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Richard Myers

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Battle Continues in the Netherlands Union
« on: May 05, 2017, 09:03:20 AM »
There are faithful brothers and sisters in the Netherlands Union who are standing for truth. The leadership in the union is far removed from Bible truth.  The Union is defending its rebellion.

I received this from Sister Ingrid yesterday regarding their actions in attempting to follow Bible truth in the Netherlands Union. They have gone to the Trans-European Division and the General Conference with their appeal.



Dear brethren,

Church administrators, overseers of TEd  and GC,

attached we submit to you our appeal at the higher adminsitrative levels of the SDA Church.
We kindly request your urgent attention to the matters concerned.

We would be obliged if we could hear from you within a week, since the session is within 2 weeks.

We know you are busy men and women, but this really needs your attention right away.

We believe in justice, because we serve a just God.

with many regards and Blessings,

on behalf of the signatories,

Emil Ene and Ingrid Wijngaarde





An EARNEST APPEAL for JUSTICE in GOD’S CHURCH

The Netherlands, April 19 2017

In his augural sermon on July 3, 2010 elder Wilson called on “Seventh-day Adventist Church members, hold your leaders, pastors, local churches, educators, institutions, and administrative organizations accountable to the highest standards of belief based on a literal understanding of Scripture.”
At the Annual Council, October 12, 2013 he delivered a sermon in which he said, “There are those in the church and outside the church who wish to change the very beliefs we have held sacred and change the character of the Seventh-day Adventist Church itself – people who want to turn the grace of God into something vile thus denying Jesus Himself, even though they pretend to lift up His name. … As we communicate truth to those who do not know Christ, we must guard against the world entering the church, [and] neutralizing its mission.”
Everyone knows the GC administration is doing everything possible to preserve unity and harmony in the church - you have even issued many earnest pleas, provided Bible and Spirit of Prophecy principles, and stated possible consequences for those who keep refusing to be in compliance with our mutual agreements and democratic decisions.
That’s why we keep our courage and hope for the church, and now present again our case before you. The signatories of the Urgent Request, which you have received on March 4th, most strongly appeal to you to rule independently, based on the principles of justice we find in God's Word and the structural principles in the Working Policy, to stop the irregularities that have been present for many years in this field.
It is time for the TED and the GC administrations to ACT, to protect and uphold the credibility and integrity of God’s name. We implore you in the name of the Lord of hosts, please help us, that justice, truth and transparency will prevail.
We have presented in our Urgent Request 7 points of great concern that need be addressed immediately. Below we will testify concerning some of the arguments in the response letter from the NUC EC.
Since our appeal is about structural issues, we ask you to rule on basis of our church law, the Working Policy, and not on basis of sentiments.
The letter of the EC of April 10, presents several points we now bring to your attention:
1. From WP section B 75 30, sub 2: “… the decision to adjust status shall be made, … by the General Conference Executive Committee at a Spring Meeting or Annual Council … When the decision to adjust an organization’s status becomes effective the organization shall immediately comply with the operational terms and relationships pertaining to its revised status.” [emphasis applied]
Does this mean that this Union is a Union of Churches, from the date of October 9th 2016? As we can read in this news article from the TED? And that from that date the operational terms of Model Constitution and Bylaws D 17 apply? What does that say about the status of our current Union Statuten 1997 [ i.e. NUC's Constitution & Bylaws]? The Dutch civil law says that a church should operate in harmony with its laws, looking at our denomination that will mean, the Church Manual and the Working Policy. We are not bound by our own Statuten, if they contradict the Working Policy.
2. This brings us to the next item in the NUC EC’s answer, the manner of forming the “large” Organizing Committee (OC) of the session. The EC answers, “We are aware that this manner
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differs from the WP… However, the WP has this part in normal print and not in bold print. This means that it is possible to divert from the guideline as long as the Division is in accordance with it.” By WP (Working Policy) the EC probably refer to the D17 Model Bylaws. We note that the WP is here termed “guideline” while B 75 30 terms it as "operational terms" that have to be totally complied with when the status review decision comes into effect.
In the latest action of the GC, at the Annual Council 2016, we read concerning the "policies adopted by General Conference Sessions and Annual Councils of the General Conference Executive Committee.” That it is “the authoritative voice of the Church in all matters pertaining to the mission and to the administration of the work of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in all parts of the world” … and that “those policies shall be strictly adhered to by all organizations in every part of the world field," and that "only thus can a spirit of close cooperation and unity be maintained in the work of the Church in all parts of the world field”.
What the EC fails to see is that our claim is not based on Model D17, but on section C 35 05 (in GC WP 1996-1997 this was section C 30 10). The so-called “guideline” – is more than just a guideline – it means that IF the union has no other, approved regulation, and IF the Division Executive Committee has not adopted a regulation, THEN (GC and TED) WP section C 35 05 needs to come into effect.
