by AT News Team
The executive committee of the Mid-America Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church this week at a regular meeting, “Voted to support the ordination of women in the Mid-America Union,” according to a news release from Martin Weber, union conference communication director.
“The committee also recognized the authority of the world church and the need for harmony across the various administrative levels of the Seventh-day Adventist faith community,” stated Tom Lemon, the union conference president. This clearly anticipates the most recent criticism from opponents to women in ministry; that to support it is somehow disloyal to the denomination despite the fact that the General Conference in Session is on record supporting the concept since 1881 and in 1990 when it voted not to move ahead with the ordination of women clergy specifically stated that there was no consensus among Adventist Bible scholars either for or against the practice.
At least two others of the nine union conferences (mid-level judicatories) in the North American Division of the denomination are already on record with the same position. Both the Columbia Union Conference and the Pacific Union Conference have officially requested the ordination of women to the gospel ministry as far back as the 1980s. Both have repeatedly renewed their support more recently.
This vote by the Mid-America Union Conference is significant in part because it is seen as a more conservative region of the Adventist membership in the United States. “If they voted this,” observed one retired church administrator, “it could undoubtedly be approved in any union in North America.” Under the General Conference Working Policy it is the union conferences that have authority to approve ordinations.