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Letter to members of [XXXX] meeting, January 9 2011

[XXXX] Christadelphians                              January 2011

Annotated version of the 'resume' showing faults

To the members of the [XXXX] Ecclesia from the Arranging Brethren

Dear Brothers and Sisters

As you know the result of the recent ballot regarding a way forward for our ecclesia was strongly in favour of the statement included on the ballot form. For ease of reference the statement is repeated here:

1.       We reaffirm our belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures and that we meet on the basis of the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith, which is the common basis of fellowship between ecclesias.

2.       We will now draw a line under the divisions and disagreements of the past few months. There should be no further recriminations, analysis, inquisition, or public discussion of these matters. Instead we will endeavour to build bridges and to repair damaged relationships wherever they exist, 'with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.' (Ephesians 4:2-3)

3.       The ecclesia requires that Brother David Brown agree

a. not to raise divisive issues, particularly the subject of origins or the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis in our ecclesia or any other, nor to promote his views on the origin of Adam and Eve.

            b. to stand aside from ecclesial duties at least until the end of 2011, in order to give the ecclesia time to return to calmness and normality under the hand of the Lord.

4.       All brothers and sisters of the ecclesia will strive for ecclesial and personal harmony and unity in the ecclesia, putting aside personal likes and dislikes and striving to apply in all circumstances the injunction of Scripture to ‘forgive as we have been forgiven’. “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” 1 John 2:9-10

 Since the result of the ballot was known we have had discussions with Brother David Brown, and Brother David has also made representations to the ecclesia. The conclusion is that Brother David is not willing to accept section 3 of the statement, although he readily endorses sections 1, 2, and 4. Regarding section 3a Brother David has indicated that it is not his desire to raise divisive issues but he cannot accept restrictions on his work at other ecclesias where they ask him to speak about his views regarding origins. Brother David rejects section 3b.

 Because the ecclesia has accepted this statement it will be implemented within the ecclesia as far as possible, and support is sought from everyone in both letter and spirit.

However as a result of ecclesial votes at the EMM meetings in June 2010 and November 2010, and endorsed in the ballot in December, Brother David Brown is not participating in public ecclesial duties (presiding, speaking, Bible School and CYC) though this restriction is not intended to include reading and offering prayers which is at the discretion of presidents, or otherwise participating in the ecclesia's activities. This will continue until the ecclesia decides otherwise. The ABs committee does not intend to bring further proposals or ballots to the ecclesia in the foreseeable future; the ecclesial processes laid down in the guiding documents of the ecclesia are of course open to all members.

You will appreciate that this leaves Brother David free to accept invitations to speak at ecclesias without restriction from our ecclesia. He may agree to indicate in any addresses he gives about origins that he is putting forward his own views and not those of our ecclesia. The [XXXX] entry in the CALS Diary indicates the list of brethren whose work in other ecclesias is supported by the ecclesia, as is so for all ecclesias, and the 2011 entry for our ecclesia does not include Brother David’s name.

We are well aware that over the past few months many brothers and sisters have been upset and distressed. This has been particularly so for Sister Viv Brown and we want to assure her of our continued love and friendship, as indeed we assure Brother David. The arranging brethren greatly regret the unhappiness and distress which has been felt so keenly by so many, and particularly by Sister Viv. However we do believe that each person involved has spoken and acted according to their consciences and beliefs at each step of the way. Because we are all fallible human beings with many weaknesses there is no doubt that if we could go back we would have said and done some things differently or perhaps more expeditiously; sadly we are not given such foresight and can only do what we think best in the moment. None of us can go back in time; we can only go forward in faith.

This issue has been a pre-occupation of the ecclesia for some time, at the expense of other worthwhile activities both personal and ecclesial. We believe that it is now time to move forward in the spirit of the sentiments expressed in Sections 2 and 4 of the statement approved by the ecclesia. We know that there are many obstacles but we appeal to all the brothers and sisters of the ecclesia to approach the future with kindness, compassion, a desire and willingness to promote unity, and a concern for each and every brother and sister in the ecclesia.

[XXXX] Ecclesia Arranging Brethre

 (CALS is a preaching organisation that produces an annual diary listing those brothers in each congregation who give Sunday public talks and presentations)

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