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Author Topic: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues  (Read 65492 times)

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Daryl Fawcett

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Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« on: January 22, 2008, 07:56:44 AM »

I am posting the following with permission:

The following is a composite of Pastor Jean and Kristina Fiscalini.  They have read this, agreed to it’s publication and the truth of the depicted incidents.

For those of you unfamiliar with foreign names, Pastor Fiscalini’s first name is the French version of the English name “John”, his last name is of Italian origin, he is a native of the German speaking area of Switzerland and his wife is American.


Nobody owns the Church... Part 1

Sitting quietly, facing Danny Shelton, Kristina’s mind races back to the conversation she had with her husband the previous evening:

“Honey, you realize if you stand up against Danny Shelton that could be the end of your career at 3ABN,” she said. Snuggling closer to her husband she looked into his eyes, wondering what effect this would have upon his decision. Smiling back at her, he softly strokes her hair and answers, “The Lord has always provided for us and that will not change. This is a church issue and in good conscience, as a SDA pastor and one of the Thompsonville elders, I have to go to the nominating committee and object to Danny being re-elected as an elder. I am sure they will act correctly, otherwise I will be forced to bring it up publically when the vote is taken in church.”

As a sense of foreboding came upon her, she realized her Swiss pastor husband had more confidence in the correct functioning of their local church than she. Knowing Danny’s reputation of only attending church board meetings when he wanted to guarantee a specific outcome in an item on the agenda and having heard how it functioned, gave her little faith in the leadership of the local church: Prior to Danny’s appearance there could be majority agreement among the board concerning a certain topic, after his arrival and a statement of his “suggestion” the board would flip in the opposite direction and if necessary call for another vote on the same agenda item in order to comply with Danny’s wishes. Having obtained his desired results, Danny would exit the meeting, leaving the remaining Board members to handle the rest of the agenda without his personal supervision.

The previous night’s conversation with her husband and her understanding of how the Thompsonville church board functioned, is what brought her to where she was today, sitting on the sofa in Danny Shelton’s office, as he smiled at her from the other side of his desk. To understand why Kristina felt it was necessary to ask Danny Shelton the following question is understood in light of the fact that the majority of church board members were either employed by 3ABN or the spouses of 3ABN employees. “Danny, I have a question. Does what happens in the Thompsonville church effect a person’s job at 3ABN or are the two separate?” For a brief instant a puzzled look crossed upon Danny’s face, quickly regaining his composure, he answered, “No. They are separate.” While repeating his answer to confirm a correct understanding, a look of relief passed over her face as she continued to discuss a few other topics in regard to other matters. Getting up to leave she hoped that Danny would remain true to his word.

After the first reading of the nominating committee report, the 3ABN European Liaison, who also worked in the pastoral department, felt very uncomfortable with one of the selections for church elder— Danny Shelton. During the last cycle of church offices, he and Danny Shelton had both been elders in the Thompsonville SDA church.

Pastor Fiscalini had served both as a department head in the German Swiss Conference of SDA and as a district pastor before working for 3ABN. He and Danny Shelton were about the same age, but their understanding of the responsibilities involved in serving the local church were diametrically opposed. While Pastor Fiscalini took his duties very seriously, Danny was not of the same mind in regard to his responsibilities and the obligations of a church elder.

Was it important 3ABN business that kept Danny from fulfilling his obligations as an elder and a member of the church board? No. For example, instead of attending Board meetings he was in the gym playing basketball. Additionally, Danny never attended the church elders’ meetings or functioned as an elder in any way during the time he and Jean Fiscalini were both members of the Thompsonville church.

Driving home one evening after a church board meeting—where Danny was present for just a few topics and left about 30 minutes into the meeting—Jean saw the lights on in the church school gym and a number of vehicles parked outside, including Danny Shelton’s big red truck. Looking inside he was surprised to see Danny and a group of his friends in the midst of playing basketball. Judging by their physical condition and their sweat soaked t-shirts, it was obvious that they had been playing for quite a while. Was this the reason that Danny had walked out of the church board meeting, shirking his responsibilities? Jean Fiscalini could hardly believe what he saw. Could it be possible that a church elder would walk out on a board meeting just to indulge his own pleasure?

Later, Jean Fiscalini would approach Danny Shelton privately, under similar circumstances—Danny continued to leave church board meetings, without a word of explanation and spent the rest of the evening playing basketball in the Church School gym. It was becoming obvious that Danny placed a higher value on his weekly basketball games than his responsibility as a member of the church board.

When Pastor Fiscalini approached Danny Shelton with his concerns regarding the performance of the duties of an elder—including being present at church board meetings for their entirety, rather than scheduling his basketball play at the same time; not arriving at church until Sabbath school was over and not being involved in any other functions of an elder—he reminded Danny how their roles as church elders obliged them to a higher standard of conduct. Danny’s response was to laugh, but it was not with amusement. There was a coldness in his eyes and a sharpness to his laugh. The expression on his face changed to indicate he found no humor in Pastor Fiscalini questioning his conduct. As chairman of the church board, a fellow local elder and a Seventh-day Adventist minister, Jean Fiscalini had begun the Biblical process described in Mathew 18 by bringing his concerns directly to Danny Shelton.

