Author Topic: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012  (Read 7192 times)

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Mimi

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Pastor Ted Wilson is speaking right now to the Columbia Union Conference meeting where they are voting to ordain women.



President of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Ted Wilson, just finished speaking to the Columbia Union Conference in an effort to maintain church unity. Pastor Wilson's plea was heartfelt and humble. He rightly represented God and His church. We are very thankful for a godly leader who will stand in defense of the truth. 

The rebellion is so far removed from the truth of church structure and Scripture that none need doubt the wrongness of the position which they have taken. It is very sad, but the rebellion, as in the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram is gaining adherents in their effort to reject church authority and Bible truth.  These men and women believe that the numbers of princes supporting the rebellion will win the day. But, they fail to understand, as did Korah, that they are not fighting against mere man, but against God. The line was drawn in the sand and they have chosen to stand against God. Let us pray for the other unions that are set to vote and reveal where their loyalties sit.




The CUC leadership is standing up in rebellion against the plea made by President Wilson.  Presently the history of the CUC's part in the rebellion is being read to the meeting. The Potomac Conference began in the 80s to move apart from the world church. The current situation in not new, but the end of a long history of rebellion against the world church.



The Spirit of Prophecy is being twisted to support the union's rebellion. It is all being taken out of context.



And this young lady, as did the Levites with Korah, intends to usurp the authority given to the priests.

  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2012, 05:17:48 AM »
Comments on Twitter: http://twitter.com/VisitorNews

221 delegates in attendance

Dan Jackson: "What we do today will affect our world church. But, our primary accountability is to God." (more on Facebook below)

Elder Wilson: "I come today because I care about the Columbia Union. This is my home. It is very special to me."
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2012, 05:18:27 AM »
CU Visitor Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ColumbiaUnionVisitor

Bill Miller, Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Potomac President: "In the New Testament, it is clear that the gifts Paul speaks about is not gender specific. Today, the church is called to mission by every means possible."

Raj Attiken, Ohio Conference president: "On April 1, 1901, the day before the GC Session opened, Ellen White spoke these words: 'It is working upon wrong principles that has brought the cause of God into its present embarrassment. The people have lost confidence in those who have the management of the work. Yet, we hear that the voice of the conference is the voice of God. Every time I have heard this, I have thought that this it was almost blasphemy. The voice of the conference ought to be the voice of God, but it is not" (Manuscript 37, 1901)

Dan Jackson, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists president: "God birthed a church through our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is vital to Him, precious to Him....When it comes to human beings we all have the responsibility to be accountable to one another and then to our local church, union, division and so on. We seldom do anything in a vacuum. What we do today will affect our world church. But, our primary accountability is to God."

Dawn M Johnson So much confusion, can't even figure out a motion or an amendment, then how they are going to figure out deep spiritual issues. What mankind votes is not what God votes. Perilous Time is here. This is what Adventism is showing the world when they know nothing about us.

During comments: William Niles of Philadelphia: "According to policy, the union already has the right to ordain women. My motion is that we change the wording of the motion to be: We affirm the right of the CU to approve or authorize to gospel ministry without regard to gender."

Jeffrey McAulliff, Pennsylvania Conference of Seventh-day Adventists: "Because we haven't come to a theological consensus, we really disenfranchise people when we take a coercive position."

Jessica Czeizinger
Sometimes the Lord allows things to happen/play out in order to wake His people up. It is God's remnant that will remain true to His Word no matter what wickedness prevails. One error does not justify another. I council all those who were not in favor of today's motion to glue your bottoms to the seat in your church and remain faithful to God. Do not threaten to withdraw your service or God's tithe to prove a point. That is how Satan intends to rip God's people apart.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2012, 05:20:34 AM »
Here is the leadership of the CUC.



Here is a faithful church leader. Larry Boggess, President, Mountain view Conference



  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2012, 05:21:02 AM »
I have counted 4 others at the microphone speaking against it.

From Twitter: Kingsley Wittsett, Mountain View Conference - "The church sets policy. Let's not fragment ourselves and do our own thing."

"          "     : Larry Boggess, President, Mountain view Conference - "I love you, too, although I disagree with you."
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2012, 05:22:28 AM »
After an hour and a half of discussion, delegates have voted to cease debate! - Facebook

Photo from Facebook:




Facebook

The vote is passed.

