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Saddleback Church Ordains Women Pastors, Bucking Southern Baptist Convention’s Stance on Female Ordination

In what was touted by Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church as “a historic night,” the church on Thursday ordained its first women pastors.

“Yesterday was a historic night for Saddleback Church in many ways!” the church, which has 15 campuses and a weekly attendance of more than 23,000, announced on Facebook. “We ordained our first three women pastors, Liz Puffer, Cynthia Petty, and Katie Edwards!”


Saddleback is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the largest Protestant denomination in the country, which officially opposes women’s ordination. The Roys Report reached out to the SBC for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

In an interview with Live Good, newly appointed pastor, Cynthia Petty, said Pastor Warren first informed her of her pending ordination in November.

“He explained that he and the elders had been discussing for many months the possibility to ordain women as Pastors at Saddleback Church,” Petty explained. “He told me that the elders unanimously voted to appoint me one of the first three women pastors at Saddleback Church! . . . He affirmed my leadership and my calling to ministry, and it was a conversation I will not forget.”

Petty added that she has always served in churches where women could lead “under the authority of a male pastor.” She called Warren’s change in philosophy for women in ministry “revolutionary.”

“I was honored and felt extremely humbled,” she added. “And the thing I believe meant the most to me was how this would be groundbreaking for all the younger women ministers on staff who really did have the desire or dream to be a pastor one day!”

All three newly appointed Saddleback pastors have been serving in ministry at the church for more than 20 years.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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