A favorable Change for WCAS Ban Situation in UCC

Dr. Eiji Minami, M.D.

Vol 4, No. 3

The Executive Committee of the Upper Columbia Conference (UCC), in its February 27 meeting, voted a resolution that is favorable to World Church Affirmation Sabbath (WCAS).

 

Voted: The relationship between the Upper Columbia Conference and the World Church Affirmation Sabbath group is to now be governed by the Upper Columbia Conference Supporting Ministry Policy. Pastors and local church boards may look to the policy to help navigate the relationship.

 

Under this resolution, each local church within the UCC has a policy to decide, by their board action, whether to have WCAS activities take place on their premises, so far as they recognize WCAS as meeting the criteria set forth by the new UCC Supporting Ministry Policy.

 

The UCC Supporting Ministry Policy is a new policy which defines the relationship between the UCC and any of the independent ministries within the UCC including but not limited to WCAS.

(See the attached UCC Supporting Ministry Policy below)

 

A ban was imposed on WCAS in December of 2018, which prohibited any WCAS activities to take place at UCC churches, schools, and other conference property.  WCAS made the decision to comply with the ban policy and hold events off site, even though, in WCAS’ view, the accusations that led to the ban were not based on facts.

 

Starting in early 2019, under the new leadership of President Labrador and Vice President Mills in the UCC, the communication window was graciously opened to WCAS by the Conference Administration. After a series of prayerful meetings, it became apparent that the ban resulted from misunderstandings and from WCAS being misrepresented. Although there were always open invitations to our events, there had been a lack of communication between the Conference Administrators and the WCAS Planning Committee members in the early period of WCAS after it was launched in the UCC in early 2017.

 

Based on the realization that some of the negative perceptions about WCAS were, in part, due to some imprecise wording on WCAS documents, WCAS Planning Committee endeavored to clarify their views and positions in a more precise manner. This was a positive and soul- searching experience for WCAS, resulting in a more precise definition of what our messages are and how we deliver them. While there was no change in our position, the resulting revisions did much to clarify it, especially for those who read our mission statement without the accompanying 10 Principles of Action (http://affirmationsabbath.org/principles).

 

Mission Statement (Original May 2017)

World Church Affirmation Sabbath (WCAS) exists to affirm the leadership of the General Conference and the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church around the world.

 

We uphold these truths in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White.

 

We share this mission with like-minded Adventists who also choose to stand for these beliefs and share the Three-Angels Messages with the world; that the world may become of Christ convicted, to Christ committed, for Christ compelled.

 

Mission Statement (Revised May 2019)

World Church Affirmation Sabbath exists to affirm the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and to support its worldwide representative structure in harmony with the leadership of the General Conference. ~ 9T 260.2

 

We affirm these beliefs in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White. ~ Isaiah 8:20

 

We share this mission with like-minded Adventists who choose to stand for these beliefs and share the Three Angel's Messages with the world; that the world may become of Christ convicted, to Christ committed, for Christ compelled. ~Matthew 28:18-20 --- Revelation 14:6-11

 

It is clearly understood now that WCAS exists to affirm the beliefs of the Seventh- day Adventist Church and that it is in support of all levels of the church structure including the local church, local conferences, regional unions, and regional divisions, which are all a part of the world-wide church. We do not agree with anyone or any entity acting in a way that is disruptive to the God-ordained church order. Our support includes not only our evangelistic efforts in reaching out to our communities, but also lifting up the church and its leaders in prayers and financial support.

 

WCAS strongly encourages everyone to be a responsible member of the church by getting involved in the church governance process. WCAS does not prescribe how to vote on any particular issue, but encourages individuals to vote in harmony with a conscience enlightened by Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy writings.

 

We believe true convictions must come from the plain “thus saith the Lord.” That is why, at WCAS events, we present truths that are pertinent to the present time, and do not dwell on any political issues of the church. The unity in our beloved Seventh-day Adventist Church can only come from understanding as well as living the truths that are clearly presented to us in the Word of God.

 

We would like to express our heart-felt appreciation to the leaders of the UCC Administration and the Executive Committee for allowing WCAS activities to resume on church premises based on local church board decisions, guided by the new UCC Supporting Ministry Policy. Satan has tried to introduce division among us, but this process of coming to a mutual understanding, has turned out to be a positive experience, bringing glory and honor to the name of our church and the name of our Lord. We look forward to a harmonious working relationship in winning souls to Christ, our Lord.

---------------------------------------------------------------

UCC Supporting Ministry Policy
 

"The Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists desires to work in Christian unity with supporting organizations in the spreading of the gospel. Open communication with the Upper Columbia Conference is necessary to maintain harmonious working relationships with such ministries; and to guard against perceptions created through misunderstandings, accusations, and discord.

 

Therefore such supporting organizational ministries must exhibit the following characteristics:

Clearly affirm in both word and practice the twenty-eight fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Clearly affirm and support in both word and practice the Upper Columbia Conference organization, its structure and policies.

Pursue a collaborative mission that accords with that of the Upper Columbia Conference.

Offer open accountability structures that include representatives of the Seventh-day Adventist organization.

As counseled by Ellen White, they must use “Christlike tenderness” (Letter 62, 1900) towards anyone within the sisterhood of churches who does not align with the supporting ministry.

 

Local congregations and other conference entities are encouraged to:

 

Collaborate with such organizations as may be appropriate in their work, including inviting representatives to speak.

Consult with the conference before inviting the participation of representatives of organizations that do not clearly meet the above characteristics."