209 for

51 against

9 abstain

Source: Twitter

Dave Weigley: "I know some of the challenges our GC leadership will face and we ask that we pray for them. This is not an easy time for the church, but it is time for the church." - Facebook
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2012, 05:23:07 AM »
During the discussion period, one of the microphones was positioned just in the line of sight of Elder Wilson and Lowell Cooper sitting a few rows back. As the delegates spoke, mostly "for" and a few "against," I watched Wilson patiently sitting and listening. It seemed his demeanor never changed and it made me wonder of the various thoughts going through his mind during all this. It reminded me of the lamb among wolves.

May God help this man and those who surround him who stand for the right, though the heavens fall!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2012, 05:25:07 AM »
Quote from: Mimi
Dave Weigley: "I know some of the challenges our GC leadership will face and we ask that we pray for them. This is not an easy time for the church, but it is time for the church." - Facebook

What about the challenge facing Dave Weigley, CUC's leadership and the 209 princes who voted against GC policy? What about the challenge facing them? They should pray for themselves after this reckless act of rebellion!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2012, 05:26:58 AM »
NAD Newspoints:

Columbia Union Constituency Overwhelmingly Approves Ordination Without Regard to Gender

July 29, 2012
Contact: Celeste Ryan Blyden, communication director, Columbia Union Conference
Tel: (410) 997-3414; Email: cryan@columbiaunion.net


In a specially called session of the Columbia Union Conference Constituency, delegates from its eight conferences voted overwhelmingly to approve a recommendation from the union executive committee authorizing ordination without regard to gender. The historic vote was 209 in favor and 51 opposed, with nine abstentions—a ratio of 4 to 1.
 
The approved motion states:
 
“That the Columbia Union Conference authorize ordination to the gospel ministry without regard to gender.”
 
This means that the union will no longer deny requests from conferences to ordain proven female ministers to the gospel ministry.
 
“There was a good spirit and healthy discussion, all bathed in prayer,” says Dave Weigley, union president. “We remain part of, united with, and fully committed to the mission of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
 
The four-hour meeting was streamed live and will be available shortly at www.columbiaunion.org/2012specialconstituency. A news story and photos will be published at www.columbiaunion.org and in the August Visitor.


About the Columbia Union Conference
The Columbia Union Conference is comprised of 135,000 members who worship in more than 700 churches in the eight local conferences located in the Mid-Atlantic United States. Its members minister through 90 elementary and secondary schools, a university, a medical college, two healthcare networks and numerous community-focused ministries.

Pictured above: "I'm with you, Constituents. We are part of the mission to preach the good news. I'm here today to say that I want to be part of the revival that is taking place in our church. It will not be an easy road. We'll work together, but we are part of the worldwide church," said Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2012, 05:27:28 AM »
Here is Elder Wilson's address in whole. 25:13 minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcZcZ3vmyt0&feature=channel&list=UL

Watch the Session
Many of you are asking to watch the constituency meeting held July 29. We are still working to prepare the large video files. As soon as they are ready, we will post them here. Please stay tuned! Thank you!
 
Watch the Entire Special Constituency Meeting--coming soon!! 


 
Watch the  Ad Hoc Committee Presentation
 
Watch President Dave Weigley's Closing Remarks
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2012, 05:29:44 AM »
From The Review: http://www.adventistreview.org/article/5592/archives/issue-2012-1521/an-appeal-for-oneness-in-christ-document

An Appeal for Oneness in Christ:

A Response by the General Conference Officers and Division Presidents to the Columbia
Union Conference Constituency Meeting Action


“Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as
We are” (John 17:11, NKJV).

The unity among disciples for which Jesus prayed is a precious gift of God: this gift must be
continually nurtured and is a never-ending and often difficult task of those gathered in His name. Thus
the apostolic church could engage in vigorous discussion and even robust disagreement with the
assurance that each member’s personal surrender to the Spirit would result in a God-honoring resolution
to the challenges and conflicts so that the essential unity of the church was preserved and extended (Acts
15:1-29). Disagreement in such a community of faith is neither fatal nor schismatic, for each believer
accepts the responsibility to fulfill the prayer of Jesus by acting and speaking to preserve the unity He
expected as indicated in John 17.

