13 February 2018 | The Northern California Conference of the Adventist denomination ordained Chaplain Loretta Belton on Saturday, January 27 at Appian Way Seventh-day Adventist Church. Belton serves as a part-time chaplain at Adventist Health Vallejo. Although Belton is not the first woman to be ordained as a minister by the conference, a conference official told Adventist Today that he believes she is the first African-American woman to be ordained as an Adventist minister in the region.
The ordination service was attended by a number of high-ranking NCC leaders: Marc Woodson (Executive Secretary), John Rasmussen (Treasurer), Willie Johnson (Director of African-American and Urban Ministries) and Jim Lorenz (Ministerial Director).
A January 29 Facebook post by Appian Way Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrated the event stating, “The Ordination service for our own Chaplain Loretta Belton was beautiful! A very moving, heartfelt Spiritual experience. Congratulations, to a well deserved woman of God!”
A controversial vote at the 2015 San Antonio General Conference Session denied permission for the Adventist denomination’s world divisions to determine whether to ordain women as pastors within their territories. GC leaders regard as noncompliant some union conferences, the organizational entities where ordination is usually approved, for either ordaining women or ceasing to ordain all pastors in harmony with the unions’ own constituency votes to pursue equality.
The Pacific Union Conference of which the Northern California Conference is a part, is one the unions considered noncompliant by the GC.