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Union President Explains His Support for Women’s Ordination


Columbia Union Conference President Dave Weigley explains why he changed his view to be in support of women’s ordination in the July issue of the Visitor, the conference’s monthly magazine. With a special constituency session scheduled for July 29, the Visitor included 12 pages of material on ordination in its July issue, including Weigley’s editorial.

The Recorder, the magazine of the Pacific Union Conference, also dedicates space to women’s ordination in its July issue. The Pacific Union will hold a special constituency session August 19.

Elder Weigley’s editorial, “5 Reasons I Changed My Views”:

Since we announced plans to hold a special constituency meeting July 29, I’ve discovered that many members, pastors and leaders support our request to authorize ordination of women clergy. They realize that although we continue to debate the issue theologically, it’s largely cultural. In his new book titled Where Are We Going? Jan Paulsen, immediate past president of our world church, writes, “The church has never taken the view that biblical teachings exclude the possibility of women being ordained to ministry on an equal footing with men. But global leadership has felt that local readiness and perceptions—heavily influenced by culture—have thus far kept us from moving forward on this as a global community” (p. 12).
In moving forward, our union would join others who are at variance with General Conference policy. And, for many members, this is really the crux of the matter. It’s why, for the last six years, I discouraged the union committee from approving the many conference requests to ordain proven female candidates. So what changed?
1. I can no longer dismiss the evidence of the Spirit’s moving in China and other parts of the world where women are advancing the mission of the church as promised in Joel 2.
2. In the early days, our church saw the value of encouraging both genders to serve according to their calling, and history tells of female pastors, missionaries, evangelists, conference presidents and General Conference treasurers (see pp. 16-17). In New York at the turn of the 19th century, for example, women won 60 percent of our converts.
3. We already accommodate policy variances in some places for practical purposes, cultural sensitivities or to advance our mission, e.g., polygamy, labor unions, women’s ordination. In our cultural context, this issue has moral and ethical implications.
4. Only recently has there been an attempt to have us walk lockstep in policy. Our pioneers would have been hampered by such uniformity.
5. Mission should drive policy, not vice versa. As policies become outdated or problematic for the advancement of the gospel, we revise or abolish them, and/or create new ones.
So if we already differ in policy practice, what keeps us united? Mission. Theology. Doctrine. Commitment. Our allegiance to Christ and the Great Commission to share His love, grace and soon return unites us in a bond that cannot be easily broken. And our shared desire for revival and reformation, coupled with the moving of the Holy Spirit, compel us to act. How can we do otherwise?
Dave Weigley ( is president of the Columbia Union Conference.

View the complete issue of the July Visitor here.

Read and comment on the CUC’s May 17 statement calling for a July 29 special constituency meeting here.

View the complete issue of the July Recorder here.

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