To be continued in the next post...

Daryl Fawcett

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2008, 07:58:04 AM »

Nobody owns the Church... Part 2

In Part 1 Jean Fiscalini had approached Danny Shelton concerning his neglect of duties associated with fulfilling the office of an Elder in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Having received no assurance from Danny that he intended to change his behavior, the next step was to approach the nominating committee and request that Danny Shelton’s name be removed from the list as an Elder in the Thompsonville SDA Church.

Peering individually into the astonished faces of the Nominating Committee members of the Thompsonville SDA Church, Jean Fiscalini repeated his last few sentences again, “There are no honorary positions in the Biblical Church. Every member is called to fulfill the duties of an office when he agrees to serve in that position. When Danny Shelton agreed to fulfill the office of an Elder in the Thompsonville Church, it was not offered as an honorary position, but as a position of service. To re-elect Danny as a church Elder without the assurance of his intent of faithfully fulfilling that position is an affront to God and to those church Elders who willingly sacrifice their time and put aside personal pleasure to serve the church.”

A deafening silence filled the room, as the Nominating Committee pondered what they had just heard. Pausing for a moment to allow the gravity of his words to be absorbed by those in attendance, Pastor Fiscalini then continued, “If Danny Shelton’s name is not removed from the list of Elders, by conscience I will have to publically oppose the acceptance of the list as presented at the second reading next Sabbath.”

No discussion followed Pastor Fiscalini’s statement nor were any questions asked by the members of the Nominating Committee. Looking into their faces he realized the burden of truth expressed in his explanation placed them in a position of moral dilemma. The majority of them worked for 3ABN. Danny Shelton was their boss. And in their experience the Thompsonville Church and 3ABN functioned as one unit:
• Their pastor’s salary was partially paid by both the Conference and 3ABN. Where was the line drawn in the separation of his duties as local church pastor and an employee of Danny Shelton? How could he faithfully serve two masters? What would be the result when loyalty to one came into conflict with obligation to the other?
• It was Danny, not the Illinois Conference, who selected the Pastor of the Thompsonville Church. Of course the Conference always approved Danny’s choice for his church and agreed with any suggest he made regarding it’s operation. Why did this situation exist?
• If they were to follow Biblical counsel and remove Danny Shelton’s name as a candidate for the office of Elder, how would that effect their future at 3ABN?

A myriad of possibilities flashed before their eyes. Looking into the face of the Swiss pastor, whom they had come to know and respect for his honesty and integrity, they realized that by entertaining his request they were being driven into unchartered waters in their experience as members of the 3ABN church. Danny’s right of authority within the local church, based solely upon his position as President of 3ABN, irregardless of ability or acceptability, had never been challenged.

In less than one week the second reading of the Nominating Committee would be given and offered for approval in the Thompsonville SDA church. What would be the outcome of Pastor Fiscalini’s heartfelt appeal to the members of the Committee? Jean realized this would be the end of the game and the beginning of reality concerning the actual relationship of the Thompsonville SDA Church and Danny Shelton. Despite warnings that he was cutting his own throat, he took his stand on the side of conscience.

Slowly standing up Pastor Fiscalini thanked the members of the Nominating Committee for listening to his concerns and considering his request. His heart was lightened as he turned and left the room, passing other church members waiting to address the Committee as he exited the building. He knew the position he had taken would not be to pleasing to Danny Shelton, but he had the responsibility to uphold Biblical standards while remaining faithful to the calling God had given him as a minister of the Gospel.

To be continued...

Daryl Fawcett

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2008, 07:59:11 AM »

This was originally posted by Sister over in BSDA before the 3ABN forum there was turned into a read only forum.

Ozzie

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2008, 12:51:57 PM »

Thank you Daryl. I was disappointed that BSDA suspended posting to that Forum.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 01:30:08 PM by Ozzie »
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GrandmaNettie

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2008, 01:13:16 PM »

Sadly, Ozzie, the contentiousness and meanspiritedness on the 3abn forum, from both sides, led to the more-than-gracious owner locking the thread for a time.  If everyone would have used the venue to discuss the evidence and opinions in a mature manner it would still be open.

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Ozzie

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2008, 01:28:30 PM »

Sadly, Ozzie, the contentiousness and meanspiritedness on the 3abn forum, from both sides, led to the more-than-gracious owner locking the thread for a time.  If everyone would have used the venue to discuss the evidence and opinions in a mature manner it would still be open.
Yes. I understand the reason for doing so GrandmaNettie. As this Forum starts out, I hope that people respect the opportunity for open discussion, without them acting like cannibals (ready to devour each other)!
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GrandmaNettie

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2008, 01:31:55 PM »

As I read through the installments about the Fiscalini's experience, I couldn't help but wonder why this would be considered an issue of character.  I can imagine that  something like this personality and opinion clash is happening in many SDA board meetings.  Human beings [censored] heads, even the Christian ones.

