More than 120 Adventist women in ministry met April 1 to 4 for a three-day retreat sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
“This is the best thing we’ve done in a long time,” says event organizer Duane Schoonard, associate pastor at the Collegedale Adventist Church in Tennessee and associate director of the ministerial association for the Church in North America. She says that the conference met a need that had previously gone unmet. “So many women clergy are isolated in their work,” says Schoonard.
The retreat attracted women pastors, chaplains, evangelists, religion teachers, Bible workers, conference departmental leaders, and students from across North America. In addition, 10 women pastors and theology students traveled from Australia to attend. The group was diverse, with participants ranging in age from early twenties to past retirement. Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, and those of Anglo heritage were represented.
Kit Watts, director of the La Sierra University Women’s Resource Center, notes that the meeting marks the first comprehensive gathering of Adventist women in ministry in ten years.
Guest speakers included Madelynn Haldeman, retired associate professor of New Testament Studies at La Sierra University; Elizabeth Platt, professor of Old Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa; and Wanda Davis, director of pastoral care for Florida Hospital in East Orlando.