Hansa Conference In Germany Affirms Prior Decision to Ordain Without Regard to Gender

The Hansa Conference in the North German Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which includes the states of Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Schleswig-Holstein, has reiterated its commitment to a statement drafted in 2012, which spoke in favor of the ordination of pastors to ministry without regard to gender.

According to a report published by the Adventist Press Service (APD) in Basel, Switzerland, Hansa Conference Vice-President Pastor Jan Kozak said that "With this declaration the Hansa-Conference wants to express a clear standpoint towards their own local churches."

On April 23, 2012, leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North- and East-Germany (North-German Union / Norddeutscher Verband, NDV) decided that female pastors working in the territory of the North-German Union may be ordained alike their male colleagues. That vote is not the policy position of the Worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Chruch, and has not been implemented so far. However, the Hansa Conference statement is a step closer to its implementation.

The following is the statement voted by the Hansa Conference on November 22, 2015:

Statement by the Board of the Hansa Conference regarding the Decision of the General Conference Session in San Antonio in 2015 on the topic "Unity of the World Church and the Ordination of Women"

The Board of the Hansa Conference notes with regret that the General Conference Session has not given the various world regions [Divisions] independent authority on the issue of inclusive ordination without regard to gender (ordination of women).

We regard ourselves as a loyal part of the World Church. This decision has not changed that. However, this decision has created a dilemma for us, which is not only about loyalty and unity, but about the correct understanding of the gospel. The gospel does not differentiate in the standing of a person (Acts 10:34), nor in the understanding of office.

It is our mission to act in accordance with the gospel and to proclaim the Three Angels' Messages. With this good news the church life knows no ethnic, social or gender boundaries (Gal 3:28).

There are already indications that the San Antonio decision may alienate many of our youth, our women and other members of our church. Our proclamation of the gospel already takes place under difficult conditions. This decision has now made those conditions worse still, as it may be difficult to explain the rationale of this decision to the public. Nobody can exercise continuous loyalty outwardly when it is contrary to his or her conscience inwardly. We do not want to expose our sisters, young people and church members to such an ordeal, and therefore declare as Board of the Hansa Conference:

We continue to encourage female church members to opt for the pastoral ministry and hereby reiterate our intention, to act in accordance with the decision of the NDV [North German Union / Norddeutscher Verband] general assembly of April, 23rd 2012, which recommends pastors to the ordination in ministry regardless of gender.

The Board of the Hansa Conference Hamburg, 22 Nov 2015

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7234
4 Likes

Lead on! The Spirit is moving around the world with sensitivity yet firmness. Pastors to the Gospel ministry “regardless of gender.”

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we are definitely witnessing some exciting history in the making…this hansa statement is practically an apostolic we-must-obey-god-rather-than-men statement…

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I am glad to read about the developments - for whatever they are worth. Incidentally, Basel is in Switzerland, not Germany, which means APD Germany and APD Switzerland reported, which is noteworthy in itself (they are the official PR agencies of the church after all). Furthermore … if you want to “colour the territority” on your map, perhaps you could add the Berlin-Mid-German Conference (Berlin, Brandenburg, Sachsen, Thüringen, Sachsen-Anhalt) - which at their regular conference in session earlier this year voted in their planning paper to support the North-German Unions on ordaining women (SPECTRUM did report). Personally I can’t see the other conferences in the Union holding a different position.

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Just to clarify, the colored portion of the map is a geographic depiction of the territory the Hansa Conference occupies, not necessarily a map of the portions of Germany that support the North-German Unions concerning the ordination of women.

1 Like

GlĂĽckwunsch Hansa Vereinigung!!!

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I like the emphasis on the Gospel ministry. The outcome of SA was not only a rejection of WO but a reaffirmation of an ego centric eschatology. Fortunately Eroupe has never placed much authority on Ellen White. The editors of the Review in the waning days of Brimsmead adopted Jesus as the Model Man theme which is the hallmark of the Wilson era. This cultic mind set pervades the Southern states. The West Coast offers some glimmer of hope. Tom Z

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Well done Hansa Conference…you know the Scriptures and have decided to obey God rather then man.

Over the years, I have observed the results of this culturally based tradition of discrimination. Women in ministry have been: verbally attacked by male church members for not being “subservient to men”, ridiculed for entering the ministry, had their evangelistic and church growth proposals blocked by male church members (who were unqualified to judge these proposals) and denied input into decision making processes.

We women who minister in non-SDA churches do so because we will be treated with Christian courtesy and respect and we can preach the Word without opposition from ignorant persons. I pray that later generations of women can minister in the SDA church without opposition from persons who do not know the Scriptures or the power of God unto salvation or persons who have a political agenda. Rene Gale

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This is heartening, to see an emphasis on the Gospel and on concerns about the young people and women and their perception of the Gospel. Unfortunately, the youth and women of the NAD are showing similar signs. When are some of our conferences going to stand up for God and the Gospel instead of the opinions of men?

Let’s continue ordaining women in NA so I can start wearing something other than black to church.

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Culture, culture, culture. It’s a cultually-conditioned theology, plain and simple. (Well-stated, Rene.)

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I am saddened to see the German Conference publicly break with church leadership, instead of settling their differences in prayer rooms. Why has SDA leadership embraced the idea that the church will fall without unanimity. It seems to me that God is very tolerant of diverse religious persuasions, as He is with diversity in human skin colors and physical features as well as in plant and animal life.

Diversity can be unity if there is love. Diversity is God’s creation when he created male and female.

Just like the Pacific Union Conference, the constituency isn’t folding on their convictions. The vote, again, did nothing to engender unity. I still think the Norwegians not “ordaining” is still the best move. Quit using the divisive, unbiblical term and practice. That would settle it much better.

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@tjzwemer, this has nothing to do with the authority of EGW.