January 19, 2017:     After meeting all day, top leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination from the General Conference (GC) and the North American Division issued a joint statement at 7 pm local time in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“The [GC] officers and the officers and union presidents of the [NAD] met … to discuss unity in mission as it relates to church governance and women’s ordination. The group affirmed their commitment to Christ through the Holy Spirit, the 28 Fundamentals Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, our prophetic end-time mission and worldwide church organization. After a candid and open discussion with frank interaction, the group agreed that there will be ongoing consultations to seek positive solutions to the challenging issues that the church faces.”

“It is our prayer that the church will move forward in unity and focus on mission to prepare the world for the soon return of our Lord.” It was signed by the three top officers of each organization: Pastor Ted Wilson, Dr. G. T. Ng and Juan Prestol-Puesan, GC president, executive secretary and treasurer; Pastor Dan Jackson, Pastor Alexander Bryant and Tom Evans, NAD president, executive secretary and treasurer.

Many denominational employees and lay leaders in North America and Europe are fearful that this is the first step in a process that will lead to an intervention in the self-governance of at least two union conferences in the NAD that voted some time ago to set aside gender discrimination in ordination of clergy. A few ministers and lay leaders with a more Fundamentalist view hope that the process will put an end to the ordination of women clergy in the denomination.

Adventist Today has a journalist working on a more detailed report. It has previously reported all of the documents and debates on this continuing discussion, as well as published analysis by senior, veteran denominational leaders.

The featured photo is of the denomination’s world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, where the meeting was held.