The EC-letter uses the argument “as long as the Division is in accordance” but if deviation was that easy then the GC – of which the TED is simply an outpost department – would be a divided house, setting dangerous precedents of allowing non-complying unions like ours to go against Working Policy requirements.
It seems that EC officers talked with TED officers about the OC, and that the EC officers suggested that their regulation concerning forming the OC for the upcoming constituency meeting in May, is in accordance with the Dutch 1997 Statuten. Yet the fact is the 1997 Statuten do not mention anything about the OC. Nor have the delegates received any bylaw containing a valid regulation.
The EC’s letter says that the Division does not have to authorize or approve things that are in line with the current constitution (1997 Statuten). Yet, as we have stated above, the 1997 Statuten do not mention anything concerning the forming of the OC, and the EC's regulation controlling constituency meetings has never been subject to constituency involvement. Furthermore, we point to the action of October 9, 2016 by virtue of B 75 30, sub 2 made effective the D17 Model and WP C35 05.
Let's suppose, we would ignore this B 75 30 / C 35 05 requirements, and claim legality for the current 1997 Statutes. Article VIII.2 in conjunction with Article VIII.8 of these 1997 Statuten, states that any regulation for session procedures should be send to the delegates at least six weeks prior to the meeting. The EC did not present the delegates with no other regulation for forming the OC, that an announcement that "we will do it as we've been doing". What if we have been doing things wrong? What if delegates are objecting for more than 10 years against this unilateral decree.
This EC regulation allowed for illegal preliminary elections in unauthorized district meetings to pick and choose just a few regular delegates, adding some pastors to comprise a so-called OC of 14 individuals, where the “WP guidelines” calls for at least one member from each local member church (which would mean approx. 60 regular delegates). Furthermore, we want to point at the fact, that in practice, we have been operating as a Union of Churches for decades. The Union of Churches model Constitution and Bylaws are present in the Working Policy since 2009, they should have been giving us our rights many, many years ago. A translation of the models, could have been ready in a few moments, and without amendments, accepted by a simple majority vote. But alas! We have been robbed of our rights, until this present day. The motion concerning women’s ordination, in 2012, could not have been accepted, and the constituency meeting in 2012, would have had a different outcome, and our church in the Netherlands would not have been in such divide today, if we would have adopted, before 2012, an unmodified Union of Churches
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Constitution and Bylaws, after Bertil Wiklander, asked us to do so in 2007. This field would have been in a much different state today, we believe.
Back to the OC: the OC is perhaps the most important member elective body in our church. It nominates ALL session standing committees and recommends them to the delegates – Nominating Committee, which has the task to nominate a new EC; Constitute and Bylaws Committee, which drafts ALL binding regulating bylaws and statutes. Even, in our field, the obscure Plan’s Committee is nominated by the OC.
In our Church policy the OC is supposed to be a body that is comprised of regular delegates only, they are not 'elected' in illegal preliminaries, but they recommend themselves, one from every church. The OC is the ONLY, truly members committee in constituency meetings. It is the basis under our God given bottom-up representative system.
It is the delegates of the member churches of this union, that take seat in this committee, to justly give license-to-operate to an administration that would otherwise be electing itself. Irregularities in the forming of the OC effects the way this field functions and demolishes trust in the representative system of our church, and by that demolishes member involvement in the mission of the church. Unfortunately this has been common practice for so many years in this field. The role of delegates has become a farce – they are not more than puppets doing exactly what a small group of men want.
Question: Can a constitution claim legality if it clearly is in disharmony with the WP?
The former TED president, brother Wiklander, told the EC at the regular constituency meetings in 2007 and in 2012, that its 1997 Statuten are not in harmony with Church Policy. In the 2012 meeting he stated bluntly: “When we look at the future, where God walks with us, I would want to emphasize the recommendation to this body to change the Statutes of the church in the Netherlands, to have them be in harmony with the World Church. Many of the problems could have been avoided if that was the case. … Make sure that your statutes harmonize with the world churches. Five years ago we have installed such committee (CBC). But I see no report. I had expected that. I had expected that now we would be looking at new Statutes.” (emphasis applied)
One of the retired ministers tried to blame TED because it had given its authorization or approval to the 1997 Statuten, but Wiklander reacted a bit irritated: “It will not help the work in the Netherlands if we attack other administrative levels in the Church.” (Minutes, regular union session 2012, day 1, 28 October 2012, p. 19-20).
The GC issued a Q&A statement in August 2012, declaring that no legality can be gained from constitutions that are in disharmony with WP requirements. This EC drafted a constitution in 1997, which from the very beginning was totally out of harmony with the Working Policy. Looking at the text we can say, that it has suited the EC very well, for although ordered by two regular sessions to have it changed, we are still bound by it, and are about to begin a third regular constituency meeting under it’s illegal ‘authority’.
What is strange though, is that we also see that when some passages proof to be too tight for the EC, in a given situation, it can be overruled at will. Can this also be to give the delegates their rights back, for the sake of member involvement in the business affairs of the church?
