Ordained or Commissioned Ministers
Can Lead Conferences, Division Says
North American vote reaffirms older policy; request sent to General Conference for exemption
BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor
Seventh-day Adventist conferences and missions in the North American Division (NAD) can be led by an ordained or a commissioned minister, members of the division Executive Committee voted overwhelmingly on November 7, 2010 during year-end business meetings in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The vote, division officials said, will “reinstate” the previous year’s change to the North American church’s working policy, stating: “Inasmuch as the conference/mission president stands at the head of the ministry in the conference/mission and is the chief elder, or overseer of all the churches, a conference/mission president should be an ordained/commissioned minister.”
According to a statement from the division, “this, however, is an issue of equality and opportunity for all leaders who hold the commissioned minister credentials.”
At the same time, the NAD said, committee members “are requesting for the General Conference’s Administrative Committee (GC ADCOM) to grant a variance to the model constitution to accommodate the unique needs of the North American Division with the insertion of ‘conference/mission president should be an ordained/commissioned minister’ in its policy language.”
The question of the role of women in ministry, which was taken off the table for the 2010 General Conference Session in Atlanta (see Adventist Review, May 13, 2010, page 10), is one which draws a variety of opinions. Pastor Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president, said the topic was raised because a commitment was made at the 2009 NAD meeting, and, he said, “a promise is to keep.”
Virtually every speaker supported the measure, and the vote was nearly unanimous, with only a handful of “no” votes. In 2008, the Seventh-day Adventist Church reported having 4,197 ordained and licensed ministers and 5,224 churches in the North American Division, which comprises the United States, Canada, Bermuda and the islands of Saint Pierre et Miquelon. Globally, the Church had 23,040 ministers and 65,961 congregations in that same year.