Ordination of Women: Past, Present, Future


This lecture has only one CD/MP3 – recording begins a few seconds into the introduction]

[1hr, 19min, 57sec]


On July 6, 1995, a vote was taken at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on the question of whether to allow the ordination of women for gospel ministry. The proposal lost by a margin of more than 2-to-1, yet the movement whose roots took hold more than 100 years earlier at the 1881 General Conference Session, now began to bloom. The following day, the La Sierra University Church board voted to take the issue of women’s ordination to their local church business session, at which they voted to request that the Southeastern California Conference and Pacific Union allow the ordination of women. Both entities narrowly rejected the request. Some called what followed courageous, while others deemed it rebellious. Without the sanction of higher church authorities from the North American Division or General Conference, several SDA congregations chose to unilaterally ordain women to pastoral ministry. On September 23, 1995, the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland, became the first by ordaining Kendra Haloviak, Norma Osborn, and Penny Shell. Our panel of guests includes participants from this service.


Kendra Haloviak Valentine

At 28, she was the youngest of the three Summer 2015 women ordained at Sligo. At the time she was pursuing a Ph.D. in New Testament and Ethics at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. Currently, Haloviak Valentine serves as Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at La Sierra University.

Arthur R. Torres

As the Senior Pastor of the Sligo SDA Church, Torres delivered the homily during the ordination service, entitled Let The Future Begin. Prior to his service at Sligo, Torres was senior pastor of the Glendale City Church where he was instrumental in establishing a policy which promoted women in leadership positions, and he has returned to serve as Pastor Emeritus.

Lawrence Geraty

As President of La Sierra University, Geraty served as a sponsor for Norma Osborn during the ordination service at Sligo. Now retired, he spends his time volunteering for numerous committees, charitable organizations and foundations.

Fritz Guy

At the Sligo ordination service, Guy served as Penny Shell’s sponsor. At the time, he was Professor of Theology at La Sierra University, a position he took after service as University President for several years. Guy continues to serve in that position currently.

Louis Venden

As Professor of Ministerial Studies at Pacific Union Collage, Venden delivered the ordination prayer at the Sligo service. Previously, Venden had served as senior pastor of the Loma Linda University Church. In 1996, Venden returned to Loma Linda as a Professor of Theology and Ministry, where he is currently Emeritus.

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