Unilateralism—the premise that one individual or one group may pursue its vision of truth at the
expense of the unity of the whole—was and is the great adversary of the unified Body of Christ. It
ruptures the essential bond which brings people from everywhere into the remnant church, tempting them
to prefer one truth above the higher and collective requirement to act in concert with each other.
Appealing for a serious recommitment to the principle of church unity, the officers of the General
Conference and the division presidents issued a call for restraint in their consensus statement of June 29,
2012, “An Appeal for Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices”. Fully aware that
significant differences exist regarding the theology of ordination and the appropriateness of ordaining
women to the gospel ministry, they nonetheless urged all entities and individuals in the church to respect
current Church policy and General Conference Session decisions, and to work harmoniously through the
process established by the General Conference Executive Committee in October 2011. That action
established a worldwide three-year study and discussion process culminating with a Theology of
Ordination Study Committee which will review all aspects of the practice of ministerial ordination in the
Seventh-day Adventist Church including the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, with reports
provided to the October 2014 Annual Council meeting of the Executive Committee. This would allow
any agreed-upon resolutions to be placed on the agenda of the 2015 General Conference Session, the
body accepted by church entities and affirmed by the divinely-inspired counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy
to be the official voice and the highest ecclesiastical authority of the church. The General Conference
Executive Committee, the highest deliberative authority of the worldwide church between General
Conference Sessions, includes nearly 120 union conference and union mission presidents as voting
delegates, along with elected officers, departmental directors, pastors, frontline employees and numerous
laypersons.

It was thus very disappointing to the senior leaders of the worldwide church to learn of the
unilateral action taken by the delegates of the Columbia Union Conference at a special constituency
meeting on July 29, 2012. That action is not in harmony with General Conference Working Policy—the
collective decisions of world leadership that define the operating procedures and relationships applicable
to all organizations. Further, the action sets aside the 1990 and 1995 decisions of the General Conference
in Session respecting the practice of ordination. It pre-empts the process voted by the General
Conference Executive Committee for the current study of ordination theology and practices by
committing the Columbia Union Conference to a particular outcome before the study-and-discussion
process is completed. In so doing, it asserts the right of one entity to place its conclusions above the
principle of unity in the Body of Christ. By this action, the delegates have allowed for a principle of
unilateralism and autonomy throughout their territory that can only be disruptive to the harmonious
functioning of the Columbia Union Conference, as well as to that union’s relationship with the world
church family. Unfortunately, some conferences, congregations, and individuals may try now to
incorrectly cite the example of the Columbia Union Conference itself as justification for pursuing any
independent course of action. It is possible that some who voted for the resolution on July 29 may not
have fully understood the danger their action poses to the functional unity of their own region and to the
wider denomination.

The action taken by the Columbia Union Conference represents a serious threat to the unity of the
worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, and thus, at its next meeting in October 2012, the General
Conference Executive Committee will carefully review the situation and determine how to respond. In
the Spirit of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the officers of the General Conference and the division
presidents again appeal to all entities, organizations, and individuals, including the Columbia Union
Conference, to refrain from independent and unilateral decisions and implementing actions on issues
affecting ministerial ordination, and to invest their energies and creativity in fostering a vigorous dialogue
through the established process about how the Church should recognize and affirm the gifts of the Spirit
in the lives and ministry of believers.

An important companion document, organized as a series of questions and answers about key
assumptions, assertions and historical backgrounds discussed at the recent Columbia Union Conference
constituency meeting or in related communication, will be available approximately Wednesday, August 8,
through the media outlets of the General Conference.

August 7, 2012
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2012, 05:30:28 AM »
From ANN:

Church leaders issue ‘An Appeal for Oneness in Christ’

Aug. 07, 2012 Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

Mark Kellner, News Editor, Adventist Review
Leaders of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists today issued “An Appeal for Oneness in Christ,” urging the church’s constituent union conferences to shun “unilateralism” in deciding on ordination policy. World church executives and the 13 division presidents issued the statement.

Calling unilateralism “the great adversary of the unified Body of Christ,” the statement included a direct response to the July 29 action of the Columbia Union Conference Constituency Meeting Action to ordain pastors “without regard to gender."

The Columbia Union Conference action, the statement said, “is not in harmony with General Conference Working Policy—the collective decisions of world leadership that define the operating procedures and relationships applicable to all organizations. Further, the action sets aside the 1990 and 1995 decisions of the General Conference in Session respecting the practice of ordination.”

Moreover, General Conference leaders indicated the Columbia Union Conference action could bring consequences. “The action taken by the Columbia Union Conference represents a serious threat to the unity of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, and thus, at its next meeting in October 2012, the General Conference Executive Committee will carefully review the situation and determine how to respond,” the statement said.

