Yesterday was an important day in the history of the church I belong to: delegates at the General Conference voted whether or not regional divisions could decide the issue of women’s ordination at the individual division level. The vote was no.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Five years ago I would have taken this as a sign it was time to finally revoke my church membership as I don’t want to belong to a corporate entity that marginalizes women. But now I have kids, and things are different.
If I didn’t have kids, I would unlikely be attending church at all. But I want them to have a place to learn about God, because while my own beliefs are still shaky, I want them to have the chance to learn about a higher power with a child-like innocence. I like that they have a weekly place to go to talk about loving and helping others and loving God.
It also makes a huge difference that the church I attend is full of good people who accept diverse views and employs a woman who serves in a pastoral role. She is up on the pulpit as much as the men. We have women elders and deacons. If I didn’t attend such a progressive church, this vote would also make my church membership a bigger question.
Last night I was crying as I told my husband that if it wasn’t for this local church and the people in it, I would not continue to be a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. My church is the one who welcomes a gay couple and their children with a baby shower and baby dedication. My church is the one that welcome you no matter what you wear: come as you are, jeans and converse shoes; high heels and pearls! My church is the one that serves coffee and donuts. I am thankful for my local church and the friends in it who make me feel like I could show up with my coffee in hand, in whatever I was wearing, and I would be welcomed with open arms. I wish I could say this was true for every SDA church I’ve attended; while it’s not, I am counting my blessings that I have a local church family that loves me, despite my disagreements about doctrine.