At the recent 2021 Australian Union Conference (AUC) Executive Committee meeting the committee discussed the 2015 AUC Constituency Meeting resolution on women in pastoral ministry and decided to expand on this resolution. This is the official statement:
As a Church we continue to be blessed by the spiritual leadership of both men and women in pastoral ministry. In recognition of the work taking place right across our nation, the Australian Union Conference (AUC) Executive Committee dedicated time to prayerful consideration of how best to support and affirm our pastors and to more effectively support women in pastoral ministry. This resulted in an action to affirm women in pastoral ministry and leadership at the AUC Executive Committee in May.
After a lengthy discussion the committee voted to expand on the 2015 AUC Constituency Meeting resolution on women in pastoral ministry. The original resolution resolved to “endorse the full and active participation of women in ministry in the Australian Union Conference,” and to strongly affirm women already serving, while applying “this endorsement in appropriate ways that maintain worldwide unity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
The latest resolution confirmed the desire of the Union to see all pastors, both male and female, receive equal recognition for their work while maintaining unity with the worldwide Church. The Union recognises that the work of female pastors is equally important to that of male pastors and they should not be viewed as different or one lesser than the other.
Further, the resolution will see the Union encouraging all conferences to include both male and female pastors in their ministry team.
The Australian Union Conference will also establish a scholarship program for female theology students at Avondale University College and Mamarapha College, and it will appoint a female associate Ministerial Association secretary to provide leadership, support and an increased voice for women currently in pastoral ministry and for those to come.
Finally, the Union will recommend to the General Conference, through the South Pacific Division, for practical pastoral purposes, that policy be amended to permit commissioned ministers to ordain elders and deacons.
The Australian Union Conference is excited about the opportunities for mission that will be created by these actions and is looking forward to seeing God’s blessings as He continues to gift women in pastoral ministry.