The Adventist Media Board has announced a leadership change at It is Written Oceania (IIWO), with Pastor Gary Kent to no longer serve as IIWO speaker/director.
This decision followed discussions between the IIWO Management Committee and the speaker/director regarding conduct inconsistent with the responsibilities of the speaker/director. A report of these discussions and responses regarding this unacceptable conduct were brought to the Adventist Media Board, who made the decision to dismiss Pastor Kent last week.
“Despite this outcome it is important that we recognise the contribution that Gary has made to the Adventist Church over many years as a public evangelist, local church pastor and IIWO speaker/presenter,” Adventist Media CEO Kalvin Dever said.
“There will be many people who know Jesus because of the work Gary has done both in our Division and overseas. It is also important that we acknowledge the contribution of Robyn, his wife and their family who have often volunteered their time and supported him through his ministry, especially with IIWO.”
It Is Written commenced in the US in 1956 with George Vandeman as the speaker/director. This was the first Christian television program to broadcast in colour. It was first broadcast in Australia in 1964. Around this time the Division registered It Is Written as a business name.
Just over 10 years ago, while Pastor Kent was the minister at Fountain in the City Church, IIWO commenced operations with Pastor Kent as the local speaker. The Greater Sydney Conference initially supported the initiative as a way to reach people in the cities. In 2008, the IIWO operations were transferred from the Conference to Adventist Media. IIWO commenced filming local programs in 2009. Initially the ministry was supported by both the Church and donors, but in the past few years IIWO has been completely funded by contributions from donors. To address a number of concerns and provide a platform for the successful operation of IIWO, the Adventist Media Board in 2016 established a new subcommittee to manage IIWO and the operations were transferred to Dora Creek.
Currently IIWO is broadcast on free-to-air Channel 7, Channel 7Two, Channel 10 and Southern Cross 10, the Channel 10 website, the Australian Christian Channel (Foxtel) and Hope Channel Australia. Last year more than 11,000 contacts were made in Australia. All existing time slots will continue operating as the Adventist Media Board and management remain deeply committed to IIWO and are considering various options for the continuation of the ministry. They are also working with the remaining IIWO employees to facilitate the smooth running of the operation moving forward.
The Donors Unlimited Weekend (May 26-28) will continue as scheduled. A number of members of the Adventist Media Board, including its chair, will be present to listen to donors, address concerns and explore ways in which IIWO can continue its significant role in reaching people for Jesus.
Correction: May 25, 2017
An earlier version of this article stated It Is Written was registered by the South Pacific Division as a trademark in the 1960s. The following statement comes from Steve Currow, Communication director of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific, regarding a correction to this information.
“In 1964, the Australasian Division organised the registering of the It Is Written name not the trademarking of this name. SPD and Adventist Media would like to apologise for overstating the historic legal status of It Is Written. However, it is correct to say that the Australasian Division’s registration of this name predates any registration in North America.
“In times past, the Church considered registering the name as sufficient for the various names used by church entities, while some of the corporate operations of the Church used trademarks. As IP has become more significant, the Church has considered it important to move beyond registering names to trademarking its names. It is also important to note that the original process was through state-based offices of the National Companies and Securities Commission. Since the Australian Securities and Investment Commission was established in 1998, the original state records are no longer available. ASIC has It Is Written registered in April 2007.”