During the 2009 North American Division Year-end Meeting (YEM), delegates voted to allow ordained/commissioned ministers to be conference presidents. The vote was rescinded at Elder Jan Paulsen's request pending anticipated discussion of the issue at the 2010 General Conference Session. Both Elder Paulsen and then NAD President Don Schneider promised that if the discussion did not come to the floor at the GC Session, the delegates at the NAD's 2010 YEM could revisit the issue. During the 2010 GC Session, the discussion never made the agenda.
So, in the NAD Year-end Meeting, delegates again voted the policy by an overwhelming majority. In a separate action the NAD also voted to request a variance in the GC's policy to allow for it. The negative vote by delegates at the recent Annual Council does not automatically negate the NAD's 2010 vote. The policy still stands, and is once again on the agenda for discussion at the 2011 YEM, going on now in Silver Spring. According to delegates attending the meeting, the issue will be discussed on Monday, October 31.
In advance of the anticipated discussion, a website has been created with a letter of affirmation and support directed at NAD leaders who will be revisiting the ordained/commissioned presidents issue. In less than 48 hours, 750 people added their names to the letter, indicating their support for the policy. The letter reads,
We, the undersigned, support North American Division President Daniel Jackson and all the leaders of the North American Division in re-confirming the 2009 and 2010 votes to allow ordained/commissioned ministers to be conference presidents. We recognize that allowing ordained/commissioned ministers to serve as presidents would be an unprecedented step toward achieving gender equality within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and we celebrate and affirm this important step.
If the measure should be re-confirmed by NAD delagates, it would mark a significant step toward gender equality in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In addition to the new support website, a Facebook page has been created to facilitate online sharing and promotion of the letter signing campaign, which has quickly gone viral on social media and through email. With the Sunday evening deadline fast approaching, you can take part in promoting the letter by connecting on facebook or sharing via email.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3509