An open letter to friends and church family

Eight years ago my family and I moved to Hollywood to begin what has become the most rewarding and inspiring chapter of our lives. Our family has thrived in this urban, spiritual community commited to peace, love and justice.

Sadly, this phase of this experiment is coming to an end. This Sabbath will be my last Sabbath as the Pastor of the Hollywood Adventist Church. Hours and hours of conversations have led to this point but here is the short version.

Some of the leadership decisions I have made have led the Southern California Conference administration to the conclusion that they cannot trust me to lead this church as a Seventh-day Adventist Church. They have graciously acknowledged my creativity and passion for the community we serve. They have acknowledged that the church is known in the community for its good work whereas before it was less known. But they feel that my leadership has led our church outside the accepted framework of Seventh-day Adventism. We have not been able come to an understanding about these things and so my denominational employment will end on or about April 1, 2013.

This turn of events breaks my heart. I have served the Seventh-day Adventist Church imperfectly for 19 years. It is the only thing I have done since graduating with my Bachelors Degree from Weimar College when I was 22 years old. But sometimes people grow in ways that are incompatible with the institutions they have been a part of.

I am beyond grateful to have served the Hollywood Adventist Church for the past 8 years. We have built an authentic community which is diverse in every way: young and older…and now children!, multi-ethnic, poor and middle-class, gay and straight, artists, business people, teachers and civic servants. 

While I will be leaving paid pastoral ministry, I am not angry with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This denomination has given me my whole career and most of my education. I have been able to do the things I have done because the church has supported me. For that I remain grateful. I wish her only the best and I believe that there are many signs of hope within the denomination including the advances in Women's Ordination. At the same time there are signs of calcification and retrenching that cause me deep concern.

My future is not yet clear, but I am hopeful and confident in God's leadership. Please keep my family and me in your prayers as we make this difficult transition. We have no plans to move at this point, so we will be in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

Do not lose faith. And when you do, cling to hope. And when hope fades, resort to love.

Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. —1 Cor 13:13

Recent Comments

  • This is a beautiful, gracious and inspiring letter. I cannot imagine the pain you, your family and congregation are feeling. You are all in my prayers as this Easter season brings you a new life with Christ. Hugs from afar…

  • Victoria Bresee on 03.25.13

    You have been a shining light and on the cutting edge, pushing and showing the way on issues of social justice, creating bridges and tough issues! Your courage and hopefulness have been a great inspiration to many that appreciated your fresh approach to tough issues. God bless you through this challenging time. You will be continuing your insightful, powerful journey in new ways, for sure. I wish you and your family the best!

  • Michael Swenson on 03.25.13

    I said this elsewhere but wanted to include it here as well:
    Ryan, everything you have done is a great inspiration to many, including me, and you are a valued part of the Adventist community. I am sorry to hear about this; the Adventist church needs your voice. One thing I do know is God works even more powerfully in moments when clarity is lacking, and I pray and know that God will use you for something yet greater than even your ministry thus far.

  • Misha Birmele on 03.25.13

    Sorry to hear that, man. Well, the only pastors I respect have all been fired from that terrible organization anyway, so I think you’re in good company. Good luck. Please reach out if there is anything Valinda and I can do to help you.

  • Leanne on 03.25.13

    Although I’ve never met you and live on the other side of the world, please know that you are not alone. This is gracious and direct, strong and caring, well said and challenging. Thank you for living your convictions. I have no doubt there will be more of this to come, and that we are in changing times. You and your family will be in our prayers.

  • Claude E Steen, III on 03.25.13

    This is very sad news to me, Ryan, because you have been pushing the church (your congregation, and by example, the whole denomination) to do the very things that Jesus clearly commanded us to do. He showed us how to connect on very deep levels with the oppressed, the despised, the broken and the hopeless. I just heard a quote from David Neff (former SDA, editor of Christianity Today): “Adventists don’t know what to do with broken people.” You were helping us to learn what to do. Although our paychecks have come from the Conference, our only true employee is the Lord of the harvest. Stay close to Him and He will continue to give you plenty to do and will supply your needs. I’m praying for you.