Then, to read on a web site:

The following is copied from AdventTalk.com, and recounts some of the events leading up to the alleged wrongful termination of Pastor Jean Fiscalini. It is particularly important since it illustrates why the Thompsonville Seventh-day Adventist Church has had so much difficulty disciplining Danny Shelton for his unbiblical divorce, lies, and financial irregularities. (I supplied bolding)

Why?  Because the Thompsonville SDA Church felt okay about having Danny Shelton serve as more of an Honorary Elder rather than a hands on one?

Eight years ago  I faced an employer and told him I disagreed with his unreasonable behavior and I got fired.  I expected I would and was glad not to be working for such a mean guy.  Is that an illustration of anything other than my boss had the right to fire someone who didn't care for his behavior?  

Kind of a stretch if you ask me...
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GrandmaNettie

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2008, 01:35:46 PM »

Sadly, Ozzie, the contentiousness and meanspiritedness on the 3abn forum, from both sides, led to the more-than-gracious owner locking the thread for a time.  If everyone would have used the venue to discuss the evidence and opinions in a mature manner it would still be open.
Yes. I understand the reason for doing so GrandmaNettie. As this Forum starts out, I hope that people respect the opportunity for open discussion, without them acting like cannibals (ready to devour each other)!
;D  Ozzie, I hope so too!  Calm discussion is so much more productive.
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Gailon Arthur Joy

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2008, 05:47:56 PM »

Ah, pardon my inquisition,  Grandma Nettie,

But shouldn't one actually be asking what lead Pastor Fiscalinni to come to the decision to challenge a church leadership position held by the "annointed one"?

Was it, in fact, based upon a clear violation of the SDA Church Manual that lead to the challenge?

And where is the rest of sister's story? Was it cut short by the closure of BSDA 3ABN forum? Wouldn't you like to read the rest of the story? You will be able to do that here!!!

And is employer retaliation the modus operandi for dealing with the discipline of the SDA church that rubs the "annointed one" the wrong way?

In fact, is employer retaliation an acceptable way for church organizations and christian leadership to eliminate whistle blowers? Only a very narrow theology would accept such a standard for Christian leadership, and I pray never within the SDA Church.

Counsel is repeatedly clear on the power of leadership: "Sometimes a man who has been placed in responsibility as a leader, gains the idea that he is in a position of supreme authority, and that all of his brethren, before making advance moves, must first come to him for permission to do that which they feel should be done.  Such a man is in a dangerous position.  He has lost sight of the work of a true leader among God's people.  No one is to lay down man-made rules and regulations to govern arbitrarily his fellow laborers who have a living experience in the truth."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 491.

May Christian Integrity and the Truth Prevail.

Yours in the Blessed Hope,

Gailon Arthur Joy


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Artiste

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2008, 06:22:01 PM »

Amen, Gailon, well said!
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Ozzie

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2008, 07:23:39 PM »

As I read through the installments about the Fiscalini's experience, I couldn't help but wonder why this would be considered an issue of character.  I can imagine that  something like this personality and opinion clash is happening in many SDA board meetings.  Human beings [censored] heads, even the Christian ones.

Why?  Because the Thompsonville SDA Church felt okay about having Danny Shelton serve as more of an Honorary Elder rather than a hands on one?

I just can't go along with that being OK GrandmaNettie. I do have an issue with anyone being appointed as an "Honorary Elder" or an 'honorary anything'. In the Church, we should not be seeing more of "jobs for the boys". Either people are there to do a job or else they're not 'holding a position'. I am reminded of a friend's definition of MERIT a few years ago:
M = Mates
E = Elevated
R = Regardless of
I = Intelect or
T = Talent.


If 3abn is to be seen as taking the message of the last days to all the world, there is no room for people to be promoting themselves and putting themselves to the forfront, rather than God holding that place. I don't believe that the Spirit of God can be in a place, where someone is given the bullet for standing up for what is right!


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Daryl Fawcett

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2008, 03:49:20 AM »

As Sister has registered here, I expect we will soon be receiving part 3 of the Unauthorized History of 3ABN continues.

Sister is the one who posted parts 1 and 2 over at BSDA prior to the 3ABN forum over there being changed to a read only forum.

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2008, 08:55:23 AM »

I will soon be posting "Nobody owns the Church... Part 3" both here and at BSDA.

Sister
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Daryl Fawcett

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2008, 09:00:43 AM »

Yes, I noticed that BSDA is allowing posting again at their 3ABN forum.

Looking forward to the next instalment, which I will also be posting over at Maritime SDA OnLine.

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Re: Unauthorized History of 3ABN Continues
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2008, 11:39:08 AM »

Still waiting for the conclusion of this story...but it seems that a basic principle is coming to light, or I should say the ignoring of a principle.

If Danny Shelton has had control of the SDA church located on 3ABN premises to the extent that a pastor he disagreed with could be fired by him...I don't know... maybe it reminds me of something like blurring the famous separation between church and state of our country.
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