Don’t Go Ahead of World Church, ATCU President Says

Don’t Go Ahead of World Church, ATCU President Says
Communication Department, ATCU

Dr. Leonard A Johnson, president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU), is urging the constituents and members of ATCU not to go ahead of the world church.  His remarks came in light of the recent decision by the delegates to the Southeastern California Conference Session to elect Sandra Roberts as president of that conference. The election, which took place on Sunday, October 27, 2013 added to the discourse on the topic of the ordination of women.

Subsequently, on October 31, 2013, the officers of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC) issued a statement explaining the world church
's position on the matter.   According to the statement, which can be found on the Adventist News Network (ANN),the official news service of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, "ordination is one of the criterion for being a conference president.”   Presently, the world church does not endorse the ordination of women to the pastoral ministry.   The statement continued that "the world church strongly indicated that it does not recognize as ordained ministers individuals who do not meet the criteria outlined in policy."

In responding to the recent events and debate on the topic, Dr. Johnson noted that the world church is engaged in a process to address this issue through the appointment of a Theology of Ordination Study Committee with participation by all divisions of the world church.   The Inter-American Division (IAD), of which ATCU is an integral part, has two representatives on the committee. They are Dr. Ellie Henry, executive secretary of the IAD and Dr. Carmen Parez, vice-president of the the Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary (IATS). The committee will present a recommendation at the 2014 Fall Council of the General Conference.

Two persons from the ATCU are delegates on the GC executive committee, namely Dr. Leonard A. Johnson, president of ATCU, and Pastor Leonardo Rahming, a district pastor in the South Bahamas Conference. 

Dr. Johnson explained that the church has a process that includes dialogue from representatives at all levels.

"To break away from the established policies of the church without allowing the process to be completed destroys the unity of the church,” he said.

While Dr. Johnson did not say whether or not the church in the ATCU region supports the ordination of female pastors and the election of a female to lead a local field, he emphasized that ATCU stands in support of the process implemented by the world church to address this and any other issue.