Nobody owns the Church... Conclusion
In Part 4 we observed evidence that suggests Danny Shelton's
control of the Thompsonville SDA Church was becoming more overt.
When an individual chooses to follow a path that runs contrary
to the will of God, in His mercy, the Lord provides him with
many opportunities to be brought to the realization that change
is needed. Had Danny Shelton heeded the counsel that he needed
to take his responsibilities as an Elder more seriously, perhaps
it might have been the first small step in a path that would
have led him to repentance and restitution and the discussions
of the last four years would have never taken place. Steeped
in his pride, Danny was unable to hear that call, so our story
Two woman sit together in the executive wing of 3ABN and quietly
discuss the events of the last half year. It is the third week
of November 2001, less than one week since Jean Fiscalini's position
as European Liaison has been terminated. Linda Shelton, wife
of Danny Shelton, vice President of 3ABN and Kristina Fiscalini,
wife of Jean Fiscalini sit facing each other in Linda's office.
It is late at night, a time usually reserved for clandestine
meetings, but this unscheduled encounter is an attempt to arrive
at the truth, not a planning meeting for further subterfuge...
* * * * *
The previous Friday twenty minutes before noon—at 3ABN the
work week ended at noon on Friday, except for the pastoral
staff—Jean Fiscalini was called into the office of Danny Shelton.
He was told that due to budget cuts the position of European
Liaison was immediately terminated; Jean was to clean out his
desk and leave the premises. He would be given one month's severance
pay and was to vacate the 3ABN apartment where he and his wife
resided by the end of the month. Jean said it would be impossible
to make plans to leave in two weeks, so the deadline for moving
was extended until the end of December. In a state of shock Jean
arrived home and told his wife what had happened. One day earlier
they had made a deposit on an apartment in West Frankfort where
they planned to move in January. Suddenly without a job, everything
had changed. Earnestly they sought the Lord in prayer.
During the next few weeks the Fiscalinis were quietly visited
in their apartment by a number of employees who expressed their
shock at what had happened and had come to say good-bye. Nancy
O'Brien, the Thompsonville SDA School principal exclaimed, "If
this could happen to Jean, it could happen to any of us!" Everyone
was aware of the conflict that had taken place between Jean and
Danny over Danny's nomination as Elder. Even then Jean had been
warned by two of the other Elders that to publically oppose Danny
in the Thompsonville Church would be the end of his career at 3ABN.
In addition to being the European Liaison, Jean also worked
as a member of the Pastoral staff. His duties included answering
prayer calls and previewing programs for Biblical inaccuracies.
If programs had information of a questionable nature notes were
made and Danny had the final say whether they would be aired.
Since Rick Odle had left 3ABN, Jean was the only member of the
pastoral staff who had pastoral training and was an ordained
minister of the SDA Church. Two weeks prior to Jean's position
as European Liaison being terminated, a retired SDA pastor was
added to the Pastoral Department. Later when he visited Jean
in his home he asked, "Why did they hire me, when Danny could
have kept you here as a member of the pastoral staff?"At the
time the position of European Liaison was terminated, Jean Fiscalini
was working ninety-five per cent of his time in the Pastoral
A week after the second reading of the Nominating Committee
of the Thompsonville Church, Jean was called into Mollie Steenson's
office and informed that he could not proceed on any plans for
the European Department without first receiving personal approval
from Danny Shelton. At that time Jean requested a meeting with
Danny regarding the current plans to promote 3ABN in Europe.
Mollie replied, "I will contact you when Danny has time for an
appointment with you."
One week passed, no appointment. Jean again approached Mollie
and received the same reply, "I will contact you when Danny has
time for an appointment with you." Meanwhile Jean observed others
in the Pastoral Department making and receiving appointments
with Danny, while he continued to wait. Each week Jean would
return to Molly with the same request and receive the same answer.
Unable to proceed without the direct approval of Danny, Jean
spent more and more time working in the Pastoral Department.
When Jean was hired he was told by Danny he would also be
attached to the Pastoral Department and any time he had that
was not needed for his other duties should be spent there. It
was for this reason that he had shared an office with Rick Odle.
After Rick left, the next Pastoral Department head, John Dinzey
moved into the office with Jean. After thirteen weeks Jean finally
received an appointment with Danny Shelton, Danny disapproved
all plans for the European promotion of 3ABN, and Jean returned
to the Pastoral Department. During this time, he expressed his
frustration to John Dinzey. John told him he must be mistaken.
In fact, Danny had told him, "You can find no fault in Jean's
work." There was no legitimate reason to fire Jean for his work
in either the European or Pastoral departments.
* * * * *
After talking for over an hour, Kristina realized that Linda
appeared both open and honest in their conversation. Previously
the two women had little contact with each other except as members
of the Thompsonville Church. This was to be their first and last
conversation before the Fiscalinis left 3ABN. Kristina now asked
the question that brought her uninvited to Linda's office that
evening. "Danny had told me that even if he and Jean disagreed
on an issue at the church, it would have no impact upon Jean's
job at 3ABN. What is the real reason that he was fired?" Linda
looked at the woman seated across from her with both compassion
and the knowledge that the "official" and the actual reason for
ending Jean Fiscalini's employment with 3ABN were not the same.
The decision to terminate Jean Fiscalini's employment was not
based upon a financial need to close the European Department
of 3ABN or that Jean's services as a SDA pastor were not an asset
in the Pastoral Department, but something entirely different.
Breaking the silence that hung heavily between them, Linda replied,
"Jean was fired from 3ABN because we believed if he could not
respect Danny as a church Elder, how could he respect Danny as
called from God to be the President of 3ABN?"
* * * * *
A short two and one half years later Linda Shelton would find
herself in a similar situation. She would be removed from her
position as Vice President of 3ABN for reasons other than those officially
stated at the hands of her husband, Danny Shelton. Later Linda
was told, "All we knew was the President no longer wanted his
Vice President." Whether or not Linda had actually committed
adultery was not the issue. When Danny was in the process of
preparing to divorce Linda, without Biblical grounds, did she
receive any support from the Thompsonville Church or John Lomacang,
her pastor? No... Was it ever even suggested that Danny Shelton
should be put under church discipline for divorce and remarriage
without Biblical grounds. Not to my knowledge, if it had, the
information would have spread just as quickly as the false accusations
about Linda committing adultery had been processed through the
rumor mill. Does Danny Shelton own the Thompsonville church and
control the current pastor? Ask Linda Shelton...or Johann. By
the time that Johann was fired...that is another story and one
better told by Johann himself. It appears that the position of
European Liaison is a dangerous one at 3ABN for those unwilling
to stroke the ego of Danny Shelton or at least one with a very