La Sierra University Church Celebrates Ordination of Beverly Maravilla

RIVERSIDE, CA — On Saturday, June 24, La Sierra University Church and the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists confirmed the call of Beverly Maravilla to Gospel Ministry with ordination.  


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2017/06/29/la-sierra-university-church-celebrates-ordination-beverly-maravilla
1 Like

Congratulations, Beverly Maravilla. May God bless your ministry.

9 Likes

There is LSUC, in SoCal, leading AGAIN!
Step by step, baby steps, toward the elimination of discrimination of women in the Adventist Denomination. Past due by far!

Congratulations Bev! Congratulations LSU Church. Congratulations PUC, and North American Division.

15 Likes

I’m all for Women’s ordination and was very bothered by the vote
at the GC in 2015. But even though I speak openly against the
GC decision at my church and with my friends, I’m bothered that
we are having someone push the issue like this. There are times
to push ahead for sure but I was hoping for more of a consensus
move by the entire North American division. I hope that is going to happen.

4 Likes

The General Conference vote pertained to divisions. Unions have had and continue to have jurisdiction over ordination. This ordination was in line with Southeastern California Conference’s voted policy and in accordance with the Pacific Union Conference, which approved the conference’s request. The GC vote has no particular bearing on this.

17 Likes

All you say is true. Thanks. My hope then is that it turns into a movement
in all Unions.

8 Likes

Brother Jared.

Unions have jurisdiction over whom to chose among those WHO are qualified to be ordained.
Global Church Divisions have jurisdiction in decision-making of WHAT IT TAKES to be qualified to be ordained.

Global Church has voted three times (1990, 1995 and 2015) that only the most spiritual and trusted MEN are biblically qualified to serve in the capacity of highest ecclesiastical authority in the Church (ordained pastors, conference, union and division presidents)

All that the Unions can decide is WHOM to chose among those who are deemed qualified for such type of ordination by the Divisions.

Blessings

What a beautiful service to set apart and bless the ministry of this devoted woman!

Women often bring imaginative new viewpoints and understandings to ministry. It is a blessing to add their role to that of men in ministry.

7 Likes

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is currently engaged in a one-year process of reconciliation over the question of what entities will speak for the world church. Before that process has been completed, the Southeastern California Conference has chosen to move forward against the current policies of the world church. How can this action be seen as anything but rebellion against the full body of believers? This ordination at La Sierra is not a time for rejoicing, but a time for sadness as we look ahead.

1 Like

“This ordination at La Sierra is not a time for rejoicing, but a time for sadness as we look ahead.”

“look ahead”…things can never go back to what they were before no matter what the manipulated GC vote was. It is impossible to tell the First Worlds that what they believe is not moral nor convince the Second and Third Worlds that they should not dictate morality or conscience to others. Hence, the Adventist church has arrived at the fork in the road where many other Christian denominations have been before. If denomination schism occurs then some will declare that it is “prophecy” unfolding…if it does not, then “propecy” was still fulfilled. The true loss is mostly financial should there be a permanent fissure which is most likely the reason that “Grave Consequences” have not already occurred.

A heart felt congratulations to you, Beverly Maravilla…may God richly bless your ministry!

6 Likes

The entitiy that will speak for the world church is the Holy Spirit through each disciple, independent of some “world church” hierarchy. I became a seventh day Adventist because of the freedom of ideas and the fact that I didn’t have to recite and believe a creed as a pre-condition of fellowship. Also, and more importantly, because of the SDA view of the character of God and our denunciation of the precept of eternal concious torment for non believers. If we all have to concede to the GC and have it “speak” for us and be the measure of what a good SDA is, then I don’t want to be a member.

5 Likes

I am sorry, but there is nothing in Scriptue to suggest that a woman can not function in ministry as a pastor.
Ordination as we practice it also does not exist in Scripture. If Ordination is to mean "fully recognized by the members to whom one ministers as their Pastor and said individual (male or female) is doctrinally orthodox, then it no one else’s business telling God the Holy Spirit that He made a wrong choice!!!

