The following statement was published on April 5, 2012 in Outlook by Mid-America Union president Tom Lemon.
Thursday, March 8, the Union Executive Committee voted “to support the ordination of women in the Mid-America Union.” We have, with that simple vote, unleashed at least as much misunderstanding as understanding. In making that short statement we intended to be clear, but obviously we were not. And some of my statements since, along with the statements of many others have further muddied the waters. It is unfortunately true that words cannot totally encompass all the nuances of our discussion or understanding as we voted our consciences 11 days ago. It is also impossible to convey via the printed page the experience that pervaded our committee room. It was a wonderful, heartfelt and honest discussion and a firm resounding vote.
But we did not vote to ordain a woman. When the time comes, after considerable prayerful study and discussion, we will be in a better position to discern how best to move forward.
What we do know is that we want the world church to understand that as a committee we are closely aligned in our support of this cause. We intend to work in harmony with the North American Division (NAD) of the General Conference and at such time as the NAD provides authorization, we look forward to seeing parity achieved across our union for all individuals as we, together with the world church, pursue the mission of making disciples given to us by Jesus.
We want that message of support to extend to those women who have experienced and are pursuing the call to ministry in their own lives. We further want our conferences to feel free to discuss the matter in an environment of safety and openness, and among those six entities we prayerfully desire to achieve a working consensus at our two levels of governance. And thirdly, we are also with this action encouraging the world church to respect the various mores and values expressed in the 13 world divisions. That is a major reason why the divisions were established in the first place more than a century ago.
Please keep us in your prayers as we sail in uncharted waters at this point. And, under the direction of the Scripture, may the Holy Spirit continue to reveal to us the pathway He wants us to walk in.