May 28, 2017: Additional information about the firing of Pastor Gary Kent as director of the It Is Written Oceania (IIWO) television ministry in Australia has come to Adventist Today in a letter the writers of which are unidentified but appear to be from the same group that that initially reacted to his dismissal, Please understand that this is only one view of the events that led to the current situation. Adventist Today covered the official announcement from Adventist denominational leaders here.
The letter refers to a disagreement that goes back 22 months which centered on whether the “Hope Channel … not just IIWO” would be the primary media ministry of the Adventist Church in the denomination’s South Pacific Division. The Hope Channel is a newer media strategy developed in recent years, initially by the General Conference, which involves a more comprehensive and varied menu of formats as compared to the traditional preaching format of the older media ministries such as It Is Written. There has long been disagreement between trained media professionals who say that the more varied range of formats is necessary to reach the more secular and diverse media audiences of today and church members who prefer traditional sermons.
The letter says that in mid 2015 a staff member at IIWO was fired because the individual did not follow instructions from the CEO of Adventist Media related to this issue. More recently Kent wanted this individual back on the staff so arrangements were made for the person to be hired by one of the local conferences with the wages funded by “a leading businessman in the Australian community and to work for IIWO “on a volunteer basis.” This is evidently the thing that led to his firing.
The letter states that there have been a number of denominational employees over the years guilty of “fraud, embezzlement” and other wrongs and “never has the church openly attempted to discredit any individual like it has done with Kent.” It says “to suggest any breach of trust or integrity ,,, is unfounded and requires the immediately withdrawal of the complaint.” The letter also demands his “immediate reinstatement.”