David Brown's website
This is a temporary page giving copies of email correspondence referred to in connection with my home church.
17 July Specifics
Andrew has been wise, I think, in keeping the minutes of yesterday’s meeting concise and in any event we did not have time to go through your document in detail. However, I am sure you would not want to be leading the members of the ecclesia to believe things that are incorrect or defamatory. So:
1. Please therefore cite the specific point on my website where I write “with scorn and contempt against the use made by Christadelphians of the expression “the Truth”. Please also cite further contributions to on-line forums where I do so, besides the one quoted by Maddocks which I assume is one to which you refer. The website has had no significant change since the document was issued, other than for rephrasing of the ‘much else could go’ reference as a gesture of goodwill, and the removal of the ‘Goodbye to Trust’ page. (I assume you have a copy, but with respect to the first point above the only reference I can find on that page to ‘truth’ is the sentence: “I have no problem with robust debate about matters of faith (and science): indeed, such a debate is healthy and can be a powerful means of testing the arguments and encouraging people to take faith seriously and search out the truth.”)
2. Please quote the specific text where I state that I do not support maintaining the Christadelphians as a separate denomination.
3. Please withdraw the allegation that I have not complied with the request referred to in your specific point 3, and confirm that while I have indeed complied with the request not to raise ‘divisive issues’ at K&D, your complaint is about contributions to forums and website items which I consider are not in any way Ecclesial activities.
4. Please cite the specific sections of text on my website which constitute “unpleasant denunciations and denigrations” of (a) the Christadelphian community and (b) the K&D ecclesia.
5. Please withdraw and apologise for the allegation that I have made “a particular charge of fraud” in respect of the ballot last November/December. You were assured (again) that this was not the case before you circulated the document.
At this stage I would prefer to avoid my having to send out general communications to the members but Viv and I are obviously likely to be challenged on an individual basis as to what is being referred to.
Two more things. You’ve refused to name those who, from within K&D and outside, have made representations regarding my online content to the ABs. You will realise, I hope, that this makes it almost impossible for me, or more particularly Viv or Joanna, to trust anyone at K&D without asking them individually. If only from common humanity towards them, either state categorically that no such representations have been made by any K&D member other than those on the arranging committee; or state how many other individuals have made such representations, and ask those people to make themselves known. And secondly, Viv has, at the cost of great anguish and hurt to herself, sought over the past months to retain and rebuild relationships with members of K&D. The actions of the ABs have now reduced those attempts to ashes. You claim to be acting out of concern for fidelity to Christian doctrine: perhaps each of the six ABs would now reflect on the most fundamental doctrine of all, that of love, and explain to her their actions.
With thanks in anticipation
18 July Enquiry
You've told me that members of K&D and other ecclesias have made representations to the ecclesia or the ABs regarding my online material, and I regret, but understand, that you do not feel able to divulge the names. Please therefore be good enough to send the attached letter to each of them. I don't expect you to reconsider at this stage the question of names, but please simply tell me how many copies you send out to K&D and to non-K&D recipients, so that I know how many responses I might anticipate.
Dear brother or sister
This letter has reached you because you are one of a number of people who have made representations to Knowle & Dorridge ecclesia or to its arranging brothers expressing concerns regarding online postings by me and/or items on my personal website. The arranging committee have not divulged your name, but I hope you will understand my belief that matters of concern are best discussed on an open, not an anonymous, basis. I am therefore writing, via our ecclesial secretary, to invite you to contact me outlining your concerns, citing the specific postings, etc., that have given rise to them. I should be pleased to try and resolve them, and naturally to offer an apology should misunderstanding have occurred.
If you prefer not to speak to me directly, please contact me by text (07979 658321), by email ([email protected]) or write to me at 10 Nailsworth Road, Dorridge, Solihull B93 8NS.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours in Jesus
19 July Minutes of ABs meeting
You did explicitly undertake that we would agree the minutes, so I'm a bit surprised these have gone on general circulation. Some iteration is no doubt inevitable but there are several points I am not happy with. They include the comment about 'any other explanation' which sounds as if the ABs don't believe me when I say I am not implying any accusation against the tellers; the omission of the word 'licensed' in relation to speaking etc elsewhere, which was the specific point from which I dissented; and earlier, the 'comments from other B&S' which conflicts with Chris's clearly telling me last Thursday and the previous Sunday that representations had been received from members both in K&D and from elsewhere. All are significant points and I have to insist they are recorded.
after some delay the following was received......note the misquotation of my questions, which referred to allegations about material on my website:
18/07/2011 e-mail , subject ‘enquiry’
(This e-mail relates to representations made to the ABs regarding David’s views expressed on various on-line media and David’s request to forward a letter to the authors of these representations)
The ABs are not willing to involve any brothers or sisters outside K&D and will not therefore pass your letter to them. It should be noted that, as has been said several times, the reference is to passing comments made by a number of brothers and sisters to members of the ABs committee in the course of general conversations in which they expressed surprise and concern about the views you were expressing on-line. They did not send specific or formal ‘complaints’ to K&D. Their comments did however remind the ABs that the material was in the public domain and was being read by others outside our ecclesia. The committee also took note of comments by brothers and sisters outside K&D who were involved in the on-line discussion forums.
Three members of K&D made representations to the ABs expressing concern about material appearing on-line. Your letter has been passed to each of these members. It should be noted that none of these representations initiated the enquiry into the material appearing on-line; the ABs were already looking into these matters when the representations were received.