6 Likes

I’m sure Beverly is a very competent ministerial practitioner in her chosen field of family and children ministries. Many times an important part of anyone’s ministerial formation is using one’s gifts in a variety of contexts. The early years of my ministry in both of the home unions of the South Pacific Division were spent in public evangelism, suburban pastoral ministry, institutional pastoral ministry and as pastor of multi-church congregations, often long distances from each other. Most nights of the week were spent away from my wife and young family.

The difference between Beverly’s highly specialized ministry in a large well-oiled congregation and my ministry in a wide variety of settings and sometimes to tiny, scattered congregations and communities highlights the fact that the nature of ministry in various parts of the world differs so widely.

Perhaps for this reason alone, Adventists pastors around the globe should never be dealt with as if a one size fits all approach to “ordination” works.

Other concerns weigh on my mind, as I read this story!

Recently, at the London Unity Conference Dr Lowell Cooper outlined a suggested and exemplary policy concerning the commissioning of all Adventist leaders who have given evidence that God has first called and commissioned them. Both the Trans-European Division in 2015 and the South Pacific Division in 2016 have called for the GC to investigate the workability and desireability of such a policy. Several Unions in the Trans-European Division have already moved toward the adoption of similar policies.

At least in the case of the Trans-European Division and its Unions these moves seem to be driven by the desire to adopt a renewed anti-clerical paradigm that is quite different from the present Adventist ordination paradigm. In addition, the South Pacific Division Biblical Research Committee TOSC papers push for the creation of a similar anti-clerical paradigm. (I wrote one of these papers).

On the other hand, the NAD and particularly two of its Unions appear to have pushed for a revamping of a very orthodox Protestant clerical paradigm and its extension to both genders, rather than just one.

This state of affairs has gone on for too long. Why don’t the NAD and all of its UNIONS join Lowell Cooper, Adventist policy guru extraordaire and the TED and the SPD and form a growing critical mass urging the GC to give serious consideration to the adoption of this renewed anti-clerical paradigm.

Such a renewed paradigm has the pleasing result of putting the stress on the ministry of all believers, not just on the priesthood of the ordained Adventist clergymen. It would provide the greatest impetus to the Total Member Involvement initiative launch by the GC.

1 Like

The issue of women’s ordination is an intensely personal reality to me. As the offspring of missionary parents, my friend held a decidedly larger world view. In her path after graduation from an SDA college, she felt called to the gospel ministry. It seemed a very logical step in her spiritual journey. She was a brilliant and erudite communicator. She had the ability to make even dry passages of scripture spring to life. But at every turn in her journey/calling, she was thwarted in a male dominated hierarchy. The patronizing replies: “Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Why not consider training for education that would enable you to teach at one of our schools or be a lay minister And keep in mind that pastoral duties might not agree with motherhood.” (She wasn’t even engaged at the time.) In her mind that was not her calling. Then one day after a rather toxic meeting with a Union Conference president, her discouragement overwhelmed her. She committed suicide as a statement. The president was fingered in her last known letter, cited as the loudest but not only voice of “counsel”. That was in 1983. Except for those close to her, this final and fatal action has possibly been largely forgotten. We will never know if she might have been the voice that could have made a difference had she chosen life. (This has been extremely hard for me to write and until now have only shared the story with a well-known SDA pastor shortly before 2015 GC. My friend died for this cause that ultimately took her life. And at this point, if this story is recognized and you know the person, I would ask that you not use her real name in any replies for now.)

5 Likes

Reading about Pastor Maravilla’s ordination and the mostly positive reactions from Spectrum readers has given me a deeper appreciation of what joy the act of inclusiveness and acceptance can bring. I spent an afternoon talking with a great Bible Worker named Mary Walsh several years ago. She had spent time teaching me how to give Bible Studies and giving me great pastoral ideas on Christian Counseling. At that time she told me that ordination for women would never happen because too many men opposed the idea and were scared to “open the floodgates” for women to possibly “replace them”. I asked her about what ordination would mean to her personally. After some time and the standard disclaimer about not needing ordination or waiting for it, she paused and said: “Ordination to pastoral ministry would mean full and true acceptance and respect by my peers and colleagues. Acceptance as an ordained minister would feel good very good to me.” Mary Walsh was never ordained as an Adventist minister.

