A Pledge of Support for Women in Ministry
From the Pacific Union Conference Officers and Executive Committee
September 9, 2015
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). We raise our voices in praise for God’s grace as we are led by the Spirit in mission and ministry throughout the Pacific Union Conference. In a field of labor marked by great diversity and promise—in our churches, conferences, and institutions—we are wholly confident in Divine Providence for the leadership and power to be about our Father’s business and to proclaim the three angels’ messages and the soon return of Jesus Christ.
The Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee affirms today that the churches, conferences, and institutions of the Pacific Union territory are, and will continue to be, loyal and integral parts of the Seventh-day Adventist world church—one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ, we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, reaching out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children (Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs, No. 14).
The Pacific Union views full participation and recognition of women in pastoral ministry as vitally important for Spirit-filled ministry within our territory, and we will continue to abide by the 2012 mandate of our constituency to "approve ordinations to the gospel ministry without regard to gender.” God has gifted the Seventh-day Adventist church for effective global mission, and we continue to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we do ministry through our local churches, conferences, and institutions.
General Conference policy permits women to serve as credentialed church pastors (GC Working Policy BA 60 10; North American Division Working Policy L 33 10), as well as ordained deaconesses (Church Manual, p. 78) and ordained elders (Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Handbook, p. 94), and we encourage our churches in the Pacific Union to utilize and empower qualified women of all ages in these roles.
The Pacific Union Conference affirms the conclusions of the NAD Theology of Ordination Study Committee, as adopted at the 2013 NAD Year-end Meeting. We also embrace as brothers and sisters those who, using sound principles of biblical interpretation, arrive at different conclusions, and we encourage peaceful and respectful communication between all members—in love, preferring one another (Romans 12:10). Christ calls us to love one another, as God has loved us (John 13:34).
The Holy Spirit gifts people of every age, gender, and ethnic background according to His purposes, and we encourage women of all ages and backgrounds who feel called to ministry to answer, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). We are committed to supporting women in every aspect of ministry and church leadership, whether they are licensed, commissioned, or ordained. Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, we press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).
We believe the story of God’s leadership and providence throughout our territory and across our history—including the powerful leadership of the Spirit in these latter days—has the capacity to influence souls and win hearts. We will use all means to tell of God’s love and grace, and we will share the stories of God’s work through women in ministry as a witness to God’s purpose and to build up the church.
We rejoice in the opportunity to share in this great work, and we reassert our support for women in ministry in the strongest possible terms. We believe that “the same Spirit that has guided the Lord’s work all the way through will guide it today. ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts’” (Ellen G. White, R&H, May 16, 1899).
The Pacific Union Conference Officers and Executive Committee