  • gwalter on 03.25.13

    Some of the hardest years of my life were up to and after my termination. I have also grown much in the past few years. Ryan, I am sorry for this, and I also understand and empathize too well.
    You, and your precious family are loved by many, including us. We will lift you all up in prayer. If you ever want/need to talk, I’m always available.
    You are bright and articulate, it will be fun to see where your next steps will take you. But do take time to grieve and heal.
    PS: this is a well written post. Very gracious!

  • Bill Hughes on 03.25.13

    Please know and take comfort in the fact that you are not the first nor the last to receive this type of treatment from the SDA organization. I am sure that God is still with you and will remain your guide and comfort in times like these.

  • Norman Yergen on 03.25.13

    No greater honor than to suffer for the Name. Welcome to the brotherhood of suffering. May your blood nourish the gospel as all who have come before you.

  • Wendy Madrigal on 03.25.13

    Truckee SDA church has an opening for a pastor – ours went to Las Vegas a couple months ago.

  • Benjiislakatu on 03.25.13

    Ryan, while we have not met I have been positively impacted by your ministry in Hollywood. I wish there were more pastor’s out there like you, or at least the you I see on blogs and facebook as well as the person who I have heard great things about from trusted friends. I hope that our paths meet in the near future and thanks for the past 8 years you have served a community that was in desperate need of a relevant Adventist voice. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has planned for you. Blessings to you and your family in this transitional time.

  • John B. Hoehn, M.D. on 03.25.13

    Ryan, I don’t know you personally, but I do know Adventism and I am appologizing for our church.
    Jesus said it best, “A prophet is honored, except in his own home.” Please hold onto the radical parts of Adventism including Sabbath, excitement about Jesus coming back, and the authentic willingness to move to wherever the Spirit showed Present Truth, that is being killed by the present creedilism. Please someone in Adventism, hire this man quickly before we again loose our best and brightest.

  • srenee on 03.25.13

    I don’t know you personally, but this I do know. Ministry is not about connection to a denomination. Your calling is from God and God is the author and finisher of our faith. I am a life long Adventist – but above all, I am a believer and follower of Christ and trust in His redemptive power and soon return. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lead not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” May the God who called you to service, sustain your heart and mind in the new direction He has chosen to allow you to experience.

  • Richard Winn on 03.25.13

    Ryan, being somewhat arm’s length from the church, I was not aware of your bold and relevant ministry until I followed Daneen Akers’ comment on her Facebook entry about your departure from church employment. My point of connection begins with noting that you graduated from Weimar, a place I helped to found in the 1970s — and have since outgrown ideologically. I am grateful that somehow that early experience set you on the courageous path you have taken — one that is open and compassionate and real. And I can affirm that there is life beyond church employment. Warmest thoughts as you explore who you will continue to become!

  • Pastor Guy on 03.25.13

    Praise the Lord! Trust God to show you what is next in His agenda.
    Proverbs 3:5-6 English Standard Version (ESV)
    5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
    6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

  • Jim Ayars on 03.25.13

    This is a shock! On the eve of Passover!
    I treasure the irenic spirit here.
    You remain in my prayers.
    L’shanah haba’ah b’Irushaliyim haChadh’sha.
    Love in Christ.

  • Mary Wilson on 03.25.13

    Ryan, the church institution is worse for losing you as a pastor. I hope that you will continue to find ways to reach those who need more than the shell of a church.

  • Julene on 03.25.13

    May God bless you and your family, Ryan, as you embard on the next stage of your ministry. May God continue to use you through your creativity and passion to reach the lost.

  • Rory White on 03.26.13

    I’m heartbroken. As a believer in Scripture, this is a huge loss for the Church Body of Christ. I recommend you found a new church place as the people of Los Angeles desperately need this. Also to model to the entire country, and beyond, a different approach, and helping remove the mean face that many in church history (i’m not talking specifically about SDA’s, i’m not in the denomination) have painted on the face of the church and upon the face of Jesus. Millstone-city, in my opinion. Whether you post this publicly or not, simply take my words that this is a great loss. One positive, which you reflect well in your references to faith, hope, and love, is that our God thrives in what we humans see as impossible tragedy and defeat, and hence what He did at the Cross. An admirer, Rory White, Director ART WORKS PROJECT, A Project of Housing Works, Sponsored by Aileen Getty.

