What Do You Think About the "No Vote?"
We asked Columbia Union General Conference Session delegates and members "What do You Think About the “No” Vote?" Here are some of their responses:
There was so much politics going on and the points of order that we missed the opportunity to hear what others had to say, and I was very disheartened by that. However, I do believe that God is still in control of our church … I do pray that we will gather around our pastors, our female pastors and particularly our young people … and [help them] understand that some things take a process.—Union delegate Corrine Rawlins, from Potomac Conference’s New River Valley church in Christiansburg, Va.
“As a pastor who represents the worldwide Adventist Church, it is my belief that this issue was bathed in a lot of prayer. I accept the final decision of the vote of the GC counsel. It is my belief that we should put this issue to rest permanently and focus on being about the Father's business in winning souls to Christ.”—Jim Buchanan, pastor of Mountain View Conference’s Williamson and Logan (W.Va.) churches
“I was disappointed. I realize there are good people on both sides. I understand the church is bigger than my opinion, but it occurred to me that many people from other countries have not grasped the cultural necessity of women's ordination in our part of the world. Hopefully that will change in time.”—Stewart Pepper, pastor of Mountain View Conference’s Charleston and Ripley (W.Va.) churches
"Generally, I mostly favor uniformity. There is a lot of speaking about lack of unity, but I think in this case, there [are] many instances of different practices in the church already, and I don’t see ordaining women as being promoting disunity. I think the Holy Spirit gifts men and women, and if women are gifted, those gifts should be recognized."—Eugene Korff, a member of Chesapeake Conference's Spencerville (Md.) church.
"It was very disappointing for me to see the outcome. The part that stung the most was that it became less a debate about God’s calling and the ordination and more a debate about men vs. women. As a young woman trying to forge my way in the world, it was so discouraging to hear that coming from my church. But, the work will continue and we’re not done. I think God’s calling is so individualized. We just have to listen to Him regardless of what the church or other members of the church may be trying to tell us what we can or cannot do."—Gillian Bath, a member of Potomac Conference's Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md.
"The outcome was disastrous, and the question we were asked to vote on was ingenious because it would have permitted people in areas where it really mattered to go ahead, and it would not have imposed anything on anybody. We missed a terrific opportunity to enhance the unity of the church. I feel really bad about it."—Charles Scriven, a member of Ohio Conference’s Kettering
I’m very very hopeful and very assured. … It’s harsh to say it, but, sometimes as religious people, we do things that are not good and they are not righteous. We must understand that. It isn’t because we are evil, but because we lack knowledge. And, I still believe that if we really follow Christ, we will find an easy way through this problem. The problem has not gone away, it has not been voted away. So we continue to fight and we continue to move forward. I am very very encouraged by the North American division and the other divisions that are determined to affirm women. ... I am very hopeful and I’m, going to continue to struggle.—Olive Hemmings is a professor at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.