Womens Ordination in Union Conferences
(also known as Unions)
Sept 25, 2015:
Swedish Union of Churches Conference
On August 23, following the Union Presidents’ meeting with the TED, the SUChC Executive Committee decided unanimously to confirm previous decisions that the Adventist Church in Sweden "wants to treat all pastors alike ... from employment to any kind of public acknowledgment."
Read the PDF
Sept 25, 2015:
"Seventh-day Adventist Church in Denmark will not distinguish between genders when appointing pastors"
The above and the following quote is taken from the official Denmark Adventist website. Like Norway (see info further below in this webpage), the Adventist church in Denamrk is looking to work around the vote against womens ordination made by the recent GC vote this year. We believe the rebellion is in full bloom now. Will the GC do anything? So far they haven't. What good does the vote do if unions/divisions/conferences/churches decide not to follow it? At this point, by their silence, the GC is sending the message to Adventists worldwide that anyone can decide what they want to do whether it agrees with what the church has voted or not.... anything goes! ...uh...unless you are a church not connected to an SDA conference, that uses the word ADVENTIST in their name, in which case the GC will sue them. Very strange times we are living in.
"The Danish Union of Seventh-day Adventists (DUChC) voted in 2013 at a session a statement regarding equality, which includes that, the church: “will not distinguish between genders when appointing pastors, and wishes to see equality between genders in all areas of responsibility.” In the same statement was included that the Danish Union “will suspend the ordaining of any new pastors until the General Conference session in 2015” where the question of allowing the ordination of women was up for discussion.
According to GC Working Policy E05 05 other credentials can be issued and the Danish Union will through the Trans-European Division urge the General Conference to find a term for a credential for our pastors that covers both women and men.
On the basis of this request and the statement on equality, which is based on a biblical understanding that both man and woman is created in the image of God and that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts equally to women and men, it was 20th September 2015 voted in the Union Executive Committee to move away from the terms ordination and commission but from now on simply “set apart pastors”.
In the future DUChC will only use one term and one credential: “pastor” for both men and women who successfully have completed the intern-period.
Sept 18, 2015
Battle to Keep Womens Ordination
The following exerpts are from the Spectrum website written by Seventh-day Adventist pastor Loren Seibold. It shows how those that want to continue supporting womens ordination are thinking.
"The Columbia Union Conference office (and at about the same time in the Pacific Union Conference office) decided to treat ordination as a policy matter. Since the policy had always been that the union conference approved ordinations within their territory, the Columbia Union Conference and the Pacific Union Conference held that they could ordain whomever they wanted to, including women. Ordinations of female pastors followed, sparking a cultural war, masquerading as theology, that led to San Antonio, where female ordination was voted down.
From these union conferences there’s been no admission of defeat, no formal surrender."
"Dave Weigley found the one thing union conferences could do that no one else could. The one superpower the union conference had. The one ace card they held. The union conference could ordain women. So for the time being, union conferences are safe, at least from those who believe women’s ordination is important—and that’s probably the majority of North American Division Seventh-day Adventists".
"My intuition tells me that our present General Conference doesn’t favor creative thinking from its subsidiary organizations, and will do whatever is necessary to keep them from becoming too independent." by Loren Seibold - a pastor in the Ohio Conference, and the recently-appointed Executive Editor of Adventist Today.
see this Spectrum Magazine article
Sept 22, 2015:
The Norwegian Union Conference Executive Committee has voted to stop ordaining pastors, male and female. See this Spectrum Magazine article for more details.
"The ordination practiced within the Seventh-day Adventist Church for many years has been at odds with the basic biblical principle of the equality of all human beings."
“The Norwegian Union does not want to be rebellious or to break away from the global Seventh-day Adventist fellowship. This is very important to us,” said Finn F. Eckhoff, Secretary of the Norwegian Union.
"From now on, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway will have a simple dedicatory prayer for a person embarking on pastoral internship. Similarly, there will be a dedicatory prayer for those who take the step from pastoral internship to regular pastoral service."
"The Norwegian Union will operate with only two categories of pastoral employees from now on. 1) Pastors in regular service, and 2) Pastoral interns. The Norwegian Union will not report pastoral employees to the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook until the General Conference has established pastoral categories that are not discriminatory."
"It is a matter of conscience for the Norwegian Union,” said pastor Kvinge. He added: “We cannot see any Biblical foundation for the ordination practice our church has followed for many years. That is the reason for our vote to discontinue the practice. The New Testament does not give us a command to discriminate against women in pastoral ministry. God gives his gifts to women and men. The Holy Spirit equips women and men for pastoral ministry. We want to recognize that.”