  • Jill Leigh on 03.26.13

    I don’t know you but my guess would be you loved others in ways that nobody else did…and then encouraged others to do the same. Your journey has just begun. Be kind to yourself.

  • Dana Williams on 03.26.13

    Count it all JOY!!!! Man thinks he control everything but you know that God does. Start praising God about this new testimony he has given you and your family. Look at it as He’s calling you to minister as a church without walls. You’re no longer tied to foolishness that filters down from the GC. God is going to do some GREAT things in your ministry. Embrace this opportunity. The community is watching how you’re going to handle what seems to be an outrage. Your letter is gracious, so continue showing the community your faith in God and watch more lives be drawn to HIM. I’m praying for you my brother in Christ.

  • Lars on 03.26.13

    Fortunately, end of paid ministry, doesn’t necessarily mean end of ministry. Jesus has great plans for you, brother. Keep walking. :-)

  • Jin S. Kim on 03.26.13

    Ryan, I grieve this loss for you and for the church. True discipleship is costly, and I am grateful for your witness of faithfulness and grace in a most challenging moment. You are advancing the ministry of the church, even as you are being let go by one, and for your courage and integrity, I am humbled and give thanks to God.

  • Chris Casey Kersch on 03.26.13

    I have known for years that Adventisim would not tolerate you for long.You represent every thing they fear. I remember so fondly the Pastor you studied with and who baptized you. You have much in common. I have known about your calling longer than anyone else; I have dreaded this time as long. PLEASE come and take long walks in the quiet forest and spend some time healing. Come alone or bring everyone. The tears I cry this morning, I cry for all of you. Elysabeth, the girls and your congregation. Your local church will suffer greatly for this decision. They are heavy on my heart too.
    I believe that GOD cries with me this morning.

  • Lavelle Jacobson on 03.26.13

    Ryan and Elysabeth, I read this with both sadness and excitement, and with a big lump in my throat. These times in life are so poignant and gut-wrenching, and you will look back on this with such a mixture of feelings. I’m with our dear friend Richard Winn who commented above – there IS life after church employment! Yet the heartbreak of leaving an organization that you have poured your heart and life out for in hopes to create growth is very real and deep. From the first time I met you at the Seeds conference, I knew you were a difference-maker. Your ministry HAS created change. More than almost anyone I know, Ryan, you have stayed in there working for good – for justice, compassion, connection with our world and love. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am proud to know that in Hollywood there has been a church home for many who could not attend any other Adventist church – including me briefly as I was in seminary. What a gift that was! And how lucky I was to enjoy your friendship and some great conversations during that era! My hope is that you and Elysabeth find much joy and freedom in this transition! Keep us posted! With love and gratitude, Lavelle

  • Davd Evans-Carlson on 03.26.13

    Thank you Ryan, for your work to make the SDA church a more just and Christ-like place. This turn of events makes me very sad. Bless you as God continues to lead you and your family.

  • george on 03.26.13

    Praying for you and your family Ryan. We haven’t agreed on everything… but who does?

  • Lloyd Peacock on 03.26.13

    Until some churches realize that they are not a waiting room for the saints, but an emergency room for sinners they will not be guided by God’s Spirit, and they will continue to wound those who follow His Word.

  • Bob Westfall on 03.26.13

    I only know you through Daneen, blessings to you in your new chapter, I am of like mind with most of the posters, answers come when you open yourself to them. The main thought I have in this regard is now you have NO limitations on your journey, your now FREE to be…………………..

  • Erik Kort on 03.26.13

    The Seventh-day Adventist Church is more than the Conference. Just because you’re leaving your sanctioned denominational employment doesn’t mean you’re leaving our family. Thank you so much for protecting Jesus’s love and mission for those of us without a sanctioned voice. Your sacrifice and love shouldn’t be forgotten.
    Go with grace. Keep us in your prayers, and we’ll do the same.

  • Shane on 03.26.13

    Pastor Ryan, I have only met you once (I’m from and live in NZ)but when I did it was easy to tell you were a pastor with a difference. Through our short dialogue you showed that genuine care for people – especially the marginalized. I could tell you weren’t afraid to challenge status-quo when it stood in the way of winning souls. As an Adventist who grew up in a very traditional religious setting I admired your desire to reach what the institutionalized church deemed as unreachable.
    Move forward by brother, knowing that God has not brought you this far to leave you. Quite the contrary! He has so much more for you.
    Stay connected with Him. Pastor, I said it when I first met you (2010)and I will say it again:”It is a pleasure to meet you.” God be with you til we meet again.

