General Conference Executive Committee.”
The proposed change would add the clause:
“or to advance the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Union.”
Yet more ominously, the following sentence is proposed to be struck out:
“The Bylaws may be amended, revised, or repealed, provided such changes are in harmony with the spirit of the Model Union Constitution and Bylaws.”
Taken together, these changes would allow the bylaws to be amended not just to conform to the spirit of the Model Union Constitution and Bylaws, but for any purpose that those who want to revise the bylaws believe will “advance the mission of the SDA Church in the Pacific Union.” Harmony with the model constitution and model bylaws propounded by the General Conference is specifically excluded as guidance for amending the bylaws.
In other words, this change would give license to effectively depart from the General Conference template and revise the bylaws for any reason.
Second, there is a proposal to change the dissolution clause from this:
“In the event of the dissolution of this Union, all assets remaining after all claims have been satisfied shall be transferred to the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists, a non profit religious corporation organized pursuant to the laws of the District of Columbia, with headquarters in Silver Spring Maryland.”
“In the event of the dissolution of this Union, all assets remaining after all claims have been satisfied shall be transferred proportionally based on membership to the individual conferences comprising the Pacific Union at the time of dissolution.”
The effect of this bylaw change is obvious: if the Pacific Union is dissolved, its assets go to its conferences, not to the world church. The reason for this change could scarcely be any clearer: It is a shot across the bow of the General Conference regarding any attempt to discipline this rogue union by dissolving it.
Fulcrum7 readers are well aware that one of the Pacific Union’s constituent conferences, the Southeastern California Conference, is out of compliance with General Conference policy in having a female conference president. There’s been no effective discipline for this rebellion against clearly stated church policy, a rebellion now several years old.
One form of discipline, albeit drastic, would be to dissolve the Pacific Union if it refuses to deal with the SECC. These changes to the bylaws are clearly an attempt to head off that form of discipline. If the Pacific Union’s corporation were to be dissolved, its considerable assets would go not to the General Conference but to the local conferences, the Southern California, Southeastern California, Central California, Northern California, Arizona, Nevada-Utah and Hawaii.
This is open rebellion against the world church. How will the world church respond?
• Session Agenda
• Bylaws Committee Report
• Constituency hashtag: #4suchatime16
[Update]: Good news!
• Article 14 — giving authority for the PUC Union to act out of harmony with model bylaws was dissipated today.
• Article 15 — which would give local conferences PUC assets instead of the GC — if the Union dissolved — was sent “back to committee.”
• Pacific Union Conference Constituency preserved church unity for now, and rejected dramatic structural changes.
Now, let us take up the task of doing what the church is called to do. “Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment is come…”.
NOTE: We can be thankful for the resulting update on article 14, but what about article 15 which was sent back to committee. It is very clear that the spirit of rebellion is continuing to brew in the hearts and minds of many within that Union and other Unions.
Our concern should be: “WHERE IS THE GENERAL CONFERENCE”?
Their continuing lack of action is only allowing this serious wound to our beloved world church to fester and grow to enormous proportions. After a while, these deluded individuals in leadership of these Divisions and Unions realize that… “Hey, we can put our hands on the hot stove and it doesn’t even burn!”