In this series, Adventist female pastors recently approved for ordination reflect on what women’s ordination means to them. Spectrum includes video interviews as well as their written thoughts on this affirmation by their local church conference.
My feelings in regards to ordination are somewhat mixed. This may have to do with the fact that I have been a pastor for 19 years without having been "ordained." I went through the ordination process years ago, and since I am a woman, I was approved to be commissioned instead of being ordained. It might also have to do with the fact that I was consumed with trying to fulfill the calling that God put in my heart in the face of opposition and didn't have the time to be concerned with what my credential said.
Please do not misunderstand me and think that I do not value women's ordination. I had tears in my eyes, and my heart was moved as I looked at the screen and saw the result of the recent vote taken at the PUC Constituency Session. I was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude to God. It has been a long and difficult road. I feel such admiration and gratitude towards those who have helped us get this far.
It is an amazing feeling to finally be affirmed by the church body, even if it is only in our union. I compare it to the feeling after having been baptized. It wasn't that you didn't love Jesus or that you hadn't given your life over to Him before being baptized, but it's that sense of peace and love that came over you once you came out of the water. You feel the embrace of God. With ordination, you feel the embrace of your church.
Regardless of what my credential says, it is a humbling privilege to have been called by God to serve in pastoral ministry. My calling, my affirmation, and my ordination has always come from Him. That is what has kept me in ministry this long and will continue to do so.
Carmen Ibáñez is the director of operations at Pine Springs Ranch in Mountain Center, Calif.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4776