  • Fredy on 03.26.13

    Ryan I am not familiar with your ministry except for what I saw/read on the internet. With that limited view I believe the right decision was made in regards to your employment as an SDA Pastor. I agree our church has to be open to everyone no matter what we think of them. Jesus accepted everyone as they were and then told them to sin no more. Everyone is entitled to their definition of sin but the only one that counts is in the Bible. When our leaders expand or change that definition then they are out of step with God not the conference.
    I will not judge your beliefs based on what the internet says about you but I am sure the conference had a wide range of testimony to guide their decision.
    I am sorry for your loss of employment and I have said a pray to God for you and your family. Unless negative comments are being filter, I think all the positive support you are receiving here says a lot about you as a person. God bless you.

  • Carl Martin on 03.26.13

    Ryan, you are in my prayers, bro. I remember you preaching a sermon “Do You Know God?” at my church in Santa Clarita about 15 years ago and I thought it was an excellent sermon. Really touched my young heart.
    Anyway, I will definitely keep you in my prayers for the Lord to lead you wherever He wills. He knows best and with Him you’re always safe.
    God bless,
    Carl

  • Don Melnick on 03.26.13

    Ryan,
    Shocked, but not surprised. While I have only observed your ministry from afar for many years (except for one brief visit), I have been impressed in following your ministry at the powerful witness for Jesus that began many years ago in a little church in Pennsylvania. Having had the privilege of working with you there, I have been ever thankful to have had some small part in nurturing that early ministry that grew to be so powerful that it has threatened the status quo. I grieve that our church defines itself so narrowly that conformity is valued more than authentic, creative ministry following Jesus in reaching the downtrodden through love. Nevertheless, I believe that Hollywood’s and Southern California Conference’s loss will be the gain of a new ministry that I am confident God will open for you. In the meantime, take time to nurture yourself and to heal. God bless — shalom aleichem!

  • Chris Blake on 03.26.13

    You have modeled Micah 6:8 in your ministry, Ryan, and will continue to do so, I’m sure. Thank you. Go with God: enjoy the journey! Keep writing, keep advocating, keep laughing, keep loving (1 John 4:18). You and your family are in my prayers.
    (And if it does come to church employment [not an inevitable path], I differ with Horace Greeley in proclaiming, “Go Southeast, young man!”;)

  • Daron Pratt on 03.26.13

    Ryan, I am a little confused here down under about the events that have led to this! My heart weeps for you and your congregation. I have read of what you have done and how God has used you in powerful ways and I know that this will continue! Stay close to God during the days ahead! know that you are loved, appreciated and that God holds you in the palm of his hand! I look forward to hearing of even greater things that God will do though you!!! prayers and hugs, Daron Pratt!

  • Richard Hickam on 03.27.13

    Ryan Bell-friend of sinners.

  • Hugo on 03.27.13

    Hi Ryan, I knew you at Weimar before u graduated. Never thought a Weimar product could become as misguided in theology and Scriptural understanding after receiving such a thorough grounding in what and who God is … but in your case it may have been only a postponement of the inevitable. And that is the sad thing … God (Who knows beginning from end) was then/is now trying to prevent this current situation from happening … and HE does it for your sake, your family’s sake and your flock, all of whom HE shed HIS blood for … But, as with Aaron making an idol for his flock to worship, and Manasseh even sacrificing his own children to the gods/philosophies of this world, God even now calls you to repent from your idolatry and accept the true Jesus (male/man/always the same) and HIS truth … this belief of yours in an androgenic god is leading you to darkness and this (further) warning from above is not a rejection of you but of the philosophy you are now being deluded by (and deluding others with). “If My people will humble themselves and pray and TURN from their WICKED ways … I will hear from heaven and forgive … ” The door is still open …

