The Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the United States approved on Aug. 21 the proposal to ordain women as pastors in the church.
Details of the Vote
According to a report by Spectrum Magazine, the Second Quinquennial Constituency Session at LifeSource Fellowship in Denver, Colo., attracted 510 delegates who voted for the proposal.
In the end, 41% opposed the move, while 51% said yes to the proposal.
With the vote in favor of the proposal, women can now become pastors in any of the churches under RMC.
The report said that the areas within the rocky Mountain Conference include Wyoming, Colorado, and portions of New Mexico.
Before the voting, organizers allowed participants to take the floor and explain their opinions on the issue.
RMC Communication Director Rajmund Dabrowski said 13 attendees lined up for the side approving the proposal while nine queued for the side opposing the motion.
Dabrowski disclosed opposing sides debated the issue for at least an hour before organizers called for a vote that cut the discussions to put the proposal to a vote.
The conference's communication director explained how the discussions that preceded the vote reflected previous talks on ordination, including its definition, church authority, and headship theology.'
There seems to be an ongoing trend of conferences within the Seventh-Day Adventist Church that push reforms throughout the congregation.
In 2021, the Mid-America Union Conference allowed all persons duly recommended by church authorities to undergo the ordination process without gender considerations.
At the time, session delegates voted 82%, favoring the proposal to let individual conferences such as RMC carry out their referendum on allowing women to undergo ordination.
Rocky Mountain President Mic Thurber explained his support for the motion given his almost 20 years of experience serving the church with "educated, gifted, and called" women who dedicate their lives to "pastoral ministry.
The Mid-America Union Conference's decision at the time aligned with the approved "Working Policy" of the General Conference, the Spectrum Magazine article said.
The church document gives power to individual unions within the church to vote on the individual pastors' ordination into the church ministry.
The current trend started with the Central States Conference when it pushed for and successfully ordained the first female pastor in the church.
A separate Spectrum Magazine article disclosed that New Beginnings Church Elder Kimberly Bulgin was ordained as the church's first female pastor.
The article said church authorities ordained Bulgin on Oct. 23, 2021.
New Beginnings Church is in Wichita, Kan., under the Central States Conference.
'Ministerial Gender Equality'
According to Spectrum Magazine, the movements in the Central States, Mid-America Union, and Rocky Mountain conferences signal the Seventh-Day Adventist Church's steady move toward "ministerial gender equality."
The efforts to give women elders responsibilities as pastors of the different churches do not come lightly, as the General Conference has shown opposition to such actions.
Additionally, Spectrum Magazine reported that the North Pacific Union Conference refused to allow a vote on ordination during its last constituency session.