Seventh-day Adventist women celebrated the centennial of Women’s Ministries in 1995, though it was actually more of a rebirth. Ellen White asked Mrs. Samantha Henry to begin a ministry of the church that would provide spiritual nurturing for women in the church, challenging and mentoring women for God’s service. That work flourished for 20 years but declined after Mrs. White’s death in 1915. Women’s Ministries was reestablished in 1995. The purposes remained the same: to provide nurturing for women, mentoring and empowering for the work of God, and support for their voices in decision-making bodies in the church.
Highlights of the Last 5 Years
Women’s Ministries in Southeastern California Conference (SECC) have experienced steady growth. More congregations now have local church leaders for Women’s Ministries. The purpose of the conference department director is that of training leaders and developing resources and activities that relate to women’s issues. Several women’s retreats have taken place, sponsored by the conference, Hispanic Ministries, and individual churches. Other local ministries cover projects and events that vary from providing items for the homeless to women’s Bible study groups to teas that include youth and community friends. One group of churches has held an annual retreat that has reached out to a large number of community women.
Resources and Training
- Two manuals are now available for Women’s Ministry leaders. One is produced by the North American Division and provides general information about the ministry. It includes informational articles and ideas for planning, programming and projects. The other manual is produced by the SECC director. It includes general information, ideas, a bibliography and a section called WomanYear, an annotated calendar/register of more than 200 women who have contributed to the heritage of women in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and community. Each annotation provides suggestions for celebrating and honoring the work of these women and those who followed their example.
- The SECC video library includes a large collection of video/DVD resources on issues important to women and the ministry. A catalog is available, and programs are offered free on loan to churches and individuals.
- Liaison and support for the La Sierra University Women’s Resource Center, which studies women’s issues and provides materials for university women and for the church in general.
- Help is available to assist local church leaders with special speakers and presenters on topics of special interest to women.
- Most of the material available to leaders is available on the conference Web site.
- Training sessions have been held throughout the conference for local leaders, particularly associated with general church officer training. Individual support and training is available to those unable to attend group meetings, especially in outlying areas.
- The Association of Adventist Women continues to minister to women of North America, especially through an annual convention. These are held in various places throughout the United States, often in California. They provide spiritual inspiration and direction and honor women who have contributed by their service to the church and community with the esteemed “Woman of the Year” award.
Goals for the Next 5 Years
- Continue and increase resources to library and DVD library with books, teaching aids and video/DVD materials.
- Use the Internet and Web pages of SECC to communicate with local leadership by maintaining e-mail addresses of leaders. This will provide information about events and other announcements that is timely and inexpensive.
- Distribute handbooks on women’s ministries, especially in training sessions.
- Assist with retreat plans and other special events for women.
Continue to support SDA women’s organizations such as Women’s Resource Center, Association of Adventist Women, and selected organizations in harmony with Christian principles and helpful to Adventist women.