Forty years later I have to ask If acceptance feels so good, then why does it seem so rare in our church? Without acceptance, our hearts become protected and we lose ourselves. When our hearts are protected, it is near impossible to feel and express the love we have within us. Often, we protect ourselves to escape feeling pain. Unfortunately, when we disconnect from our own pain we also disconnect from our deepest core: our authentic, real self. The ordination of Beverly Maravilla gives us another reason to accept the joy of fairness and equality for all.

My hope is that all of us will feel more open, more accepting, more positive, happier and more loving. The ordination of Pastor Maravilla could make it easier for us to do the emotional work we must do on our own to heal these heart wounds from the respect and acceptance that has been withheld. Eliminating gender bias in our church is not inconsequential it is an imperative. We need to accept the blessing of God on our church policies and administrative decisions. Be prepared to watch the magic happen, and open up to the relief, and joy of acceptance.

4 Likes

i agree that it’s difficult to see how this particular ordination, coming when it does, wouldn’t be perceived as a brazen flouting of what was the obvious intent of the san antonio vote…it’s also difficult to see how sandra roberts, chris oberg and beverly maravilla, herself, wouldn’t be aware of this perception…

on the one hand, i do get the virtue of standing up for one’s principles, come what may…but in this instance, i have to say, i think paul’s counsel in Rom 13:13-14: 21 and 1Cor 10:23-33 should have received greater weight…while it may be lawful and right for me to say and do certain things, there is also the important consideration of the effect of my choices on others to factor in…whatever the intent, the optics of this ordination can only say to african delegates, and others who voted no in san antonio, that their scruples and concerns - their value - counts for nothing, and that only my own feelings and agenda matter…but is this at all part of the christ we all know, who gave all he had, and after giving all he had, gave himself for those who had no thought that they needed anything he had to offer…this kind of message, so thoroughly tone deaf, doesn’t invite thoughts of commonality and unity…it in fact invites feelings of discord and disunity…

there can be no question that women’s ordination is right, and that it is an obvious tool the holy spirit is calling for as we gear up for the latter rain…but is controversy and a distinct disdain for others the package it is meant to be presented in…is the end-time role of women, god’s crowning act of creation, meant to be mired in hopeless division and perpetual strife…i don’t think so…i think our best course, in view of the san antonio vote, is to tread softly, and to yield to our brothers and sisters who aren’t where we are yet…we should see their darkness and ignorance as our opportunity to serve and enlighten…and rather than grasping for what is lawfully ours, we should give god a chance to sort all of this out in his own time and way…but by acting proactively in a way we must know is provocative, are we giving god a chance to work in a way that brings the whole church on board…are we not sabotaging what for all we know could be an incredible, unprecedented and world-wide awakening, the signs for which we don’t yet see, but can feel on the edges of our collective consciousness…

i agree that this ordination isn’t a time for rejoicing, but of sadness as we look ahead…this celebration feels wrong…

It’s interesting that those who condone the ordination of women believe that now in this modern era the Holy Spirit will speak contrary to what He has already spoken through the Holy Scriptures. He is the Spirit of the God that changes not, and He has spoken to the church through the scriptures, the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints. This rebellion is nothing short of a continued full frontal attack on the authority of the scriptures. The scriptures do not allow women to be in positions of authority in the church, and yes a pastor has that authority.

Hi Spectrum, Any reason why my comment was taken down ?

Hi Jeremy,

I understand your perspective, but do not feel that Pr. Bev’s (she is children’s pastor to my daughters) ordination is intended to make any particular statement vis-a-vis women’s ordination in the wake of San Antonio. Rather, her ordination took place after an amount of time in ministry just as with any other pastor in the conference. I do not find it grasping, provocative, or tone deaf; it is merely a continuation of what has been the status quo in Southeastern California for many years.

We are not flouting our values to the exclusion of other’s concerns, but rather living our values to the best of our collective ability. What would be the proper actions to avoid being a stumbling block to our brothers and sisters who, as you say, “aren’t where we are yet”? Avoid ordaining women pastors? Perhaps elders too? Even un-ordaining those we already have? While we should always consider the feelings and scruples of others, they cannot be the determining factor when deciding local and regional courses of action. Those in northern latitudes, who feel that suit and tie is the proper attire for church attendance, should not dictate clothing standards for those in the tropics!

Pax,

David

It is so wonderful to see that there is so much unity promoted in the SECC

1 Like