Based on the above quotes, one should be able to see a rebellious attitude among many leaders. Nothing has really changed - those that still demand W.O. are trying to circumvent it and/or make deragatory comments about what they think is a lack of equality. Should I as a male complain to God that I can't have babies - that God made me inferior to women. Should I demand God make me "equal" to a woman. And what about Satan? Why wasn't he given status the same as Christ? Was God not treating Satan equally? There is a huge misconception about "equality" in how God operates. Since these Norwegian leaders didnt yet get their way at the recent GC session they appear to be trying to circumvent the spirit of the vote by coming up with a new method. Not only is this rebellion in Norway but also here in the NAD. The book of Samuel clearly tells us that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Rebellion will breed more rebellion and a house divided will not stand.
"With all due respect to the leadership of the Norwegian Union, rebellion by any other name is still rebellion. By this statement they have declared denominational practice, as defined in the General Conference Working Policy (2013-2014 edition, p. 113) to be "discriminatory" and without Biblical foundation. Such a posture on the part of any structural entity within the worldwide Adventist body is intolerable." Kevin Paulson - NAD ordained pastor.
The North Pacific Union
Nov. 15: 2012:
On Nov 15, the North Pacific Union updated The Gleaner site with a FAQ titled Answers to Questions Regarding NPUC Process on Women in Leadership and a document by John McVay, Walla Walla University president, titled "Reflections on the Theology and Practice of Ordination in the Seventh-day Adventist Church."
The Gleaner plants the following seed in your mind "Some have actively wondered if perhaps our system of ordination is not even biblical, but rather, based on a tradition far removed from our own Protestant roots." They go on to say "As the world church studies its theological stance on ordination, we will eagerly join in that discussion. In the meantime, our own discovery process will move forward. " Move forward? On an issue that has been clearly decided at two recent world church sessions? Who are they kidding? Why the push now instead of waiting for the world church to decide - again? This is where the real problem lies in this issue right now. We have North American Divsion Unions wanting their own way, right now! A typical symptom in America where people want things their way and they want it immediately. They just can't wait for the whole body of believers to decide. This is why it's rebellion. Notice that they only present John McVays paper - pro womens ordination - yet they want you to think nothing will be done without everyone talking and discussing the issue. Just presenting information from one side by the Gleaner is already a lopsided presentation - one that doesn't present both sides. As one line in my ancestry used to say, "white man speaks with forked tongue". Kirk Weedman
Nov 14, 2012: The following was posted on The Gleaner
"During their regularly-scheduled quarterly meeting held Nov. 14 in Ridgefield, Wash., North Pacific Union Conference executive committee members voted to engage Northwest membership in a discussion on gender-inclusiveness in gospel ministry. They approved a motion to 1) inform and educate Northwest members of the rationale toward biblical church leadership without regard to gender; 2) engage and encourage constituents in structured conversation and discussion on women in ministry; and 3) call a special session of the NPUC constituency to address ministerial ordination without regard to gender. The motion was presented in response to extensive reports provided by an Ad Hoc Committee on Women in Leadership which met during 2012. No date was specified at the meeting for a proposed constituency session, but that will be determined as the process for discussion and decision-making is further defined within the next month. An online question and answer page about this vote and a proposed process will be available on Nov. 15. "
Pacific Union Conference:
Nov. 15, 2012: The executive committee of the Pacific Union Conference unanimously approved the ordination requests for seven more women. According to its press release this brings the number of ordained women in the Pacific Union Conference to 21.
Women ministers approved for ordination this week:
1. Yamileth (Yami) Bazan, vice-president for student life, La Sierra University.
2. Cherise Gardner, Southern Calif. Conf., family ministries pastor, Glendale City church.
3. Myriam Salcedo-Gonzalez, SCC, pastor, All Nations church, Monrovia, Calif.
4. Ginger Hanks-Harwood, associate professor of religious and theological studies, H.M.S. Richards School of Divinity, La Sierra University.
5. Courtney Ray, SCC, associate pastor, Tamarind Avenue church, Compton, Calif.
6. Kendra Haloviak Valentine, associate professor of New Testament studies, H.M.S Richards School of Divinity, La Sierra University
7. Janet White, SCC, associate pastor, Simi Valley church, Calif.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is sending a strong message that it's OK to go against the vote of the world church. The real issue here is one outright open rebellion, with no action from church leadership. Mark 3:25 "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." We are repeating the history of Israel when they had similar problems and we seem to have our heads and voice buried in the sand. The SDA Church will suffer the same consequences of Israel if it does not repent an take action against this rebellion within itself.
