‘Women in Leadership’ Motion Voted
in Trans-European Division
Unions can decide on ‘parity’ between male and female ministers, pending ordination study by world church
BY MIROSLAV PUJIC, Trans-European Division communication director
Seventh-day Adventist Church unions in the Trans-European Division, or TED, “can apply parity between male and female pastors” using current TED guidelines, division leaders voted November 14 during year-end meetings in Montenegro.
“We wish to underline that the TED has not voted any changes in the GC/TED policies or model constitutions,” a subsequent divisional statement said. “The TED is not authorizing ordination of women within its territory, but is waiting for the General Conference to conduct its study of the theology of ordination.”
Following a commitment made at the 2010 General Conference Session, the 2011 Annual Council received and voted a protocol of how the study is to progress. Each of the world church’s 13 divisions is “to request their Biblical research committee to study the theology of ordination and its implications for church practices in that region,” Adventist News Network reported.
In November 2013, year-end meetings in each division will review the study and refer it to the Biblical Research Institute at the world headquarters, which will also have its own study committee. From December 2013 to June 2014, that committee will evaluate the materials received, and prepare a combined report. This report will be considered at the 2014 Annual Council, and if anything then needs to be placed on the 2015 General Conference Session agenda, “it will be processed accordingly,” ANN said.
The TED action is the latest of several steps the division has taken. Last year, TED asked the General Conference for a variance to the Church’s official policy, to allow commissioned ministers to be conference or union presidents. In addition, the division asked for the study of the theology of ordination to be prioritized, and for permission to ordain women within its territories. Although no formal answer was voted at Annual Council this year, the division leadership said the understood a response “would have been negative.”
Bertil Wiklander, TED president, said: "What works best for the TED at this time is to let all know where we stand and what we want regarding women in leadership, while doing all we can to promote women as pastors and leaders in our church within the working policy. We will continue to work with our unions to see how we can support and enable the many women who the Holy Spirit has clearly called to leadership.”
-- with Adventist Review staff, and reporting from Adventist News Network