Trans-European Division Executive Committee Responds to GC Annual Council Warning

On Friday, November 22, 2019, the Executive Committee of the Trans-European Division (TED) voted to “endorse the commitment of the Scandinavian unions to mission and express a joint motion of solidarity with the leaders of the three unions as they find the best way to deal with this important issue.”

The motion, presented by Tamás Ócsai, President of the Hungarian Union, was passed by an overwhelming majority. With the endorsement of all the unions, the aim was to demonstrate concern and support for the Danish Union of Churches Conference, the Norwegian Union Conference and the Swedish Union of Churches Conference who were voted a public warning during the General Conference Annual Council vote in October 2019. That vote stated that they “have taken actions that are not in harmony with Working Policy and practices on credentials.”

Christine Burt, a lay member from England, and Hungarian Union Executive Secretary, Róbert Csizmadia, were among those who spoke to the motion.

In practice, the constituencies or Executive committees of all three Scandinavian unions have taken actions to, in effect, offer only one commissioned credential to all ministers in Norway and Sweden, regardless of gender, and not to ordain any pastor of either gender at the current time. In Denmark this only applies to new ministers since 2015.

Recognizing the highly egalitarian nature of Scandinavian society, the unions are concerned that the current status quo of men and women in ministry has distracted youth and their surrounding wider society from their ability for effective mission since issues of equality in the region are seen as extremely important. They believe that their course of action is a temporary way of respecting the 2015 vote in San Antonio regarding the ordination of women until a permanent solution by the World Church can be found, while at the same time living in harmony with their conscience and local culture in support of mission.

The TED vote came after an update on process since the last full meeting of the Executive Committee, discussion and statements from the floor, a response by General Conference President, Ted Wilson, and finally the motion as proposed by the Hungarian Union.

General Conference Response

Pastor Wilson responded to the various comments in an effort to explain the background to the Annual Council action.

General Conference President Ted Wilson.

“You are part of the church family and we respect you,” Wilson stated, “but we are a very large family.” He emphasized that, in his mind, “the actions taken by the Scandinavian unions, despite being in response to heart-felt conviction, run contrary to the intent of the 2015 vote in San Antonio.” Emphasizing the way that the World Church works, he stated, “We have to work together, or we will fragment. We must have collegial respect for what we vote.”

TED positive for mission

Raafat Kamal who, as TED President, chaired the meeting recognized the “uncharted waters” that the Division currently navigates but noted that, despite that, reports across the five days of Year-End Meetings clearly demonstrate that Mission is alive and well in Europe.

Raafat Kamal, TED President, chairing the meeting.

These included a look at Mission over the 90-year history of the TED, a variety of video reports from the unions, and the increasing number of mission-focused news articles on the TED website.

Supporting the motion made by the Hungarian Union, Kamal notes that mission challenges are not new to the TED. For instance, recent years have seen the reunification of a divided church in Hungary. That took sensitivity, listening, prayer and commitment but has led to unity and growth.

Kamal states, “With those same tools, and with the inclusive vote taken on Friday, the TED will continue to seek similar, positive ways to move forward with mission in the context of the current varied cultures and sensitivities of the Trans-European Division.”

This article was written by Victor Hulbert, TED communication director, and originally appeared on the TED News Network, the official news services of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Main image: Tamás Ócsai, president of the Hungarian Union, presents the motion. All photos by Victor Hulbert, courtesy of the TED.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Raafet Kamal for GC President? Victor Hulbert for GC President?..or should the church play leap frog and nominate a woman?


This is such a compelling proof that our GC president, the honorable Pastor Ted Wilson, has his cards backwards. I have practiced child and adolescent psychiatry, an alias for family psychiatry, for the past 30 some years and I have NEVER counseled parents, whether the family is small, large or very large, to treat their children as if they were all in one developmental stage. As a matter of fact, it is those families whose parents threat their children as if they were in one developmental stage that always become dysfunctional and seek psychiatric treatment. The healthy families are where parents individualize training and discipline according to the stage of each of their children. What makes this foundational principle difficult to understand?

Time for changing of the guards. Can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip.


Anyone but Ted Wilson, or any other LGTarian. Those people are corroding our Church badly.


