The Adventist Yearbook is now live online, meaning that changes are reflected as they are made to the Yearbook database at the General Conference. The Yearbook, with a hard copy published every year, is a directory of all of the entities and institutions owned by the Adventist church, including information about their administration and employees.
The online Yearbook, however, has a blank where Sandra Roberts’ name, as president of the Southeastern California Conference, should go.
Roberts was confirmed as Southeastern California Conference’s president at a constituency meeting on October 27, 2013, making her the first Adventist woman to be elected as a conference president. The historic vote (567 “yes” to 219 “no” or 72% to 28%) overwhelmingly affirmed the conference nominating committee’s recommendation.
GC President Ted Wilson had sent a message to delegates, warning them that if a woman were elected president, it would put the conference and the union in direct conflict with the General Conference. Despite this, SECC delegates approved her nomination by a landslide.
The General Conference has not been so welcoming, as evidenced by leaving her out of its Yearbook - a publication of record.
Other women who have been ordained as pastors and given a full ministerial credential in the Netherlands Union, the Columbia Union and the Pacific Union have not been listed with their male colleagues in the Yearbook, but instead are still listed under the heading “Commissioned Minister Credential” (reserved solely for women).
When asked about the decision to omit Sandra Roberts’ name as president of the Southeastern California Conference, David Trim, Director of the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research at the GC, which publishes the Yearbook, said:
The 2012 Annual Council took an action that included the following:
The world Church cannot legitimize practices that clearly contradict the intent of General Conference Session actions. This applies to ordination decisions as well as to other matters in which a local organization may feel constrained not just to voice its disagreement with the world Church but to proceed along a pathway that directly conflicts with the expressed will of the worldwide Church. Accordingly, the world Church does not recognize actions authorizing or implementing ministerial ordination without regard to gender.
The Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook is a publication of the world Church and is “a directory of the organizational units and institutions that comprise the Seventh-day Adventist Church” globally (Working Policy BA 80 05). The decision to withhold Sandy Roberts’ name from the Yearbook arises out of the understanding of that 2012 Annual Council action.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5876