  • Samuel on 03.27.13

    Hi Ryan,
    I don’t know you personally, but my sister visits and participates in your church regularly and has spoken very highly of you and your church. I’m sorry I won’t have the opportunity to experience for myself Hollywood SDA under your leadership. I, like many others, am very disappointed to hear of your termination. One need only look at the many comments here to know that your work was important and valuable to the community and, I believe, the church at large. As alluded to several times, the church is not the institution but the people, and if what I hear about you is accurate, there is definitely still a big need for you in the church. I will pray that the Lord continues to allow your light to shine even brighter than before and that you may stand like Luther when the odds are against you–those are the odds God likes best and He will make you victorious! God bless.
    -Samuel

  • John R. Jones on 03.27.13

    Well, Ryan, I’m saddened by this.
    Integrity demands a high price, sometimes.
    I continue to hold you and Elysabeth high on my heart and in my prayers. By all means make sure I, along with so many others posting here, continue to maintain contact.
    I know you will continue to advance God’s Kingdom in this world.

  • Stefan Johnson on 03.27.13

    Your dignified response to this incident is a testament to what a true and christ-like man you are! I had given up on the SDA church and meeting you and coming to Hollywood opened up a window to what being SDA and my true self could be like. I know my attendance has not been exemplary, but I have been comforted knowing that the church and you were there! I will miss you and I wish you all the best!
    Stefan

  • Siroj Sorajjakool on 03.28.13

    Ryan, this is so unfortunate…especially for the church. It sadden me to hear this because you have been the voice that engages the church with the community, with the marginalized. We need more of you and not less and hence such a decision is so very discouraging for me. I hope the conference, and for that matter, the entire church, will rethink the decision. We need more of your passion and vision for our church.

  • Scott McCoon on 03.28.13

    Dear Mr. Valino Salazar,
    I truly hope you are flooded with letters concerning Ryan.
    To whom it may concern,
    I was deeply saddened to read about Ryan Bells dismissal from the Seventh Day Adventist Pastoral Ministry. Ryan Bell, has been instrumental in leading many people, including myself, to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and membership in the Seventh-Day Adventist church. I have more conservative biblical views than Ryan as do most Adventists, but I truly believe there is room in this church for his style of ministry. Ryan took on probably one of the most difficult assignments in the entire country when he agreed to pastor in Hollywood California. I live in the Idaho Conference in a rural area. It is vastly different from the culture and style of ministry needed in Hollywood. The people of Hollywood truly need someone like Ryan who is willing to meet them where they are in a loving way. Ryan is one of very few men that can truly lead a church in an area with such a diverse population of people. As a fellow Seventh Day Adventist please reconsider Ryan as Pastor of the Hollywood church.
    Thankyou for your consideration
    Scott McCoon RN, MBA
    Clinical Informatics
    Clinical Nurse/ Ancillary Liaison
    Saint Alphonsus-Baker City
    W:541-524-9022
    C:541-519-1356

  • Nicholas Miller on 03.28.13

    Dear Ryan,
    We find ourselves on opposite sides of the church ideologically, but have had some friendly and lively conversations and enjoyable visits. Frankly, I’m not terribly surprised at this turn of events, given the boundaries of belief and action you were pressing and at times crossing. I wonder if you really are surprised yourself. In all honesty, I think that this turn of events is probably best both for the church and for yourself, though it may not seem that way at present. The Lord has a plan for you both, I know that you believe that as well. I just wanted to say, though, that I very much appreciated the positive tone of your final letter, and the gracious way you you communicated the news, as unpleasant as it must have been for you. Please know that I will be praying for you and your family as you seek God’s will during this time of transition. Blessings, Nick Miller

  • G Hansen on 03.28.13

    Ryan, I suspect that this decision was not easy for the SCC. If you were willing to compromise, it might not have come to this. A lot of people lack the integrity to be true to what they believe when compromise is the easier way. Being a man of principle comes at a cost.
    I’ve been critical of you and your ministry in the past. I’m sorry for exceeding the boundaries of Christian charity.
    Hansen

  • Joann A on 03.29.13

    Come to London !
    Blessings to you and your family during this transition. God is up to something. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  • Dianne Styk on 03.29.13

    Hi Ryan,
    We visited your church a few months back during our holiday through your beautiful country. We appreciated your church and all the hard work you were doing there. I was just commenting the other day to a friend how interesting the community was that you had built there. Please hold your head up high and keep your hand in Christ’s. You are a gifted individual that has chosen to remain true to his own convictions despite the gut wrenching reality of your situation. That is really, really inspiring. It also wonderful to see you leave with the love and peace that you preach. All the best.

