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Dispute-Related Q & A

Questions

  1. Why would the Adventist Church need a policy on conciliation and dispute resolution?
  2. When a member has a dispute with another member or a church institution,
  3. what steps does he/she take to initiate the Church's process?
  4. What about local conference disputes?
  5. What about union conference disputes?
  6. What about the Division?
  7. When in doubt, whom do I contact?
  8. Does this mean that the Division will process my request?
  9. Does the Division Office of Human Relations ever get involved in conducting hearings in local conferences or unions?

Question:
Why would the Adventist Church need a policy on conciliation and dispute resolution?

Answer:
Because members are human and they will disagree from time to time. If the Church had no process based on Christian principles to guide them in the resolution of such disputes, their only recourse will be to fight it out in court. The dispute policy of the Church gives the Christian an alternative to taking a brother/sister to court.

Question:
When a member has a dispute with another member or a church institution, what steps does he/she take to initiate the Church's process?

Answer:
Good question. It is the expectation of the North American Division that all grievances be resolved at the level where they arise. The local church, therefore, has jurisdiction in local church disputes that do not affect the employment of persons hired by a conference, a conference institution, or the division.

Question:
What about local conference disputes?

Answer:
The local conference has jurisdiction in disputes between: local conference employees, local conference organizations, local institutions, lay members and the local conference, local church conference employees and the congregation, and congregational splits. In disputes between employees/members of different conferences, unless otherwise agreed to by all parties involved, jurisdiction shall be with the conference of the member/employee whom the claim is against.

Question:
What about union conference disputes?

Answer:
The union conference has jurisdiction in disputes between:

  1. Intra union conference employees
  2. Local conference employees
  3. Union institution employees and the institution
  4. Lay members or local churches and the unionLocal conference employees, conference institutional employees, union
  5. conference institutional employees, and the union conference
  6. Intra union organizations, union institutions, and/or local conferences

Question:
What about the Division?

Answer:
The Division has jurisdiction in disputes between:

  1. Interunion denominational employees, division employees, and/or employees of division institutions
  2. Union conference employees and the union conference
  3. Division institution employees and the union conference
  4. Division employees and the Division
  5. Lay members and the Division
In disputes between employees and members of different divisions, jurisdiction shall be with the General Conference of SDA.

Question:
When in doubt, whom do I contact?

Answer:
Contact your local conference secretary or the Office of Human Relations at the North American Division. Our phone number is (301) 680-6410.

Question:
Does this mean that the Division will process my request?

Answer:
No. It means that we will give you the best direction that we can as to where you should go to have your request processed.

Question:
Does the Division Office of Human Relations ever get involved in conducting hearings in local conferences or unions?

Answer:
Only if feasible and at the request of the union conference that has jurisdiction over a particular territory?

 

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