US conference elects woman president
Photo Source: SECC

US conference elects woman president

Published on: 29 October, 2013

Riverside, California, United States

A woman has been named president of a Seventh-day Adventist church conference for the first time in the denomination’s 150-year history.

Pastor Sandra Roberts was elected (72-28 per cent) as president of the Southeastern California Conference (SECC) at a constituency session held yesterday (October 27) at La Sierra University church in Riverside, CA.

Pastor Roberts has spent the last 10 years serving as the SECC’s executive secretary. Since receiving her Masters degree from Andrews University in 1984, she has worked as a teacher, chaplain, youth director and pastor. In 2006, Pastor Roberts completed her doctorate in ministry at Claremont School of Theology.

Following her election as president, Pastor Roberts challenged the audience to follow Jesus in the work that needs to be done throughout the territory of SECC.

“Following Him means that we are going to get our feet dirty with the dust of Southern California,” said Pastor Roberts in an official news release on SECC’s website. “We must do this without fear that differences will pull us apart. Christ will always be our anchor point.”

Sandra Roberts speaks to delegates after being elected president of the Southeastern California Conference. [Photo courtesy: Gerry Chudleigh]

Pastor Roberts’ election comes more than a year and a half after the SECC announced its intention to ordain female pastors. The Conference’s decision was made despite world church leaders repeatedly asking its regions to refrain from moving independently on women’s ordination. The Church is currently engaged in an in-depth study into the practice and parameters of ordination, with a report on the subject to be presented at the 2015 General Conference Session.

At yesterday’s constituency meeting, Pastor Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference, passed on a message from Adventist world church president Ted Wilson asking the Conference not to move ahead with the election. In his comments, Pastor Wilson reiterated that the election of a woman president would not be recognised by the General Conference.

Delegates also had the opportunity to speak before the election. While there were some opposing views, most people expressed their support for Pastor Roberts as president.

“God doesn’t play favourites,” said Pastor Gerald Penick, the outgoing SECC president. Pastor Penick challenged the attendees to trust God to lead the way.

The SECC is the administrative centre for a region that contains 154 Seventh-day Adventist churches with more than 70,000 members. During the constituency session, delegates also voted through the appointments of five other key administrators. Among them was Pastor Jonathan Park, who steps into the executive secretary role left by Pastor Roberts.


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Amen to Neil Thompson

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You're absolutely right Danny. Looks like a couple slipped through the net.

Now fixed.

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I thought comments were not allowed links? Eds?

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Congratulations Sandra Roberts on your appointment as president of SECC. I pray that the World Church leaders will see you as a woman servant of God and not just a woman President of the Adventist Church.

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The Seventh-day Adventists in Southeastern California, through the years, have a strong record of study, prayer, and educating themselves to be ready to serve God, as the spirit calls them, now, and in the future. We are grateful to God for Dr. Sandy Roberts and how she has prepared herself for this important work. Her various work experiences, in the church, and her continued study and education including a doctorate in ministry have provided her with the anticipatory experiences for success and respect. Praise God for her ministry!

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I remember well the day when I was ordained as an elder.Events moved along and I became Senior Elder. When female elders were rather rare. It was a deep honour calling for much soul searching and prayer.

My conference has a beloved woman pastor, a woman of keen discernment, and deep spiritual ability. Never demanding, always serving. And we acknowledge her as set apart by the Lord for this purpose.

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How sad that it has taken nearly 1800 years for the church to get back on track with women in leadership - The Apostle Paul had a large group of women as leaders around him.
How equally sad that our current leader will not recognise her election to that role. On what basis will he not recognise her. Is it because she wasn't elected properly? No. Is it because the Bible doesn't allow women to be a conference president? No, that role is man made as are the rules governing it. Is it because the Holy Spirit hasn't called her to this role of leadership. No, because with a 72% majority this is clear indication of support and evidence of God's leading in a harmonious outcome.
In all honesty his opposition is probably because he looses control in one area of the church, forgetting that it is not his church but the Lord's and that if the Lord calls one to a role, and our man made rules get in the way of that election, then it is probably time we changed our man made laws.

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Please check your numbers, 72-28. Those are percents, not actual number of voters. There were over 500 people in attendance who voted on this matter.

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Following Him means that we are going to get our feet dirty with the dust of Southern California. We must do this without fear that differences will pull us apart. Christ will always be our anchor point.

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