October 18, 2014

Church Leaders Confirm Unity Despite Ordination Differences

Annual Council delegates confirmed that despite differences
over women’s ordination, they remain committed to the lordship of Jesus and to
fulfilling the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s mission of proclaiming Jesus’
soon coming.

William Fagal leading delegates in singing "Resting By and By" in a photo posted on the official @AdventistChurch Twitter account.

The delegates approved the “Annual Council Commitment” at
the request of General Conference leadership and the presidents of the church’s
13 world divisions at the closing session of the six-day church business
meeting on Wednesday.

The statement reads:

“We affirm that, in spite of differing views respecting the
practice of ministerial ordination, the members of the General Conference
Executive Committee are individually and collectively committed to the lordship
of Jesus Christ, to His Word, to His church, and to the Advent movement. Under
the unifying power of the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to fulfilling the
church’s unique prophetic mission of living and communicating the gospel
message in the context of the three angels’ messages heralding Christ’s soon

A majority of the delegates, comprised of church leaders and
laypeople, approved the statement, but no vote count was taken, church leaders
said Friday. The electronic devices used for voting during the Annual Council
were collected at noon Wednesday because some delegates were making plans to
leave, and the agenda items discussed in the afternoon weren’t deemed controversial enough to require a secret ballot.

The Annual Council, which on Tuesday approved a request for
the General Conference session next July to take a final vote on the question
of women’s ordination, concluded with William Fagal, associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate, recalling
an experience when Adventist pioneers had faced a difference of opinion and
church co-founder James White asked his wife, Ellen G. White, to lead the
people in a song. 

Fagal projected the words of the hymn, “Resting By and By” on
a large screen, and the delegates sang it. After the song, the delegates voted
on the commitment statement.

The two closing prayers were offered by Elaine Oliver,
co-director of the Family Ministries department at the General Conference, and Moses
I. Ostrovsky, president of the Belarus Union. The delegates then sang an
Adventist favorite, "We Have This Hope."

Contact news editor Andrew McChesney at [email protected].
Twitter: @ARMcChesney

Related link

Adventist Review: Oct. 15, 2014: "Women’s Ordination Question Goes to GC Session"