Sept 29, 2012: Pastor Debbie Eisle is ordained at the Sligo SDA Church, Tacoma Park, MD..
Friday, August 31, 2012: The Washington Post - "Seventh-day Adventists facing pressure on allowing female clergy"
The world is watching what Seventh-day Adventists are doing.
GC Preseident Ted Wilson's appeal for unity on 3ABN August 9, 2012
This is basically in response because of the recent Jul 29, 2012 action by the Columbia Union to accept womens ordination.
This union consists of the following Conferences.
Alleghany East Conference
Alleghany West Conference
Mountain View Conference
New Jersey Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Inc.
The Columbia Union Conference voted overwhelmingly on July 29, 2012 to ordain women pastors. The world church in session has twice voted no on this issue. Once at the 1990 world session and again in 1995. This union as well as others are in outright open defiance against the world church and yet they say they support the church's mission. See our presentation titled "Womens Ordination: Korah, Dathan, and Abiram style" in the Online Presentations webpage.
Click on the links of the Columbia Union website and its Conferences websites above for more information.
For a PDF file of the Columbia Union's vote on Women's Ordination click here
For the Adventist News Network statement click here
Here's what the Pennsylvania and Ohio Conference websites say.
"July 29, 2012
In a specially called session of the Columbia Union Conference Constituency, delegates from its eight conferences voted overwhelmingly to approve a recommendation from the union executive committee authorizing ordination without regard to gender. The historic vote was 209 in favor and 51 opposed, with nine abstentions—a ratio of 4 to 1.
The approved motion states:
“That the Columbia Union Conference authorize ordination to the gospel
ministry without regard to gender.”
This means that the union will no longer deny requests from conferences
to ordain proven female ministers to the gospel ministry.
“There was a good spirit and healthy discussion, all bathed in prayer,”
says Dave Weigley, union president. “We remain part of, united with, and fully committed to the mission of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.”"
Click here for the Adventist Review story.
With their vote, the Columbia Union joins the Nothern German Union (Spectrum article here) and Mid_America Union (spectrum article here) in enacting ordination equality. The Pacific Union will vote on a similar provision on August 19.
Columbia Union Special Constituency 2012 - 3 hrs 44min
Ted Wilson's comments can be heard from 38:50 to 1:04:30
Columbia Union Special Constituency 2012 - Dave Weigley's Closing Remarks
Columbia Union Special Constituency 2012 - Ad Hoc Committe Reports
Columbia Union Special Constituency 2012 - Ted Wilson's appeal - this YouTube clip is not the full version. The person posting this also added background music. We will post a better version when available.
The Mountain View Conference made the following statement about womens ordination. It was the only Conference within the Columbia Union willing to abide by the world church decision.
"Due to the current and considerable dialogue in the North American Division regarding the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, the Mountain View Conference Executive Committee voted the following statement:
Whereas the Mountain View Conference has a long history of actively supporting, encouraging, and empowering women in church ministries, and
Whereas the Mountain View Conference recognizes itself as an integral part of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, it is therefore resolved:
The Mountain View Conference, following the scriptural mandate of the priesthood of all believers, and as directed by its Constitution and By Laws, intentionally chooses to continue its long held commitment of supporting, encouraging, empowering, and celebrating the involvement of all members, regardless of gender, in church ministry. However, we will do so only in harmony with the Seventh-day Adventist World Church as expressed by actions taken during the General Conference in business session."
Pastor Dan Jackson, North American Division president, said, “What we are doing here today not only will impact us personally and as a union but will also impact our world church. I want to say that our primary accountability is to God.” Notice the wording of this quote. Let's break it down a bit and see how it would sound to someone in agreement with womens ordination.
"What we are doing here today not only will impact us personally and as a union but will also impact our world church." - For someone in agreement with womens ordination this no different than saying "We know this will impact everyone, but since we believe in ordaining women we'll do whatever it takes even if it has some impact upon us and the world church"
"I want to say that our primary responsibility is to God"- both sides can easily say/believe that.
Great changes are taking place in our Seventh-day Adventist Church. If the General Conference does not nip this open rebellion in the bud, then we'll see a downward spiral within the organization - what else will unions and conferences decide to do outside the votes of the world church? It's past time for you to be involved in letting your leaders know this is not acceptable behaviour by these unions even if you are not in one of these unions.
