News Flash: Union President Forces Pastors to Turn over Electronic Devices in a Hunt for Whistleblowers

Today, we received information about a meeting held at the South Conference of the South-Eastern Union-Conference in Niš, Serbia.

The Union President Dragan Grujicic presided over the meeting.

The union president gave a moralizing speech in which he stated that the person who did the recording should repent. He threatened the pastors in attendance with legal consequences in court and firing from denominational employment. He stated that if the person came forward voluntarily, the consequences would be less severe.

The union president further stated that the recently fired Conference President, Pastor Robert Erdeg, cooperated regarding the recording. Intelligent Adventist has confirmed that this is a false statement.

The union president said he had two methods for finding out who recorded the meeting in which he discussed the options for firing Pastor Robert Erdeg. A transcript of that recording is on our website.

The first method was that they would pray and let the Holy Spirit touch the person to come forward and confess.

The second method was through a search of electronic data.

The union president said that they had hired or would hire a court-approved forensics company. He further elaborated that all electronic devices, including laptops and personal phones, and personal emails of the pastors will be up for a search. The pastors have official church emails, but they all use private emails for official work, including the President of the Union.

During the meeting, the union president also stated that the Trans European Division was shocked regarding the whistleblower recording and that Division President Rafaat Kamal said, “The person should be found.”

The pastors were then asked to kneel and pray for the Holy Spirit to move on the heart of the whistleblower so that they would come forward.

No one did.

Then they handed out two documents: one document gave permission for them to search their personal electronic devices and emails. The other document gave them permission to release Pastor Robert Erdeg to share their name with the union.

All pastors signed as directed.

If one person’s rights are violated in part of the Adventist church, all our rights are violated.

There is no precept in Scripture that I am aware of that protects illegality in committees. As members of the Seventh-day Adventist church, we need to ask, is this who we are? Are we a church where our leaders task others to hunt for whistleblowers? If the President of the Division said “the person should be found,” is that the kind of workplace we should have in our church? If the Union president lied regarding the TED President’s words, in order to coerce the pastors into turning themselves in, is that conduct unbecoming of an officer in the Adventist church?

We were made aware that during the meeting in which the Union committee fired Pastor Robert Erdeg, the president of the union announced that he had received communication from the TED President. The link to our article was sent by the President of TED and portions of the article were displayed for the members of the committee. We had previously reported on the union’s retaliation of Anita Erdeg, and of the possibility of her father being removed from office. Her father was removed from office for two reasons: 1. Conflict of Interest 2. Lack of Confidence.

The call to turn over personal devices and personal emails up to the administration’s scrutiny is both a violation of human rights. There is no legal provision for protecting fraud committed in a pastors’ meeting in the GC Working Policy Manual and the Trans European Division Policy Manual. Reporting fraud or violations of pastoral ethics is not a termination-level offense.

The Seventh-day Adventist church is stronger when our workplace culture is transparent, and our leaders and pastors are honest.

The conference covers a large territory so there will be another meeting with a larger group of pastors tomorrow in Belgrade, Serbia. They will be asked to sign over their devices as well.

We will be reaching out to the General Conference Office of General Counsel and the Trans European Division for comment and post an update here.

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5 Comments

  1. Intelligent Adventist,
    ironic title is it not, what can be intelligent in regards to these allegations? Without knowing facts from both sides it stands to reason to assume it takes two to tango, with that in mind one intelligent person or organization would certainly put some distance between itself and this Peruvian citizen. They chose to take sides which by the way is their right to do so, by saying this one question comes to mind WHY would Union President of the SDA church allow a person of foreign origin, with limited background information with allegations against him of criminal nature to still be employed and or backed by the church establishment. In these situations is very hard to get an actual grip on the truth and facts that support the truth, on the other hand, allegations are so serious that a minimum that should have happened is suspension from working in the church until all court proceedings are completed. In their wisdom (or lack of) leadership chose to deny allegations made by the wife by simply removing her from church membership. Whilst I understand the principal sin in any church is adultery SDA church is no exception, it is evident that Union leaders and down the line conference have made a stand without clearly assessing the damage in the long run, that’s considered short-sighted management skills. A wise man as indicated by Solomon would have imposed a private lie detection test from both sides, the party that refuses would certainly be on a back foot. Again there must be a reason why would leadership look for a whistleblower instead on focusing on what the blowing was about, unless they are somehow and for whatever reason trying to cover it up by exposing the messenger or whistleblower. There is lot more to this story i am certain of that , the epilogue will be determined in court but this person being foreigner he can always run back to his country and walk away, the leadership of Union and Conference, however, will have to justify their stand at the next elections. There must be someone more clever then all the local players that is pulling the strings of both sides. Arranging Pink television interview is not a task that one young lady from Novi Sad can arrange there is more to this then meets the eye. MY QUESTION IS, WHAT WOULD BE ACHIEVED AT THE MEETING AT NIS IF THE WHISTLE BLOWER COME FORWARD? Would he be sacked as well??

  2. Is there an online link where we can ask the Union President directly to account for his actions? Will be searching….

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