December 22, 2017: An April 2017 decision to postpone further ordination of women in the Netherlands Union of Churches Conference (NUC) was affirmed by a second vote earlier this month. The current Executive Committee of the NUC (elected during the May 4-6 NUC constituency meetings) voted to extend the current arrangement on December 3.
The decision to postpone further female ordination represents a significant deviation from previous NUC policy on the matter. The union was the first in Europe to ordain women when it voted to do so in 2012.
Spectrum Magazine reported that a December 7 letter written by the current NUC Executive Secretary, Enrico Karg, explained the reasoning behind the December 3 vote.
Karg wrote to NUC churches explaining that the current NUC Executive Committee had decided that the previous Executive Committee had acted wisely in deciding to postpone the ordination of women.
He added that the decision to postpone was made, in part, to heed a request made by the Executive Committee of the Trans-European Division. The TED had asked for all of its unions to avoid taking actions that would jeopardize discussions on the matter of ordination with the world church.
In an English translation of the letter obtained by Spectrum, Karg affirmed “Both the current, and former Executive Committee of the Netherlands Union have in no way changed their position that equality of female and male pastors is a must.”
The letter went on to say that the current union leadership will continue to pursue “full equality” and that though the “methodology for reaching this has changed… the position hasn’t.”
The original decision to pause the practice of women’s ordination resulted in a female NUC pastor, Tabitha Cedenio-Cummins, being commissioned instead of being ordained earlier this year.
According to the General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, the Adventist Church in the Netherlands has 58 churches and 5,799 members out of a national population of 17,020,000.