Church leaders today announced a timetable for the process for studying the theology of ordination over the next few years, the latest action following a promise at last year's General Conference Session to study the issue.
Artur Stele, a world church vice president and director of the Biblical Research Institute, said the process would examine the foundation of ordination as well as its implications for church practices.
Leaders announced the plan during Annual Council, a yearly business meeting of the denomination's Executive Committee.
The Biblical Research Institute at the world church headquarters will coordinate the process of studying ordination with corresponding Biblical research committees in each of the church's 13 world divisions, said church President Ted N. C. Wilson.
"This will be a very careful process," Wilson said. "We're letting you know how the world field will be involved."
Each division is asked to request their Biblical research committee to study the theology of ordination and its implications for church practices in that region.
Stele announced the timetable as follows:
In November 2013, each division committee at their 2013 year-end meetings will review the study made by their division Biblical Research Committee and recommend it to the Biblical Research Institute director for consideration by a Theology of Ordination Study Committee. The General Conference Administrative Committee will also appoint a Theology of Ordination Study Committee with appropriate division representation.
From December 2013 to June 2014, the Theology of Ordination Study Committee will analyze the materials received from the divisions and prepare a combined report.
In June 2014, the report will be reviewed by General Conference executive officers and later by with the President's Administrative Executive Council and the General Conference Administrative Committee.
In October 2014, the General Conference administration will process the report for Annual Council, which will review the report and, if needed, take any appropriate action. If voted material needs to be placed on the 2015 General Conference Session agenda, it will be processed accordingly.