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Members for Church Accountability

Newsletter -- Fall 2010

Members for Church Accountability (MCA) has primarily focused on financial debacles, misuse of church funds, and the abuse of administrative office for personal gain. However, we were distressed by the dismissal of David Dennis as the Director of Auditing for the General Conference (GC) in December 1994 without due process. The charge of sexual impropriety was not very convincing since many pastors and church administrators who are loyal to the hierarchy, but guilty of sexual misbehavior are transferred or promoted. Indeed, a book entitled We Suffered in Silence written by Velva B. Holt details just such a story.

A more feasible explanation for GC’s desire to terminate their Director of Auditing was his “disloyalty” manifested by exposure of financial misconduct by central administration and his open letter to President Neal C. Wilson dated April 17, 1989. Dennis wrote,” after admitting to serious financial failures and mounting [Adventist Health Systems] debt far beyond accepted norms in the United States, these [healthcare] leaders should now ask for higher pay.” Dennis doubted “the assumption that if a manager is ineffective while earning an annual salary of $75,000 he will somehow be successful if his salary is raised to $140,000.” Dennis continued, “This is not the first time that delays, tablings, straw votes, and similar strategies have been used in our convocations to push through an unpopular recommendation”---adding, such methods “do not enhance the credibility of church leaders.”

It is not difficult to understand why David Dennis was deemed disloyal and targeted for expulsion from the ranks of Adventist leadership. Since this devastating experience Dennis wrote a book in 2009 entitled Fatal Accounts.

Unfortunately the rapid termination of David Dennis without due process is not an isolated incident. Another individual, Dr. Jonathan Gallagher, was targeted in March 2008 for dismissal and charged with downloading pornography to his GC computer and for misusing GC resources when he allegedly was “bird-watching.” Dr. Gallagher was employed by the General Conference as the Associate Director in the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department. He was assigned as the United Nations (UN) Representative for the Adventist Church. His assignment at the UN was the reporting of violations of religious liberty. In this capacity he was armed with a camera and he posed as a “bird-watcher”. Dr. Gallagher was summoned to the GC, confronted with the charges, and his immediate resignation was demanded by the GC lawyer under threat of civil and criminal action. Dr. Gallagher claimed his innocence but was denied due process. He therefore sought the aid of legal counsel (Ziprick & Cramer). The extensive investigation and interchange between this legal team and the GC lawyer is reviewed by Ziprick & Cramer in the Executive Summary, which is posted on the MCA website (http://www.advmca.org), along with the letter of resignation by Dr. Gallagher. It is not readily apparent why Dr. Gallagher was targeted for termination, but clearly it was not for downloading pornography on his computer. What is frightening is the striking similarity to the termination of David Dennis in methodology, rapidity of process, and lack of due process.

George Grames, Secretary
Members for Church Accountability