Letter from It is Written Partners Regarding Dismissal of Pr Gary Kent

Posted May 19, 2017 by Adrian Ebens in Adventist Issues Hits: 1,191

[Verbatim letter written by Donors/Partners of IIWO]

18th May, 2017

Dear Friends,

By now you may have received an email confirming the decision of the leadership of the South Pacific Division (SPD) and Adventist Media to dismiss the ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pr Gary Kent.  Pr Gary Kent has been a minister of the church for some 30 years and in the last 10 years has led the media evangelism ministry of It Is Written Oceania (IIWO). Through the support of donors and many other people he has led thousands to God and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Over the last few days many of these individuals, some brand new baptised members and some of the IIWO viewers, have been confused and disappointed by the treatment of Pr Gary Kent. 

It Is Written was set up as a fully donor funded ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the USA more than 50 years ago.  When it was brought to Australia in 2007, It Is Written Oceania was set up as a fully donor funded ministry with a goal to be the sharp edge of the sword, going directly out into the community on National TV, National Radio, social media and through publishing, to spread the Advent message. 

More recently, the South Pacific Division and Adventist Media, against the wishes of It Is Written USA and the General Conference, trademarked the name “It Is Written Oceania” and assumed authority.  They also recently attempted this same strategy on the newly established ministry of Amazing Facts Oceania, which resulted in the new ministry having to spend more than $50,000 to defend itself against the lawyers of the South Pacific Division. 

By their fruits you will know them!!!   

Pr Gary and his wife have given everything towards the establishment and success of It Is Written Oceania. Not only have they sacrificed their lives to bring people to God and into our church, but they also provided continued personal financial support towards the ministry.  As recently as mid 2015, when the South Pacific Division refused to use donor provided funds to pay the invoices of IIWO, the family donated $25,000 to pay debts to ensure non-Adventist entities were not affected or damaged by the internal division between the SPD and IIWO. They live in a rental property and do not own their own home.  To suggest any breach of trust or integrity on behalf of Pr Gary Kent and his wife is unfounded and requires the immediate withdrawal of the complaint. 

Pr Gary Kent’s dismissal was the result of 22 months of the South Pacific Division, via Adventist Media, attempting to blunt the sword of It Is Written Oceania. For 22 months, many supporters and donors have seen first-hand the repeated attacks on Pr Gary Kent.  During this entire time, as a reflection of his character, Pr Gary Kent has remained silent and attempted by every possible means to mediate an outcome. 

The Adventist Media wants Hope Chanel to be on free-to-air television, not just IIWO, and they have pushed for funding given for IIWO programs by IIWO donors to be used for that. However, the donors have given the funds to support It is Written Oceania programs going on air, not the Hope Channel.  In mid 2015, when all this blew up, Zora (the manager of IIWO) was fired from working for the Adventist Media because she went ahead with airing It is Written Oceania on Chanel 7Two in line with the wishes of the donors, her job description and the previous decision of the IIWO team, rather than the wishes of the Adventist Media CEO, which was to cancel it at the last minute. Gary was devastated that Zora was fired, as Zora is an integral part of the operations of It is Written Oceania, which is why he understandably wanted her back to help with at least the transition from Wahroonga to Dora Creek.  It is quite political, that they are now accusing Gary of going against the wishes of the committee, when all he was trying to do was further God’s work! 

The ministry for many years has run with less than 3 staff (including Pr Gary Kent).   As the church’s leading outreach arm, this will surprise many.  Pr Gary Kent has been dismissed because he engaged Zora to help him on a volunteer basis for 10 months to manage IIWO. Then she was given a work visa and a job without sign-off by the South Pacific Division while receiving sign-off and approval from the North New South Wales Conference to ensure she can legally stay in Australia till an Australian manager for the ministry is found.  To fund Zora’s employment, a leading businessman in the Australian community paid her wages.  Any donor or supporter has the right to direct the use of his or her own funds at their personal discretion.   

More recently IIWO was looking to hire a video editor from USA who would work at a much reduced rate than what the Adventist Media were charging (over one hundred dollars per hour). It came to the attention of the Adventist Media and the South Pacific Division that Zora was helping Gary in the process of obtaining the video editor’s work visa and that Zora was also helping Gary manage the ministry. Consequently, the Adventist Media and South Pacific Division fired Gary because of Zora’s involvement with the ministry. Gary has also had to cancel his evangelism and preaching commitments in all churches at the request of his firing team.

Pr Gary Kent has always acted with the desire to grow and expand the It Is Written  Oceania Ministry.  Recently one of Pr Gary Kent’s TV programs on national TV received several hundred requests for a Bible. The ministry of Pr Gary Kent and the work of It Is Written Oceania have always been guided by God’s own hand and continue to flourish in the Oceania region.  We believe this to be an attack from the enemy on this powerful, soul-winning ministry. 

There have been many examples of teachers, ministers, church treasurers and conference presidents who have been found criminally responsible by the courts in Australia for fraud, embezzlement, sexual abuse and adultery.  But never has the church openly attempted to discredit any individual, like it has done with Pr Kent. 

As leading business men and women, members of the Seventh-day Adventist church, and donors in support of It Is Written Oceania, we seek the immediate re-instatement of Pr Gary Kent as speaker/director of It Is Written Oceania. 

Many people are indicating that there may be more behind the scenes that we still don’t know, but two reasons given for Gary’s terminations were:

1. Engaging Zora to manage IIWO independently of their decision

2. Not letting the division know that she was the manager employed by the NNSW Conference.   

If you would like to defend Pr Gary Kent in response to the letter that was sent out from Kalvin Dever, contact the church leaders at the division.  

Earnest prayer and ACTION are required at this time. 

Yours truly, 

Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia &  

Donors / Partners of It Is Written Oceania

See also: Second Statement from IIWO Donors and Partners