Where Are the Other Seven NAD Unions in the Ordination Debate?

The North American Division (NAD) is unquestionably the most vocal proponent of Women’s Ordination (WO) of all 13 Divisions in global Adventism. At its year-end meeting on November 1-6, 2018, the Division signaled a strong opposition to the General Conference (GC) Compliance document that was approved at its 2018 Annual Council. This is good, but the NAD, like the GC, is not where the action is, or should be.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2018/where-are-other-seven-nad-unions-ordination-debate

Conference presidents did not get there by being disagreeable to the power elite. The recent Fall Council demonstrated the backward look of the management., I thinkthe idea should be carried to its fullest extent. The dollar today is worth about 5 cents of the dollar in the Battle Creek day’s. so sent The GC Battle Creek dollars.


I have lived and worked in several of the eleven unions in NAD and the sad reality is that our Adventist church’s political preferences and divergent views on WO mirror each other exactly. America’s partisan divergence reaches beyond the realm of political debate in Washington. Pew data indicates that Republicans prefer to live in rural areas, while Democrats prefer urban living. Sixty-five percent of Republicans say they would rather live in communities where “houses are larger and farther apart” and “schools, stores, and restaurants are several miles away.” In contrast, 61 percent of Democrats said they would prefer to live in a place where the homes are smaller and more densely packed into neighborhoods, and stores, schools, and restaurants are in walking distance.
Public opinion remains divided along partisan lines along the lines of race, religion, age, gender, and educational background, Pew studies have found consistently. .
As the country’s partisan divide has increased in recent years, hostility between Republicans and Democrats has remained high. Perhaps surprisingly, Pew’s data shows a slight decline in the share of Democrats and Republicans who say they have a “very unfavorable” view of the opposing party relative to one year ago. Overall, though, the numbers don’t represent a major change, and aren’t enough on their own to say that partisan hostilities are lessening. The vast majority of Republicans and Democrats, at 81 percent for both parties, say they have an unfavorable view of the other side in the latest report.
The fact that even living preferences have taken on a partisan dimension helps explain another aspect of America’s highly partisan political environment. It’s common for Democrats and Republicans to have social circles filled with people who share their own political beliefs. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats say that a lot of their close friends are also Democrats, while 57 percent of Republican voters surround themselves with Republican friends, Pew’s survey conducted in August 2017 shows. That inevitably diminishes the likelihood that people will have their partisan viewpoints or religious practices challenged in any kind of meaningful way in their day-to-day lives.
The more that Americans’ social lives and identity become intertwined with partisan beliefs, the more pressure people will face to adopt partisan viewpoints rather than risk alienating close friends and their broader social network. In rural churches there is little support for gender equality and that is unlikely to change. As long as Republicans and Democrats continue to cluster geographically across the country and surround themselves with like-minded partisans, it’s likely that the partisan divide and gender equality battles will remain as entrenched as ever.

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From the November “Southern Tidings” of the Southern Union.
Page 30 – Lindsay Syeh is announced as the First Southeastern Conference
Female Pastor Assigned Church District. She was assist pastor for 3 years at
Patmos Chapel Church in Winter Park, FLA. Went to Oakwood. Attended
Seminary at Andrews. It APPEARS [does not really say] that she is now Senior
Pastor at Patmos Chapel [900 members].
It does NOT say if she is Commissioned or Ordained.
page 19. Joan A. Cornejo Jaramillo Commissioned at Florida Hospital
Kissimmee, FL. To serve as head chaplain. She has been with Florida
Hospital for 7 years.

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Matthew Quartey,

As always, you raise pertinent, provocative, and penetrating questions.

It is truly astonishing, yea appalling , that well into the twenty first century,
in the most democratic, egalitarian country on the planet, seven of the nine SDA Union Conferences, the majority, are mired in miserable medieval misogyny.

My church membership is in the PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE, which proudly, has been the ethical standard bearer for the advancement of our women pastors.

I also own a home in downtown Portland Oregon, just two blocks from
a public square that is the forum for almost daily protests and demonstrations — all for progressive, liberal causes —- The Pacific Northwest has to be one of the more liberal, progressive, egalitarian regions in the entire country.

How amazing that the North Pacific Union is laggardly and lame in promoting egalitarian treatment of its women pastors!

So out of touch with its progressive general population!

Until more of our NAD Union Conferences stop straddling the fence, and take a forthright, fervent position in support of women pastors, the NAD is impotent in demanding recognition from the GC in favor of Women’s Ordination.

The various European Adventist entities have taken a much bolder stand.
They put us to shame.

With our multiple colleges and universities, an upwardly mobile and hugely professional church membership, we should be in the forefront of egalitarian, ethical, even handed treatment of ALL members, more particularly our women, who demographically occupy the majority of our pews on a Sabbath morning.


The NPUC is also the location of many ultra-conservative pastors, congregations, and independent ministries. I’m pretty sure the middle of their road is a very challenging path to trod.


Conference and Union presidents didn’t get their “lofty” positions by being innovative or taking risks. When it comes to doing anything “unconvention” they are, as a general rule, the most boring people in the room. Well-loved because they are inert.