3. This brings us to our third point in this appeal. We are presented with a new draft Constitution and Bylaws, in which many passages are completely out of harmony with the letter, intend and spirit of the Working Policy. How can this be for an EC that demands strict adherence to its own regulations?
TED and the GC are informed by our urgent letter on March 4, but seem to leave us at the will of an unwilling administrators.
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The TED was asked almost a year ago, at the Members Manifest Special Meeting, to have a proper Statutes Special meeting first and then the regular quinquennial meetings in November, since it is only then that the current 5-year administrative period ends. By that we could have the regular meetings governed with new and proper statutes. The argument of the EC is by closing the 5 year now they will get in line with the financial year cycle. This raises the question, are the interests of the EC the only ones that count? What about the interests of the constituency and their delegates? What about the interests of how we do church in our SDA world community?
The CBC presents us with a draft of new Constitution and Bylaws that is strikingly similar to the current dysfunctional one. This raises the question, “does the EC really want new Statutes; does it really want a change in this field?
While in its letter of April 10, the EC testifies to know about the impossibility to divert from “bold print” in the D17 Model, it approves the draft from the CBC in which the same principle is violated on many, many occasions. We have simply requested to also present the English text alongside a more proper translation and to specify the amendments in writing to the delegates before the meeting. For that, we have put the effort in working several nights to provide for a 3 column document, containing the text of the CBC, and approved by the EC (first column), the English Model text (2nd column), and a strait and correct Dutch translation (third column). With yellow, and green marking for respectively, mild, and strong amendments to the texts. This makes it possible for the delegates to easily compare the translation, and make up their minds on the amendments. The document has been send with the kind request to share it with the delegates, and also attachment to two motions. Until this moment of writing, the EC, refuses to grant our motion to forward this 3 column document to the delegates. To view this 3 column document please tick this line. For your convenience an English version with comments has been provided, which can be accessed here.
We cannot phantom that the TED and GC officers, who will be present at the meeting in May, such a strong delegation, including legal officers, will allow that delegates are rid of their rights, before their very eyes, and that the compliance which the Working Policy demands, as well as the civil law of the Netherlands, will be breached. That might bring this field to on unrecoverable state, and pave the way for future status change to a Mission field.
To disarm us of our rights, in 'electing' a narrow OC, allowing a “Plan's Committee" to modify or even suppress our motions, and allowing such an amended new Union of Churches Constitution and Bylaws, that is obviously in disharmony with the spirit and many times letter, of the Working Policy, would be popish, and a severe violation of the unalienable civil rights individual members have within all legal entities in the Netherlands under Dutch Law. Dutch civil law requires churches to adhere to their specific church law, which in our denomination is the Working Policy. Even today, there was a court ruling here in the Netherlands about a judge demanding adherence to church policy on behalf of its members, because of good governance.
If these practice is left unchecked, we might as well stop having sessions all together. Let the EC gather with their pastors and the union employees, and do what they deem best, while we will rule our own churches. Let's not bother the churches anymore to send delegates to perform a charade about something which is clearly – no representation. Or better more, let us form a new mission, or conference, under the General Conference, with all churches, and members who pledge allegiance to the world wide family of Seventh-day Adventist, and want to be in harmony with the World Church. Once we will have our freedom to act in harmony with the world body of Seventh-day Adventist, we will start implementing the initiatives and strategies of our movement, and let us see, if there is not a God in Israel! Then we will see, by the Spirit of God, a growth in the Netherlands which has not been witnessed before, or deemed possible.
The GC Rules of Order that was send to the delegates, together with the business documents, according to the regulated six weeks before session, states that “Elections should be in harmony with the General Conference Constitution, Bylaws, and Working Policy.” It also says that “The Church Manual, General Conference Constitution, Bylaws, and Working Policy take precedence
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over the rules of order, should there be any conflict.” These requirements also apply to EC's regulations.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
1. This Union does not have a procedure for the forming of OC, because the EC Regulation of order from 2002 is not valid in this meeting anymore. It never was, because it was unilaterally established by an EC appointed committee, and delegates have never had the chance to discuss it or to vote the document. Local churches have even protested, even to the extent of not sending delegates to sessions … with no avail.
2. EC took their previous session regulations off the table when they decided that the GC RoO would provide for session procedures. In accordance with the 1997 Statutes, Article VIII.8, the GC RoO has been send timely to the delegates as the binding document containing the session procedures. EC cannot now decide to nevertheless use other, unknown procedures to regulate matters concerning the session, such as the forming of the OC. Keep in mind that the OC is a session committee. Forming before session date is only for convenience's sake. The current 1997 Statutes require that every (legal) session regulation should have been send to the delegates together with the business documents, six weeks before meeting. They only regulation we have received is the GC RoO. Those RoO are clear: when discussion arises the GC Constitution & Bylaws, WP and Church Manual take effect.
