First European Union to Ordain Women Postpones Further Female Ordination
May 24, 2017: The Adventist denomination’s Netherlands Union Conference (NUC) has decided to postpone further ordination of women until later this year.
The decision was made in the run-up to the May 4-6 NUC constituency meetings.
Further ordination of women will only take place after the October General Conference Annual Council meetings to be held in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The postponement is seen as an effort to accommodate the denomination’s world leadership and its Unity Commission which is attempting to bring different parts of the world church into compliance with church policy that does not permit female ordination.
The decision represents a significant deviation from previous Dutch Adventist policy on the matter.
The NUC was the first European union to ordain women, voting to do so in November 2012.
The decision to pause the prior practice of women’s ordination resulted in a female NUC pastor, Tabitha Cedenio-Cummins, being commissioned instead of being ordained.
The minister was commissioned on Saturday, May 7, the third day of the NUC constituency meetings.
Spectrum Magazine reported that Cedenio-Cummins is currently scheduled to also be ordained in October, after Annual Council.
The NUC meetings involved major changes to the leadership of the Dutch Adventist Church.
On the Executive Committee level, 14 out of 15 members were replaced.
Both the president and secretary of the NUC were replaced. This transition led to much speculation about the reasons for the major change and the direction new leaders would take the church in Holland.
An ultra conservative Adventist site was quick to frame the transition as a removal of “noncompliant” leadership.
It noted that the only member of top leadership to keep their role was the treasurer, Istrahel Schoera who the site understood as being opposed to women’s ordination.
The Trans-European Division, of which the NUC is a part, has requested the
General Conference to confer a single, gender-neutral ministerial credential to help address the ordination controversy in the church.