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Berlin-Central German Conference Votes to Implement Women's Ordination

On Sunday, May 10, delegates from the Berlin-Central German Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted during the conference's quadrennial constituency session in Leipzig, Germany to implement women's ordination. Dr. Andreas Bochman, Head of the MA in counseling program at Friedensau Adventist University in Germany and visiting lecturer of pastoral counseling at Newbold College in England, attended the event, and said that an among the extensive proposals for the next four years presented by the conference planning committee came a sentence saying that with immediate effect, the conference will start ordaining female pastors who are ready for ordination. Bochmann added that a more literal translation of the German statement into English would read, "Women's ordination will speedily be implemented if it lends itself in regards to an employed female pastor."

There were delegates present who moved to delete the ordination clause from the next four years' plans, arguing that the conference should not force the issue when the General Conference will vote in a little more than a month on whether divisions may proceed with ordination regionally. The motion was overwhelmingly defeated, Bochmann said.

Others proposed toning down the language, a motion that was narrowly defeated.

Compared to other agenda items, the deliberations on ordaining women took relatively little time. Some noted that current church policy (pending the upcoming vote in San Antonio, Texas) is that unions hold final say in approving ordination candidates. The North German Union Conference (Berlin-Central German Conference's parent company) voted to ordain women in 2012.

The statement approved by the conference has generated considerable discussion on various Facebook pages among German Adventists.

Report (in German) from Adventgemeinde Neuenhagen here: http://www.sta-neuenhagen.de/was/content-layouts/item/501-delegiertenversammlung-synode-2015.html

UPDATE: Bochmann notes, "The delegates did not vote women's ordination (as the title originally implied), but voted to "speedily implement" (zügig umsetzen). According to our policies delegates at a conference would not be able to "vote for or against" WO, as the decision on ordinations is a prerogative of the Union Conference."

 

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

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