At its conclusion, church leaders appealed for restraint. “The officers of the General Conference and the division presidents again appeal to all entities, organizations, and individuals, including the Columbia Union Conference, to refrain from independent and unilateral decisions and implementing actions on issues affecting ministerial ordination, and to invest their energies and creativity in fostering a vigorous dialogue through the established process about how the Church should recognize and affirm the gifts of the Spirit in the lives of believers.”

Along with the statement, church leaders promised, “an important companion document, organized as a series of questions and answers about key assumptions and assertions and historical backgrounds discussed at the recent Columbia Union Conference constituency meeting or in related communication” would be released on August 8.

Organized in 1863, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is the global governing body for the 17 million-member Seventh-day Adventist Church, active in more than 203 countries and territories. Headquarters are in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2012, 05:31:32 AM »
That was a good, timely response. Let us pray for leadership as they consider this issue at October's meeting. By this statement, it is reasonable to say the PUC has also been put on notice. Let's see if they heed the appeal.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2012, 05:41:24 AM »
Questions & Answers Regarding Current Issues
of Unity Facing the Church

Adventist Review August 9, 2012

The following document addresses issues raised regarding the unity of the church, the authority of the General Conference, and its relationship to other levels and entities of the world church in connection with the current discussion on ordination to the gospel ministry. This document does not address whether ordaining women is appropriate but rather clarifies and corrects arguments that have been used throughout the discussion.

1.  Does the General Conference have authority to determine the criteria for ministerial ordination at the union level and below, or does the union conference have the delegated authority within its territory to establish such criteria, including gender?

Decisions of the General Conference Sessions profoundly impact the church at all levels, including General Conference/division, union conference/mission, conference, and local church. While it is true that local churches approve candidates for baptism, and local conferences recommend to unions for approval all requests for ordination, none of these levels establish the criteria for baptism or ordination. A local church board determines who is going to be baptized; it does not determine the criteria for baptism. The 28 Fundamental Beliefs and the baptismal vows have been mutually agreed upon by the world church. This keeps the church unified internationally. In the same way a union conference has the delegated authority to approve candidates for ordination based on their satisfying the criteria for ordination established by the world church; it does not have the authority to ignore this mutually agreed-upon criteria. That is why the unions are not authorized to move forward unilaterally with ordination without regard to gender. If the church were to accept such a premise, there would be varying standards of ordination and criteria for ministry. Such a path would not likely end there. It would open the door to varying standards for baptism, church membership, etc. The issue here is not women’s ordination per se; it is which level of church organization has the constitutionally given authority to determine what qualifies a person for ordination. This can only be done by the General Conference in Session, or the General Conference Executive Committee, which acts between General Conference Sessions (General Conference Working Policy L 35).

Notice how the Church Manual describes the relationship between the various levels of church organization:

In the Church today the General Conference Session, and the General Conference Executive Committee between Sessions, is the highest ecclesiastical authority in the administration of the Church. The General Conference Executive Committee is authorized by its Constitution to create subordinate organizations with authority to carry out their roles. Therefore all subordinate organizations and institutions throughout the Church will recognize the General Conference Session, and the General Conference Executive Committee between Sessions, as the highest ecclesiastical authority, under God, among Seventh-day Adventists. 1

The requirement for all church entities, including conferences and unions, to follow existing policies is made clear in the Bylaws of the General Conference: “Administrations of all organizations and institutions within a division’s territory shall be responsible to their respective executive committees/boards and operate in harmony with [the] division and General Conference Executive Committee actions and policies.” 2 For the above reasons, the recent action taken by the Columbia Union Conference Constituency Session to approve ordination without respect to gender represents a violation of these policies.

2.  Is the worldwide Theology of Ordination Study Committee, requested at the 2010 General Conference Session and established at the 2011 Annual Council, also studying the issue of the pastoral ordination of women?

Yes. The process for studying the theology of ordination voted by the General Conference Administrative Committee was handed out and reviewed by the 2011 Annual Council. As the document explains, “each division is asked to request their biblical research committee [BRC] to make a study of the theology of ordination and its implications for church practices.” 3 As has been consistently explained verbally and in writing, these practical implications involve many questions related to ordination, including the ordination of women. For example, in a letter from the Biblical Research Institute to all the division presidents and BRC directors sent on May 1, 2012, numerous issues and questions were listed that could be considered by the division study committees. A number of these items relate directly to the question of ordaining women as pastors, including “Does the Bible teach leadership role distinctions between male and female in ministry?”

