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Click and hold the arrows below to scroll the timeline left and right.                        [Main Story]

  • 1972
    • Josephine Benton becomes first Adventist woman ordained as local elder by the presidents of the Potomac Conference and Columbia Union Conference.
  • 1973
    • April
      • Kit Watts joins Sligo church pastoral staff (Potomac Conference) as “minister of publications.”
    • September
      • Josephine Benton joins Sligo as an associate pastor and is issued a ministerial license.
      • Council on the role of women meets at Camp Mohaven, Ohio, and develops report and recommendations for Annual Council.
    • October
      • Annual Council receives report and recognizes continued appropriateness “of appointing women to pastoral-evangelistic work” “in areas recep-tive to such action”; appropriate missionary credentials/licenses to be granted.
  • 1974
    • October
      • General Conference (GC) Executive Committee calls for continued study “of the theological and practical implications of the ordination of women to the gospel ministry.”
  • 1975
    • April
      • Spring Council permits women to be ordained as local church elders after the local conference seeks counsel from union and division committees.
  • 1976
    • In East Germany Margarete Prange becomes first female Adventist pastor and is issued a ministerial license.
  • 1977
    • April
      • Annual Council votes to allow licensed ministers to perform functions of ordained ministers in the local church, provided they are ordained and elected as a local elder.
        The North American Division (NAD) Committee on Administration designates “Associates in Pastoral Care” for persons on pastoral staffs not in line for ordination and that they “should initially receive a missionary license and eventually missionary credentials.”
  • 1979
    • October
      • NAD Committee on Administration institutes internship policy for Bible instructors, including financial assistance.
  • 1980
    • Margit Suring of Finland is first Adventist woman to earn Th.D. from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
  • 1982
    • First two women sponsored by local conferences (Southeastern California and Upper Columbia) sent to earn M.Div. degrees at the Theological Seminary.
  • 1983
    • NAD Women’s Commission established.
  • 1984
    • October
      • Annual Council reaffirms that women can be ordained as local church elders in those divisions that make provision for it.
  • 1985
    • July
      • General Conference session votes to accept recommendations from the Commission on the Role of Women in the Church as recommended by the Spring Council.
    • October
      • GC Executive Committee establishes GC Women’s Ministries Advisory Committee.
  • 1989
    • July
      • Commission on the Role of Women in the Church III meets in Cohutta Springs, Georgia, and votes two-part recommendation: (1) not to ordain women to the gospel ministry; (2) that female associates in pastoral care be allowed to perform some functions of an ordained minister in their local church if elected as a local elder.
  • 1990
    • July
      • GC session votes to accept the recommendations from the commission and GC Executive Committee that women not be ordained, but to allow for female associates in pastoral care to perform some functions of an ordained minister in the local church.
    • October
      • GC Executive Committee establishes Office of Women’s Ministries.
  • 1995
    • July
      • The General Conference in session votes to deny the request of the NAD allowing each division the ability to authorize ordination “without regard to gender.”
  • 2000
    • November
      • At the NAD year-end meeting, delegates vote to change “Associates in Pastoral Care” to “Commissioned Ministers,” and revise policies to allow women to have a path from licensing to commissioning.
  • 2009
    • October
      • NAD Executive Committee votes the “E-60 policy,” allowing commissioned ministers to be elected as conference presidents. The NAD Executive Committee later rescinds the policy.
  • 2010
    • July
      • At the GC session in Atlanta, following a request from a delegate, the GC “commits to establishing a process to review the subject of ordination.”
  • 2011
    • October
      • During the fall meetings the NAD requests a “variance” from the GC model constitution, allowing for the “E-60 policy.” The request is denied. In coordination with the Biblical Research Institute (BRI), each world division is asked to set up a Biblical Research Committee to study the theology of ordination and its implications for church practices in that region.
  • 2012
    • April
      • North German Union constituency votes to authorize ordination without regard to gender.
    • May
      • Columbia Union and Pacific Union executive committees call special constituency meetings to authorize ordinations without regard to gender.
    • June
      • GC issues an “Appeal for Unity,” asking that the church wait for the worldwide study process and that all church entities abide by the votes of the GC sessions in 1990 and 1995.
    • July
      • Columbia Union constituency approves ordination without regard to gender.
    • August
      • Pacific Union special constituency votes to approve ordination to the pastoral ministry without regard to gender.
    • September
      • GC Administrative Committee, after receiving wide input, establishes a Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) with appropriate division representation.



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