Annual Council 2015: Officers Appeal for Respect of the World Church

Challenges to the world church’s decision on women’s ordination have been made.

Seventh-day Adventist Norwegian and Dutch Union Conference Executive Committees voted Sept. 20 and 22, 2015, that they will ordain neither men nor women, a decision that came after the world church voted July 8 to deny variance of Working GC Policy for the ordination of women.

In the October 2015 edition of Pacific Union Recorder it was also reported that on Sept. 9, the Pacific Union executive committee resolved to “continue to abide by the union constituency’s 2012 mandate to ‘approve ordinations to the gospel ministry without regard to gender.’”

As these union actions materialized just before the first Annual Council in the new quinquennium, some delegates and members wondered if these actions would be addressed at Annual Council.

General Conference Working Policy, which the GC Executive Committee must follow, states: “Officers and administrators are expected to work in harmony with the General Conference Working Policy. Those who show inability or unwillingness to administer their work in harmony with policy should not continue in executive leadership by their respective constituencies or governing boards/committees.”

At the Annual Council business session Sunday, President Ted Wilson introduced an appeal from all General Conference and division officers as the final item of business. Wilson said that Secretary G.T. Ng would read the appeal.

“It’s not something we’re going to debate or discuss,” Wilson said, “but it is an appeal to you—a very special appeal which we took three sessions to go over and work out very carefully.”

Wilson said the document was approved “unanimously with no dissent” by the GC and division officers. Workers distributed the appeal to the delegates.

Ng read the document verbatim to the assembly:

AN APPEAL AND APPRECIATION TO ALL CHURCH ENTITIES AND MEMBERS FROM THE GENERAL CONFERENCE AND DIVISION OFFICERS REGARDING THE 2015 GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION VOTE ON ORDINATION

Wilson then addressed the delegates:

“This is an appeal being made to you, to each of us, and to the world church. We are very grateful for the way in which so many have responsibly accepted the decision that was made, many not agreeing with the decision, but that we are one church, we are one body. We may have differences, but we have one mission, and we appreciate very much your wonderful cooperation in this regard.”

The room was quiet and there was no discussion. The chair asked for closing prayer, and the meeting adjourned until the nominating committee could prepare a report for the afternoon.