Attendees of the Southern Union Conference Executive Committee yesterday report that there was virtually no discussion of women’s ordination. Instead a draft decision was shared from the twelve conference presidents and two college presidents in support of the General Conference’s position.
Without further comment, the executive committee then voted the following statement:
Whereas the Southern Union Conference and its member conferences and organizations have a long history of actively supporting, encouraging, and empowering women in all areas of ministry including pastoral, evangelistic, conference and union leadership, and all levels and areas of education, and
Whereas the Southern Union Conference recognizes itself as an integral part of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, it is therefore resolved:
The Southern Union Conference, following the scriptural mandate of the priesthood of all believers, intentionally chooses to continue its long-held commitment to supporting, encouraging, empowering, and celebrating the involvement of women in ministry. However, we will do so only in harmony with the Seventh-day Adventist World Church as expressed by actions taken during the General Conference in business session.
With that notice, the committee then attended to the regular business on its agenda.
The mention of alignment with the actions of the General Conference in business session contrasts with the approach of the three other unions that have addressed the issue with their full executive committees.
At the Mid-America Union’s March 8 executive committee meeting, for instance, while the item was not on the agenda for action, a lay person presented a motion that the Union ordain women and it was approved unanimously.
At the Pacific Union, a special committee was created to consult the conferences and the bylaws, with the item scheduled to be brought back to the committee on May 9. Within the Pacific Union, the Southeastern California Conference has moved ahead and approved the ordination of all ministerial candidates without regard to gender.
The Columbia Union Executive Committee reaffirmed its support of women ministers, but turned to the North American Division for direction. In that union, the Potomac Conference Executive Committee has voted to bring up the issue at every union executive committee meeting until it is passed. Potomac has also asked its bylaws committee for further instruction.
With the recommendation by the presidents in the Southern Union, and the lack of any discussion by the executive committee, the lay people remained silent on the issue.