19/07/2011 e-mail, subject ‘Re: Minutes of ABs meeting’
1. (Subject: the responsibilities of the ABs in relation to public utterances by members). The ABs endorsed the e-mail (sent by CB to David in a private capacity, 20/07/2011, subject ‘Re: Minutes of ABs meeting’) which stated that the minutes of the meeting held on 16/07/2011 accurately stated the conclusion of the discussion. If Brother David wishes us to remove the final sentence (‘David said he did not agree with this view’) from the end of the first paragraph on Page 2 of the minutes of the meeting on 16 July we are willing to do so.
2. (Subject: the implied accusation of fraud in the ecclesial ballot). The ABs believe the minutes accurately reflect the discussion at the meeting. In the minutes of the meeting held on 16/07/2011 and subsequent correspondence David has made it clear that he did not intend to accuse the tellers and this is accepted by the ABs. Nevertheless the clear implication of an accusation of fraud remains, directed against unnamed persons.
17/07/2011 e-mail, subject ‘specifics’
(Where do you write with scorn and contempt against Christadelphians’ use of the expression ‘The Truth’?)
In the document we put before the ecclesia on 14th July, we quoted the following extract: (http://christadelphian.uk.com/articles/0520113.htm): “Let’s drop the arrogance. Do we really, seriously believe we’re the only ones who’ve ‘got it right’? As if we could understand God fully! The C’dns are one denomination within the Christian family, all with allegiance to the carpenter from Nazareth, all seeing God in him, even if we do have to struggle with inevitably inadequate metaphors, be they ‘son of God’, ‘God incarnate’, or whatever. It’s challenging enough just to try to do what he has told us to”.
Another example is as follows: (e-discuss 22nd June) “Am I bitter? Certainly frustrated at a community that should have so much going for it and in places does, yet has the temerity to claim we ’have’ the truth and to treat other Christians as though we had the right to label them as unacceptable and that ditches a generation ……”
(Where do you state that you do not support maintaining the Christadelphians as a separate denomination?)
We draw your attention to the above quotation’s reference to the Christadelphians as ‘one denomination within the Christian family’ and the reference in your Manifesto for Change to giving ‘other Christians the benefit of the doubt’ and working with them where there’s common ground. Also e-discuss, 8 June “You may not like it but lots of C’dns – may not be a majority, but plenty – would like to see this church as one among many, and view other Christians as part of the same family albeit with some longstanding family disagreements and chips on shoulders. You might want us to be sectarian and exclusive. But we’re not. Get over it!”
(How have you failed to comply with the ecclesia’s requirement that you should not raise divisive issues?)
The above extract is clearly divisive, as are the other extracts included in the document we put before the ecclesia. Your ‘Goodbye to Trust’ and your comment when moving it to another part of your website are further examples. Firstly, you are well aware that we do not accept your contention that our ecclesia should not be concerned about anything you do, say and publish outside the ecclesia - that would be illogical and has never been the Christadelphian view; secondly, these comments in ‘Goodbye to Trust’ were directed at our ecclesia.
(What unpleasant denunciations and denigrations have you made about members of our ecclesia and community? )
We refer you again to your ‘Goodbye to Trust’ and your comments on moving it.
(Allegation of fraud concerning the November/December 2010 ballot)
You have clearly alleged wrongdoing, though you have subsequently said that your allegation was not against the brother and sister who had custody of the ballot box at all times, and who counted and reported the votes. However, an accusation against an unnamed member or members remains the clear implication of the allegation which you have not withdrawn.
Before you send this out, would you kindly answer the questions in my email headed 'Specifics'? I attach a document with the text of the three emails, since you misquote the questions I asked. As you have taken more than a week to mine the archive of ecclesia-discuss to find selective quotations as 'evidence' against me, you might have quoted my email correctly.
In particular, your circular asserted that on my website I write 'with scorn and contempt' about the use of the term 'the truth'. You also assert that my website contains 'unpleasant denunciations and denigrations' of a) the Christadelphian community, b) K&D ecclesia. Either these assertions are true, in which case cite the text from my website; or they are false, in which case have the grace to admit that your circular was not telling the ecclesia the truth.
Cite also the text where I state that I do not support maintaining the Christadelphians as a separate denomination (as opposed to viewing separation not as something in which to glory but as a practical inevitability).
Would you please note once again that the observation concerning the November / December ballot - that assurances I had received indicated that more 'No' votes had been cast than were reported - was exactly that: an observation. No allegation was made, and your repeated suggestion otherwise I consider defamatory.
Further, I infer from your opening comments that in looking into my online posts, the ABs had not been responding to representations from members both within and outside K&D. If this is so, why did you explicitly tell me on 10 July that they had? And lead me to believe the same on the subsequent Thursday?
If on the other hand the ABs had initiated this action against me of their own accord, it seems a remarkable coincidence that they should have done so at exactly the time to prevent my inclusion in the 2012 CALS diary, and immediately following the departure of the AB least antipathetic towards me, Mark Norman. Is the ecclesia to conclude that this is pure coincidence?
Reply from CB:
We have given a considered and, we believe, reasonable response to your e-mails about the content and detail of the document we put before the ecclesia. We intend now, as intimated to you, to bring the matter to the ecclesia and you or your representative will have every opportunity at the special EMM to present your arguments and air your grievances before the ecclesia. In the meantime we do not consider it profitable to enter into further correspondence with you about the document we put before the ecclesia, and we do not therefore intend to enter into any further such correspondence or trading of e-mails. We shall however try to accommodate any reasonable request from you as to the precise date of the special EMM to ensure that you are able to attend and take part, assuming you wish to do so.
We would have waited a little longer to complete this exchange of these e-mails before sending the proposal to the ecclesia. However as we have learnt that you have already sent it to at least one person in the ecclesia and we do not know how many more, which we consider to be a breach of trust, we have no choice but to send it to the ecclesia immediately.
Your brother by grace
on behalf of the Arranging Brethren of Knowle and Dorridge Ecclesia