Columbia Union Conference Creates Interactive Women's Ordination Timeline

(system) #1

Visitor Magazine, the official publication of the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, has released an expansive timeline of key events in the history of women's ordination within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Along with a written list of events, Visitor created an interactive timeline entitled "The Road to Ordination" with photos and clickable events that expand to reveal more data.

The timeline begins with the 1880's when "A number of women served as pastors in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Between 1872 and 1945, at least 16 women carried ministerial licenses." From the days of the Pioneers, the timeline follows the story of women in pastoral ministry up to the 2014 Annual Council vote to send the question of whether divisions should be permitted to ordain women to the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio Texas.

The Columbia Union has unapologetically advocated for women's ordination within the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, becoming the first Seventh-day Adventist Union in North America to vote to allow ordination "without regard to gender". That historic vote came on July 29, 2012. The Pacific Union Conference voted less than a month later to also do away with gender distinction as a criterion for ordination. In September, the Pacific Union Conference approved fourteen women candidates for ordination. However, it was the North German Union Conference that became the first union in the Adventist denomination to vote to ordain women. They voted in April 2012 to move ahead with gender equality.

"The Road To Ordination" includes several of those key milestones as the Adventist Church has inched closer to ordaining women denomination-wide.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(efcee) #2

A review of the timeline certainly gives a context for the repeated motions at the GC level to “appoint a committee to study the topic and submit a report for consideration” whenever a motion is presented to ordain women. “Refer to Committee” appears to be a tactic used to preserve status quo. Also of interest is a 1979 action allowing non-ordained men to perform baptisms. I don’t recall ever seeing a baptism performed in an SDA church by a non-ordained person. The most recent church manual seems to forbid it.

(The Seven Pinnipeds of Revelation) #3

I believe that there was a rule introduced that allowed elders to perform baptisms when a pastor wasn’t available. I have seen it done a few times—though usually a pastor was available but the person being baptized wanted a church school teacher or grandfather to baptize them.

(Kevin Paulson) #4

I wasn’t able to download the full chart here at Spectrum, but I saw it referenced elsewhere within the past hour. I didn’t notice that they included the rejection by the Annual Council of 2011 of North America’s request for a variance from the ordained-ministers-only requirement for Conference presidents. Nor did they include the rollback of the NAD’s granting of itself a variance at its year’s end meeting that same year.

Nor, do I see, did they include the overwhelming condemnation of the actions of the rebellious Unions by the Annual Council of 2012. Unless I missed it somewhere.

(Interested Friend) #5

Wouldn’t publicizing the negatives related to WO spoil the effect of the timeline? Don’t you think it may well be a publicity effort to show a more positive view of an action which was taken by the Columbia Union Conference which defied actions by the GC in two official sessions?

Where is the dire action that was promised if the CUC decided to ordain women?
In The Grip of Truth

(Rohan Charlton) #6

Yes! Punish them! Grave Dire consequences!

But don’t worry, my friend @GeorgeTichy has commenced the novel innovation of car park stonings at his local church… When he comes into power in 2015 WATCH OUT CUC!

(sarcasm but I realize that you might actually support this no?)

(George Tichy) #7

All of them being fake, nothing but a façade; in fact, only

(George Tichy) #8

Well, the “car park stoning” experience is reserved for those who break the Sabbath. But we can also include those who are against WO. I may think about it after SA/2015… :slight_smile:

(jeremy) #9

the church of england’s general synod approved women bishops this past monday, after 20 yrs of allowing women to be priests, and after 62 yrs in which queen elizabeth has been the official head of the church…

this issue moves slowly everywhere, and evinces the most galling irony…for instance, the only church that positively forbids women in its clergy is the catholics, who don’t necessarily hold to the bible…that is, the bible is being used to defend male headship when the only people who believe in male headship don’t believe in the bible…

(George Tichy) #10

It sounds almost like, "The only people who don’t believe in WO are those who had an ordained woman as founder of their Church."
Ironic, isn’t it?

(Peter) #11

You cannot rebel against something you have been given the right and responsibility to do. The unions were given the power to ordain. The GC only acts like or thinks it has that power. But keep arguing. You will go to your grave at age 105 protesting women’s ordination that began 40+ years earlier.

(jeremy) #12

that’s exactly what i’m getting at…our case definitely takes the cake: no-one but us has had an inspired woman as head of the church for 70 yrs…

(Peter) #13

Female pastors (not ordained as ministers) have been conducting baptisms in Adventist churches for years, FYI.

(Andreas Bochmann) #14

Very fascinating timeline… interesting approach to visualize the long-term nature of the “issue”. Perhaps something that might need to be spread, translated - and indeed completed with some more details and documents.

(Elmer Cupino) #15

“The voted statement expresses disapproval of the independent actions of the unions, appeals for all Church units “to consider thoughtfully the impact and implications of decisions” made independently of the world community, and affirms the role of women in the Church’s life and ministry.” -


Where in this article does it mention "overwhelming condemnation?” What you missed was to keep your bias under wraps. If you keep on doing this, you could find yourself out of “reassignment.”

(Elaine Nelson) #16

Any Adventist who has been around the church very long recognizes that when a question is “referred to a committee” it is essentially gone into oblivion; buried; file 13; hidden, rarely to see the light of day again. This subterfuge is old and worn and deceives only the uninitiated.