25 years is a significant milestone. A couple's 25th (Silver) Wedding Anniversary, marks a quarter of a century sharing their love and life together. It's a milestone anniversary, and as such, it deserves celebrating.
This week we have been blessed to celebrate 25 years of God leading the work of our Women's Ministries department. The aim – to showcase God's goodness, His love for us and our love for Him and the work He has called us to do.
A rich feast of Women's Ministries celebrations has been recorded on YouTube and Facebook for 7 days commencing Sunday 4 - Sabbath 10 October. The caption: 'Celebrating the Journey'.
This virtual, national collaborative event, initiated by the British Union Conference (BUC) Women's Ministries department, was hosted by South England Conference (SEC) Women's Ministries. What an experience it has been, as we shared together in ministry and planning for this event.
The prerecorded programme segments highlighted a 25-year journey and the milestones of Women's Ministries. Spotlighting the progress made, we plotted the 'miles' we have travelled, and the 'stones' that marked God's interventions along the way.
Taking a retrospective look, we analysed the inception of this ministry, to appreciate our beginnings and thank God for what He has begun.
We paused to review in the present, the developmental milestones, the successes, challenges, and the people we have been grateful for.
We took an anticipatory look forward, at the vistas of possibilities that lies before us, as we petitioned God to lead us onwards. In doing so, we are mindful of the fact that as He has directed our path thus far, He will continue to do so, in our future.
A key blessing were the presidential interviews where our leaders shared words of encouragement and gave commendations for the work of Women's Ministries. This featured: Elder Raafat Kamal (TED President), Pastor Ian Sweeney (BUC President), Dr Emmanuel Osei (SEC President) and wife Laura, Pastor Richard Jackson (NEC President) and wife Angela, Dr Paul Tompkins (Scottish Mission President) and wife Dawn, Pastor Emanuel Bran (Welsh Mission President), and Pastor Dan Serb (Irish Mission President) and wife Oana.
Sunday commenced under the caption: 'The Journey Begins'. A highlight of the programme was Heather-Dawn Small – Women's Ministries Director for our world Church, speaking about the commencement of Women's Ministries at the General Conference, and her role in office over the past 19 years. We also heard from Heather Haworth − our first Women's Ministries Director at the BUC, in an interview with SEC Women's Ministers Director − Jacqueline Otokpa.
Additional interviews featured enriching testimonies. We celebrated women who are making an impact in their personal lives, their churches and communities. In her sermon, Jacqueline Otokpa shared the interventions and miracles of God's leading in her life.
Monday featured 'Journeying with the TED'. This gave an overview of events, initiatives, programmes and resources produced by the Women's Ministries department of the Trans-European Division. Clair Sanches – TED Women's Ministries Director's inspirational sermon – 'Life is a Journey', gave wonderful encouragement to help us 'dress' for the journey with spiritual attire to build our character.
On Tuesday we focused on the British Union Conference and its various entities reflecting the footprints of God's leading over the years. The rich reports of Women's Ministries in-reach and outreach initiatives in the Missions, yielded much appreciative comments from the viewers. The programme also featured acknowledgements for past and present Women's Ministries leaders and Sponsors as well as the positive contributions and influence of various women in their churches and communities. In her sermon 'Jesus – Life Coach', BUC Women's Ministries Director − Sharon Platt-McDonald emphasised the impact of Jesus coaching our journey, in preparation for heaven.
Wednesday evening's programme – 'Journeying with the SEC', featured the multicultural family of God. This presented a rich collage of nationalities sharing their talents through music, revealing testimonies of God's leading, interviews of overcoming challenges and acknowledging individuals making an impact. Raquel Arrais, the Associate Director for Women's Ministries at the General Conference, presented an uplifting sermon on women being touched by God to rise in service for Him.
Thursday took us on a journey to the North England Conference. The evening's programme showcased testimonies where women shared the life challenges which God enabled them to overcome. We were inspired by interviews of individual's journeys as they work for God and the acknowledgement of others whose selfless service to church and community life has left a legacy. The affirmation and encouragement from leaders, the engaging reports of Women's Ministries work, and inspirational singing, was a testament of God's leading. We were further blessed by NEC Women's Ministries Director − Beulah Plunkett's heartening sermon – 'If You Go', motivating us to continue in committed and focused work for God.
Join with us this Friday 9 October, for 'Vespers at Elim'. This marks one of the spots where the children of Israel encamped following their exodus from Egypt. It is an oasis in the desert. If you are experiencing a season of drought in your life, come with us to Elim, where you will find refreshing waters to replenish the dry landscape of your current circumstance, so you can be revived once more.
Then Sabbath 10 October, the culmination of our journey provides a full day's programme. We commence at 09:30 with Sabbath reflection and a review of our lesson study. Then for our family service, Heather-Dawn Small – our General Conference Women's Ministries Director, reflects on reasons to celebrate our journeying with God, with thanksgiving for all He has accomplished through Women's Ministries. The afternoon segment is a festival of praise through singing, instrumentals and poetry, as the God we celebrate is uplifted.
We are grateful to all who have assisted our journey to this point of our celebrations. We thank our film crews, photographers, singers, musicians and all our speakers and presenters.
Special acknowledgement goes to Peter Oppong-Mensah for the incredible amount of work he undertook to edit and prepare the video footage for public viewing.
The BUC wishes to acknowledge the tremendous work of Julia Smith and her significant contribution to Women's Ministries in the SEC. Though no longer with us, she has left an indelible legacy and one in which we continue to give God thanks for.
As we review this milestone week, our highest praise is to God whose name we praise for His leading thus far. With His continued guidance, we embrace the words of E G White in her assuring statement:
"We have nothing to fear for the future, except we forget the way the Lord has led us and His dealings in our past experience."
To God be the glory, great things He has done, is currently doing and will continue to do.
To view the week's programme, you can do so via the following platforms:
- SEC Women's Ministries YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPsSIeyR3606KUWNjCmAy9A)
- SEC Media YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/secadventist)
- SEC Media Facebook Channel (https://www.facebook.com/SECmediaHD
Thank you for journeying with us.