By Kellys Kaunda
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has voted “no” to the motion that would have allowed each of its 13 administrative divisions to decide on whether to ordain women or not. Meeting in San Antonio, Texas at the ongoing General Conference session which takes place every five years, the 2556 delegates brought to an end years of debate on a question that has equally been hotly contested in other churches.
By a margin of 1,381 – 997 with five abstentions delegates by secret ballot ended a five-year process characterized by vigorous and sometimes acrimonious debate. “Now is the time to unify under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ and His power, not our power,” Ted Wilson, re-elected to another five-term as president of the global SDA Church a few days ago said after the ballots were counted on tables at the front of the Alamodome stadium.
Five years ago in 2010, the SDA Church whose global membership now stands at 18 million resolved that the subject of the ordination of women be studied carefully and findings brought to the 2015 session for a vote. Each of the church’s 13 administrative divisions set up ordination study committees whose findings were widely circulated for further consideration by church members.
At the ongoing session, the motion on the table read, ““After your prayerful study on ordination from the Bible, the writings of Ellen G. White (the co-founder of the SDA Church), and the reports of the study commissions, and; after your careful consideration of what is best for the church and the fulfilment of its mission, 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? Yes or No.”
If the delegates had voted “yes”, it would have meant that some divisions (divisions represent regions of the world) might have been ordaining women while others would not have been. By voting “no”, delegates have decided on uniformity and unity in ordination practices.
The General Conference session, which began July 2 ends on the 12th of this month. Among the choirs invited to sing at the global meeting is the 12 Gates from Emmasdale SDA Church in Lusaka.