3. A regulation, obviously unknown to the delegates, suggests elections in district meetings. Yet districts have no authority in the Working Policy, and their meetings cannot accommodate preliminaries for a union sessions. The districts have no constituency, no quorum and the unalienable rights of the delegates were taken from them in unlawful elections. Besides, the OC is not elected, but "formed".
4. When drafting the 1997 Statues, two decades ago, the GC Model Bylaws procedure articles were not included, although those were present in the GC WP 1996-1997. The corresponding paragraph of C 35 05, WP 1996-1997 C 30 10, speaks of the “LARGE Committee”. In English this Large may have two definitions (1) BIG committee and (2) at large committee (as in 'delegates at large'), meaning its status is non-debatable.
5. In 1997 the delegates could not compare the English texts with what has been laid before them, because the English texts was not disclosed. They could not but adopt the, unfortunately faulty constitution, trusting their EC. This, we plead, should not happen again. Not in the 21st century. The CBC has provided the English text in a separate document, while it was so easy, and not too much to ask for to put the texts side by side. We have send Reinder Bruinsma our initial two column document, with a strait translation of the English text, and permission to fully use it. Nevertheless, the proposed text of the new Dutch Union of Churches Constitution and Bylaws, contains many amendments of bold text. Which is, as you now, not allowed. It also contains amendments of regular text, which is allowed as long as it does not contradict bolded text or the intend and the spirit of the WP. According to Article 12 of the Bylaws, these should be specified to the delegates, and send together with the invitation for the Constituency meeting. Such specification of the proposed amendments have not been given. Is this not a violation of B 75 30, sub 2, which says that the operational terms are immediately effective?
In our 3 column document we have clearly marked most of the amendments. And the work of the delegates can be made much easier providing them this document. Yet, the NUC EC, has, as of today, not been willing to act, although we have been present in the EC Board Meeting of April 2, and projected the document for them to see the unlawful amendments in bold text. They have not send our document to the delegates, as of today. They have forwarded our document to the CBC with the question if they deem it necessary for any changes to be made in the proposal/draft. That is called 'marking its own paper", while the EC remains responsible to take action, seeing there are clearly many unlawful amendments of bold text.
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6. Yet one question remains, When the Annual Council 2016 made the decision to change the status of this union to Union of Churches with Conference status, did not the D17 Model took preference over our current 1997 Statuten, especially when it is known to everyone that it is out of harmony with Church policy?
We kindly, yet earnestly request, your intervention and help, as follows:
A.
to decide that the EC should, either send an email to all regular delegates to ask them to decide among themselves who will take part in the OC, or inform the delegates the OC will be formed at the start of the constituency meeting. And stipulate the membership of the OC: 1 delegate from each church and 2 from the churches with more than 250 members. Only this way we can ensure a strong basis for the legality and harmony with the Working Policy, at the upcoming constituency meeting.
B.
to decide that the forming of a “Plan's Committee" as proposed for the upcoming session and in the draft new constitution, with authority to modify motions as they please, and even suppress motions, as has been the practice for many years, is not reconcilable with the GC RoO session procedures and our representative structure, because it is a big infringement of delegates rights.
C.
a. to decide that the CBC via EC presents a straight word for word and correct Dutch translation of the bolded text of the D17 Constitution and Bylaws (side by side to the English text our document may be used), that can be accepted by a simple majority vote. That no amendments to bold text will be allowed.
b. to decide that specification will be given for every amendment of regular text, which should still remain in harmony with the spirit of the Working Policy, and not contradicting bolded texts, and which shall be open for discussion and amendment by delegates, and needs final approval by a two third majority vote. Voting and discussion to these amendments should be done on every article and sub article individually, for order, clarity, and as to give delegates a fair chance to be specific in their choices and consequent voting.
c. to decide that this draft will be send by email, not later than 168 hours (or 7 days) before May 5, 2017 to all delegates, in order for them to prepare themselves for a meaningful discussion of this important legal basis for the governance of our church.
D.
to decide that, since there has been at least one incoming motion on the issue of women ordination, the EC should comply with our request to send our document with relevant information concerning GC actions to the delegates, which also contains the latest action of the 2016 Annual Council. Delegates need to know the boundaries of their authority.
And now
We will keep on praying for our church, its shepherds and leadership. That they will not lean on human arms, refuse to take part in church politics, and not be respecters of persons. And above all we will pray that they will have and keep the fear of the Lord before their very eyes. Especially when contemplating such serious matters as the governance of the Lord's House.
May God bless you, very much, when contemplating and acting upon these most serious matters in this appeal, for the sake of God’s church, His bride, of which you are stewards,
is our sincere desire and prayer.

