Being ordained is a great honor, one which I wasn't sure I would ever receive. Very early on I decided that I knew I was called by God and would minister in any position he called me to, which would not be dependent on ordination. This allowed me to not stress about when women would be ordained, but focus on ministry, trusting God would work things out in his time, and his way. That being said, I'm very excited to be part of this exciting time in history for the Adventist church and to have my ordination credentials.
I have the privilege of serving in the Potomac Conference, which has been one of the front runners in supporting women in ministry. I was thrilled to be Ordained-Commissioned, which they do for both men and women, on July 23, 2011. That ceremony showed me how supported I am by my conference, colleagues, church, family and friends. My experience here has been exceptional. But unfortunately I couldn't say that same thing about my denomination as a whole.
As soon as I announced that I was going to study theology in school, the questions started coming. "Is it ok for a woman to be a pastor? Often that was followed by, "I've never heard of a female pastor in the Adventist church" or, "Does our church support that? To which I could never answer with a straight, "Yes the church supports women in ministry." As a church we have a long way to go when it comes to women in ministry, but the fact that Godly men and women have put their careers on the line to stand up for women's ordination tells me that we are heading in the right direction. I was thrilled to serve as a delegate at the Columbia Union Constituency meeting when they voted to support Ordination regardless of gender. It was heartwarming to hear the support coming from the leaders and delegates! I still can't answer the above questions with a straight "Yes" but I am seeing more support than ever before. To me, women's ordination says more about the spiritual state of the SDA church than it does about the value of women in ministry. I believe women have an important role to play in our church even if the world church never supports women's ordination.
Correction: Jennifer Deans is the campus pastor for Community Praise Center in Dulles, Virginia.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4825