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Empowering — My Experience With Women’s Ordination


In this series, Adventist female pastors recently approved for ordination reflect on what women’s ordination means to them. Spectrum includes video interviews as well as their written thoughts on this affirmation by their local church conference.

To me, women’s ordination means several things—that I can continue to serve God in whatever capacity He calls me without having a chain of oppression continually trying to hold me back. It means the women who come after me have a greater opportunity to be part of the denominational system and realize their deep desire to serve God as Pastor. It means the younger generation can appreciate this church as a place where the desire of all is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

My ordination service took place on September 23, 1995. Although it was not an “official” ordination by the denomination, it certainly was an ordination by the members of the church I served, Sligo SDA Church, and was supported by hundreds of members of SDA churches and institutions from across the North American Division who attended that day.

It was a very moving worship service, as three of us, Kendra Haloviak, Penny Shell, and myself were ordained. It was empowering to know that my call to ministry was being affirmed by the people I served. That empowering was incredible, and I learned an important lesson. I was convinced that we as God’s people must never withhold the giving of blessings to all who desire and are called to serve God, in whatever way He chooses to use each one of us. We can give blessings and we must give blessings irregardless of gender because in the blessing we empower each person to work more faithfully and more diligently for God.

From its inception at the Columbia Union and Potomac Conference levels, and, consequently in the Northern California Conference, I have been given the commissioned/ordained credential. Until Sabbath, September 1, when Jim Pedersen, President of the Northern California Conference of SDA, presented me with the official credential stating [that I was] a duly ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Norma Osborn recently retired from her position as the associate pastor at the Pacific Union College Church.

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