Southern Union Conference says no to women’s ordination. The executive committee voted Thursday to keep in harmony with the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s decision not to ordain women to the gospel ministry:
The Southern Union Conference, following the scriptural mandate of the priesthood of all believers, intentionally chooses to continue its long-held commitment to 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.
As the largest union in the North American Division, this action could be a potential hindrance to the recent thrusts from the Mid-America, Pacific and Columbia Unions to begin ordaining women as pastors.
It would appear some church leaders are taking seriously NAD President Dan Jackson’s call to “become more intentional in the development of pathways to ministry for female pastors.”
The Mid-America Union was the first, voting to ordain women in its March 8 executive committee meeting. What followed was a flurry of similar actions.
After the Columbia Union’s decision to affirm its request to the NAD to ordain women, the union’s Potomac Conference voted to review its bylaws in order to enable women’s ordination. A week after the Pacific Union affirmed their commitment to ordain women, the union’s Southeastern California Conference voted to drop “commissioned-ordained” from their ministerial credentials in favor of just “ordained.”
The 1989 Role of Women Commission recommended not to ordain women as pastors due to “widespread lack of support” and “the possible risk of disunity, dissension, and diversion from the mission of the church” (Adventist Review, July 13, 1990, p. 15). This didn’t stop the NAD from trying to make a variance for itself.
In 1994 the NAD recommended through the Annual Council that each division be given the right to ordain individuals within its territory, but the Annual Council voted to refer the NAD’s request to the 1995 General Conference Session; however, July 5, 1995, the NAD’s recommendation was rejected -- 1,481 to 673.
Time will tell whether the remaining five NAD unions will vote to stay in harmony with the world church or not.