Church Leaders Confirm Unity Despite Ordination Differences
Annual Council delegates recommit themselves to Jesus and the church’s mission.
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.
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 coming.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ARMcChesney
Adventist Review: Oct. 15, 2014: "Women’s Ordination Question Goes to GC Session"
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