At a service at the annual camp meeting at Himmerlandsgården in Northern Denmark on Sabbath, May 7 2016, four pastors were appointed and welcomed to the ministry.
This is the first appointment of pastors since the Union’s decision in 2013 to suspend all ordinations and commissionings until the General Conference Session in 2015.
The four pastors appointed at the service were Anne-May Müller, Rebecca Pedersen, Thomas Rasmussen and Michael Bidstrup.
“Today we are setting apart and recognizing their gifts and their calling to pastoral ministry. The word appointing (Danish: indsættelse) specifies how we understand this service.”
“We believe that recognizing an individual’s spiritual gifts and pray with the laying on of hands is a way to move towards a more biblical understanding of the status and role of pastors in our church,” Thomas Müller, Danish Union president said at the service.
“The appointment is made by the Lord,” he said, referencing Isaiah 61, where the Lord Himself is appointing and working through the anointed person with His Spirit.
“At this service we as a church will recognize this calling to pastoral ministry.”
The church in Denmark wishes unity in the world church, and does not in any way wish to break away from the worldwide fellowship of Adventist believers.
At the same time, appointing without regard to gender acts in accordance with the decision made in 2013, that the Danish Union “will not distinguish between genders when appointing pastors, and wishes to see equality between genders in all areas of responsibility.”1
Some of the pastors appointed today were affected by the decision not to appoint any new pastors during the last three years, and were as such overdue for the recognition.
“We will operate with two credentials: pastors in internship, and pastors. The internship will last 2-3 years and after a successful completion of the internship-period he/she will be appointed as pastor,” explained Thomas Müller, who had been re-elected two days earlier at the union constituency meeting.
The Danish Union has with neighbouring unions requested the Trans-European Division of the General Conference that another credential be implemented to accommodate the appointments. This is according to the General Conference Working Policy E05 05 which allows for other credentials to be issued as culturally appropriate.
The Danish Union of Churches Conference consists of around 2,500 members in 40 congregations.
The Danish Conference was the first (self-supporting) conference established outside the United States, in 1878.
Image courtesy Jens Morten Øster: L to R: Michael Bidstrup, Rebecca Pedersen, Anne-May Müller, Thomas Rasmussen.
Andreas Müller is Director of Children's Ministries for the Danish Union of Churches Conference.
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