26 February 2020 |
A selected committee of Indian Seventh-day Adventists from the Washington, DC, area met to follow up on their February 9 meeting, previously reported by Adventist Today. The committee was chosen to help members address widespread concern that the Southern Asia Division (SUD) church is being managed badly, including allegations of corruption and mishandling of property.
The meeting, says a note sent to those interested, is to “unite a group to voice our joint concerns based on reasonably established facts.”
Three factors appear prominent: (a) [The need for] a grievance procedure (See Exodus 18:12-36) (b) A sound method and procedure for accountability and transparency. (c) Procedure with proper guardrails for sale/purchase of immovable property/fixed assets in SUD.
The committee members called a follow-up meeting for March 15, 2020 at the Transfiguration Parish.
Church leaders in Silver Spring and Hosur have been resistant to the requested transparency, and have portrayed whistleblowers as attacking the church. However, the committee says that
It is not a forum to simply vent feelings and denigrate the GC, SUD, SDA Church. Meetings sometimes have deteriorated into just that. Friends, that is not healthy for the members, leaders or the church at large. Hence, the present suspicion of the leadership and a refusal to allow this meeting on any Seventh-day Adventist property. Let us not complain. Rather, let us demonstrate our true intent, and then attempt to forge a healthy, working relationship with the administrative leadership, based on trust and mutual respect.
The notice says that the meetings seek to
- increase trust between members and church leadership.
- provide assurance to donors
- reduce the temptation to misuse the present broken system
- help stop gossiping, which increases tensions in the SUD.
They conclude with a plea that people “come with a heart and a passion to see the gospel prosper in the SUD.”
The committee consists of Sam Bekkam, Stanley Benjamin, Surendra P. Gill, Don Injety, Subodh Pandit, and Alexander Samuel. They are all lay members of Adventist churches.