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Top 12 of 2012: General Conference Responds to Women’s Ordination


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Throughout Seventh-day Adventism, women’s ordination and the General Conference’s responses to it are among the most discussed topics of 2012. Spectrum’s top news from this year reflected this, and articles such as “General Conference in Violation of Its Own Policy,” by Gary Patterson, a retired field secretary of the General Conference, received a significant amount of web traffic.

Patterson writes, “Policy is the issue in ordination, not practice, precedent nor perception,” addressing the General Conference’s Aug. 9, 2012 statement in response to the Columbia Union Conference’s action to approve women’s ordination. He also states that “policy exercises the ultimate governance over practice,” but notes that “in the case of gender issues in ordination, there is no policy.”

You may also recognize the headline “General Conference Issues Unusual ‘Appeal’ Regarding Women’s Ordination,” by Robert Jacobson, a Ph.D. student in mathematics at Texas A&M University, and Spectrum’s July 2012 blog editor. In this article, which inspired over 550 comments, Jacobson discusses the appeal—and notes that “Whatever the conclusions of the current GC-sponsored study of the theology of ordination, one should note that the actions of the unions were in regard not to theology but the policy of ordination.”

When news headlines could only be found in print, Spectrum’s journal brought you reports on Adventism’s significant events. After the 1973 meeting at Camp Mohaven to discuss women in ministry, the Council on the Role of Women in the Seventh-day Adventist Church submitted the “Official Report of 1973 GC Council on Women” (begins p. 9 of the October 1984 issue) to the 1973 Annual Council. But, while the council voted to receive the report and sent it to the world divisions, the 1974 Annual Council declined to act to ordain women as ministers, due to objections from the world divisions. It is of note that the 1973 report’s authors state that “we see no significant theological objection to the ordination of women to Church ministries.”

Which actions taken on women’s ordination have been memorable for you? What Spectrum articles or comments have affected your views?

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