Nobody owns the Church... Part 4
In Part 3 Jean Fiscalini, Danny Shelton, Pastor Samuel Thomas
and the Nominating Committee retired to a private room to discuss
Jean's objections to Danny Shelton being re-elected as an Elder
in the Thompsonville SDA Church. After returning to the Sanctuary,
the vote was taken to accept the Nominating Committee Report
as written. At that time the congregation was still unaware of
what had transpired, what objections were raised, upon what grounds
or upon what individual Pastor Fiscalini had objected. In Part
4 we will open the veil and see what transpired behind closed
Entering one of the children's Sabbath school rooms all those
present seated themselves around a table as the Chairman of the
Nominating Committee turned to Pastor Fiscalini and formally
asked, "What is your objection to the Report?" Jean had already
informed the committee he would publically object if Danny Shelton's
name was still listed as an Elder at the time of the second reading.
For the second time Jean explained to the Committee that twice
he had approached Danny Shelton personally, as a fellow elder
and chairman of the Church Board, in regard to his neglect of
fulfilling his duties. It was not the conflict of Danny being
away for ministry business which concerned Jean, but Danny's
choosing to walk out of Board meetings early or neglecting to
attend at all because he had invited his cronies to play basketball
with him. If Danny were unable to fulfill the duties of an Elder
because of time conflicts with ministry business, was unwilling
to schedule his private activities at times other than previously
scheduled church board meetings, never attended Elder's meetings
or functioned in any aspect as a local Elder in the Thompsonville
Church, he should not be re-elected to hold that position. It
would be better both for Danny and for the Thompsonville church
to elect another individual that was both able and willing to
perform the duties required of an Elder. The office of Elder
was not offered to Danny Shelton as an Honorary position, but
as an opportunity to serve the local church.
Danny started immediately defending himself, "That is ridiculous!"
He continued to ridicule Pastor's Fiscalini's objections, claiming
that none of them were even worth considering and would not be
legitimate grounds to hinder him from being an elder. As Danny
continued his discourse it was obvious he would not accept being
removed as an Elder of the Thompsonville Church and that no one
had the authority to question his right to the title of Elder.
As first Jean Fiscalini, than Danny Shelton spoke, both were
met with silence from the Committee. No comments were made, no
questions were asked. Those present were aware that what Jean
had said was true, Danny had not opposed the facts as Jean had
presented them. Instead Danny's attitude and arguments made it
apparent that facts were irrelevant and should have no influence
upon his continued role as an Elder in the Thompsonville SDA
Barely a minute or two passed, after Jean Fiscalini and Danny
Shelton left the Nominating Committee, when the Committee members
returned to the Sanctuary. It became obvious that the members
of the Nominating Committee were unwilling to oppose Danny Shelton's
re-election, although Danny did not dispute the truth of the
allegations that he did not function as an Elder.
If the Nominating Committee finds the objection has merit
then they have an obligation to remove that person from consideration
for election. Given the nature of the situation at the Thompsonville
Church, it would not have mattered what the objection was or
it's validity. The one unvoiced fact the members of the Nominating
Committee could be certain of is they were being requested to
make a decision that would be in direct opposition to the person
upon whom they depended for their livelihood. There was little
or no deliberation within the Nominating Committee that day.
The potential rumblings of empty stomachs drowned out the sound
of compromised consciences.
The inception of compromise does not lie at the feet of the
Nominating Committee, but at the hands of the Illinois Conference
that made themselves beholden to Danny Shelton by allowing him
to pay half the pastor's salary and by allowing the congregation
to use a 3ABN building, rather than the Conference owning the
church outright, which is the norm in the Adventist church. By
allowing these things to happen, the Illinois Conference made
Danny Shelton the de facto ruler of the Thompsonville Church.
To be continued...