Sixth General Conference Session
sixth GC session was held at Zeist, Holland, May 730,
1951. The order of the delegation was established
with 24 delegates who represented only 40 percent
of the total membership (a little over 10,000). The
other 60 percent of the Reform people were not able
to send their delegates to the conference, due to
political restrictions. Besides, the legitimacy of
some of those 24 delegates was questioned. One more
delegate was introduced May 20.
delegates to the sixth GC session, Woudshoten,
Zeist, Holland, 1951.
of the problems that had arisen in the administration
of Brethren C. Kozel and A. Mueller, respectively
president and vice president of the General Conference,
there were important complaints from the USA, Germany,
Portugal, South Africa, and South America (Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay). As these problems had
not been settled by the GC Executive Committee, and
as some of the most dangerous problems had even reached
the General Conference level, as indicated in the
previous section (1948Fifth GC Session), tension
built up among the Committee members, and there was
a serious disagreement among the leaders at the 1951
20, 1951, the delegates of our Unions and Fields presented
a protest pointing out the main problems which involved
principles and rules of church order, and affected
the work in general. In their declaration of protest
they demanded that a special committee be elected
to investigate the whole situation, but their request
was turned down. The delegates presentwho, even
when together, did not form a legal majoritywere
strongly polarized; therefore, neither of the two
sides was competent to solve the situation unilaterally.
All could see that the Reform Movement was before
a great crisis.
main conference room at Woudshoten, Holland,
where the 1951 GC session was held. From left
to right: Sister Mandemaker, Brother H. Mandemaker
(who was one of the delegates to that conference),
Brother N. S. Brittain, Brother R. Ludwig, Brother
D. Dumitru. Photo 1995.
that emergency situation, in the middle of the contention,
our delegates resented the arbitrary procedure of
the chairman and, to signify their protest, they occupied
a hut for prayer and mutual consultation, while C.
Kozel and A. Mueller, with their supporters, started
a separate delegation session. Then, from our side,
two legal possibilities were suggested to the outgoing
president and vice president: (1) either accept the
appeal of our delegates, submit the complaints to
an investigation, and keep dialoguing and negotiating
until an agreement could be reached; or (2) suspend
the session, send all the delegates home with the
understanding that another conference would be called
in due time, as far as possible with other delegates,
and at the same time inform all the Unions and Fields
and welcome their advice.
constitutional ways were not acceptable to Brethren
Kozel and Mueller, who decided that they could not
lay down their responsibilities when their term of
office was over. They, instead, resolved that they
had authority to take action against the delegates
of our Unions and Fields because of their protest.
This, however, did not bring the expected solution;
on the contrary, it aggravated the crisis step after
step, as follows:
May 22, our delegates were rejected by letter, and
were left alone in the same place, even in the same
room, where the conference had started, at Zeist.
The delegation, initially representing only 40% of
the membership, was now separated into two groups,
each representing only 20% of the total number of
members. Though our leaders and delegates were declared
"disfellowshiped" from the church, they
renewed their appeal, but Brethren Kozel and Mueller,
together with their supporters, now in Utrecht, were
not prepared to negotiate an agreement that would
envision the ironing out of the discrepancies, a combined
election of GC officers, and the finalization of the
conference in unity. So, as the door was closed against
us, the crisis reached its climax. These facts resulted
in two separate reorganizations (May 2324, 1951).
As the other leading brethren refused to consider
a joint reorganization, and as their independent reorganization
would be valid only for that portion of the membership
(20%) that they represented, we had no other choice
but do without them what they refused to do together
with us. Therefore, in that emergency situation, our
delegates elected our GC Committee May 24, 1951, with
the following officers: D. Nicolici, president; A.
Lavrik, vice president; C. T. Stewart, secretary.
This reorganization was recognized by almost 80 percent
of the total membership.
in the same conference room where the joint delegation
session had started, our representatives made the
following resolutions with a view to promoting the
work of God through the Reform Movement:
an appeal be made to each Union Conference to send
a young family, with sufficient knowledge and experience,
to help establish institutions in the USA (medical
work, publishing work, educational work);
the Reformation Herald, which was started in 1950,
be recognized as the official organ of the General
Conference of the Reform Movement;
a certain number of books, booklets, and guides be
prepared to meet the urgent needs of the church (on
doctrine, Christian living, health reform, gospel
order, and so forth);
the Principles of Faith, the Rules of Church Order,
as well as the Constitution and Bylaws, be rewritten
in a clearer light, in harmony with a decision made
by the General Conference in session, in 1948;
an essay be prepared on the subject of Divorce and
Remarriage, explaining the position of the Reform
matter of church discipline was also discussed, especially
with reference to the seventh commandment. In view
of the determination revealed by some of the principal
leaders ("Actions speak louder than words")
to lower the standard among the ministers, whereby
the Reform Movement would forfeit one of the reasons
for its existence, during the conference of May 1951,
our delegates took a firm stand on this point, for
which we should never cease to thank God.
principle which was threatened during the great crisis,
and which was also closely related to the seventh
commandment, was the marriage institution. In 1951,
our delegates adopted the positionstill maintained
by the Reform Movement until todaythat men who
advocate divorce and remarriage cannot hold positions
in the leadership.
in gospel ordera principle which had been misunderstood
and abused under the previous administrationwas
rekindled in 1951 and has been greatly improved in
our midst since the crisis. In the light of the Bible
and the Spirit of Prophecy, it became very clear to
us that among the people of God, men are not to regard
themselves as authority, seeking the mastery over
others, as if they were in the position of Moses and
Aaron. God demands coordination, not unilateral subordination.
Seventh General Conference Session
seventh General Conference session was held in Sao
Paulo, Brazil, April 10May 9, 1955, with 31
delegates representing over 9,000 members (1,000 less
than in 1951) distributed in 12 Unions and Fields.
The number of ministers, workers, and other employees
stood at 402.
delegates to the seventh GC session, Sao Paulo,
just arriving from South Africa (1955).
outgoing secretary presented a voluminous agenda with
many questions that had been sent in by Unions and
Fields that wanted to have clear definitions or precise
answers. These questions had to do with various points
of the Principles of Faith, such as: violation of
the seventh commandment and eligibility for ordination;
divorce and remarriage and eligibility for membership;
health reform; belief in the Spirit of Prophecy as
a test of fellowship; our attitude toward fashion;
relationship with labor unions; court action; occupations
contrary to our principles; life insurance. The delegation
had a full schedule for one month.
the many points on the agenda, there was also the
distribution of territory. Each Union and Field wanted
to have its territory clearly defined. This subject
was finally left for the incoming Executive Committee.
from countries that were not able to send their delegates
were read and discussed and were taken into consideration
as part of the agenda.
Committee elected in 1955.
GC administration was reorganized as follows: D. Nicolici,
president; A. Lavrik, vice president; I. W. Smith,