The Biblical Research Institute has provided the necessary materials for the divisions to establish biblical research committees, and all 13 world divisions are in various stages of the study process. In addition, the General Conference Administrative Committee will be appointing a Theology of Ordination Study Committee, to which each division is invited to send representatives who will be able to represent the study done by their division on this larger, worldwide committee. A report of the worldwide study committee will be presented to the General Conference administration, which will report the findings to the 2014 Annual Council. This would allow any agreed-upon resolutions to be placed on the agenda of the 2015 General Conference Session. Further details of this process are available through the Adventist News Network: http://news.adventist.org/en/archive/articles/2011/10/10/process-timetable-unveiled-for-review-of-theology-of-ordination.

3.  Was it constitutionally appropriate for the General Conference Sessions of 1990 and 1995 to discuss and vote on the issue of ordaining women to ministry?

Yes. “The General Conference Session, and the General Conference Executive Committee between Sessions, is the highest ecclesiastical authority in the administration of the Church.”4  The General Conference in Session can deal with matters of global importance to the Church as well as matters referred to it from the General Conference Executive Committee. The General Conference in Session is the final place of appeal in matters of difference among organizations.

“When differences arise in or between churches and conferences or institutions, appeal to the next higher constituent level is proper until it reaches an Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee or the General Conference Session. Between these meetings, the General Conference Executive Committee constitutes the body of final authority on all questions. The committee’s decision may be reviewed at a General Conference Session or an Annual Council.”5

The 1990 General Conference Session addressed a report and recommendations that were referred to it by the General Conference Executive Committee.

The 1995 General Conference Session addressed a matter that originated as a request from the North American Division (NAD) officers and the NAD union presidents. This request was processed through the General Conference Executive Committee and placed on the agenda for the General Conference Session.

4.  Did the 1881 General Conference Session vote to authorize the ordination of women to the gospel ministry?

No. However, a surface reading of the minutes of the session could leave a wrong impression. It was common to introduce motions at GC Sessions of the time with “Resolved.” In our day, it sounds as if it has been decided, but in fact it was merely the accepted way to place a motion up for consideration. Then it would be discussed by the delegates and put to a vote. The resolutions voted on and passed at the 1881 General Conference Session are clearly listed in the minutes as “adopted.” With regard to the ordination of women, the following resolution was presented for discussion: “Resolved, That females possessing the necessary qualifications to fill that position, may, with perfect propriety, be set apart by ordination to the work of the Christian ministry.” Eight individuals are listed as speaking to this resolution prior to it being “referred to the General Conference Committee.” 6 It is never listed as having been adopted, nor is there any evidence it was ever taken up again, either at this Session or at any subsequent GC Session.7

5.  If female pastors have already been ordained by some organizations in China, why not allow the ordination of women to the ministry in other regions of the world?

Women have and are doing a powerful work for God in ministry in China. They are serving as pastors and church planters. Of more than 6,000 pastors in China, approximately 4,000, or 70 percent, of them are women. While a few (currently, 20 women) have been ordained, we need to understand the complexity of the situation in China and the reality of life there. In China, the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not have a formal church organization. There are no conferences or unions. There is no official Adventist Theological Seminary in China. There is no standardized ministerial training. Pastors typically are chosen from the members of a local congregation as they demonstrate a calling for ministry by teaching Sabbath school, lay preaching, and church planting. Chinese pastors, male or female, are usually ordained in one of two ways: either by the local congregation with the participation of Adventist senior pastors from their region, or by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. The Three-Self Patriotic Movement operates under the China Christian Council and is a nondenominational entity approved by the Chinese government.

Female Adventist leaders in China are not in agreement among themselves about the appropriateness of ordination: there is no uniform approach to the issue among the women who pastor Adventist churches in China.  Some allow themselves to be ordained, some do not; while the large majority has not engaged in the discussion because women’s ordination has never been an issue among women pastors in China. While the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church acknowledges the fact of women’s ordination in China, it neither recognizes it nor endorses it. It doesn’t seek to initiate, guide, or control the process. The church in China functions in the context of its environment and with the limitations imposed upon it by the government where it exists. However, because of this anomalous situation, its practices with respect to the ordination of female pastors cannot be cited as a model for the world church.

