by the AT Reporting Team | 1 November 2018 |
Anticipation is in the air for this year’s North American Division (NAD) Year-end Meeting. You can see it, hear it, and feel it.
Typically there are around 300 members, invitees, and guests who attend the Executive Committee that oversees the ministries that serve Bermuda in the East to Guam/Micronesia to the West; from Canada to the North and the United States to the South. This year, they are making preparations for almost 500 who have requested to be present either in the auditorium or in the overflow room being made available. Everyone wants to see what’s going to happen.
And happen it will. Our sources indicate that we will hear proposals from the NAD administration in response to the compliance document, women’s ordination, and the percentage of funds going to the General Conference (GC). The discussion on the compliance document will begin on Sunday.
You’re going to want to follow Adventist Today’s daily reports, and if you have time, you can also stream those days—especially if you have any interest in how the NAD is going to respond to Annual Council’s decisions. Here’s the link: https://www.nadadventist.org/
Dan Jackson, NAD President, wasted no time in getting to the heart of his report. “This is a family meeting. We are the North American family of the world church, and we have some things to talk about. Sometimes, families have happy conversations, and sometimes they need to talk about the dysfunction in the family.”
He indicated we’re going to hear both kinds of conversation. “But as we leave next Tuesday, my wish is that we come to some decisions, and we don’t leave angry with each other.” Whether that can be achieved, or not, is yet to be revealed.
“We want to hear from you, and for you to speak your mind. We’ll do our best to process your motions so they are as clear as possible, before we vote. None of us will get exactly what we want, but I am confident that God will lead.” Jackson said.
“What I do want for us to be is agents of healing for those who are hurting,” Jackson went on to say in a pastoral tone, “and there are many people who are hurting over the vote in Battle Creek. There are real consequences to our decisions, and we have to provide hope.”
He then went to 1 Corinthians 3:9, where the apostle Paul says, “We are co-laborers in God’s service…” “We are stewards of our territory. No one else has that privilege,”—an obvious rebuffing to those who wish for uniformity in the Adventist church around the world. “No one else but us,” Jackson repeated, “can make decisions for us.”
“I tell my African Division colleagues that we can’t make their decisions for them if we aren’t living there. We don’t fully understand their situation unless we are a part of their life, and the same is true for them about us.”
“God calls women and men equally for pastoral ministry, and we’re doing everything we can to have 1,000 female pastors in this division. And we praise God that we are half way toward that goal.”
“And let me be clear,” as it became obvious Jackson has been criticized on this point far too often, “the NAD has not controverted GC policy with this goal. Anybody that wants to meet with me, we can go through the Working Policy book, I would be happy to show them how we are within policy. I will admit that I made a rookie mistake early in my presidency proposing to misapply the E-60 policy, but it was never voted, and we are within policy.”
“There are sources out there that are saying NAD is out of compliance on women’s ordination, and I say to them, ‘No, we are not!’ Stop spreading fake news!” to which Jackson received a round of applause. And then just in case he hadn’t been clear, he added, “It’s all a bunch of hooey!” for which he was chided later by Alex Bryant, NAD Secretary, saying he never thought he’d hear that word from that pulpit.
“No action, no vote, will deter us from honoring God’s calling on women pastors.” Jackson concluded. It remains to be seen in the coming days what shape that fervor takes in the actions of this committee. Stay tuned.