Columbia Union Conference Recommends 'Yes' Vote on GC Ordination Question

(system) #1

The Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee issued a statement Thursday supporting a favorable vote to authorize Seventh-day Adventist Church regional governing bodies, called divisions, to decide when and how to handle the question of women’s ordination. The vote comes in anticipation of the 60th General Conference Session called for July 2015 in San Antonio, Texas, where nearly 2,700 delegates will be asked: “Is it acceptable for division committees, as they may deem appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes or No.”

Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference, believes an affirmative vote would strengthen the unity of the church and further the mission in some areas of the world where appropriate, especially in the North American Division where he serves. “As I understand it, this is one of the options proposed and supported in a straw poll by 62 out of the 95 attendees at the final meeting of the General Conference Theology of Ordination Study Committee,” he said following the union’s week of Year-end Meetings, which ended today. “They spent 18 months trying to find consensus around our practice of ordination, and I believe that poll, though unofficial, provides a practical indicator of the best way forward for our church at this pivotal moment.”

Read the full statement here: On the Question of Women’s Ordination: We Stand in Support of Mission, Unity in Diversity and Healthy Christian Conduct

This article originally appeared in the Columbia Union Visitor and is reprinted by permission.

Title Image: Cynthia Poole-Gibson, associate superintendent of education for the Allegheny East Conference, reads part of the statement on the GC Session question. Photo credit: V. Michelle Bernard

Celeste Ryan Blyden is publisher of the Columbia Union Visitor.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Steve Mga) #2

All this agitation from Union Conferences here in the U.S., is any of this discussion being allowed to appear in the Southern World [other than Australia], Africa, Asia, Pacific areas? Or, are the Women in those areas being shielded from the North American discussion?

(George Tichy) #3

The Unions in the US and Europe better be prepared for reality: The world church is going to defeat this proposition by voting NO.

This was the GC’s goal since the beginning. TOSC didn’t go as the GC expected, so they had to orchestrate another little trick. And they did, since the question they allowed to be sent to the Session will for sure be voted down. This one they already knew, because they know the world church’s culture.

The US Unions better have a plan B, because this is the only one that will work for them!!!

(Interested Friend) #4

In the view of who knows how many Weigley has not demonstrated cooperation with past GC decisions which have declined to approve WO. At the session when Weigley led out in proclaiming WO as OK he was politely requested by the GC President to not go ahead with such action.

Is this an example for the laity? If they don’t like the protocols that the Columbia Union imposes on its Conferences is that a license to deviate from them.

Disunity in the SDA church does not place it in a favorable light.
In The Grip of Truth

(Steve Mga) #5

The only Plan B is see available is:

  1. Evangelism and Church Planting.
    Ordination without regard to Gender to facilitate
    intra-church and community Evangelism.

  2. The organization of Multi-Union Credential Committee.
    To allow for Ordained persons to move from Union to Union when called…

(Carolyn Parsons) #6

Not only women; all members are being shielded from this information. Most rural people in these areas do not have access to the internet, or even good newspapers. They get much of their information from the official church publications and ministers.

The people I know most about, the people of Angola, are sincere and generous.Their leadership does not reflect their sincerity in my opinion. I don’t believe they will educate anyone about the range of theological opinions. They will only be offered one interpretation.

I also believe that the GC leadership does not want to “break the spell” because they use this unfortunate situation to bolster their preferred outcome. They are using these people as political pawns instead of allowing them to learn and make up their own minds.

I don’t know that even given the range of information much would change about their position. In many areas their cultural norms do not allow women to be more than servants of men in church.

(jeremy) #7

this is one of the fall outs that the columbia union and pacific union conferences may not be banking on…in the same way they’ve done their own thing, over and above the will of the gc, their own constituent churches will do the same, irrespective of their will…rebellion can sometimes look like a noble thing…but in the end, it undermines system and order, and the very reason for being…

i don’t expect that individual male headship churches will be inclined to give any credence to a wo vote coming out of san antonio…

(Peter Marks) #8

I believe you have hit upon a very important feature of this whole exercise. Again, I call on the General Conference to circulate educational materials on many media platforms in many languages to educate delegates and all church members before San Antonio. What ever option gets up in 2015, such an educational process is probably our best defense again the recriminations, inneuendo, suspicion, mutual distrust and disunity that any outcome is more than likely to generate.

(George Tichy) #9

Education makes people to think better. Why would the GC “educate” those people???

(Peter Marks) #10

I agree George! The goodwill or otherwise of the GC administration is on display here for all to see. Having said that, the GC President has called on all to be persuaded in their own minds from inspired counsel. However, the South Pacific Division is still sitting on it’s hands doing very little to educate Adventists in general about the issues. Some time ago the SPD made a directive to church entities within their territory not to facilitate any discussion of the issues and options as far as WO is concerned. Unless this ban has been overturned recently it still stands. The SPD news magazine refused to carry any significant discussion of the issues. By my reckoning the overwhelming majority of pastors in Australia and New Zealand support WO. The general church membership are more divided, although a clear majority probably support WO.

I say again that whatever option gets up in San Antonio in 2015, an educational process is our best defence against the recriminations, inneuendo, suspicion, mutual distrust and disunity that will most likely develop in the wake of any outcome at San Antonio.