Male Adventist pastors forgo ordination credentials in solidarity with unordained wome …

Pastor Kymone Hinds. Photo courtesy of Hannak Banks
Mike Speegle preches at New Hope Church. Photo courtesy of New Hope Church

Mike Speegle, senior pastor of an Adventist church in Fulton, Md., said Wednesday (Oct. 14) that he requested and received a change in his credentials late this summer as his way of supporting his female colleagues. Photo courtesy of New Hope Church

(RNS) Some male pastors of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have changed their credentials in an act of solidarity with women who are not allowed to be ordained in the denomination.

The protest has occurred in several states across the U.S. after the global denomination voted in July not to allow regional church bodies to ordain women pastors.

Despite a worldwide ban, several U.S. conferences of Adventists have ordained women in recent years. But usually women may only hold a “commissioned” credential without being formally ordained.

Adventist officials said there is no pay difference between ordained and commissioned pastors.

READ: Adventists stay the course, vote to deny women’s ordination

Mike Speegle, senior pastor of an Adventist church in Fulton, Md., said Wednesday (Oct. 14) that he requested and received a change in his credentials late this summer as his way of supporting his female colleagues.

“In our structure, I can’t make them equal with me by ordaining them, but I can make myself equal with them by taking the commissioned license, which is exactly what they have,” he said.

Pastor Kymone Hinds, the leader of a Memphis, Tenn., church, took similar action. He and another minister, Pastor Furman Fordham of Nashville, Tenn., received permission from their regional officials.

“Though I am not in agreement with the position that you brethren have taken on this issue, I admire your willingness to act on your convictions and fully support your right to do so,” wrote Elder D.C. Edmond, president of the denomination’s South Central Conference, in a September letter to them.

Pastor Kymone Hinds. Photo courtesy of Hannak Banks

Pastor Kymone Hinds, the leader of a Memphis, Tenn., church. Photo courtesy of Hannak Banks

Hinds said it was worth it to him to lose access to certain privileges of ordination: presiding over regional conferences; organizing churches; and ordaining elders, deacons or deaconesses.

“I wanted to stand in solidarity,” he said Wednesday. “We realize that our female ministers do the same work and have the same education but there is a glass ceiling over them.”

Courtney Ray, a pastor of an Inglewood, Calif., church, said the list of protesters includes professors at the denomination’s seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich.

“It demonstrates solidarity with those being marginalized and it demonstrates to our congregants that we don’t believe in ordination as a sacrament that gives special power to some,” she said.

Dan Weber, communication director of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, said any change in credentials occurs at the level of the nine unions, or regional territories, within the U.S. and Canada.

“So far there haven’t been a lot of requests to have credentials changed,” he said Thursday.


About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.


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  • Kudos to my colleagues, who inspire me to consider doing the same.
    If our female colleagues cannot join us in the house of ordination, then I should join them in the yard of commissioning.

  • The opposition to women’s ordination is based on the Bible. Although (in the Bible) women fill many high positions, ordained ministers have always been men – since Gods appointment of Aaron and his sons, Once Adventist crack open the proverbial door to women’s ordination, it will lead to more changes that are based on secular political correctness.

    Hegel’s Dialectic ( thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis ) has been a very useful tool in bringing about the “gradual” subversion pursued by the Fabian Society since 1884. For those who understand it, the evidence of that is clear and undeniable in this situation.

    For those who are not familiar with these things, I highly suggest you step out of your proverbial fish bowl and do some research.

  • Nonsense! No difference in duty nor pay but in privileges and authority. Shold they be in office at all then if they can go this far but not able to advance like the other workers in the field? After all this is a vocation. No one was “anointed” to the position. This is a field of study open to all and no barriers were placed before women entering the ministry so why stop at ordination, except for political reason of course.

  • Cudos to the those who do this. SHAME. SHAME SHAME on the Adventist church for subjugating women.

  • Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17, 18. “Prophesy” refers to preaching. If you would take the Hebrew laws and practices literally, I hope you are following the Levitical laws to the letter.

  • Your comment demonstrates that you have a limited understanding of the Bible, which says nothing about ‘ordination’ (a modern construct), but clearly demonstrates Paul’s co-partnership with women in ministry. Your knowledge of church history also seems to be inadequate, since women were ordained to leadership positions (i.e. as abbesses in double monasteries) into the medieval era. Hegel has nothing to do with this issue. Check your assumptions, which seem to be based upon sexist bias.

  • Less time babysitting and watching TV and being a part of pop culture!
    I would like to see solidarity in visiting members. Going out to visit the sick. Warning the world that Jesus is about to leave the most holy place. Heralding the soon coming of the Lord by teaching the members how to witness for their Lord. That’s what I’d like to see.

  • The very fact of the Leprosy of Mariam, should be enough to settle the question.
    God makes the choice NOT man or culture.