I would like to thank you for your leadership and dedication in this conference and sincerely believe that you are sensitive to the plight of many ministers, workers, and members of the Southwest Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. I also know from personal experience that great matters that concern us weigh heavily on your hearts.
I apologize in advance for not being able to declare who I am for the sake of protecting ministers, workers, and constituent leaders in this conference who have chosen to participate in my blog forum http://www.theforgottenshepherdess.wordpress.com. I would like to begin by saying that this blog was created in a response from someone who told me to stop complaining and to do something. My response to them was how? I never imagined that a small discussion forum that started a month ago could have this much impact on so many people reaching almost 6000 hits in less than a month. I realized that there was and is a voice that needs to be heard. I have tried to respect the privacy of all individuals involved in this blog and to raise pertinent questions that I and others believe have been overlooked.
I provided a platform for individuals who were willing to step forward and speak their hearts. Some was critical and some was supportive. I have also made every effort to acknowledge the request of any contributor and author of this blog and have removed postings from individuals who did not appreciate negative reactions towards their posts such as the Strategic Chairman for the Executive Committee, Carolyn Medlock.
I have received notification from constitutent leaders, ministers, and members in this conference who allege that our conference entered items into record this past week at Executive Committee meeting regarding the contents of this blog and also threatened to terminate workers who participate. I also understand that alleged communication to churches around this conference will be submitted condemning this blog as a “sinful practice.” These minutes have yet to be published on the SWRC website as all other actionable items are.
I have posted at the top of my website that this forum is not connected with Shepherdess International and that I do not represent this organization though I do believe that many shepherdess in this organization have been forgotten and dismissed because they are not part of the popular group. It is my understanding that allegedly the leader of this group and her husband entered certain items into record at the Executive Committee meeting this past week.
Many are calling for action at the union level to address the alleged improper actions taken by the church ministries director for the Southwest Region Conference to hold secret meetings, persuasion tactics of constituents… such as offering up offices and positions, and inappropriate phone calls to constituents to convince them to depose our current president and bring in a former minister from our conference to serve as president.
The problem is not the perspective individual and his capabilities it is the process and manipulative tactics used by this individual having no respect for our bylaws and union policies.
A contributor to this blog has written an article calling for an investigation by your union into this person’s practices since he decided to enter these items into record identifying himself as a demonized character in these fictitious cartoons and did not address, defend nor apologize for the alleged actions that have hurt many of his brothers and sisters in this conference. Will a blind eye be turned to this? Ignoring these concerns could be detrimental to this insitution and could prolong this year’s constituency. We are asking you to step in and address the following issues:
1. Threats to workers of termination for participating in an open forum anonymously to discuss issues surrounding our conference, trends and issues in adventist belief, and subjects which are pertinent to our christian values. This should be a civil liberty granted to them under the first amendment.
2. Alleged improper practices by our church ministries director to hold secret meetings and contact individuals within this conference as to sway the small committee to depose our current leader.
3. Condemnation of this blog as a “sinful” website that promotes discord versus a forum where people can submit their point of view on any subject area related to our conference, union, and world movement.
This type of behavior and censorship by our conference is shocking and disappointing. Many are outraged see the comments posted on this blog. I have never, as the administrator of this blog, allowed for anyone to use names or derogatory language with the intent to be malicious and cause harm to others. I simply created this forum to discuss issues and realized that many ministers and workers are afraid to even say how they feel to conference officials in fear that their families will be uprooted and moved without cause or even terminated as a result.
Additionally, I also cannot in good conscience censor comments or point of views that may or may not be consistent with my beliefs or the beliefs of conference officials. I did allow the fictitious stories to be published as they were prefaced as a fictitious cartoon. The author has submitted a request publically that they be taken down at the appropriate time. Though I have also published a poll for readers to decide, I will honor the request of the author at the appropriate time.
I do not believe, and have prayed over this many nights, that this blog is a sin. I also believe that it is improper for this conference to allegedly identify it as such. I ask you to take action, not on my behalf, but on behalf of those whose civil liberties are being suppressed by an institution which fights daily for religious freedom and liberties granted by this great country.
This letter to you will be publically posted as “An Open Letter to Union Officials.” I respectfully request that you address these issues publically in a forum of your choosing since items concerning this blog were reportedly entered into record. This letter will be posted this evening at 6:30 p.m. If you would like me to delay this post until Sunday at 12:00 p.m. please respond to this email as to give you time to address these concerns as the sabbath draws nigh. I will honor this request with assurance that these concerns will be addressed for all of my viewers and participants. I will await your response to these concerns.