October 18, 2017:      Pastor Thomas Lemon, a vice president of the Adventist denomination’s General Conference (GC), is no longer chair of the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee which played a key role in the major issue on the agenda at the recent annual meeting of the GC governing body.

Earlier today, Lemon confirmed to Adventist Today that he and GC president Ted Wilson agreed together that the committee should have a new chairman.

There has been no official announcement regarding why Lemon is no longer the chair. No replacement chair has yet been announced.

The Unity in Mission Oversight Committee was tasked a year ago with new efforts to make sure that units of the denomination around the world comply with GC policies and “voted actions.” It was formed after a “Unity in Mission: Procedures in Church Reconciliation” document, an extended process based on Matthew 18, was approved by the General Conference Executive Committee in 2016.

At last week’s Annual Council meeting held at the Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters of the denomination, another document entitled “Procedures for Reconciliation and Adherence in Church Governance (Phase II)”  was discussed. It was introduced by Lemon as the chair of the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee, who noted in his introduction that the core of the document had come to his committee from the top three officers of the GC.

Labeled by some a “loyalty oath,” the document asked for signatures from each member of the GC executive committee, consenting to its terms. The GC executive committee voted 184 to 114 to send the document back to the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee for more study and revision. It could be brought back to Annual Council in 2018.

Lemon has also released, via the Mid-America Outlook and Adventist Today, an extended paper on unity, which can be downloaded here in both Spanish and English.

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