22 November 2018 | Bečići, Montenegro [Victor Hulbert] Updated 28 May 2019
Members of the Trans-European Division Executive Committee today voted a four-point document aimed at supporting women who serve in roles of leadership and ministry. The vote came as a result of extensive discussion during TED Year End Meetings, 21 – 25 November in Bečići, Montenegro. It aims to deal with issues, global and local, that can enhance the possibility for women to work effectively in a church setting.
Endorsing Women in Ministry
The first recommendation is a request to the General Conference for them to make an official statement endorsing women in ministry and leadership. This would be seen as a significant and encouraging addition to the many official statements of the Church on a wide range of issues such as the Nurture and Protection of children, Freedom of Speech, Gender issues, Global Poverty and a commitment to Health and Healing.
The recommendation reads, “Given the current discussion in the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church regarding the role of women within the life of the church, which has an impact both internally and externally, we request the Officers of the General Conference to initiate the drafting of a position statement affirming women, and their role and contribution within the church at all levels, to be presented to the Spring Meeting 2019 of the General Conference Executive Committee for consultation and to be voted on by the full Executive Committee at Annual Council 2019.”
Church Manual revisions
Two further requests are made to the GC Church Manual Committee. One is to consider the language in the manual related to the description of elder. Noting a variety of voted actions and the way they are footnoted in the Church Manual, the request is for clarity and states,
“As “elder” is gender neutral, there is no indication in the Church Manual that the term is inclusive of both male and female. We would request that the Church Manual Committee, amend the language to reflect that elders may be male or female.”
There is a further request for the Church Manual Committee to insert a provision which would allow for other ministerial credentials to be created between General Conference sessions, on the understanding that they would be subject to ratification at the next General Conference, when the Church Manual could be updated.
Supporting women in ministry, the TED Executive committee fully endorsed a decision taken by the TED Sponsorship Committee to provide educational support that will make provision for 32 women to train for ministry over the next three years, providing them with a 75% sponsorship for room, board and tuition.
You can read the full document here: Recommendations to support women in ministry and leadership
The Trans-European Division has one of the highest proportions of female leadership of any Division in the World, standing at approximately 14.5 percent.
UPDATE: Endorsing Women in Ministry, 28 May 2019
Today the Trans-European Division received a response from the General Conference Administration regarding the above request for an official statement in support of women in leadership and ministry. Having gone back through the minutes of GC sessions, Annual Councils and their Administrative Committee, they have identified many positive statements in the minutes.
The most recent one was voted in 2015.
“[General Conference and Division Officers] re-affirm that the Holy Spirit imparts gifts to all believers and that women play an important role in the life of the church (Joel 2:28; 1 Corinthians 12:11, 18). Their commitment, giftedness, and talents are a blessing to the entire body of Christ. . . . Godly, Spirit-filled women are powerfully witnessing for Christ and being used by the Holy Spirit to make major contributions for the advancement of His kingdom.”—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, General Conference and Division Officers, October 7, 2015 (ADCOM 15-1100).
In the light of this and other similar statements, they do not feel that it is necessary to vote an additional statement. The full statement can be read on GC Archives website.
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Sajitha Forde-Ralph, associate editor
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