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Women clergy score gains in two faiths

First Published      Last Updated Nov 22 2013 11:09 am

Catholic and Mormon feminists aren't the only ones pushing for increased equity in male-dominated faiths.

On Wednesday, the Church of England's governing body voted overwhelmingly to approve the appointment of women bishops, Reuters reported.

A series of measures, which paved the way for females to be appointed as senior clergy, advanced 78 to 8, with 25 members of the General Synod abstaining. This legislation opens the door for women to be appointed bishops in the global faith as early as 2014, when the action goes before the whole church body.

Last month, a regional conference of Seventh-day Adventists elected its first female district president, who oversees congregations in a cluster of states.

Spokesman George Johnson was unsure when the first woman became a pastor in the American-born faith, but there are 106 female clergy in the North American region.

Even so, the issue of women in the worldwide denomination is still very much on the table.

"The world church is currently going through a process to determine its theology of ordination," Johnson, who works at church headquarters in Baltimore, wrote in an email. "The outcome of the study may inform current policy, which globally doesn't allow for the ordination of female pastors, although they can serve in most ways as their male counterparts."

The conversation is ongoing, the spokesman said.

And that seems like a no-brainer for a faith that considers a woman — Ellen White — to be a visionary leader and church co-founder.

Peggy Fletcher Stack