Dec. 06, 2012 Silver Spring, Maryland, United States…ANN staff

The Chairman of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Theology of Ordination Study Committee this week announced the names of committee members, the final step in the group’s formation. (click HERE to see a PDF of the committee’s guidelines and list of members)

Artur Stele, an Adventist world church vice president and director of the Biblical Research Institute, addresses the church’s Executive Committee in 2011, announcing a timetable and process for how the denomination will study the theology of ordination. This week, he announced the names of members who will form the study committee. ANN file photo.

Church officials said committee membership “represents a wide range of thought and opinions” on the subject.

Committee Chairman Artur Stele said the key reason for releasing the names is to invite every member of the Adventist Church to pray for the committee members.

“We are in need of God’s guidance and leading in this study process,” said Stele, who serves as a vice president of the Adventist world church and head of the denomination’s Biblical Research Institute.

The committee was formed in September, following a pledge by church officials at General Conference Session in 2010 to examine the theology of ordination. The Adventist world church allows women to be commissioned as ministers in some world fields, but does not allow or recognize the ordination of women.

Stele said steps are being taken to “ensure that the process will be open, fair and transparent.” He outlined the committee’s four tasks:

Review the history of the study of ordination in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Develop a Seventh-day Adventist theology of ordination.

Study the subject of ordination of women to the gospel ministry.

In areas of disagreement, focus on potential solutions that support the message, mission and unity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The committee’s steering committee has already met twice, and the first full meeting is set for next month, Stele said.

The committee’s drafts of documents for each task will be sent to local Biblical Research committees in each of the denomination’s 13 world divisions. Each local division committee will make recommendations and return their suggestions.

The committee will likely complete its work in summer of 2014, Stele said.

The denomination’s Executive Committee at the 2014 Annual Council may decide to recommend action to the 2015 General Conference Session.

“The Theology of Ordination Study Committee starts its work in total reliance on God’s guidance,” Stele said. “Please pray for the right spirit and openness for God’s leadership.”

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