The General Conference (GC), Trans-European Division (TED), British Union Conference (BUC), and North England Conference (NEC) got together on Sabbath, 24 June 2023, to celebrate the blessings and success of the Women's Ministries Emphasis Days held worldwide in our local churches every year. The hall at the Copthorne Hotel, Merry Hill, in the NEC, was packed as the women poured in to start the worship service for this special event, the celebration of the Women's Ministries Emphasis Days.
The GC Women's Ministries website explains the purpose of the Women's Ministries Emphasis Day as: "An opportunity for women to lead out in a worship service and a [time] to educate the church regarding the purposes of Women's Ministries. It is an ideal time to introduce your leaders and committee to the church family and to invite women who have not been involved to join."*1
GC Women's Ministries Director Heather-Dawn Small adds: "WM Emphasis Day is a day for Seventh-day Adventist women to focus on the department's goals, issues and vision. It is a time for us to thank God for all He has done and is doing for and through His daughters. It is also a time to spiritually refocus on what is important, and a relationship with Jesus is at the top of the list."
The event was hosted by the NEC Women's Ministries Director Beulah Plunkett under the theme 'Love is the reason', based on the GC theme, 'A love that precedes one's choices'. The congregation was welcomed by NEC women in different languages and was led in prayer by the TED Women's Ministries Director Karen Holford. BUC Women's Ministries Director Sharon Platt-McDonald read the scripture, and the guest choir, 'Pearly Gates', from Preston church, then blessed the congregation as they sang and made their way to the podium. It was the realisation of the Women's Emphasis Day goal - a real example of women leading out in the worship service.
Beulah Plunkett led an interactive lesson study on the ten characteristics of love and asked the women to find them in 1 Corinthians 13. There was a buzz in the room as they paired up and started searching. The women called out kindness, patience, does not envy, and were asked to share the practicalities of living out these characteristics in our lives each day, starting today.
Karen Holford expanded the characteristics and delivered a valuable seminar on kindness; it was enriching and practical, and the women were invited to examine how they interact with others consciously and commit to increasing their kindness output. The women practised the virtues of kindness, an attribute of love, all day. You could feel it in the atmosphere, and everyone kept saying what a lovely and blessed day it was.
Sharon Platt-McDonald gave a very energetic talk on a range of projects for girls and women that enthused the women into action. Keeping up with Sharon was a good challenge because her fervour ignited love in the women to develop their ideas and let them fly on the wings of love.
During the midday service, NEC President, Pastor George Kumi, joined by video to bring greetings and the Executive Secretary, Pastor Emanuel Bran, also joined us by video with greetings. Four young women (Miranda Roberts, Zhanè Simpson, Abigail Hazel, and Amber Hazel) were presented with certificates of 'Excellence' for their work in developing and leading the Young Women's Conference for the past three years, with the third one held only in May 2023. This is a Young Women's Conference planned by young women for your women to address their needs and support their spiritual and personal growth.
After the various midday service routines, the women in the congregation were now ready for a word from the Lord and Heather-Dawn Small, was prepared with a word from the Lord. Her opening remarks were, "I am a teacher more than a preacher." The theme 'Love is the reason' was lovingly broken down and taught to encourage women to put love to the test and share a word with others in the wider community. A generous offering and a delicious lunch with time for fellowship and catching up with friends and family followed. The weather was just right, and many took a walk to enjoy the calm, pleasant weather.
In the afternoon, the NEC President joined live with his dear wife and offered a stirring word of encouragement. Forward We Go! Our NEC motto is underpinned by the theme 'Love is the reason'. Our President saw the zeal that the women have for the Lord awakened. The day ended beautifully as it culminated with the Praise team leading the worship in song and Pearly Gates, our choir and our soloist Sis Akan, singing God's praise.
Heather-Dawn Small prayed a prayer of consecration on the women, and Sharon Platt-McDonald blessed them with love and the courage to do God's will. A wonderful day came to a close, with the women very thankful for the blessings of the whole day.