by AT News Team
A woman has been appointed senior pastor at the Keene Church by the Texas Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a more conservative segment of the denomination. Pastor Jennifer Scott has accepted appointment as leader of the 3,000-member congregation on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University, according to an announcement by Steve Stafford, chairman of the search committee, in the Keene Star.
Scott was offered the position earlier this week by Pastor Carlos Craig, president of the conference, after a vote by the conference personnel committee supported the recommendation of the 25-member search committee. She is currently pastor of the Shelton (Washington) Adventist Church in the suburbs of Seattle.
A search for a new senior pastor has been underway since Pastor Mic Thurber left earlier this year after 10 years to become ministerial director for the denomination's Mid America Union Conference. The search committee looked at 50 candidates, according to Stafford, and Scott was their top choice.
Scott is a 1991 graduate of Washington Adventist University and earned a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, in 1997. She has served as an associate pastor at Loma Linda University Church in California and the Green Lake Church in Seattle. With her husband, Robert, she has two children: Camryn, 13, who will be in the eighth grade, and Caeden, 10, a sixth grader.
Scott is not the first woman to lead one of the largest congregations in the Adventist Church. Pastor Chris Oberg is senior minister at the 2,750-member La Sierra University Church in Riverside, California. Before Oberg began her tenure at La Sierra, Dr. Hyveth Williams, now a seminary homiletics professor at Andrews University, was senior pastor at the 1,400-member Campus Hill Church in Loma Linda.
"Not only is this good for the Keene Church, because Scott is a very gifted spiritual leader," a retired pastor told Adventist Today, "this is further evidence that the Adventist Church is coming to the end of an era of gender discrimination in the ministry that began in the 1920s." Neither the North Pacific Union Conference where Scott is now employed nor the Southwestern Union Conference where she will be employed have voted to issue ordained minister credentials to women serving as pastors. The Theology of Ordination Study Committee appointed by the General Conference meets again later this month.