The ordination of Women in the Pacific Union

In March 2012, at a quarterly meeting of the Executive Committee of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, a lay member moved that the Executive Committee begin immediately approving requests from local conferences for ordinations to the gospel ministry for both men and women. After much discussion, the motion was tabled until the next meeting on May 9.  At the March meeting, an ordination study committee was appointed to study how to implement the ordination of both men and women within the policies of the church and within the authority of the union. The Union bylaws committee also met and recommended a bylaws change. On May 9, the executive committee, based on the recommendations of both of these smaller committees, voted to call a special constituency meeting on August 19.

Initially, legal counsel and the bylaws committee advised that the Executive Committee could not approve ordinations without regard to gender unless the Union bylaws were changed to say the Union would "generally" follow voted world church policy. But before the Special Session the same legal counsel advised that while the Executive Committee did not have the authority to approve the ordination of women without changing the bylaws, the delegates to a constituency session did have the authority to vote to approve the ordination of women, with or without changing the bylaws.

On August 19, 2012, the delegates to the Special Session voted (79% to 21%) to "approve ordinations to the gospel ministry without regard to gender,” but the delegates did not vote to amend the bylaws to say the Union would "generally" follow world church policy (that motion, which required a 66.7 percent positive vote to pass, received only 65.3 percent). The documents below represent the discussions that took place before, during and after the August 19 Special Session.

Some of these documents are available en español.

Pacific Union Conference Special Session

Documents and Videos

Video Resources -- What do Authority and Headship Mean in the Bible?

  • Video: History of Ordination, Part 1, at Sligo Church July 28, 2012, by Darius Jankiewicz, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Andrews University Theological Seminary
  • Video: History of Ordination, Part 2, at Sligo Church July 28, 2012, by Darius Jankiewicz, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Andrews University Theological Seminary
  • The Upside Down Church, at 2013 Georgia Cumberland campmeeting, by Stan Patterson, Ph.D. Assoc. Prof. of Church Leadership; Chair, Department of Christian Ministry, Andrews U.

Does Church Policy and Church Structure Permit a Union to Decide Who to Ordain?

Is it Biblical to Ordain Women to Ministry? (see also video, above)

A. Recent Studies on Women in Ministry

B. The following papers were written before the current discussion regarding ordinations without regard to gender. The inclusion of these papers here does not imply that the authors do (or do not) support the action of unions to approve ordinations without regard to gender.

History of Seventh-day Adventist Women in Ministry

Pastoral/Devotional

GC Statements and Study Committee (2012-14)

GC Statements of Concern

GC and Division Theology of Ordination Study Committee Reports

Other Links of Interest