Trans-European Division Year-end Meetings Votes Statement to Support Women in Ministry and Leadership

Bečići, Montenegro, November 22, 2018

Members of the Trans-European Division Executive Committee today voted a four-point document aimed at supporting women who serve in roles of leadership and ministry. The vote came as a result of extensive discussion during TED Year-end Meetings, November 21-25, in Bečići, Montenegro. It aims to deal with issues, global and local, that can enhance the possibility for women to work effectively in a church setting.

Endorsing Women in Ministry

The first recommendation is a request to the General Conference for them to make an official statement endorsing women in ministry and leadership. This would be seen as a significant and encouraging addition to the many official statements of the Church on a wide range of issues such as the Nurture and Protection of children, Freedom of Speech, Gender issues, Global Poverty and a commitment to Health and Healing.

The recommendation reads, “Given the current discussion in the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church regarding the role of women within the life of the church, which has an impact both internally and externally, we request the Officers of the General Conference to initiate the drafting of a position statement affirming women, and their role and contribution within the church at all levels, to be presented to the Spring Meeting 2019 of the General Conference Executive Committee for consultation and to be voted on by the full Executive Committee at Annual Council 2019.”

Church Manual revisions

Two further requests are made to the GC Church Manual Committee. One is to consider the language in the manual related to the description of elder. Noting a variety of voted actions and the way they are footnoted in the Church Manual, the request is for clarity and states,

“As ‘elder’ is gender neutral, there is no indication in the Church Manual that the term is inclusive of both male and female. We would request that the Church Manual Committee, amend the language to reflect that elders may be male or female.”

There is a further request for the Church Manual Committee to insert a provision which would allow for other ministerial credentials to be created between General Conference sessions, on the understanding that they would be subject to ratification at the next General Conference, when the Church Manual could be updated.

Educational subsidy

Supporting women in ministry, the TED Executive committee fully endorsed a decision taken by the TED Sponsorship Committee to provide educational support that will make provision for 32 women to train for ministry over the next three years, providing them with a 75% sponsorship for room, board and tuition.

You can read the full document here: Recommendations to support women in ministry and leadership

The Trans-European Division has one of the highest proportions of female leadership of any Division in the World, standing at approximately 14.5 percent.

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

Image: Audrey Andersson & Nenad Jepuranovic presenting recommendations. Photo courtesy of TED.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9231

The General Conference ALREADY acknowledges women in “ministry”.
Children S.S. teachers.
Teachers at various levels in our educational program K to Graduate school.
Deaconess
Elders in some places
“Commissioned” pastors. [But NOT Conference presidents elected by constituents]
So it would be VERY EASY for someone to come up with some flowery words about
Seventh day Adventist women.

BUT there WILL NOT BE any agreement by the GC on approving “Ordained women pastors.”

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Well done TED! Certainly a fulsome endorsement of women in ministry by the GC is an essential move, given the encircling forces within the body that would question this.

As to your request that the Church Manual Committee of the General Conference create gender neutral language concerning elders. I fear that such a move may very well backfire as there are many, including the GC President who would prefer to roll back the 1984 Annual Council allowance providing for women elders.

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There were women elders being ordained as early as the mid 1970s. A practice almost 50 years old isn’t can’t be rolled back now without serious consequences!

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Many people including Elder Ted Wilson want it rolled back. I suspect they comfort themselves by reference to the experience of the Southern Baptist’s.

Trans-European Division affirms women but fails to advocate for
their ordination. And what about the suffocating compliance network just voted by the global church? Is there no word of protest or even concern from Europe, the conscience of the world regarding human rights?

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As does the SPD! Both Divisions are noted for their promotion of equity and justice in regard to people of both genders who are in ministry. I have an educated hunch that both Divisions are more open to the idea of revising the ‘ordination paradigm’ as the Scandinavian Unions have done.

I could wish that the NAD were not so wedded to the idea of just extending the old and broken ordination system to women.

as with the SPD and canadian statements, this statement from TED is obviously an endorsement of NAD’s reaction to battle creek, but couched in language designed to show respect towards the GC for the time being…if i were TW, mike ryan or mark finley, i would not draw comfort from this statement, or any of it’s requests…

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I personally don’t like those statements that lack a clear declaration of support for women’s ordination. But this is only the rebel side of my personality. :open_mouth: At the same time I understand that they have to be cautious and it may be much better to make statements that will appease the GC and at the same time they will continue working on promoting women’s ministry and ordination as well. Just buying time I guess.

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One thing at a time. WAY too many ‘ordained’ ministers rolling around with associate degrees in things not even remotely close to a degree in religous studies! That, to me, is the ‘broken’ part of the system.

:rofl: Britannia waives the rules…

The TED posted on the compliance issue a few weeks back. Our preference to look forward rather than back.

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Very well, Victor, let’s look forward: In just one year and a half comes the 2020 General Conference Session. Then a simple majority of the GC-chaired nominating committee selects a compliance-driven candidate for every division presidency around the world. Each of the 13 names then goes direct to the floor of the GC Session to be voted into power by the delegates (including the Global South in full force).

With a compliance administration firmly empowered and deployed in each world division, then can begin the big purge of non-compliant union leaders, with their followers “shaken out” so “the faithful remnant” can "finish the work and Jesus can come.”

Is that the way God will reach the world with His gospel of grace and truth? Or is that when He fulfills His promise: "I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation” (Micah 4:7).

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The debate is petty. The issue is not of conscience but of competence. No need to debate with an ego. Or any policy that goes agsinst logic or a congregation or confederacy of congregations. If he is uncomfortable with that, suggest he Go were he is comfortable.

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but there’s always a chance that the GC will accept NAD recommendations, or SPD’s suggestion of exemptions (more likely)…what TED, SDACC and SPD are calculating is that if this happens, they won’t have burned bridges with the GC, and that we’ll all still be able to work together as a global church…i think a point is being made, which the GC won’t miss, without bridges being burned…at least this is how this looks to me…

i’m not so pessimistic…the document voted at battle creek barely made it to the floor…i’m not sure compliance driven candidates are such a shoo-in at indianapolis 2020, especially with the fall-out everyone has witnessed since san antonio, not to mention battle creek…i think the two abstentions for the document at battle creek will realize the importance of their votes, which means that compliance-driven nominations may not succeed easily, if at all…

The winner takes it all, if left unchallenged, at the next GC session. It will result in a demographic and cultural tsunami that will mark the church for many years to come. At the present, the church is hijacked by a fundamentalist fringe of adventism, fired by global growth. And they have the upper hand, right now. It is a display of raw ecclisiastical power, legitimized by a constitution that has not been updated to the reality of a global church.

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Hope you are right and I am mistakenly worried about 2020, Jeremy.

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Not sure what comfort the experience of the Southern Baptists can provide to men like Wilson. SBC recently purged the old guard and put their youngest-ever president, J.D. Greear, at the helm. There is a progressive shift happening in the SBC and certainly that should be a warning to Wilson. The clock will not be turned back–not not on women’s ordination, not on the ordination of women elders.

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A compliance-driven purge of the NAD would be catastrophic, in my opinion. I do not see the NAD allowing the Global South to dictate its leadership without serious consequences. If the GC and Global South want to play hardball in 2020, so be it. Those holding the financial resources in the North can play that game, as well, and go their own way. At that point we would no longer be splitting a church. We would simply be fighting over the remaining pieces of a large corporation and looking for ways to start over again. The OT prophets took great pains to help God’s people mourn the loss of Zion so that they could move on into newness. I wonder if we will have the courage to grieve a similar loss in the future?

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