Signed, Emil Ene and Ingrid Wijngaarde,
On behalf of the signatories of the initial Urgent Request,
you have received on March 4th 2017

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Battle Continues in the Netherlands Union
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 09:25:47 AM »
Today's meeting




Yesterday


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: Battle Continues in the Netherlands Union
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2017, 09:05:47 AM »
Does anyone know the outcome?
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

LindaRS

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Re: Battle Continues in the Netherlands Union
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2017, 01:11:38 PM »
According to Ordinationtruth.com, it was pink slips all around. There is a new president, new secretary and new treasurer. All new excon as well. The new constitution and bylaws was sent back to committee. http://ordinationtruth.com/2017/05/08/directional-change-netherlands-union-churches/
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Jeremiah  10:23-24

Richard Myers

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Re: Battle Continues in the Netherlands Union
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2017, 06:57:11 AM »
Sister Ingrid sent us a photo of the officers just elected which includes a new president and secretary.


Istrahel Schorea, treassurer,  Rob de Raad, president,  Enrico Karg, secretary
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Battle Continues in the Netherlands Union
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 09:18:44 AM »
We thank God for making a start in the Netherlands Union. They have a new executive committee and are working on bringing their bylaws and constitution in line with the GC model constitution. Let us pray for their work. The European Union is a secular state that has laws not favorable to Bible truth. Soon the whole world will be at odds with God and His faithful people. Let us press together as we near the end.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Battle Continues in the Netherlands Union
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2017, 08:35:56 PM »
In my research, it may be that in the Netherlands, church law may be upheld in regards to church legalities. In other words, if this is so, then the General Conference which is the legal authority for all churches will dictate whether or not the Netherlands bylaws and constitution are legal.

Let us continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Dutch churches. They have been hard pressed for some time, as witnessed at the GC Session in San Antonio.  It was an abomination to see one of their delegates rise to speak before the assembly. His theology was from below, not from Scripture. It was hard to believe he was not banished from the meeting. This is the result of allowing sin to continue in conference leadership. In the end the churches are responsible, for they elect their leadership. Where there is corruption, then the union or division or the GC need to step in and correct the unlawful actions. This has not happened in the Netherlands. It appears the people have finally taken action and thrown out the ones who have strayed from the truth. Praise God!! Conferences are not to be a rubber stamp of corrupt leaders.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.