When a Pastor is introduced as Pastor ……, what it only means is that
one’s potential of leadership in a congregation is recognized.
When a person’s leadership is recognized and has the “laying on of
hands” as a symbol of the Holy Spirit anointing,
It seems to me that one can CALL, NAME “the laying on of hands”
whatever the local [conference, union, division] wants to call it.
It all still means the same thing.
Much of this “ordination rules and regulations” has its basis in early
Catholic church traditions anyway.
The early Catholic church began the Tradition of MEN ONLY as Priests.
Other Denominations have discarded these Catholic Church Traditions.
President Wilson and the SDA church have done all they can to
maintain these Catholic Church Traditions.


What the TED unions should do in response to Ted Wilson’s rejection of their reasonable and statesmanlike approach is to commence ordinations of women as ministers in early 2020.


He sounds so nice when he says it like that.


Do his words and actions match though? :thinking:


Yes they do! How dare you, sir just waltz in here and try to break up our well-functioning Adventist family? Didn’t you get the MAP memo?

You see what all of those marketing people say in the most cliche approach to making a political appeal video? We are a family!

And in our old-fashioned family… Men run the church, and women run the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, birth and raise the next generation of kids that will COMPLY. They also run their husband’s finances to write Mr. Wilson’s pensi…, I mean tithe checks.

We can’t have it differently, because we’ll fragment, George. And how can Ted Wilson speak for us then if we begin speaking for ourselves in a fragmented manner? What’s next? Keeping the tithe in the local church and spending it on growth and local church and community needs?

So, how about you comply now, and fetch Mr. Wilson his giraffe. High horse isn’t high enough anymore. :slight_smile:


And so much work for the women on Sabbath…let’s not forget that blessed, restful day! :wink:

I’m very relieved that none of the females on the video were wearing make-up or jewelry. Yikes…wouldn’t want them look to worldly (aka normal?).


True…and not everything one reads is all that memorable as well. :wink:


"Recognizing the highly egalitarian nature of Scandinavian society, the unions are concerned that the current status quo of men and women in ministry has distracted youth and their surrounding wider society from their ability for effective mission since issues of equality in the region are seen as extremely important."

If only the current Administration could respect and acknowledge that it would have been best to let each part of the world do what is best for them. But, no…we have to push, threaten, and scold others like children to go against what their God-given consciences say.


It stuns the imagination why the leaders of the church–every one of them that votes against or opposes ordaining women and not discriminating–cannot seem to put 2 + 2 together when they exclaim about the numbers leaving the church. “We need to figure out how to work on that,” they muse in their meetings.

We focus and succeed on educating intelligent young men and women who are engaged in their culture. Believe me, they can put 2 = 2 together.

What kind of scales are on the eyes of those who cannot or will not make the connection? Young men and women are offended by discrimination; they care about the ethics of the church ignoring Scandinavian sensitivity to their countries’ equality laws while at the same time attempting to follow church policy (not doctrine).

It baffles. :exploding_head::exploding_head::exploding_head:


No, I won’t comply. I want to experience the joy of being “warned first” then “reprimanded”… :wink:


Harrpa, I believe that the “scales” are actually “blinders”.

They live in a rarified world that has not progressed since the “good ole days” of the 1950’s when apparently the world was “perfect”. The rest of the world has moved on and the youth of today do not support discrimination against women. The Powers That Be refuse to accept that this is so and wish to get re-elected to their positions of power. So, it follows that they cater for votes from those who don’t have a problem with discrimination against women.

Apparently those youth that leave aren’t particularly noticed…not sure that they put 2+2 together.


No. With exception of Walter Rea’s “The White Lie,” I never read a book a second time. And I still have many books on my list to be read the first time before I can afford to read any one of them a second time. :wink:


Easy for some of them: 2 + 2 = 22!!! … LOL


Joy of being warned and then reprimanded for non-compliance? Sounds like a theme from the upcoming “50 shades of GC”.


Why should any union ordain anyone. They should however begin to commission everyone who is called by the Lord and His people to pastoral leadership.


I admire the restrained response of the Scandinavians in the face of a conniving bully who plots and schemes against his fellow Christians who love Christ. All his talk about supporting a church vote against WO ignores individual conscience. What happened to the advice, “We ought to obey God rather than man”? I’m glad some in our church still live by that advice. TW should never have allowed that vote at SA to be taken, knowing its divisive nature. It will go down in history as a monumental collapse of administrative judgment.