This site is a resource for information on the study of the theology of ordination and women in ministry for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Lake Union Conference. The site will be updated often as information becomes available. Send your coments, suggestions, questions and proposed content to: email@example.com.
Mission First in God's Church
by Don LivesayFollowing the 2012 spring meeting of the Lake Union Executive Committee, we reported on a process the Lake Union leadership would follow on the question of women in ministry. This process is consistent with our World Church's study on the theology of ordination, including the question of ordaining women. Unions also are invited to carefully study this issue and report findings to their respective Division.
We began the process in the Lake Union when the officers of our conferences and our Union spent nearly two days in early September 2012, studying this issue. Our goals included:
- To engage in a study process that maintains and deepens our spiritual unity as leaders in this Union, even where disagreement on this issue exists
- To clearly hear and respect each other in this process
- To define areas of mutual agreement and decide how we can move forward in areas where there is not full agreement
- To seek God’s leading through the careful study of the Bible and deep prayer
- To respond to the General Conference call for study by determining any direction we feel our union should register within the NAD and General Conference deliberations
- To determine our stand regarding General Conference policy and practice on this issue
- To conclude our retreat with godly spiritual unity
We began with five presentations:
1) History of ordination
2) Theology of ordination
3) Survey of hermeneutics (the rules of biblical interpretation)
4) Position opposing the ordination of women
5) Position supporting the ordination of women.
These presentations were very informative, answered many questions, created some questions, and were heard and received with careful analysis.
The second day focused on small group study, carefully examining the materials, key texts and issues regarding women’s ordination. Late in the day, we devoted 90 minutes to solo time for each individual to define personal findings and convictions. We then came back to our groups to share those convictions. That evening we reviewed the basic approaches and understandings of the different perspectives on this issue and grappled with how we should proceed. There was a unanimous consensus that no matter what the conclusion of our continued study, we affirm the Lake Union’s unity with the General Conference.
On October 10, 2012, we reported to the Lake Union Executive Committee and took two actions: 1) The Lake Union Conference Executive Committee affirms its unity with the World Church and commits to the General Conference process of examining the theology of ordination, which includes a study on the issue of women’s ordination; and 2) To continue our Lake Union study process with the Executive Committee in February with an extended meeting time.
Before our February, 2013, meeting, LUC Executive Committee members received materials for personal study and preparation for a committee consideration of women’s ordination. Our committee time began with an evening of presentations similar to our officer retreat. The next day included small group study and a time for the whole committee to carefully consider its response. The Committee came to the conclusion that the Seventh-day Adventist Church lacked a biblical theology of ordination and voted the following: "While affirming women in ministry, the Lake Union Executive Committee supports the world church in its process of the study of ordination and its decisions regarding ordination, with the understanding that the church needs a clear biblical theology of ordination that will guide our policies."
I am exceptionally thankful for the attitudes that have been evidenced through this process. We have understood each other, respected convictions and kept the mission of God’s Church as a mutually-valued goal. Your prayers and personal study on this issue are coveted. This is God’s Church, we are His servants.