6.  Is the ordination of female pastors in China recognized by the world church?

No. Ordination in China is not officially recognized by any entity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church outside of China. The document, “An Appeal for Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices,” written and approved by all General Conference officers (25 persons) and division presidents (13 persons) worldwide, makes this clear:

… these ordinations were not authorized or conducted according to the policies of the Church. Nor are these ordinations approved or recognized/endorsed by the Northern Asia-Pacific Division. The Seventh-day Adventist Church does not have an officially organized structure in China that is comparable to other areas of the world. Government regulations do not permit outside involvement in church affairs within China. The practice, in China, of ministerial ordination for women is acknowledged as a reality that has arisen in China and is beyond the influence of the world-wide structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 8

7.  How is General Conference policy determined, and how is it related to practice? What is the connection between decisions voted by the General Conference Executive Committee, the General Conference Session, and policy?

Policy is thoughtfully developed, based on sometimes lengthy deliberations over issues both theological and practical, and recommendations made for consideration by duly appointed and elected representatives at these sessions and meetings of the world church. It is not accurate to assert that policy follows practice. It is more accurate to say that practice informs policy but that policy itself is based on Seventh-day Adventist principles found in Scripture and the writings of Ellen G. White. A recent example of how this process works in practice is the use of tithe. For several years, a committee at the General Conference has studied principles of tithing found in the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White. Based on this study and discussion, the committee has formulated recommendations for General Conference administration that have been refined, adopted at the Annual Council, and then included in the Working Policy.

However, certain policies cannot be acted upon at Annual Councils but only at a General Conference Session. These sessions, held every five years, address matters of global importance that impact the entire world Church, such as the election of world leaders (officers and department directors serving from the General Conference office and officers of divisions), revision and approval of Fundamental Beliefs, amendments to the Church Manual, amendments to the General Conference Constitution and Bylaws, appointment of the General Conference Auditing Service leaders and board, etc.

The General Conference Church Manual and General Conference Working Policy contain the decisions that define the operating procedures and relationships among the various levels of church organization (churches, local conferences, unions, and the General Conference with its divisions). The policies of the Church Manual are determined by General Conference Sessions and those of the Working Policy are determined by the General Conference Executive Committee at Annual Councils. Between General Conference sessions the General Conference Executive Committee is delegated to act on behalf of the General Conference Session. A General Conference Session is not prevented from establishing policy by virtue of having given to the Executive Committee that prerogative between Sessions. Membership on the Executive Committee includes General Conference and division officers; presidents of all the unions worldwide; as well as representation, recommended by divisions, from laity, pastors and frontline employees within each division.

8.  Is it obligatory for all entities of the world church to be in full agreement with the General Conference model constitution and working policies, or are they permitted to be only in “general” agreement?

The model constitutions and bylaws contain basic templates of language and concepts to be included in the constitution and bylaws of an organization such as a union or local conference.  Some of the material in the model documents is optional. Other material, represented by bold lettering, is obligatory. The obligation for organizations to operate in harmony with General Conference Session and Executive Committee decisions is also shown elsewhere in the Working Policy.  No organization is able to claim an exemption from such obligation merely because it has not adopted such language in its constitution and bylaws:

Local churches, local conferences/missions/fields, union conferences/missions, unions of churches, and institutions are, by vote of the appropriate constituency, and by actions of properly authorized executive committees, a part of the worldwide organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Whereas each has accepted the privilege and responsibility of representing the Church in its part of the world, each is therefore required to operate and minister in harmony with the teachings and policies of the Church, and the actions of the world Church in the General Conference Executive Committee or in General Conference Session. While individual units of the Church are given freedom to function in ways appropriate to their role and culture, no part of the worldwide organization of the Church has a unilateral right to secede.9

9.  What did Ellen White say about the authority of the General Conference?

In the years preceding the reorganization of the church in 1901, Ellen White made several statements about the General Conference no longer being the voice of God because the General Conference president and his advisors were not willing to heed the messages from the Lord. An example of this is a statement in 1898: “It has been some years since I have considered the General Conference as the voice of God.” 10 With the rapid growth of the church during these years, it was also clear that three or four leaders at the General Conference office in Battle Creek should not be making day-to-day decisions for fields half a world away. However, after the reorganization at the 1901 General Conference Session, Ellen White’s attitude was very different:

1909—“God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has invested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work.”11

1911—“God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for he who does this despises the voice of God.”12

10.  What is the difference between unity and uniformity?

The difference between “unity” and “uniformity” is in how these words end. They both start with “uni”—a Latin prefix meaning “one,” but it is what comes after that “one” that explains the oneness. Unity is “the state of being one, being united, as of the parts of a whole,” 13 but uniformity is “the state or quality of being uniform,” 14 that is, in form being one, but not in heart, mind, and soul.

