On Saturday, November 28, Xolisa “Candy” Swartz became the first Seventh-day Adventist woman pastor in Africa to receive a commissioned minister credential. The historic service took place on the campus of Bethel College, Eastern Cape, Cape Conference, during the Cape Conference Constituency 3rd Business Session. Along with Swartz, six male pastors were ordained during the service.
So who needs ordination? Alas, a seed has been planted in Africa. As the Holy Spirit supplies water, it will germinate and grow. And as it matures, it will sew more seeds, which will in turn do the same until they scatter to the far parts of the continent. May the Lord’s will be done.
Godspeed to Candy Swartz!
Items added after the first 9 “likes:”
Untold MILLIONS of mothers raise their children without any father involvement–FAR more than the number of single fathers. If parenting ability is a test for leadership, where do you see a household “role” difference between the genders that qualifies only men for leadership? Are women ineligible to lead in the home as you believe they are in the Church? Should children disregard their mother’s leadership at home as you believe they should in Church?
Welcome to planet Earth. We view things differently here.
Congratulations, Pastor Swartz. May God bless you, your ministry, your calling and your gifts as you serve Him. And may the church, in turn, be blessed. Thank you for being a powerful role model for the Lord.
The wind of God’s spirit blows where it will. There are many women who have experienced the call of God to full time pastoral church ministry and leadership and had the aptitude and gifts to do it. But our church has dampened that and many times crushed it. It’s great to see human leaders and church members publicly recognising and affirming the evidence of God’s calling on this sister’s life and ministry.
If there in the West hasn’t been that “male headship” confusion, Africa would never had been fallen into those denigrating and mocking outbursts they made in SA last summer. The West should take the lead for better and not for the worst. The Africans are willing to learn. So let’s give them the right thing to do so. God bless Africa and pastor Swartz.
May Candy receive God’s richest blessings! It is a beautiful thing that we can celebrate the gifts and the calling of God, even as we press forward into God’s future! These incremental gains will certainly flow into God’s unstoppable future.
Australian Adventists talk about Adventist time which is usually about 20 minutes behind the clock, if not more. People of the Pacific Island nations often talk about Pacific time which happens at their leisure. My daughter, a medical doctor is on a mission trip to the most remote part of Zambia, as I write, and even in the operating theatre Africa time is operational. This is certainly not the ‘pally pally’ [quick, quick] culture I experienced in Korea.
A very good and positive step in the right direction. Congratulations to Xolisa “Candy” Swartz. On Saturday, November 28, she became the first Seventh-day Adventist woman pastor in Africa to receive a commissioned minister credential. This achievement as good as it is must become part of an overall program for respecting and empowering the women of Africa and other places where they lack gender equality. Empowering women and girls is not only the right thing to do: It’s also smart for church and community development and vital to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Despite a range of significant advances, too many women still lack basic freedoms and opportunities and face huge inequalities in West Africa and elsewhere. Discriminatory laws and customs constrain women’s time and choices. Women in Africa and elsewhere still need to be able to earn a salary and provide for their families. They also need the ability to own or inherit property, open bank accounts, or access inputs such as credit or fertilizer that would boost their productivity. The Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to be in the forefront of change, 100% for gender equality.
We can achieve gender equality by:
• educating girls
• increasing literacy rates among women
• increasing early childhood development interventions
• increasing women’s labor force participation and strengthening labor policies affecting women
• improving women’s access to credit, land and other resources
• promoting women’s political rights and participation
• expanding reproductive health programs and family support policies
Would Jesus want us to do anything less?
“Gender equality is not a woman’s issue, it is a human issue. It affects us all.”
It has been demonstrated repeatedly that when a nation gives women the opportunity to become educated and borrow money to start their own small businesses that the entire GDP of that nation grows. Women want the equality to be part of the marketplace and stand equally with men. Often the men use their money for drink and not what supports their families.
Everywhere that women are empowered the nation improves for all.
Men in those countries that subjugate women to their control are the most backward in advancement in every area. This church should have been in the forefront of equality for women rather than being one of the last churches to fully recognize their contribution. Who, if not mothers, trains and teaches the children ? Who is the most consistent in attending church and taking their children with them?
As an attendee at the said event, I find the article misrepresents facts and makes serious baseless allegations regarding the session proceedings.
This article seems to be purposefully misleading the public, as far as the general church membership support is concerned.
The crowd in attendance was not ‘overwhelmingly’ jubilant and excited about the commissioning, in fact many of the session delegates were shocked at the decision taken by the leadership especially knowing that the issue regarding WO is still contentious in the conference. Furthermore the SAU policy is not a reflection of the sentiments of the majority of the membership, and it begs the question of whose view this truly represents.
This was a unilateral decision by the leadership and there is no record of the majority of church delegates approving or showing support for this action.
The sad part about this whole debacle is that the person who is going to suffer for this maladministered action is the pastor is question, whilst the leadership sits on its laurels of being pioneers.
I spoke with people who were present at the event and read many Facebook comments, and what I gathered from those whose remarks I read confirmed that at the event, there was affirmation (including the statement quoted in the article above). I would not discount the idea that some, maybe many, were not comfortable with the proceedings. That would certainly not come as a surprise. But there did not seem to have been vocal opposition expressed.
Now as far as baseless allegations, please also make sure not to misrepresent what this article says and does not say.
I see it was the Cape Conference that did the appointing. Interesting. Perhaps in the attempt to gauge the overall support, shock or disagreement can be helped by asking: what is the total membership of the union? How many conferences? Of those conferences were there any that voiced disagreement? How many members of the executive committee? How many on that committee disagreed vocally or in an open letter? Does anyone have any idea?
Another question could be asked: was the lack of enthusiasm that some attest to due to disagreement with the vote itself or was it more out of concern for how it will look to the world church after SA?
But no matter the gauge of enthusiasm or discontent the fact that a woman is being appointed (as this is the proper word, not ordination which tern should be abandoned in our denomination) is very huge indeed. It also calls into question just what the vote in SA meant. Did all those no’s mean they disagreed with WO itself or were there concerns over unity? If it was over unity it would be very interesting to know what the percentage of the “no” was. I think the reality is there was probably more in favor of wo than against, but many felt the unity in the church, in their thinking, was the best option to address.
Regardless, WO is here, it is here to stay, and I believe there will be eventual allowance for those areas of the work that see no barriers to giving women appointment to the gospel ministry. In fact, it could very well be that the idea of ordination will be abandoned and appointment installed, and that would be the right move and a great day in our church.
However, the paperwork does say “commissioni[ng].” Is this what the male pastors were given, as well? This is a step in the right direction, and a clear indication that “The Africa Problem,” may not be one—only a part of Africa is problematic? The Cape Conference must be proud of their progressive work.
Having just returned from Africa I can testify that women are the heart and soul of that continent. They are the mature caretakers of everyone. They are the leaders in schools and churches. God is prevailing in Africa in far greater ways then elsewhere. God is ordaining women there and it is only his misguided children that refuse to follow God’s lead.