From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Adventist Women: Same Ministerial

Date 08 Apr 2000 02:09:08

Credentials as for Men

April 8, 2000
Adventist Press Service (APD)
Christian B. Schaeffler, Editor-in-chief
Fax +41-61-261 61 18
CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland

California: Adventist Women to Receive Same 
Ministerial Credentials as Men 

Riverside, California,USA.   Seventh-day Adventist 
Church administrators in the Southeastern 
California area voted on March 16 to issue male 
and female pastors in their district with the same 
ministerial credentials. The decision by the 
executive committee of the Southeastern California 
Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (SECC) is 
believed to be a first for the Adventist Church, 
which generally operates a two-tier credentialing 
system for men and women.

"Treating women ministers without discrimination 
in our conference has been a long-standing goal," 
said F. Lynn Mallery, SECC president. "The 
document was adopted without one dissenting vote." 
Women make up nearly 10 percent of pastors in the 
60,000-member conference, which serves five 
counties south and east of Los Angeles.

The new credential states that the individual is 
an "ordained-commissioned" minister in good 
standing.  Adventist ministers receive the 
credential after successfully completing 
appropriate theological education, hands-on ministry 
in a local congregation that shows their gift for 
ministry, and an oral review and examination. They 
are also "set aside" for ministry in a public 
ceremony that includes prayer and the laying on of 

"This procedure could show the way for the rest of 
the [Adventist Church in North America] on how to 
handle this matter with equality and yet abide by 
the spirit and letter of Church policy," said 
Thomas Mostert, president of the Adventist Church 
in the Pacific Union region-a Church 
administrative district that includes the SECC.

Mallery stated that, "We support the ongoing 
mission of the 11-million member Church of which 
we are a part. We respect the variety of views 
that members elsewhere have on this subject.  We 
hope that our fellow believers will also respect 
our moral conviction that men and women in this 
conference who are equally qualified and have had 
fruitful ministries should be treated in the same 

Currently, the Adventist Church at large chooses 
to recognise males who are set aside for gospel 
ministry as being "ordained," while females are 
designated as "commissioned."  In comparison with 
ordained ministers, commissioned ministers are 
barred from performing three functions:  they may 
not organise churches; they cannot ordain elders 
and deacons; and they are not eligible to serve as 
a conference president.  SECC accepts women 
pastors who have met the same requirements as men 
to be fully qualified and authorised within its 

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