To: Pastors, Elders and Church Members
From: The Gulf Field of the SDA Church
Date: September 7, 2015
During the 2015 GC session the delegates were asked to cast their “yes or “no” vote to the following question, “Is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry?”
The delegates turned down the motion that would have allowed each division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to decide for itself whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry in its territory.
As the Gulf Field, we stand committed to the unity of the body of Christ. Therefore, we will continue upholding the current church policies.
The current policies make provisions for:
- Women as Elders: The Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Handbook, p. 94 states the following:
“Elders and deacons should be persons of experience, chosen wisely. By action of the Annual Council of 1975, reaffirmed at the 1984 Annual Council, both men and women are eligible to serve as elders and receive ordination to this position of service in the church.”
- Women as Commissioned Pastors: The GC Working Policy BA 60 10 states that:
“The world Church supports nondiscrimination in employment practices and policies and upholds the principle that both men and women, without regard to race and color, shall be given full and equal opportunity within the Church to develop the knowledge and skills needed for the building up of the Church. Positions of service and responsibility (except those requiring ordination to the gospel ministry) on all levels of church activity shall be open to all on the basis of the individual’s qualifications.”
To clarify matters further, during the 1989 General Conference Annual Council the following was voted:
“Those who have, without regard to gender, been recognized as commissioned ministers or licensed ministers may perform essentially the ministerial functions of an ordained minister of the gospel in the churches to which they are assigned, subject to division [Middle East North African Union] authorization of this provision, if the following conditions apply:
- The individual has completed approved ministerial training.
- The individual has been called by a conference to serve in a full-time pastoral-evangelistic-ministerial role.
- The individual has been elected and ordained as a local church elder.
As the Gulf Field we are committed to:
- Uphold our current church policies.
- Work closely with higher organizations for direction and guidance.
- Present the two sides of the debate on women’s ordination, as fairly and objectively as possible, to educate our members on both sides of the spectrum.
- Focus on the churches mission, to empower her members to become men and women of integrity in the society in which they live.
The Gulf Field of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
 The exception clause, and any other statement above, shall not be used to reinterpret the action already taken by the world Church authorizing the ordination of women as local church elders in divisions [Middle East North Africa Union] where the division [Middle East North Africa Union] executive committees have given their approval.[ Download this letter as PDF file ]