  • Katie Valentine on 03.29.13

    Ryan, I doubt that you would remember me, but I was a student at BMA while you were a pastor in Pennsylvania, and I remember you as a friend to young people, and someone who was always very kind to, well, everyone. I’ve followed you here and there when you write on Huffington Post, and have been very impressed by what I’ve seen.
    I only caught up on your whole story tonight (after seeing an article about your church on a crazy-conservative-Adventist blog). I’m no longer Adventist, but I hope you will take it as a compliment when I say that I am so very proud of you. You’re behaviour, from what I can tell, has always been as I wish Christians would be more often.
    I was discussing with my husband this morning over coffee that it seems like lately I’ve become more bitter toward Christianity (whereas when I first left Adventism, I felt no bitterness at all). My anger is toward all of the hatred and hurt I see being piled upon people supposedly in the name of Jesus.
    You behaved in the opposite manner entirely. Loving people?! Acknowledging that some deeply-held traditions might be flawed?! To me, these are just human concerns, things that anyone with a heart cares deeply about. But to most Christians I encounter, not so.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that you and your church are practicing the kind of Christianity that the world needs. As it stands, I often think the Adventist church is doing more harm than good in the world; but if more Adventists loved and lived like you are… well, I think I’d like that church.
    Absolute best of luck to you, Ryan. I can’t imagine that life can go anywhere but up for you from here. I’m so glad you’ve stuck by your convictions and done what’s right in the face of this kind of backlash. You’re a hero, and I hope Christianity finds more like you.

  • Graeme on 03.30.13

    Ryan, my heart breaks. It is really tough to be rejected and cast out. To have to find new ways of creating an income in these uncertain times is not easy. I hope there are generous benefactors who care for you in this transition time.
    You are so gracious, others of us are very hurt and angry. The leaders don’t recognize the form of Adventism that you and your church hold. Well, I don’t recognize the form of Adventism in many churches and in the larger church climate at the moment. I so clearly see the form of Adventism you so beautifully create and pursue is one that models the attitudes and spirit of Jesus. One that is a safe place for all people to dwell in as they go on a spiritual journey. A form of Adventism that trusts God and people and not need to micromanage that, , doesn’t feel it has to direct, control and make judgements of every aspect of people’s lives. One that is closer to Jesus than many other congregations and institutions.
    I am not surprised in the least at what has happened. I have been surprised that you have survived so long. having you in your position for so long gave me hope for our church – now that is being shattered.
    Big love to you,your wife and family through this dramatic change. I live far away, too far to give tangible support. I hope and pray you will be loved and supported well. The world out there is far bigger than Adventism, and needs you far more than the shackles of the church would ever allow a paid pastor.
    Love you and care about you all (you, family and church community)
    Graeme

  • CherilynClough on 03.30.13

    So sorry to hear of this, but God will continue to bless you and supply your needs! Have you considered Mission Catalyst? They are outside of denominational boundaries but similar is mission and beliefs–like the Sabbath etc.
    http://www.missioncatalyst.org/

  • Brian Walsh on 03.31.13

    Dear Ryan: We have never met (at least I don’t think that we have), but from time to time I have stumbled onto your blogsite. Reading this post about the end of your ministry in the Advent community was a deeply humbling thing. It is clear that you have a broad vision of what the Kingdom is all about and what a Kingdom community looks like. And what your post displays is that unique (and rare) combination of prophetic vision and gracious humility. I find myself believing just a little more deeply, on the Easter Sunday, in the power of the resurrection, as I read your post. Thank you for your ministry. It is clear that you have a large host of witnesses around you who will support you and pray for you and your family as you discern where the Spirit will now lead you in the path of the Kingdom.
    Christ is risen. Alleluia.
    Brian Walsh

  • Marvin Wray on 04.1.13

    Ryan, I am sorry to be made aware of this. Obviously I don’t know the whole story here, but I am sad that leaders I have loved and trusted have come to a decision like this. My greatest frustration is to see the church become a place where questions cannot be asked and differing opinions cannot be expressed. Who in the world has all the answers to the LGBT challenge? Who understands addicts fully? Who is able to decide all issues in a divorce? Who fully comprehends the journey of the homeless? Are we not all sinners, lost, but for the grace of God? I admire your courage and pray God’s leading in your future ministry. It is just sad to see someone or some committee “decide” what is truth and then close the books. Thanks for embracing the “unclean” of the world.

