BUC Women Reflect on Heather-Dawn Small's Ministry Impact

BUC Women Reflect on Heather-Dawn Small's Ministry Impact

By Sharon Platt-McDonald BUC Director for Women's Ministries, Health and Adventist Community Services

"…a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised…"

Proverbs 31:30 NKJV

Our gratitude extends to God for gifting the world for 66 years with Heather-Dawn Small, a virtuous and remarkable woman. Her global impact and lasting influence in her 18-year tenure as General Conference Women's Ministries Director is immeasurable. Her godly character, tenacious faith, inspirational leadership, notable wisdom, consistent kindness, warm compassion, and phenomenal capacity to care for the hurting was exemplary.

The women of the British Union Conference (BUC) were blessed by her exceptional ministry. Her memorable visits remain indelibly etched on our lives. Indeed, she leaves a rich heritage of impactful resources, ministry tools, and life lessons that nurture and empower us to serve God and humanity.

Her many attributes equipped her as a world-class leader and humble servant of God. Subsequently, the outpouring of grief at her passing was immense.

Reaching out to women across the territory, BUC Women's Ministries Director Sharon Platt-McDonald invited tributes from those who worked with Heather-Dawn over the years. Here are some of their testimonials:

Beulah Plunkett, North England Conference (NEC) Women's Ministries Director, writes:

"Heather-Dawn was a wonderful example of kindness, friendliness, and joy. Joy was her favourite biblical word, and she reflected that joy in her interactions with us all. Heather-Dawn worked from dawn till dusk; she had a keen desire to encourage women on their spiritual growth journey to become true disciples of Christ.

"The photo below tells the story of when I met Heather-Dawn for the first time in 2017, and we became instant friends; she just had this open-door approach to everyone. She personified by her actions how to be kind and welcoming to those you meet.

"In the summer of 2023, Heather-Dawn Small and her husband, Pastor Joseph Small, came to the NEC and spent a week with us. The women are still talking about the amazing time that we had. I also got to know this wonderful couple who inspired me very much.

"Heather-Dawn will be truly missed. She is a captain that has been taken too soon."

Samantha Fessal, Welsh Mission Women's Ministries Sponsor shares:

"She demonstrated through her life and ministry what it truly meant to 'Abide in Christ'. Despite her challenges with physical and emotional health, she still gave her all, right up until the day God called her home.

"I am grateful to have met her and experienced her wholehearted attitude to service. She consistently spoke of His marvellous works, always rejoicing in Him. I am so thankful for her humility, love, joy, authenticity, and pragmatic approach in her ministry, sharing practical skills worldwide to help God's children draw closer to Him. She truly was a beautiful, shining daughter of God whose testimonies will continue to touch my life until the day God calls me home.

"Rest in peace, my dear Sister Heather-Dawn Small."

A tribute from the Scottish Mission Women's Ministries Department reads:

"In Loving Memory: Heather-Dawn Small, a revered Adventist leader, peacefully departed on 2 January, 2024, leaving an enduring legacy in her 18-year tenure as Women's Ministries Director. Her mission of empowering women through their unique talents deeply resonated with her.

"I, Margareth Mukisa, Scottish Mission Women's Ministries Sponsor, had the privilege of meeting Sister Heather-Dawn at a BUC-organised NEC meeting in England. Previously, her impactful leadership in a powerful Emphasis Day of Prayer for over 300 women, remains etched in our hearts.

"Deeply mourning our beloved leader, we anticipated her visit to Scotland this year. May the Lord bring comfort to her family and Women's Ministries worldwide.

"With heartfelt condolences, Margareth Mukisa, Scottish Mission Women's Ministries Sponsor."

Florence Allen, representing the South England Conference (SEC) Women's Ministries, asserts:

"'Her worth is far above rubies.' Proverbs 31:10

"Those words epitomise Heather-Dawn Small. As the Women's Ministries Director of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, she raised the bar for all women in Christian leadership. She was filled with compassion, energy, and positivism, as reflected in her conversations, sermons, and devotionals.

"Heather-Dawn's global travel brought hope to all. We voice the loss of a loved woman whose presentations in the UK are treasures that will remain in our hearts. We will continue to pray for her family as we admonish each other to live for Christ, hoping to meet Sis Heather-Dawn again, on that glorious morning when Christ returns."

SEC Women's Ministries Director – Elder Jacqueline Otokpa added:

"Resilience, perseverance, discipleship, dedication, and going beyond her call of duty marked Heather-Dawn's life."

Representing the Ministerial Spouses Association, Sis Michelle Moore shares her tribute:

"Receipt of the disquieting news of her demise raised an insurgence of perplexing emotions.

"Heather Dawn-Small shared many meaningful conversations and life lessons with us honestly, and truthfully, impacting our lives with laughter, love, genuine warmth, embraces and gracious smiles. We honour her legacy and cherish moments shared, which continue to inspire and uplift us—such a dear, amazing, inspirational friend.

"SEC's Ministerial Spouses Association joins Pastor Small, Dalonne, Jerry, countless blood and church family members and colleagues of the World Church, praying that we find solace, knowing that God 'is close to the broken-hearted and rescues those whose spirits are crushed.'"

Hyacinth Gayle, BUC Women of Virtue programme Team Leader, penned:

"Inspirational, joyous, a mother in Israel. These words come to mind when reflecting on the World Church's Women's Ministries Director, Heather-Dawn Small. Whether close up, at an event, or far away, I always sensed that God had enlarged her heart and arms to embrace all women, regardless of class, race or social status.

"Heather did not know me, so when I was afforded the honour of interviewing her at a BUC Women of Virtue event, I did not know what to expect. However, Heather's integrity was on point; she was warm, gracious and immensely relatable, even when speaking privately with her. An encounter I am humbly thankful for and forever etched in my memory. Rest in peace, dear Woman of Virtue, as your legacy lives on."

Platt-McDonald concludes: "I worked closely with Heather-Dawn for 13 years; she became my treasured mentor and dear friend. Her timely wisdom, warm affirmation, and unwavering encouragement fostered my development, helping me navigate challenging times and thrive in spite of them.

"Her favourite word, 'joy', prompts me to not just dwell on mourning her passing but also celebrate her life, her embracing warmth, selfless love, spiritual fervour and total surrender to God.

"We now await the glorious appearing of our Lord, when the call of the Life-Giver will raise Heather-Dawn to life eternal, and our reunion with her, throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity."

Adventist Review article on Heather-Dawn