General Conference Session Actions
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General Conference Session Action

“Voted, To accept the following report and recommendations of the Role of Women Commission as recommended by the 1989 Annual Council:

“The presidents of the world divisions of the General Conference reported to the commission on the situation in their fields with respect to the ordaining of women to the gospel ministry. In several divisions there is little or no acceptance of women in the role of pastors, ordained or otherwise. In other divisions some unions would accept women as pastors, but indications are that the majority of unions do not find this acceptable. However, in the North American Division there seems to be wider support for the ordination of women.

“The division presidents also reported that based upon extensive discussions, committees, commissions, surveys, etc., there exists the probability that approving the ordination of women would result in disunity, dissension, and perhaps even schism. Hence the presidents came to these two conclusions:

“1. A decision to ordain women as pastors would not be welcomed or meet with approval in most of the world church.

“2. The provisions of the Church Manual and the General Conference Working Policy, which allow only for ordination to the gospel ministry on a worldwide basis, have strong support by the divisions.

“The General Conference and division officers present at the commission concur with the conclusions of the presidents.

“The commission having listened to the arguments and presentations for and against the ordination of women; having sensed the needs and concerns of the world field; having carefully considered what is probably best and the least disruptive for the world church at this time; and recognizing the importance of our eschatological mission, the witness and image of our spiritual family, and the need for oneness of and unity in the church, reports to the 1990 General Conference session upon the recommendation of the 1989 Annual Council the following results of its deliberation:

“1. While the commission does not have a consensus as to whether or not the Scriptures and the writings of Ellen G. White explicitly advocate or deny the ordination of women to pastoral ministry, it concludes unanimously that these sources affirm a significant, wide-ranging, and continuing ministry for women, which is being expressed and will be evidenced in the varied and expanding gifts according to the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

“2. Further, in view of the widespread lack of support for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry in the world church and in view of the possible risk of disunity, dissension, and diversion from the mission of the church, we do not approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry.”

This was passed by majority.

Fifty-fifth General Conference session, July 11, 1990

General Conference Session Action

North American Division Request—Ordination

The motion before the floor was read for clarity as follows:

“Voted, To refer to the 1995 General Conference session the North American Division request that the General Conference in session adopt provisions on ordination as outlined below:

“The General Conference vests in each division the right to authorize the ordination of individuals within its territory in harmony with established policies. In addition, where circumstances do not render it inadvisable, a division may authorize the ordination of qualified individuals without regard to gender. In divisions where the division executive committees take specific actions approving the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, women may be ordained to serve in those divisions.”

Delegates were then instructed to turn in their secret ballot cards to their division representatives. A count of the secret ballots was made.

By this vote, the request of the North American Division was denied.

Fifty-sixth General Conference session, July 5, 1995

This article was published October 11, 2012.

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