As evidenced from the Creation account to the story of the Earth made new, God is clearly a God of diversity. He did not make only one kind of animal, plant, flower—or even human. Instead, He created the diversity that we see in the world around us.
But God is not the author of confusion, nor did He intend the world to be fragmented and divided. The purpose of Creation was to give Him glory, and the purpose of the Church is to point people toward God as revealed in His Word.

When Jesus prayed, “That they all may be one” (John 17:21, NKJV), it was in the context of purpose and mission for those who believed (and would believe) in Him. He pleaded with His Father to “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (vs. 17). Regarding mission, He prayed, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (vs. 18). Summing up the unity Jesus desires for His followers, He prayed, “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as you have loved Me” (vss. 22, 23).

Our goal is to work unitedly toward the realization of the kingdom of God. This is accomplished as a worldwide body of believers by coming together in belief and practice.

Nowhere is this more evidenced than during every quinquennium when the worldwide church comes together in a General Conference Session to pray, worship, fellowship, and conduct the business of the church. It is here, with the input from a wide diversity of representatives from every part of the globe, that the voice of the entire church is heard. It is here where our statements of belief and practice are voted. It is these beliefs—based on the truth of God’s Word and the practices that outline how best to accomplish our mission—that guide us and keep us united as we move together in mission. 

_________________________
1. Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 18th ed., rev. 2010, p. 31.
2. Section I.4 of the Bylaws of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, rev. 2011, p. 11. The yearbook in PDF is available at: http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/YB/YB2011.pdf.
3.  Minutes of the General Conference Executive Committee, GCC 11-105.
4. Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 18th ed., rev. 2010, p. 31.
5. Ibid.
6. Minutes of the 1881 General Conference Session, 197 GCS 63-88, published in The Review and Herald, vol. 58, no. 25 (Dec. 20, 1881), p. 392.
7. A short outline of General Conference and North American Division decisions relating to women and ordination, including this item, together with images of the original supporting documents, may be found at: GC and NAD Actions Related to Women's Ordination.
 8. “An Appeal for Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices,” June 29, 2012 (p. 2, n. 5; the full document is available at the Adventist News Network: http://news.adventist.org/images/uploads/documents/An-Appeal-for-Unity.docx).
9. From General Conference Working Policy, B 10 25 Structural Stability, p. 57.
10. 17MR 216; this and similar statements can be found in LDE 50, 51.
11. 9T 260, 261; this and similar statements can found in LDE 55, 56.
12. AA 164; also in LDE 56. For further reading, see George E. Rice, “The church: voice of God?” Ministry, December 1987, pp. 4-6, available at the Ellen G. White Estate: http://drc.whiteestate.org/files/4483.pdf.
13. From dictionary.com at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/unity.
14. From dictionary.com at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/uniformity?s=t&ld=1089.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

LindaRS

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Columbia Union Conference Approves 16 women for ordination
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2012, 06:45:09 PM »
Following the Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency’s historic July 29 decision to ordain pastors without regard to gender, the union executive committee voted to approve the ordination of 16 women pastors. The women include Allegheny East Conference’s Rosa Taylor Banks, Brenda Billingy, Paula Olivier and Lisa Smith-Reid; Ohio Conference’s Linda Farley, Lori Farr, Sandra Pappenfus and Carmen Seibold; and Potomac’s Karen L. Cress, Sharon Cress, Jennifer Deans, Debbie Eisele, Cherilyn O’Ffill and Sonia Perez. The vote included emeritus credentials for Chesapeake Conference’s Charlotte McClure and Josephine Benton, the first female pastor presented for ordination in 1973.
 
The ordination approvals took place just days before this year’s General Conference Annual Council, where a voted document regarded the actions of the Columbia Union (along with that of the Pacific and North German union conferences, whose constituents also approved inclusive ordination) “as serious mistakes.” The statement also said, “The world church does not recognize actions authorizing or implementing ministerial ordination without regard to gender.”
 
