SILVER SPRING—In a statement to the General Conference Executive Committee on April 6, President Jan Paulsen told the delegates that after the division presidents surveyed their divisions on the topic of women's ordination, the issue received a negative vote. Therefore, he stated, there is no basis to bring a statement on the issue to a vote at the upcoming General Conference session in Atlanta.
By way of explanation, President Paulsen said that comments made at the 2009 Annual Council meeting seemed to indicate that changes had occurred in the way the issue is now viewed. Thus, it was placed on the agenda for the President's Executive Administrative Council in January 2010. After a full discussion there, it was agreed that what was needed was to take the pulse of the church on what is taking place at the local level. Thus, on April 6, Paulsen asked the world division presidents to poll their territories on two questions:
1. Has there been a change in your division on how this issue is viewed?
2. Would it impact the work in your part of the world if ordination of women was done elsewhere?
He received answers from 11 of the 13 division presidents.
Three said that they were ready to ordain women in significant portions of their divisions. Eight described the extent to which women were being used in leadership positions in their divisions, but said they would not ordain women and they would be negatively impacted if ordination were done elsewhere.
Because of the responses to this survey of eleven, Paulsen said there is no basis to bring a statement to the General Conference session this summer. In closing, Paulsen said that we are not where we were ten years ago, and perhaps the next generation will address the issue differently.
There was no discussion following his statement.
Editor's Note: This article was edited to reflect more strongly the poll that the presidents took of their divisions as a basis for the decision.
Bonnie Dwyer, editor, is covering the Spring Meetings at the Adventist headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2298