Pasadena Biennial Results

Discuss life and ministry in the American Baptist Churches, USA

Moderator: Haruo

Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:57 am

See this blog post by ABC Views from the Middle

While I left Pasadena before the third and final session of the Biennial, everything I attended was wonderful. The churches in the Region of Los Angeles were gracious hosts. My friend, Dr. Sam Chetti, the Executive Minister of LA, was relentless to insure that this was a memorable Biennial. The setting and facilities were beautiful. The worship sessions were powerful. I wish everyone could have experienced them. It was good to connect with old friends and to see several GRR delegates.

Attendance was low (600 or 700 delegates, about 1200 total -- based on verbal reports), and I think there were several reasons for that. Certainly the costs and the economic climate contributed to it. But I also fear that there has been persistent, progressive disengagement from the national denomination since the Biennial in Denver (2005). Some of that disengagement is a cultural shift. Some is intentional.

In terms of business, the most significant action during the Biennial was the rejection of the reorganization proposal that the General Board has been working on for about three years. While the vote was a solid majority, it fell short (barely) of the two-thirds required. I can visualize a number of scenarios in which the requisite handful of votes could have swung the other way. But even then I am faced with 30% of the delegates rejecting the proposal. In addition, less than 20% of our churches were represented at the Biennial (a recurring problem when it comes to doing serious business that purports to speak for the entire denomination).
User avatar
Big Daddy Weaver
 
Posts: 2493
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:15 am
Location: Waco, TX

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby Haruo » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:21 pm

Is it known yet where the 2011 Biennial will be? I am hoping to get the Esperanto-USA convention to Seattle that year, which probably means I won't have time or budget to go to a Biennial, but you never know, and if I could I would certainly like to.

Our pastor was one of the 12 missing votes, she had a Triathlon scheduled for the same weekend as the Biennial. (Yes, our pastor is a Triathlete, or Triathalete as she pronounces it, and came in second in her age class.)
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11684
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:47 pm

Haruo wrote:Is it known yet where the 2011 Biennial will be? I am hoping to get the Esperanto-USA convention to Seattle that year, which probably means I won't have time or budget to go to a Biennial, but you never know, and if I could I would certainly like to.

Our pastor was one of the 12 missing votes, she had a Triathlon scheduled for the same weekend as the Biennial. (Yes, our pastor is a Triathlete, or Triathalete as she pronounces it, and came in second in her age class.)


Ed: Yes, the Bienials are scheduled 6 years in advance. 2011 will be in Puerto Rico.
User avatar
Ed Pettibone
 
Posts: 11963
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: .Burnt Hills, New York, Capital Area

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby Haruo » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:41 pm

Too bad, I'm hoping to be in Cuba in 2010 but really don't see how I can return to the Caribbean the next year.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11684
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby pastormikejordan » Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:40 pm

I just got back from a vacation, couldn't do the biennial due to family commitments and the fact I am resigning from our church at the end of the month.

I am STUNNED that the reorganization didn't pass. Truth be told, part of the reason I didn't go is that I considered it a fait d'accompli. I thought churches that stood to lose in this simply didn't have the finances or the will to get delegates to Pasadena. I would be very curious to know what the demographics of the vote were, though i'm sure that information isn't to be released (and probably isn't even known).

I am taking a step back from AB life for a while, while this denom figures out what it wants to be or become (good turn of a phrase, Dr. Stinnett). I just am really surprised and don't know whether to be hopeful or demoralized!

Mike
Michael Jordan
Exton, PA
pastormikejordan.blogspot.com
pastormikejordan
 
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:38 pm
Location: Exton, PA

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:00 am

pastormikejordan wrote:I just got back from a vacation, couldn't do the biennial due to family commitments and the fact I am resigning from our church at the end of the month.

I am STUNNED that the reorganization didn't pass. Truth be told, part of the reason I didn't go is that I considered it a fait d'accompli. I thought churches that stood to lose in this simply didn't have the finances or the will to get delegates to Pasadena. I would be very curious to know what the demographics of the vote were, though i'm sure that information isn't to be released (and probably isn't even known).

I am taking a step back from AB life for a while, while this denom figures out what it wants to be or become (good turn of a phrase, Dr. Stinnett). I just am really surprised and don't know whether to be hopeful or demoralized!

Mike


Ed: Well Mike, I too thought the reorganizarion was a done deal, untill last month, the discussion at our NYS board of Missions and at our Adirondack Associational spring meeting ( each after a full presentationd of the Vally Forge prepared power point presentaition) made me beging to change my mind about the chances for its passage. This year we could not afford both the ABC and CBF meetings and with Trudy as a member of the CBF National Coordinating Council we where obligated to be in Houston. Plus they helped with expences. :) :)
User avatar
Ed Pettibone
 
Posts: 11963
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: .Burnt Hills, New York, Capital Area

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby pastormikejordan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:51 am

Anyone else who was there care to share a bit of the sense of the decision-making process? On the general board, Tim said the discussion was mainly related not to concern over the statements of concern, etc., but to an ill-informed group of voters who felt unsure of what they were really voting for. Yet the ABNS piece from the other day mentions five speakers--one pro and four con. Three of the four cons were members of AWAB churches, a disproportionate number by anyone's reckoning, and even by ABNS's reporting, each one of those speakers mentioned that one of the problems with the change was that it threatened the nature of our denomination, diversity, freedom to disagree, etc. (three guesses on what that means and the first two don't count.)

It looks to me that the differences were more ideological than they seemed to Tim. Anyone else there who could chime in?

MJ
Michael Jordan
Exton, PA
pastormikejordan.blogspot.com
pastormikejordan
 
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:38 pm
Location: Exton, PA

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby Haruo » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:10 pm

pastormikejordan wrote:... the ABNS piece from the other day mentions five speakers--one pro and four con. Three of the four cons were members of AWAB churches, a disproportionate number by anyone's reckoning, and even by ABNS's reporting, each one of those speakers mentioned that one of the problems with the change was that it threatened the nature of our denomination, diversity, freedom to disagree, etc. (three guesses on what that means and the first two don't count.)

But percentage-wise, unless Curtis Price doesn't fit your definition of AWAB (and he may not; I don't know how you define it), the only pro-amendment speaker mentioned was AWAB, or at any rate Evergreen, which makes it 100% on that side, which is more disproportionate than the 75% you cite in the con camp. I think your summation of what ABNS reported about the con-speakers' objections is a bit tendentious, so I'll go ahead and give the ABNS text here:
ABNS wrote:STRUCTURE PROPOSAL DEFEATED IN CLOSE VOTE

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 7/7/09)—At the Saturday business session of the American Baptist Biennial meeting in Pasadena, CA, delegates narrowly defeated the by-law changes brought by the General Board. 377 delegates voted in favor of the changes and 217 opposed them, with 20 abstentions. Two-thirds of the delegates present are needed for by-law changes to be accepted.

“It was a very narrow vote,” said A. Roy Medley, ABCUSA General Secretary. “Just over 63% voted for the changes. We’ve asked the delegates to give us suggestions and critiques. Now, we’ll take that information into consideration as we continue to work on the new structure.”

The proposed changes would have reduced the number of representatives to each mission board and allowed them to work with more autonomy, creating a leadership pool from which they can choose board members with needed gifts and skills.

Under the proposal, the Biennial meeting would have become a Mission Summit, focusing on a current national and/or international need. After the Summit, a smaller Mission Table of representatives from the boards and staff would then have strategized how the information and concerns from the Summit would be integrated into the work of the denomination.

During the session, five delegates spoke about the amendments:

Rev. Curtis Price, pastor of Wedgwood Community Church in Seattle, WA, affirmed the amendments, noting the decision-making developed by the Evergreen Baptist Association. As an ethnically diverse region, they have developed a process that allows all members to have a voice. Price noted his belief that the proposed structure would have presented the denomination with the same opportunity.