Shortly before the Annual Council discussion, the union’s three officers, Dave Weigley, president; Robert Vandeman, executive secretary; and Seth Bardu, treasurer, released a statement appealing for understanding stating,  “We believe that God calls whom He chooses and our responsibility and privilege is to fully recognize His proven calls … While we in no way wish to force others to take this step, we believe it is necessary in our field and in the context of the culture in which we minister.”
 
Despite the world church’s response, Celeste Ryan Blyden, union spokeswoman, says union leaders are encouraged. “Thanks to the courage of the leaders and constituents in three unions, after 17 years, this topic is back on the agenda of the worldwide church,” she said. “It’s being studied, discussed, preached about, prayed about, and will be a priority for the leadership in 2014. That’s progress, that’s movement, and we are encouraged.”
 
The world church recently launched a study on the theology of ordination that is now expected to explore women’s ordination as well. Two union representatives—Stephen Richardson, Allegheny East Conference Ministerial secretary, and Pennsylvania pastor Tara VinCross—will participate in the North American Division’s study committee.

http://www.columbiaunion.org/article/1165/news/2012-news-archives/november-8-2012-16-female-pastors-approved-for-ordination#.ULluemdOfb0
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Jeremiah  10:23-24

Won Bae

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2012, 01:42:51 PM »
It appears to me that there a lot women who are the spouses of ministers.  If this is true, wouldn't it be a part of "nepotism" which our denomination practices a lot and I do not think it is a healthy practice.

Won

Mimi

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2012, 03:46:22 PM »
It is my understanding in normal circumstances (woman not trying to replace man in home, pulpit, usurping authority, etc.), husband and wife working together for a common goal is encouraged, especially in ministry. Here is a very good example of the wife's role:

The Minister's Wife

     The minister is paid for his work, and this is well. And if the Lord gives the wife as well as the husband the burden of labor, and she devotes her time and strength to visiting from family to family and opening the Scriptures to them, although the hands of ordination have not been laid upon her, she is accomplishing a work that is in the line of ministry. Then should her labors be counted as naught?  {GW 452.2} 
     Injustice has sometimes been done to women who labor just as devotedly as their husbands, and who are recognized by God as being necessary to the work of the ministry. The method of paying men-laborers, and not paying their wives who share their labors with them, is a plan not according to the Lord's order, and if carried out in our conferences, is liable to discourage our sisters from qualifying themselves for the work they should engage in. God is a God of justice, and if the ministers receive a salary for their work, their wives, who devote themselves just as disinterestedly to the work, should be paid in addition to the wages their husbands receive, even though they may not ask for this.  {GW 452.3} 
     Seventh-day Adventists are not in any way to belittle woman's work. If a woman puts her housework in the hands of a faithful, prudent helper, and leaves her children in good care, while she engages in the work, the conference should have wisdom to understand the justice of her receiving wages.  {GW 453.1}
     The Lord has a work for women as well as men to do. They may accomplish a good work for God if they will first learn in the school of Christ the precious, all-important lessons of meekness. They must not only bear the name of Christ, but possess His Spirit. They must walk even as He walked, purifying their souls from everything that defiles. Then they will be able to benefit others by presenting the all-sufficiency of Jesus.--"Testimonies for the Church," Vol. VI, page 117.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2012, 09:12:36 PM »
Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church refuses to follow General Conference decision to not ordain women pastors and ordains a woman pastor. source
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2015, 08:03:14 PM »
To facilitate healing for women pastors and mentorship for young women, Fielder and Sonia Perez, youth pastor at the Beltsville church, planned “At the Master’s Feet: A Time for Affirmation, Connection and Education.”

Forty-four women, including 15 high school, college and seminary students, attended today’s retreat at Sligo church. Several North American Division and Columbia Union Conference administrators also attended and assured the participants they will continue to support, affirm and recognize women in ministry.

After attendees brainstormed ways to move forward and support each other in ministry, Brenda Billingy, an associate in North American Division Ministerial, who regularly mentors aspiring pastors, led the group in an anointing ceremony and prayed for continued courage. Source
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

colporteur

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Re: Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency Meeting - July 29, 2012
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2017, 12:29:33 PM »

There are few hold out conference presidents in the US opposing Women's ordination. The indication was that conf. president of West Virginia was one of them. He announced just a few days ago and part way into his term that he is retiring in a week or two. They apparently are making the ministerial director president for the remaining two years. This is most interesting given all the pressure that the Columbia Union is putting on the West Virginia conference. This pressure will now be transferred to the new , young president. This will be very interesting.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.