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.