Case in point is Dan Jackson - if it weren’t for this issue and his passion brought about at the end after testing the waters of his constituency for several days, would there be anything remotely interesting about him? What about his predecessors? They kind of float to the top based on some kind of promise that they won’t do anything and carry forward the evangelistic mediocrity that caters to the retired people at the expense of the youth.


Before the Columbia and Pacific Unions’ constituencies voted to ordain women, Mid-America Union’s executive committee was the first to vote to ordain women. They did not have women ready to ordain but said they would as soon as they did.

They led the NAD unions in the approval.


What does TW & GC use at the chief support point against W.O.?
Where is it in writing in their documents?

NAD’s landmark YEM, in which the call to rescind the compliance review committees has been issued, has barely concluded…my understanding is that annual council will not be considering NAD’s call until october of 2019…perhaps we should be giving unions a little time to catch their breath, and plot their course moving forward…i expect union intentions to be forthcoming between now and AC2019, and that something even as late as september of 2019 wouldn’t necessarily indicate equivocation…


verb: speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner.
synonyms: disparage, denigrate, defame, run down, revile, abuse, speak ill of, criticize, condemn, denounce; More
antonyms: commend
Origin: late Middle English (in the sense ‘lower in value’):
from late Latin vilificare, from Latin vilis ‘of low value’

Just curious. Where did you find any statement by the GC president “vilifying” non-compliant WO supporting union conferences?
You speak of a “united front” of 176/48 vote… so… you wish it were unanimous… uniform? Hey, I’d attended general meetings in my local mission and union mission back home, before they converted to conferences. Most voted actions on items passed on from the higher organization were rubber stamped. Dissenting voices didn’t count. After the vote was counted by a show of hands with a super majority, the chair makes the announcement: “Let’s make it unanimous… Carried.” Next item. Was it not the same in Ghana? I lived and served in Elder Matthew Bediako’s village in Kortwia, Bekwai for a brief period of 6 months…

Fact of the matter is there are regional differences right here in the NAD. There’s diversity. Not uniformity. Far from it. I’m reminded of one example, and there are quite a few at the GC Annual Council, namely the conference president from Quebec (his name sounded Ghanaian to me) spoke in favor of compliance.

Bro. Matthew Quartey… I would be very careful in taking a position to urge more rebellion. This “hey let’s marshall the forces” talk is not of the Lord. Just because the delegates of the 2012 constituency meetings of PUC & CUC voted in favor of ordaining women does not necessarily mean that the laity of those entities are in favor of WO. It is assumed that… but not known.

Supporters of WO… you’ve come a long ways since the first stated reasons for having women to be ordained. At first it was “well, the Bible doesn’t say you can or you can’t”… to now the church is typecast as “discriminators”, and those advancing the cause as “reformers in the mode of the Protestant reformers”. Let me hasten to point out that “reform” is about reviving old forms that have been left dormant or discarded. This would be “newformation” (no such word), rather than “reformation”. If you truly want to operate in the spirit of the Protestant reformers on this issue… you should advocate for the day that there were no women elders or pastors. That would take us back to the word of God and truly bring “reform”.


I remember that about the Mid-America Union. That was great!
I wonder if they have now any woman in ministry. It’s been a while…

They are discriminators, but they are not stupid. Do you think that they would put something like this on paper? No way!

But by their deeds we can clearly see what they think and what they are up to.


I agree with you. Some Unions may have a hard time moving through the process because their constituents may not be as much into it as MAU, PUC, CUC have been.

I can only imagine an Union with a majority of constituents being pro discrimination! Or those cases in which a few major “contributors” may threaten to withdraw contributions if discrimination is eliminated. It will be a struggle for many.

I thnk that this issue should actually be a decision at the Conference level, and the Unions should be committed to support whatever the Conferences decide. And, also, local churches should be the ultimate decision makers regarding hiring/not female pastors for their own congregations.

The power of decision should be the highest at the local church level, and minimum at the Division level. The black suited guys at the GC should be out of this process, taking care of their business instead of being nosy…


Thanks for the reply…

Anyone know of any documented bible source that is used…even if it is one single sentence?

When precisely did the executive committee of the MID AMERICAN UNION vote to ordain women?? How long ago ?

Their web site states they have over 500 churches and companies.

How many of these congregations have women pastors, serving in ANY capacity —lead pastors or associates. And how many are ordained ??


You can vote all the women pastors you want, but if none exist in 500 congregations and not a whisper of an ordination ceremony is heard then something is amiss.


i agree…the last thing we want to see happen is an ordained female pastor forced onto a protesting congregation…first of all, what woman pastor would want to be in that kind of atmosphere…even if conferences have the prerogative to hire and assign pastors to congregations, they should yield to the local churches’ wishes…


Robin, here is the article for you to read. They voted March 8, 2014.

Mid-America Union Votes to Support Ordination of Women

Elder Thomas Lemon, the union president then, was appointed to the General Conference the next year at GC2015 in San Antonio and appointed chair of the Unity Committee. Ted Wilson fired him from that position, if you recall, in approximately 2016.


When will we have available to us a survey of attitudes toward WO among North American church members? There are still ultraconservatives who insist North America is actually opposed to WO, with elected leaders betraying their constituents. Surely someone has, or is, or soon will be able to refute this. Anyone know of any developments?