@Sean Pitman: Sean, thank you for sharing your thoughts …

Comment on Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference by Brent Stanyer.

@Sean Pitman: Sean, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, and thinking through this in a public forum. Your update, the original post, and the comments, have prompted me to clarify my own thinking on the organizational challenges ahead.

Your point about the Adventist organizational structure and how authority is dispersed among entities (GC, Union, and Conference) is key. These entities each have their own constituencies, and exercise final authority over matters in their jurisdiction. Decisions within that jurisdiction are made by them, not for them. Yes, the GC has its own jurisdiction, and makes its own decisions through its Executive Committee or GC Session, but it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to overrule the decisions of other entities acting within their jurisdiction. The tensions inherent in that system seem to cause much of the dispute over how some unions and conferences are exercising their independent jurisdiction over ordination. There are tensions between the policy jurisdiction of the GC versus the pastor and ordination decision making of the Unions and Conferences. Current policy is not as clear as opponent to WO argue that it is. Several other tensions are also at play – one’s view on whether women should be pastors (even though this is settled in GC policy), whether ordination should be male only, and preferences for local or centralized authority, etc. will make this matter a difficult challenge.

Often left out of the discussions, is that while all of the disputes and debates are occurring, and study documents and policy changes are considered, women are effectively working right now as pastors – blessing their congregations and communities with their service. Let’s enhance the ministry of all pastors – men and women – with our time, talent and money, instead of the nuclear options.

Brent Stanyer Also Commented

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
@Sean Pitman: @Sean Pitman: Oh, how fragile those bonds of unity as we each do what is right in our own eyes.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
@Larry Kirkpatrick: Yes, Pastor Kirkpatrick, time will tell. And, every administrator, pastor, delegate, member in NCC and the Pacific Union are every bit as much part of the church as you or I. Claiming separation is simply your rhetorical attempt to dismiss them based on your disagreement with them. It might mean something to you, but has no effect on who is part of the church or which conference and unions are part of the sisterhood of unions and conferences. All of us are working through these issues together as we determine how to handle our differences. I trust that God will bless us in that endeavor.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
Sean, I wasn’t meaning to be harsh and critical or trying to pick on you. I’m trying to explore and better understand the role of conferences and unions in the SDA organizational structure. Amy take is that NCC and Pacific Union are doing what GC policy allows and that there is a difference between them and the GC over who has what roles. We don’t have a hierarchy with a chain of command system. We have interrelated units with their own constituencies and their own roles and authority.

Recent Comments by Brent Stanyer

Louie Bishop Testifies, Again, about His Experience at La Sierra University
It might be of interest to those who read Louie’s letter to know that he attended UC Davis for four years. In his Senior year, he was given the prestigious award of being the “Student Athlete of the Year”. This past August, Louie was inducted into the UC Davis Golf Hall of Fame. During that ceremony, his Coach told of his Seventh-day Adventist convictions of not playing on his Sabbath but that he contributed so much the days he played. He received a standing ovation. This was from a secular group.

It is such a sad story to know how he was treated while attending his own church University.