Dear Florida Conference Family,
As you may have heard, on Sunday, October 14, our church’s General Conference Executive Committee voted to approve a document establishing a process for reporting and addressing perceived non-compliance with General Conference Session and Executive Committee Actions. The process provides for disciplinary measures to resolve non-compliance upon the recommendation of appointed Compliance Review Committees. These measures include warnings to organizations deemed non-compliant and public reprimands to the organization’s president. Eventually, church leaders may even be removed from their elected representative capacity to the General Conference Executive Committee if perceived non-compliance is not rectified to the satisfaction of the General Conference’s Compliance Review Committees.
In response to this voted action, the officers of our North American Division (NAD) have issued a statement critical of the document as going against “the biblical values proclaimed by the Protestant reformers and the founders of the Adventist Church.” The statement characterizes the document as allowing for centralized power, and creating “a hierarchical system of governance” within our church.
Because this document is widely recognized as a response to differing views on the place of women as ministers in our church, both NAD and Southern Union Conference leaders have addressed this matter directly. The NAD officers authored a letter, addressed to our sisters in ministry, expressing collective confidence in their ministry along with the promise of utmost support for their strength and empowerment in church evangelism.
The Southern Union Administration also issued a statement that it will “continue to celebrate, support, empower, and include our female pastors and other female leaders in the mission of our church.” We add our voice wholeheartedly to these affirmations.
We are deeply saddened that the acrimony surrounding this issue distracts and detracts from our avowed focus on evangelism, but we must continue to be about our Lord’s work. We will thus continue to walk together, supporting each other in faith, hope, and love, since as Paul wrote to the Galatians: “[t]here is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).
God bless you always,
The Florida Conference Administrative Team
This statement originally appeared on the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists website. Image courtesy of the Florida Conference.
Further Reading: Annual Council Timeline of Key Events and Responses
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