SPD releases official statement on ordination


The South Pacific Division has released an official statement regarding the July 8, 2015, vote to not allow each division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to decide whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry in its territory.

. . . the South Pacific Division intends to remain in harmony with the world Church . . . We hope that, in time, the world Church will recognise gospel equality in regard to women’s ordination.

The South Pacific Division (SPD) leadership rejoices that both our women and men are responding to God’s call to the gospel ministry. As Joel 2:28-29 makes clear, it is only when young and old, male and female, are together filled with the Holy Spirit and are reaching out to our dying world, that God’s work is completed.

After careful study of Scripture and Ellen White’s writings, we believe women who serve faithfully as pastors should be eligible for ordination on the same basis as their male colleagues. We are, therefore, disappointed by the vote at the General Conference Session on July 8, which prevented world divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from deciding this question within their territories. 

The SPD is thankful for the women already serving as pastors in the South Pacific, and we sincerely appreciate and respect their faithful spiritual leadership. We will initiate plans to increase the numbers and the support of women in various kinds of ministry. However, the South Pacific Division intends to remain in harmony with the world Church. This includes continuing to hire, promote and commission women pastors, who are, under existing church policy, free to perform nearly all the functions of their male colleagues.

We hope that, in time, the world Church will recognise gospel equality in regard to women’s ordination. The SPD will work toward that purpose while respecting those with alternative perspectives. The evidence from General Conference Session votes over the last 25 years, shows that support for women’s ordination has increased steadily from 24 per cent to 41.3 per cent. We hope and expect that the freedom for the Church to ordain all who God calls to gospel ministry will be reality soon.

South Pacific Division president Pastor Glenn Townend speaks to Adventist Record following the General Conference Session vote on ordination.