As the various districts plan for what is probably their last convention, I saw that the ABC District had picked a rather…unusual theme for their 2018 convention:
“Called to Proclaim His Righteousness…
To a People Not Yet Born” Psalm 22:31
Dictionary.com defines righteousness as:
1. the quality or state of being righteous.
2. righteous conduct.
3. the quality or state of being just or rightful: They came to realize the righteousness of her position on the matter.
it then defines righteous as:
1. characterized by uprightness or morality: a righteous observance of the law.
2. morally right or justifiable: righteous indignation.
3. acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous: a righteous and godly person.
4. Slang. absolutely genuine or wonderful: some righteous playing by a jazz great.
5. the righteous, (used with a plural verb) righteous persons collectively.
The question on the floor – is the ABC District in any position to teach about Christ’s justice and righteousness to the next generation or anyone else for that matter?
Odds this convention will be attended by the same people that attended the 2015 ABC District Convention and gave retiring DP Don Schiemann a standing ovation even after he publicly stated he bears responsibility for the “financial mess” that was CEF.
As reported in the CBC News on
Sources close to the Alberta-B.C. district say the CEF ran into trouble when money from it was used to build the Prince of Peace Manor and Harbour east of Calgary in the 1990s.
“We made decisions in favour of ministry, and as a result there were some poor financial decisions,” said Schiemann, who has no regrets over the ministerial work done at the Prince of Peace development east of Calgary.
“Perfect storm” led to financial crisis
Schiemann said he’s still trying to understand how the district landed in such financial trouble. The financial crisis was caused by what he describes as a “perfect storm” of factors, including: investors withdrawing; outstanding loans, including the one to the Prince of Peace that in 2012, the last audit available, shows it was worth 70 million dollars; and, not having any other investments that could earn money.
Three years, one task force, and millions of dollars in professional fees later we know the truth has almost nothing in common with DP Schiemann’s statement to CBC News. As the ABC Task Force reported, CEF
- was in deep trouble three years after the POP project had started,
- had considered and declined to go into CCAA proceedings on multiple occasions when the damage could’ve been minimized,
- continued to tell people their deposits were safe and in low-risk investments when they weren’t,
- since 2008 the fund hadn’t generated enough interest to make the interest payments. This means it had been using incoming deposits to make the required interest payments and that made it a ponzi scheme,
- hadn’t gotten a signed-off audit after 2012,
- had considered a fund-raising campaign in order to remain liquid thereby preying on the trust and public goodwill it enjoyed at the time in pointless effort to stay afloat,
- engaged in rampant conflict of interest,
Since ABC went into the CCAA process it’s also been learned that
- CEF / DIL had engaged in multiple projects that were outside their “loans for church and school construction” mandates,
- DIL hadn’t properly secured mortgages against properties thus depriving the depositors of the security they were entitled to,
- CEF had “loaned” millions of dollars to a local church and school for non-building activities,
- the local condo community was 1/3rd owner of the utilities system they hadn’t paid for after Sage was formed.
- the cost for water supply costs was way in excess of what it needed to be and was nearly cut in half after the Sage BOD made a few phone calls,
Despite this wealth of public evidence, to my knowledge not one person has been held responsible for their actions by District or Synod.
How can a District dare to claim to proclaim the Lord’s righteousness when it doesn’t even bear lip service to justice and righteousness within its own ranks and continues to abuse and mistreat thousands of faithful life-long members whose only sin was believing the church would handle their money the way it promised it would?
If the ABC District truly desires the righteousness of the Lord in its midst the first thing it needs to do is identify the people that caused the CEF / DIL mess and clean its house of them. It also needs to halt this ongoing campaign of silence that continues to abuse its long-suffering members.
Here’s what the Lord told Israel after they fell away to pursue other “gods” much the way ABC District and Synod have prioritized their fear of the secular consequences of their actions over their fear of the Living God:
6 Seek the Lord and live,
lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,
7 O you who turn justice to wormwood[a]
and cast down righteousness to the earth!
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the Lord is his name;
9 who makes destruction flash forth against the strong,
so that destruction comes upon the fortress.
10 They hate him who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor him who speaks the truth.
11 Therefore because you trample on[b] the poor
and you exact taxes of grain from him,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not dwell in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your transgressions
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
and turn aside the needy in the gate.
13 Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time,
for it is an evil time.
14 Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
15 Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord:
“In all the squares there shall be wailing,
and in all the streets they shall say, ‘Alas! Alas!’
They shall call the farmers to mourning
and to wailing those who are skilled in lamentation,
17 and in all vineyards there shall be wailing,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the Lord.
Let Justice Roll Down
18 Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
19 as if a man fled from a lion,
and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
and a serpent bit him.
20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?
21 “I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:6-24
The church’s refusal to repent of her sins and make amends to the people it has betrayed and continues to hurt may mean it’ll avoid the temporal consequences of their actions for a little while – but with the Lord there is no place to hide and no escape from His just righteousness:
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31