  • Molly on 04.2.13

    Hi Ryan,
    I have never met you. I am an SDA and another SDA sent me this info. I am happy that you are so gracious and not trashing the SDA name. I have no idea what transpired and why you were asked to step down but I am certain that you know. In these times (time of the end) it is so important that our Pastors and churches are preaching the true message of the 3 angels and not compromising as God will not change and look the other way. He has a people who are called to stand out and not compromise. As a gay SDA, I wish they had a ministry for how are we to be alive and active w/o compromising our souls. Anyway, I wish you the best and hope you find the right ministry for you w/o compromising SDA who are under attack and it will get worse before the Lord returns. If I may (due to my ignorance in why), may I suggest you pray and get back to the message God called you to preach and do not waiver. As you know the devil IS seeking to devour souls and will deceive, if possible, even the very elect. Search and find if this may be you. If so, God woke you up this a.m. so you definitely get a “do-over”. Sincerely, Molly

  • Mark Azali on 04.2.13

    This is horrible. In good conscience, I will indefinitely suspend my tithe allocation to the conference and keep it local.

  • Krystalynn on 04.3.13

    Hi Ryan, As a fellow pastor, Weimar-graduate, people-lover and justice-seeker, I am saddened that the “church” did not see the work that you were doing to pursue the kingdom of God. At the same time, I so respect the fact that you have stuck with your convictions of what you know God wants you to do and stand for. This gives me hope. Jesus said that His followers would face the same things He did, and not to be surprised when we do. This gospel of His is messy, and it changes the world. Thank you for following Jesus, no matter what. Plant a church!

  • Alix on 04.3.13

    Dear Pastor Bell,
    The news are disheartening. Yet, thank you for what you said at the end of your letter. Do not lose faith. And when you do, cling to hope. And when hope fades, resort to love. Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. —1 Cor 13:13
    God bless you for your ministry that has only began. While this is unfortunate, I am sure God has great plans for you.
    http://www.sdakinship.org

  • Cody on 04.7.13

    I am so confused why you all are so supportive, SDAs are Bible believing Christians and what this pastor was teaching is outside the teachings of the Bible and SDA church. And while we are to love everyone, the Bible does say “Go and sin no more,” (john 8:11) I havent read anywhere in the Bible were it says Go and continue sinning. We are to love everyone but we should daily try to live a more Christlike life.

  • Marygrace Coneff on 04.21.13

    The SDA church is losing one big shining star. I am sorry they are sooooo narrow minded that they could not see that you operated out of love, not fear and hate,, which most conservative, organized religions do.
    I know first hand of their prejudice! I graduated in Ministerial Studies from La Sierra in 1981, hoping that they would realize the value women had in ministry. All these years later, we are only at voting locally on women in ministry. How sad that it has taken this long to come to this point. And even that is only local recognition, not universal or national!
    For me, all organized religion is the same, they just have a pope they call by a different name.
    We can only get away from that by going back to loving one another.
    Thank you for all you did, even though I never met you. I hope you will continue some kind of ministry to the LGBTI community, as they need you. You are a true disciple of Christ, doing what He asked us to do, love one another.
    The idiots at the top will have to answer for their actions in the end. I think they will have a lot to go through before or even if they are allowed in because they worried about money and power rather than the individual.

  • […] for sure, but I would imagine that the fact that this confrontation comes just a few months after another public falling out with the same church’s leadership also played a role in their […]

  • […] for sure, but I would imagine that the fact that this confrontation comes just a few months after another public falling out with the same church’s leadership also played a role in their […]

  • […] employer. There are plenty of stories out there about the circumstances surrounding my resignation (here and here, for starters). The issues that led to my resignation now seem like ancient history. I […]

  • […] employer. There are plenty of stories out there about the circumstances surrounding my resignation (here and here, for starters). The issues that led to my resignation now seem like ancient history. […]

Add Your Own Comment

Mail (will not be published) (required)