The Mid-America Union consists of the following conferences:
Members of the Mid-America Union Conference Executive Committee voted March 8, 2012 to ordain women in ministry. It is the first union in the North American Division to take such a step.
The Mid-America Union Conference released the following statement:
In a continuing effort to support the role of women in ministry, the Mid-America Union Executive Committee in its regularly scheduled mid-winter meeting took the following action: “It is voted to support the ordination of women in the Mid-America Union.”
“Nobody planned for this,” said Thomas L. Lemon, president of the union. “Without any expectation, the subject of ordaining women came up. In the ensuing discussion a consensus formed that gender should not disqualify any future candidate recommended by local conferences for ordination. The committee also recognized the authority of the world church and the need for harmony across the various administrative levels of the Seventh-day Adventist faith community.”
According to Union president Lemon, this policy will be implemented in the following way.
“One of our six local conferences may at some point vote the recommendation of a woman for ordination. The Mid-America Union Executive Committee will then evaluate the candidate on her own merits, without prejudice regarding gender, when deciding for or against ordination.”
The North Pacific Union consists of the following conferences:
As reported on gleaneronline.org, “In response to a North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) Executive Committee vote on May 16, NPUC administration will appoint an ad hoc committee to help resolve issues of women in Adventist ministry. This ad hoc committee will be tasked with creating specific recommendations on how to fully integrate committed and called Adventist women into all levels of church leadership within the NPUC territory. The recommendations will be presented to the NPUC Executive Committee at the next scheduled meeting on Nov. 14, 2012.”
The meeting in November may be a constituency session.
According to an article by the Illinois Conference of Seventh-day Adventists:
"North Pacific Union Conference Looks Toward Gender-Inclusive Policies: Recommendations will be brought to November meeting
May 17, 2012 – [Ridgefield, WA] – The North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) Executive Committee, during its May 16, 2012, meeting in College Place, Wash., authorized the NPUC administration to appoint an ad hoc committee to create specific recommendations on how to fully integrate committed and called Adventist women into all levels of church leadership within the NPUC territory. The recommendations of this ad hoc committee will be presented to the NPUC Executive Committee at the regularly-scheduled November 14, 2012 meeting."
On April 23, 2012, the Northern German Union, which is within the Euro-Africa Division, voted (160-47) to “ordain female pastors within the NDV [Union] equally to their male colleagues.” This historic vote is particularly significant as a action of the union constituency and not just the executive committee. They have actually amended their constitution to provide for the ordination of all pastors without regard to gender.
The Pacific Union Conference consists of the following conferences
The Southeastern California Conference (SECC) has nominated Sandra Roberts to serve as president of that conference (http://seccsession.org/nominating-committee-report, accessed 2013-09-18). The nominating committee recommendation to delegates is that the constituency session to be held on October 27, 2013 vote to appoint Ms. Roberts to this position. Roberts is currently executive secretary of SECC. The current edition of the Church Manual, states that:This rebellion is getting much stronger and defiant. We urge you to become involved and speak up and tell our leaders that you will no longer support them if they don't settle this quickly. Something can and will severely happen to the SDA church if this is not dealt with quickly. A house divided cannot stand.
“The conference president should be an ordained pastor of experience and good report. He stands at the head of the gospel ministry in the conference and is the chief elder, or overseer, of all the churches” (Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 2010 ed., p. 32).
"Jan White, pastor for nurture and discipleship at the Simi Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, will be ordained this Sabbath, Dec. 29, at 3 p.m. PST. Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference and a personal friend who called White into ministry, will participate in the service. Bradford Newton, executive secretary and ministerial director of the Pacific Union Conference, will also be part of the ceremony." Spectrum Magazine
Here we have a Union whose president, Larry Cavinees, leading out in this service, knowlingly going against the General Conference recent "Statement on Church Polity, Procedures, and Resolution of Disagreements" (see Dec 2012 Adventist World which discusses the decision made earlier this year). Larry also says that Miriam Gonzalez will be ordained on January 19, 2013. Look at all the ordained pastors at 1:10+ who are in support. Even Fritz Guy, who also supports "same-sex loving relationships" being acceptable to God, spoke in support. How long will the G.C. allow this outright open rebellion lead by this apostate president of the Southern California Conference and others like him? Does this mean other Unions can now decide which things they want to do and still be called part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? What's next - ordination of practicing homosexuals, nude dancing in church, beer with pizza and Xrated movie Sabbath afternoon Adventist Church gatherings? Rediculous you say? Just what we ask is to prevent it? Elijah said "how long halt ye between two opinions..". What would he say today about a house that is clearly divided and who would even listen to him? Would he say "just keep pouring in your donations to support these men. God will bless you"? What bold rebellion within our church. No different than in the time of Israel. Yet we are told by the Spirit of Prohecy that our punishment will be worse if our leadership does not correct this problem quickly. Where are the watchmen, the leaders, the lay members who will speak out against this bold brazen sin in our midst. Those of you in foreign countries and Divisions, you too have a responsiblity to do something that makes a difference. We plead with you to take a stand and let it be known to the world church that the bold apostasy taking place within the North American Division is not acceptable, that certain leaders need to be completely removed from office. Revival and Reformation can never happen without pen confession and repentance of the sins among us and a correction and turning away from them.
Northern California Conference Executive Committee Action - August 22, 2012
On Wednesday, August 22, 2012, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the NCC Executive Committee, time was spent debriefing the actions and decisions of the Pacific Union Conference special constituency session held last Sunday. Out of that discussion, a motion was made that reflected the action taken at the constituency meeting. The motion was that the NCC will recommend to the Pacific Union Conference candidates for ordination without regard to gender.
There was much discussion and prayer among the executive committee members. The committee voted by secret ballot, which resulted in a clear majority (61% to 39%) approving the motion.
In an e-mail sent to NCC employees on Wednesday evening, NCC President Jim Pedersen said, “I recognize that there are passionate and sincere people on both sides of this issue. I am also convinced of the reality that ‘the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard’ (The Acts of the Apostles, page 12). May God’s Spirit continue to give us His wisdom and guidance in all that we do for His Kingdom."
The Pacific Union made an official vote on August 19, 2012 to ordain without regard to gender.
Click here to see the video of the entire meeting. 4 hrs. 30 min.
In the following YouTube video, various clips of the meeting are shown. Keep in mind, that there were 2 votes taking place. One was to change the bylaws of the North Pacific Union and the other was to ordain without regard to gender. A 2/3rds majority is needed to change the bylaws and that vote failed by only 1%. However, the vote to grant ministrial ordination without regard to gender did pass! Notice the people clapping, cheering and giving "high fives" near the end of the clip. Why would any Christian act in this manner when they are knowingly causing division in the church. Shouldn't this be a solemn occasion knowing that your other brothers and sisters in the church are not in agreement? This type of behaviour is highly innapropriate no matter which side "won" the vote?
Click here to see the GC response to the votes. The GC says, "Further, the action is contrary to General Conference Working Policy and sets aside the 1990 and 1995 decisions of the General Conference in Session respecting the practice of ordination. The action taken by the Pacific Union Conference represents a serious threat to the unity of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, and thus, at its next meeting in October 2012, as indicated in another recent public statement by General Conference officers and division presidents, the General Conference Executive Committee will carefully review the situation and determine how to respond. In the spirit of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the officers of the General Conference appeal to all entities, organizations, and individuals, including the Pacific Union Conference, to refrain from independent and unilateral decisions and from implementing any such actions."
Click here to see the Pacific Union response to questions it's been asked from readers.
August 18, 2012: Southeastern California Conference leaders, delegates and church members gathered at the Loma Linda University Church to discuss women's ordination. On Sabbath afternoon there was a meeting, called "Let's Talk," which lasted over two hours. There were presentations from administrators, pastors, scholars and historians.
Pastor John Brunt, as a delegate, planned to be a part of the rebellious group to vote FOR womens ordination. Click here to see what he says in Spectrum.
Watchmen like SDA Pastor Stephan Bohr have spoken up about this issue.
Womens Ordination by pastor Stephen Bohr - PDF file
Reflections on the Womens Ordination Issue by pastor Stephen Bohr
The Southern Union Conference has said it will abide by the vote of the world session. We commend this union for the fortitude to make this stance. The executive committee voted to keep in harmony with the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world session vote to not ordain women to the gospel ministry:
Whereas the Southern Union Conference and its member conferences and organizations have a long history of actively supporting, encouraging, and empowering women in all areas of ministry including pastoral, evangelistic, conference and union leadership, and all levels and areas of education, and
Whereas the Southern Union Conference recognizes itself as an integral part of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, it is therefore resolved:
The Southern Union Conference, following the scriptural mandate of the priesthood of all believers, intentionally chooses to continue its long-held commitment of supporting, encouraging, empowering, and celebrating the involvement of women in ministry. However, we will do so only in harmony with the Seventh-day Adventist World Church as expressed by actions taken during the General Conference in business session.
Click here Southern Union article
The Southern Union consists of the following conferences. This is the largest union in the North American Division.