David Brown's website
Conciliation letter: 1 January 2011
A happy New Year to you all. I understand you have a meeting of the new arranging committee on Tuesday at which I assume you will discuss the difficult ecclesial situation. We all want this saga over and if the interests of the meeting as a whole are the priority, which they are, the current situation cannot be allowed to continue. Equally, a divisive and emotive debate over my disfellowship – which I should contest vigorously - would be about the last thing it needs. The only alternative is a full and complete resolution of the matter so that we can put the events of 2010 completely behind us and move on. We had such a resolution in October, supported by most of the then ABs, and I have no doubt that had the then secretary not broken ranks and campaigned against the majority recommendation, it would have secured ecclesial endorsement. We need to build on that basis, and to do so means to me, following helpful discussions with several people, that the solution will contain (all of) the following:
1. Recognition that the situation has not always been well handled. Viv has been especially upset that the recently-circulated letter and statement make no acknowledgement that anyone is at fault but me. We feel it would be both appropriate and timely for the committee to rectify this publicly, possibly in terms such as “The ABs accept that the recent difficulties have been due as much to some of the reactions to David’s remarks and to secondhand reports of those remarks, as to the original remarks themselves. They also acknowledge that they have not always handled the matter as well or as expeditiously as they might, that David has not been treated entirely fairly, and apologise that this has caused additional hurt to Viv and others.” As part of this, I do need an acknowledgement that the recent ballot, while well intentioned, was unfair in both process and content.
2. My assurance that I shall not raise issues around the early chapters of Genesis in the course of duties at K&D, reserving any such matters to private conversations or discussions among those who choose to be interested in them. Equally, although the term ‘divisive’ is as open to misuse as ‘causing to offend’ I shall studiously avoid approaching other issues in a way likely to prove divisive rather than constructive.
3. My assurance that although the principle of ecclesial autonomy prevents my giving K&D a veto over what topics other meetings may have me speak about, I have no plans to speak at any ecclesia on the subject of creation or the early chapters of Genesis. I am not at all likely to do so in the foreseeable future as I have dealt with the subject recently at most of the meetings I regularly visit. However in that unlikely event I shall be happy to make it clear that my views do not represent those of most members of [XXXX].
4. Commitment on all sides to the restoration of harmony and an end to all debate and recrimination exactly as set out in points 2 and 4 of the recent Statement, including any ecclesial discussion I might otherwise wish to initiate over the manner in which I have personally been treated. This will not be easy for me or for Viv: the damage we have suffered over the past 9 months has been incalculable and the sense of unfairness and loss of trust profound: we realise it will be demanding for others too. But ‘Christ’s love compels us’ (2 Cor 5:14), and that should settle the matter.
5. A complete end, with immediate effect, to any bans, exclusions or other sanctions whatsoever affecting my participation in ecclesial duties – so placing me in the same position as any other speaking and presiding brother, and removing the prospect of another decision point, and therefore the likelihood of more tension and upset, towards the end of 2011. I shall then voluntarily offer to step aside from presiding and speaking for some or possibly all of the first half of 2011, resuming ‘normal operations’ thereafter so that by the latter part of 2011, if the Lord remains away, we shall genuinely be back to normal; and I shall call upon my principal critic to do likewise.
6. I shall again be available from now on to assist in CYC (obviously on non-controversial topics) and will resume teaching in Bible school on the basis that the parents of the young people I am to teach are comfortable with my doing so, as one of a variety of brothers and sisters involved.
This gives my critics much more than the ABs were prepared to settle for in October, before .... broke ranks and provoked the split on November 4. It gives us all a chance of returning to being an effective and united ecclesia. And it gives us a unique opportunity to show our own young people and friends, who have clearly seen and been appalled by the mess we’ve all made of our affairs this year, that for once in our lives we’re setting aside our differences and doing just what the Master tells us to do. So let Him be the real winner in all this.
Your brother in Jesus
(CYC = Christadelphian Youth Circle, i.e. church youth club)