The lovely green campus of Friedensau Adventist Universitynear Berlin, Germany, provided a convenient environment for the first European Female Pastors Conventionfrom June 2-6, 2019.
After years of considering an event like this the vision finally became reality. Female Adventist Pastors from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland came together. We missed representatives from Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain.
The Convention was prepared by Inter-European Region of the Seventh-day Adventists (EUD) Ministerial Association and Family Ministries Director Rainer Wanitschek and his wife Elvira, Shepherdess Director, administratively and friendly assisted by Rebecca Dierolf.
Support coming from the Women’s Ministries Department was demonstrated by Dagmar Dorn ( EUD) and Angelika Pfaller (Germany). We highly appreciated the affirming presence of EUD President Mario Brito, Johannes Naether, President of the North German Union and Daniel Vicente, Ministerial Director of the Portuguese Union who accompanied the female Pastors from Portugal. The German Publishing House Advent-Verlagwas represented by its Director Jessica Schultka.
For nearly a week all female Pastors were part of a quite ambitious and high quality program, presented by gifted professional women like Esther Knott, Director of the In Ministry Center and Associate Director, NAD Ministerial, from the U.S., who shared her personal experiences as a female Pastor in an expressive, touching and encouraging manner.
Piroska Vranyakne-Feith from Perth, Australia, presented an enthralling lecture on the subject of Spiritual Discipline for Leaders, vividly and humorously illustrating how males and females differ in the way shaping leading positions.
An excursion took us to famous Pergamon museum in Berlin where we admired Nebukadnezar’s Ishtar gate and to the sites of Martin Luther in the town of Wittenberg. We enjoyed an instructive but very hot day (the air condition in the bus was out of order).
Simone Emmert, attorney, teaching Law at Friedensau, referred on dignity and equality of women, sexual abuse, women’s rights and discrimination.
Claudia Sokolis-Bochmann, wife of an Adventist Pastor and a Baptist Pastor herself, took us into her life as a woman who received the call to become a Pastor and had to overcome many obstacles and detours finally being allowed to pastoral work. Her story conformed to the experience of the majority of the female Pastors present.
We all are convinced of our call to the Ministry. And this divine mission has been suppressed and doubted by people in our Church. The pain and suffering due to this kind of discrimination was felt vividly, even bursting out in tears.
“I am not alone, was the most shared conviction when we as female Pastors parted as friends who love each other and are loved by God, thankful for these days of encouragement and exchange in a wonderful warm atmosphere” said Heidemarie Klingeberg, Pastor, Munich, Germany. “We will keep in touch and are looking forward to the next female Pastors meeting. And one day we shall overcome!”
Photo credits: Rebecca Dierolf