Pastor Earl Jones Jr. from Kingsport/Harriman TN District to Hillcrest, Nashville, TN as Assistant Pastor
Pastor Ricky Wade from Assistant Pastor Hillcrest, Nashville TN to Kingsport/Harriman, TN District as Senior Pastor
Pastor Carlos Bynum to Tupelo/ West Amory
Elder Famous Murray to Batesville/Clarksdale
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Today is the final day of General Conference. Now that the business sessions are completely over, the focus for the weekend is on fellowship and worship.
The highlight today for me-and I suspect, most people-is “The Parade of Nations.” That is when a representative of each of the 215 or so countries where we have a Seventh-day Adventist presence, comes across the stage in their native custom.
At the Parade of Nations in Atlanta in 2010, the Southern Union was asked to provide the representative for North America. The Southern Union, in turn, asked the South Central Conference have the honor of providing the representative. We asked one of our delegates, Mrs. Queen Robinson, who was then Principal of F.H. Jenkins SDA School in Nashville and now, the Associate Superintendent of Education, to be the representative for the North American Division. She walked across the stage carrying the United States flag. I still remember how the place erupted when the announcer said “The United States of America!”
What is special about The Parade of Nations for me is that it shows the worldwide nature of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Secretary of the General Conference, Dr. G T Ng, told us in his report that the United Nations recognize 237 countries in the world. Of those 237 countries, there is a Seventh-day Adventist work in 215 of them.
Lately, you will hear and read a lot of criticism about the Seventh-day Adventist Church-most of which comes from Seventh-day Adventists. Some of that criticism is justified. There are a number of things that we need to do better. One of the sobering and humbling things of which I remind myself, about myself, is that in addition to all of the […]
Day 8 seemed anti-climatic after the long day of addressing the issue of Women’s Ordination. Additionally, the Nominating Committee has all but finished its work and has made its final major report. Additionally, only a few loose ends remain for this morning’s business session.
The final loose end, that remained from the Women’s Ordination vote on Wednesday, was for me to telephone the ladies that we have on our Pastoral staff, to make sure that they were all right.
Behind the business that needed to be transacted on that day are real people. Even if you disagree with Women’s Ordination; even if you disapprove of women Pastors, it is probably not really difficult to understand that Wednesday was difficult for them. Though it was certainly not intended that way, Wednesday’s vote was a lot closer to home for our female Pastors.
In some ways, it is kind of like Constituency Meeting for those of us who are in office. I have had the honor of being elected or re-elected in 5 constituency meetings. Please believe me when I tell you that constituency meetings are not very much fun.
I chuckle now thinking back at all the people who say to those of us who are the subject of votes at constituency meetings (and I can chuckle now, because I have had my final constituency meeting in South Central where I am standing for elected office) “If you are not re-elected, don’t take it personally.” And-in theory, there is a lot of truth in that.
At a constituency meeting, the people are free to ask you to serve or not serve. And when the constituents decide to make a change that involves you, first of all, they have every right to […]
As everyone is aware by now, on yesterday, the General Conference delegated voted 1,381-977 not to pass the proposal that would have allowed the 13 divisions to decide whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry.
All day long, the delegates asked for the presence of God in the Alamo Dome and for Him to have His way in the process. One of the hard lessons that I have learned in my life is that you cannot pray for God to have His way and then rebel when things do not go your way.
The process was fair. The vote was clear. Ellen White is very clear on the fact that God has invested major authority in the vote of the delegates at a General Conference session-there is no higher authority on this earth. I am very clear on the responsibility that comes with being a part of God’s world church. You do not get to ignore the things that you do not like.
There is a song that we sing sometimes at the end of church service on Sabbath:
Let the church say Amen
Let the church say Amen
God has spoken
Let the church say Amen
I consider yesterday’s vote as God speaking to His church-even though that vote went differently that I wished for it to go. I shall comply with that vote and I shall ask South Central to comply as well.
I have seen some criticism of the General Conference leadership relative to its decision to have the delegates decide as to whether women should be ordained as Pastor. It was felt by some that the General Conference leadership should have decided.
Ironically, had the General Conference leadership actually done that, then, they would have been criticized for being arbitrary […]
Instead of sharing with you what happened yesterday, I am simply going to say a few words about today: Today is the day that the delegates of the General Conference are going to vote as to whether the 13 world divisions of our church will be granted the ability to decide whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry.
I went to bed a little earlier last night and I got up a little earlier this morning for the purpose of spending a little extra time with the Lord. I do not say that for the purpose of sounding pious. The simple fact is that if there was ever a day that God’s people needed to pray, it is today.
Today, the entire church-and the entire world, to some degree; I read an article about this in The Washington Post –in watching to see what we are going to do-and more importantly-how we are going to do it.
I am not going to share my position on this issue with you this morning. For one thing, I do not think my position is much of a mystery. More to the point, my position is not very important.
I know what I want. But far more important that what I want, is what God wants. And ultimately, what I want is for God to direct His church today to do whatever it is that He wants.
I am fasting and praying-and I am asking as many of you as are able to do the same-that God will indisputably demonstrate today that He is the One Who is in control of His church.
My predecessor and mentor, Elder Benjamin Browne, used to say all the time, “I want God to be President of […]