1995 General Conference Session

Leading up to the vote
The NAD requested permission to ordain women only within its territory since the 1990 vote blocked ordination worldwide. The 1994 Annual Council session referred the request to the 1995 General Conference Session in the form of this recommended motion:

“The General Conference vests in each division the right to authorize the ordination of individuals within its territory in harmony with established policies. In addition, where circumstances do not render it inadvisable, a division may authorize the ordination of qualified individuals without regard to gender. In divisions where the division executive committees take specific actions approving the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, women may be ordained to serve in those divisions.”

July 5, 1995
The request was submitted for discussion on July 5 to the General Conference delegates. The NAD President, Alfred C. McClure, made a 20-minute presentation giving context and rationale for the vote, then was followed by P Gerard Damsteegt from the SDA Theological Seminary who gave his reasons for why he couldn’t support the request, and finally, Raoul Dederen gave a presentation on why he was in favor of the request. After these three 20-minute presentations, the floor was opened for discussion and the votes were cast.

What were the results?
The request was ultimately defeated. The votes totaled 2,154 with 1,481 against the recommendation and 673 in favor of it.

What happened to the discussion after this?
From 1996 to 2010, the topic women’s ordination faded from public discussion for the most part, while occasionally it would pop up during different meetings and in books. In 2010, the discussion was fully revived during the GC President’s Executive Administrative Council (PREXAD) and the Theology of Ordination Study Committee would be created during the 2010 Fall Annual Council.

1990 General Conference Session

2010 Theology of Ordination Study Committee