Dr. Grant Ward spoke against the amendments on behalf of Central Baptist Church in Wayne, PA. He noted their concern about provisions in the proposed by-laws that would have set a higher threshold to rescind past policy statements and resolutions than it took to enact them in the first place, which would have made it more difficult to vote on statements and resolutions the church believes to be contrary to Baptist principles.

Dr. June Totten of Claremont, CA, also spoke against the by-law amendments, saying that she believed them to be unfinished and unclear. She was also concerned that, by changing the current representative structure, the denomination would have been altering the very provision that encouraged the diversity it prizes.

Dr. Michael Harvey of First Baptist Church, Worcester, MA, advocated developing a “process in which the important issues of society can be talked about with respect for every person.”

Dr. George Hancock-Stefan of Central Baptist in Atlantic Heights, NJ, was also opposed. He was concerned that the restructure would have violated our heritage of congregational polity, and would have led to an organization top-heavy with paid staff and special groups. He also shared his feeling that the proposal was unfinished and not ready for a vote.

These and other comments will be considered as national and regional staff continues to develop a new structure for the denomination.

“There are several things in the proposed bylaws that we can already begin to implement,” said Medley. “The 2011 Biennial will continue to be planned as a mission summit, and General Board meetings will be more like a mission table. We have already begun the practice of having a representative from the caucuses meet with us, and we can move forward with establishing the leadership pool.”

During the next two years, Medley concluded that, “the program boards will have the time to fully flesh out the proposed changes in their by-laws for delegates to see and study before they meet in 2011 in Puerto Rico.”
Since I've quoted the entire article, I won't make a separate thread for this one.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11684
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby pastormikejordan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:33 pm

Thanks for posting, Haruo--I didn't know about the speaker from Evergreen--you would, I guess! Maybe no other BLers were there, I don't know. I just was curious as the article reflected more disagreements from an ideological perspective than I expected given Tim's notes on the meeting.
Michael Jordan
Exton, PA
pastormikejordan.blogspot.com
pastormikejordan
 
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:38 pm
Location: Exton, PA

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby Haruo » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:48 pm

Who was the non-AWAB con-speaker by your reckoning?

BTW Curtis is not AWAB at least in the sense you actually wrote, i.e. "from AWAB churches", if by AWAB you mean actually "churches that have formally joined, and financially support, AWAB". (I'm not "from an AWAB church", either, though I think I'm AWAB in my own right.) Presumably most AWAB member churches also have members who are not, themselves, particularly AWAB-aligned. Heck, I think most ABC churches have many members who aren't even particularly ABC-aligned, and even some who aren't especially Baptist.

In a Baptist context I don't think an expressed concern about the potential endangering of congregational polity rises to the level of ideology. So as reported I really think Grant Ward and Michael Harvey are the only speakers who, from ABNS's obviously very "thumbnail" report, sound to me like they may have been "ideologically driven", and even there it sounds to me like they may have been concerned that the proposed structure would make it harder to discuss issues of concern.

The whole thing doesn't sound as ideological as you are making it out to be, to me.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11684
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby Haruo » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:47 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:Also, the supposed "pro" speaker claimed to be pro and then spent most of his alloted 5 minutes critiquing the plan.

Okay, now was this Curtis Price?
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11684
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Pasadena Biennial Results

Postby pastormikejordan » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:16 am

Haruo, Dr. Hancock-Stefan is the one "con" speaker I would expect not to be welcoming and affirming, just based on a link to Dr. Totten's and Dr. H-S's church in the ABP report. I realize these folks may be different than the expressed positions of their churches--I was just hypothesizing. ABNS reports that Dr. Totten's concern was for undermining the diversity created by the current structure; I took that to be ideological and I guess it may not be, although it still sounds that way to me.

My expressed reason for asking is I just wondered if there was anyone else actually at the biennial to give me a perspective other than Tim's, because I was surprised at the ABNS report given Tim's account of the meeting.

Sorry if I struck a nerve--not my intent.
Michael Jordan
Exton, PA
pastormikejordan.blogspot.com
pastormikejordan
 
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:38 pm
Location: Exton, PA


Return to ABC Life and Ministry Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest