BREAKING: Berlin-Central German Conference Votes to Implement Women's Ordination

(Spectrumbot) #1

On Sunday, May 10, delegates from the Berlin-Central German Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted during the conference's quadrennial constituency session in Leipzig, Germany to implement women's ordination. Dr. Andreas Bochman, Head of the MA in counseling program at Friedensau Adventist University in Germany and visiting lecturer of pastoral counseling at Newbold College in England, attended the event, and said that an among the extensive proposals for the next four years presented by the conference planning committee came a sentence saying that with immediate effect, the conference will start ordaining female pastors who are ready for ordination. Bochmann added that a more literal translation of the German statement into English would read, "Women's ordination will speedily be implemented if it lends itself in regards to an employed female pastor."

There were delegates present who moved to delete the ordination clause from the next four years' plans, arguing that the conference should not force the issue when the General Conference will vote in a little more than a month on whether divisions may proceed with ordination regionally. The motion was overwhelmingly defeated, Bochmann said.

Others proposed toning down the language, a motion that was narrowly defeated.

Compared to other agenda items, the deliberations on ordaining women took relatively little time. Some noted that current church policy (pending the upcoming vote in San Antonio, Texas) is that unions hold final say in approving ordination candidates. The North German Union Conference (Berlin-Central German Conference's parent company) voted to ordain women in 2012.

The statement approved by the conference has generated considerable discussion on various Facebook pages among German Adventists.

More details as they become available. Report (in German) from Adventgemeinde Neuenhagen here:


EDIT: Bochmann notes, "The delegates did not vote women's ordination (as the title originally implied), but voted to "speedily implement" (zügig umsetzen). According to our policies delegates at a conference would not be able to "vote for or against" WO, as the decision on ordinations is a prerogative of the Union Conference."


Jared Wright is Managing Editor of

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Rohan Charlton) #2

This is very encouraging news. What a shame that it’s in no way predictive of what will happen in San Antonio.

(Andreas Bochmann) #3

Well, I never thought that one little sentence in a four page “planning paper” would hit news in America. :smile:

The Berlin-Central-Germany Conference is part of the North German Union Conference who was the first Union to vote FOR women’s ordination (on the motion of an elderly gentleman in a remote town … who didn’t know anything about church politics, but felt compelled to write to the Union about his conviction). However, since the vote was taken, no female pastors have been ordained in their territory. I wouldn’t expect that to happen before San Antonio.

Overall at this conference session there appeared to be little understanding for the attempt to delete the sentence. Or to put in other words: it’s not an issue for most. The discussion was short, the session peaceful. The sentence remained as of fact statement of support for the North German Union decision - motivated among other things by an acute shortage of pastors in Germany.

(Jared Wright) #4

Thank you for clarification and elaboration, Andreas. Much appreciated.

(Elaine Nelson) #5

It has been repeated: The unions have ultimate authority on ordination so it really doesn’t matter the vote at San Antonio as the unions cannot be overruled.

(Marianne Faust) #6

Thank you Andreas! I might be wrong, but even here in Baden-Württemberg I haven’t heard voices against wo…

(Andreas Bochmann) #7

That’s why I think in most parts of Europe it’s a “non-issue” (remember the BRC of our division - EUD - voted their paper in favour of WO unanimously, and that would include some of the most conservative regions of Europe). Nevertheless, @rohantocharles is correct, I think:

(Jared Wright) #8

Elaine, this is a fairly significant point that seems to be lost on most people in advance of the GC Session and accompanying vote.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #9

I wonder how that will impact German studies. Tom Z

(George Tichy) #10

Right on time. The Europeans are sending a clear message that they are not intimidated by the GC, and whatever the GC is trying to do does not decrease the Unions’ rights to legislate on this issue at their level.

I bet many Europeans are considering the GC’s maneuver using the “__famous question” a joke, a truly ineffective move.

My prediction, again, is that after the NO vote in SA, many Unions will just push the button “GO.”

(George Tichy) #11

Andreas, sorry but I think you should not come to the US to help @elmer_cupino and me at that “Nut Clinic” We need you in Europe to work on those other issues. You are extremely good at it!!! :laughing:

(Andreas Bochmann) #12

George, what other issues? We don’t have any. :flushed:

(George Tichy) #13

:+1: :+1: :+1: :+1: :+1:
You really made my day!!!
Danke schön!

(Andreas Bochmann) #14

There might be some truth to that - especially for those colleagues who have survived East German communism (apart from former West-Berlin the whole territory of the conference under discussion is in the former East), actual persecution, retribution, grave consequences for being Adventists. They don’t think it’s particularly funny the same thing is happening in their church now, but are willing to stand up against it - as they have learned to do when Stasi officers tried to lure them into compliance.

(George Tichy) #15

I can understand it.
This is in my blood as well. The story of my parents and brothers leaving their country twice* for the sake of freedom is a permanent reminder that “freedom is untouchable.”

*First time right before Hitler’s invasion, they fled to Belgium, but returned to Czech Republic after the war. Then they left again after the Communists took the government, this time to no longer return (though my Dad moved back in 1992, at the age 87 and lived there for another 5 years).

(Andrew) #16

I guess they will have to get rid of the Seminaries, according to Doug Batchelor’s etymology! :wink:

(Sirje) #17

…and mine. We come from the brave and the strong. No wonder we ended up here, never to be intimidated. :smile:

(Andrew) #18


Does this mean the GC can still thwart this?

(Elmer Cupino) #19

There is a threshold to putting up with “shenanigans.” At some point in time, one will have to stand up to what is universally espoused and there can be nothing more important than “being true” to your conscience.

Congratulations to your Union.

(George Tichy) #20

Well,… be careful with the WebEds… I think they may be Russians… :laughing: