Scott is No Longer Pastor of the Adventist Congregation in Keene, Texas
By AT News Team, June 3, 2015: Rumors began to be passed around the clergy grapevine last week and now it is official that Pastor Jennifer Scott is no longer the leader of the nearly 3,000-member congregation on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas. The Keene Star reported yesterday a text message from Pastor Carlos Craig, president of the denomination’s Texas Conference, to Adventist pastors in the area.
Craig is quoted; “An administrative decision made by the Texas Conference and Pastor Jennifer Scott with regards to her employment” has result in her departure. “This was an employer administrative decision made … between employee and employer.” A for sale sign is in the front yard of Scott’s home, according to the newspaper.
Steve Stafford, the first elder of the Keene Church will address the congregation this coming Sabbath at both the 9:30 and 11:30 am worship services, the newspaper announced. It also stated that Craig will preside at a “town hall meeting” with the congregation at 7 pm next Monday, including “a brief question and answer session,” but primarily to “talk about the future.”
Scott has been unavailable for questions and no one answers her telephone. Speculation has run rampant.
Spectrum, the journal of the largest organization of Adventist academics, ran two stories about Scott’s departure on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday removed the stories from its Web edition and published a letter of apology. Managing Editor Jared Wright apologized in the letter “first to Jennifer Scott and the leaders of the Keene Church … to the Texas Conference … to the faculty of Southwestern Adventist University and Professor [Ingo] Sorke.” He had pointed out in one of the articles that Sorke is an advocate of male headship theology and speculated that fact may have contributed to resistance to Scott’s leadership in the congregation.
Reactions to Wright’s articles and “conversations with leaders in the Keene community” led Wright to withdraw the two news stories because, he wrote, “it became apparent that the situation leading to the end of Scott’s leadership … was very complex [and] reducing it to a single issue proved not only wrong, but also did injustice to the complexity of the situation.”
The outcome is particularly painful to those in hopes of a decision at the denomination’s General Conference Session the first week of July opening the door to the ordination of women serving as pastors in more places around the world. It began in the 1980s in China and started last year in several union conferences in the United States and Europe.
Scott became senior pastor of the Keene congregation less than two years ago. She was invited by a search committee to meet with the congregation in July 2013 and that fall moved to Texas to take the position. She had been pastor of the Adventist church in Shelton, Washington. Before that she had served as an associate pastor at the Loma Linda University Church in southern California and the Green Lake Church in Seattle.
Scott and her husband have a daughter and a son enrolled in the Adventist secondary school and elementary school in Keene, respectively. “I am really concerned about the impact this has on her family,” one pastor from Maryland told Adventist Today. “We should be praying for Jennifer and her family rather than playing politics with this.”
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