Seventh-day Adventist leaders from around the world are on their way to Silver Spring, Maryland for the 2014 Annual Council. The meetings span six days, from October 9 to 15. Women's ordination will come up on Tuesday, October 14. On that day, delegates will consider recommendations from divisional Biblical Research Committees and the General Conference Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC), and will in turn make their own recommendation for the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas.
The discussion at Annual Council will be a comma, not a period, in a debate that has already spanned four decades in earnest. Kit Watts, a former assistant editor of the Adventist Review and founder of La Sierra University's Women's Resource Center put together a nearly exhaustive women's ordination timeline stretching back into the 19th Century and forward to 1995 when Adventist women were concurrently ordained as pastors on both coasts of the United States. However, women were officially serving as ministers as early as 1973, forty-one years ago, in Maryland, California and Germany.
Despite the Church's having studied ordination for many decades, Annual Council will not settle the topic. Neither will San Antonio, despite growing expectations that delegates there will vote on women's ordination. The reason is that now, as for the past four decades, there is no consensus and votes will not create it.
The thirteen Division studies have demonstrated ideological division.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6305