by AT News Team

Today the executive committee of the Columbia Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church voted 34 to 6 to call a Special Constituency Session in the near future “for the purpose of authorizing ordination to the gospel ministry without regard to gender.” After reviewing a study of Scripture and Adventist heritage conducted by an assigned committee, the members of the denomination’s governing body for a region that includes eight states from Virginia up through New Jersey and west through Ohio concluded that it had a “responsibility to act morally and ethically” and that to continue to exclude candidates for ordination on the basis of gender is not moral or ethical.
 
After a time of prayer, the decision was made with an overwhelming (more than 80 percent) vote in favor. The vote was conducted by secret ballot so that no committee member felt pressured either for or against.
 
In addition to the report of the study committee, Pastor Raj Attiken, president of the Ohio Conference, briefed the committee on a trip that he and Union Conference President David Weigley completed recently to visit the Adventist Church in China. God has greatly blessed the ministry of women who have been ordained to the gospel ministry in that country, he told the group.
 
The General Conference has permitted the ordination of women serving in pastoral ministry in China while at the same time telling church entities in Europe and North America that they cannot do so. The Columbia Union Conference study committee gave special attention to the current state of denominational policies relevant to this topic, as well as the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White. Adventist Today will obtain a copy of the entire report of the study committee and publish it in the News section later today.