Women's Ministries Emphasis Day is on the Seventh-day Adventist Church's calendar of special days and events and falls on the second Sabbath of each June.
The Women’s Ministries Advisory exists to uphold, encourage, and challenge Adventist women in their pilgrimage as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of His world church.
Women have always played an important part in the work of the Church, even in biblical times. In the history of the Adventist church, women have served in almost all capacities, filling a wide variety of roles. It is important to take note of their accomplishments as our encouragement to preserve and inspire future generations to take up the tasks their forebearers faithfully carried out.
When Heather-Dawn Small, Women’s Ministries department director at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, first saw the women’s wall of fame at the GC’s Headquarters, where Adventist women of distinguished service are represented, she thought: “I’m sure all these women had insecurities and doubts, struggled spiritually, and faced many challenges in life. Yet they pushed beyond what they thought possible because of whom they served. God had called each of them. He calls us to salvation and to service, not in our strength, but in His.”
The Adventist church has been blessed, since its foundation, with many capable, competent, faithful, and inspired women. How can we not start with Ellen G. White (1827-1915), co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Christian Church, and early leader and prophetess of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? She was a popular speaker, preacher, and counselor to individuals and institutions. Author of 126 books and compilations.
How can we forget the work of Ai Araki (1890 - 1982), Japanese Bible worker and church leader? Although blind, she led and preserved her church throughout World War II, the only congregation in Japan to remain intact.
And what about Georgia Burrus Burgess (1866 - 1948)? Educator, frontier missionary in India. She ministered for 40 years, especially to women, and opened a school in Calcutta. She was prepared to go to India as a missionary with only $1; fortunately, someone gave her $80 more. The first year, she served alone as a self-supporting missionary.
There is also the inspiring story of Ana Rosa Alvarado, Cuban pastor, evangelist, educator, musician for 45 years, who raised many churches and reputedly preached in every congregation in Cuba.
And Jessie Halliwell, missionary nurse who, with her pilot husband, supplied the only medical care to thousands along the Amazon River for 38 years.
Finally, the astonishing experiences of Hong Xiao Mei, pastor and evangelist who raised up an 800-member church congregation and training facility for Adventist leaders in China. And of Olga Murga, evangelist, preacher, and church planter, a Women’s Ministries pioneer in Russia. Through her, more than 70 evangelistic programs were developed, and 3,038 people were baptized in the Euro-Asia Division.
Mrs. Sarepta M. Irish Henry—who, in 1898, at the encouragement of Ellen G. White, began organizing the Women's Ministry department at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists—said once: “When each woman among our people shall come to appreciate her opportunity, and rejoice in it, realizing not the burdens she must bear, but the abundant strength that is given with which to carry them, seeing not the danger from the lions in the way, but how they quail and fawn before the courage of even a weak woman's mighty faith; then shall our ministry go abroad in their work, strong, refreshed, victorious.” (A Woman-Ministry, p. 13., S.M.I. Henri)
Ellen G. White, co-founder of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and best-selling author, added: "When a great and decisive work is to be done, God chooses men and women to do this work, and it will feel the loss if the talents of both are not combined" (Ellen G. White, Evangelism, p. 469).
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(1). Presented by Ana López and filmed at the studio of Hope Channel Brazil, this sermon is written for the resource packet for Women's Ministries Emphasis Day, June 12, 2021.