How to Promote Women In Leadership


(system) #1

Last Sabbath morning, the attendees of the Association of Adventist Women annual conference considered the difficult subject of abuse.

During the Sabbath School hour, after some moving music by vocalist Heather Robberson and a violin solo by the director of Southern’s symphony orchestra, Laurie Redmer Minner, the group screened a short film called The Hidout. The film was made by Southern University film student Daniel Wahlen as his senior project last year, and has won a number of awards since then, including the top award at SONscreen. The film follows a young girl as she experiences abuse at the hand of a trusted adult. In a Q&A with Wahlen and Southern professor Tara Hargrove following the viewing, we talked about ways to stop the scourge of abuse and things we can all do in our own communities to help keep young people safe.

During the church service at the Collegedale Church, Southern Adventist University President Gordon Bietz spoke about abuse, the high percentage of people who experience it, and the need to confront the problem so we can combat it. He also spoke about how beliefs like headship theology can lead to abusive and controlling behavior.

Sabbath afternoon

The afternoon session began with a panel talking about Adventist women mentoring each other, and women in leadership positions in the Adventist church. They came up with some concrete ways of promoting more women, such as having a list of qualified candidates ready whenever anyone asks for recommendations to fill a position.

Panel: Gloria Ceballos, Carla Baker, Tara VinCross, Sandra Roberts

Then the conversation moved to the vote that Annual Council just decided will be taken at the GC session in San Antonio, asking delegates to vote on whether divisions should be allowed to decide for themselves whether women can be ordained within their territories, or not allow women to be ordained at all. The discussion was focused on concrete actions we can take in the run-up to the vote in summer 2015, with the desired outcome of allowing women to be ordained. The floor was opened for everyone to offer suggestions. Some mentioned the organized and well-funded campaign by Amazing Facts and others to influence the decision-makers and to stop the ordination of women in North America. Others talked about the importance of not trying to control the church in places like Latin and South America from the North American Division, but only reaching out to people we know personally. Attendees talked about making sure that the book Questions & Answers on Women’s Ordination, by Martin Hanna and Cindy Tutsch is widely available, and translated into Spanish, to help counteract the misinformation that is out there and make sure that people have all the facts. Someone lamented the fact that Stephen Bohr, a strong proponent of the male headship theory, is lined up to be a speaker at GYC, speaking to thousands of young people.

Following the panel, Sandra Roberts, president of the Southeastern California Conference and the first woman to lead a conference in the Adventist church, spoke on “Mentoring and the Woman Pastor.” She talked about specific women pastors in her conference, and their experiences with mentoring and being mentored. She talked about the groups that the women pastors have to support each other, including a “texting group” of about nine women who share with each other; a monthly breakfast all the youth pastors have together; and regular group gatherings organized by Kendra Haloviak Valentine. Haloviak Valentine is a professor at the La Sierra School of Divinity, but she is also employed by the Southeastern California Conference specifically to mentor its women pastors.

Roberts also talked a little bit about her own call to the ministry — how she first got a degree to work as a dietician, then got a job as a girls’ dean, but all along knew that ministry was where her heart was. Les Pitton at the North American Division took an interest in her, and worked it out so that she could attend the seminary at Andrews University. She was going to work as a youth pastor at Atlantic Union when some of the administrators in the Southeastern California Conference insisted she stay and take a job there. “These men believed in me beyond what I could see,” Roberts said. “They saw through God’s eyes. They were willing to take risks, and see things out of the ordinary.”

Women-of-the-Year Awards Banquet

The final event of the annual conference was the Women-of-the-Year Awards Banquet, held in the President’s Banquet Room in Wright Hall on the Southern campus. Attendees sat at round tables, ideal for conversation, and partook of hors d’ouvres and a meal, with music provided by award-winning pianist Roy Treiyer.

Lourdes Morales-Gudmundsson, president of the Association of Adventist Women, presided over the evening.

The first award, for community service, was presented to Freddie Harris, who with her husband, has founded a residential Christian drug rehab program in California that has had excellent results.

The second, for spiritual leadership, went to Sandra Roberts. Morales-Gudmundsson described her as a “woman of vision and courage” and told the story of the day she was elected to be president of the Southeastern California Conference.

Freddie Harris and Lourdes-Morales Gudmundsson

Thanking the Association, Roberts said she looks forward to the day when “we have a whole bunch of women conference presidents in the room.” There are so many gifted women in the church, she said. As we continue to mentor, support and encourage, Roberts said, “I look forward to seeing what God can do.”

Sandra Roberts and Tara VinCross

Association of Adventist Women Board and Women of the Year Honorees

Lourdes Morales-Gudmundsson, Anette Guldhammer-Beals and Freddie Harris

Pictures courtesy of Lourdes Morales-Gudmundsson.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6350

(Carrol Grady`) #2

Did I miss the names of the other Women of the Year honorees, besides Freddy and Sandra?


(Alita Byrd) #3

Only those two were honored this year, Carrol.


(James J Londis) #4

On the issues discussed at this remarkable conference, the only way to ignore the light of the truth is to close your eyes.


(Steve Mga) #5

Interesting that there is a “well funded campaign by Amazing Facts”. How will Stephen Bohr address the youth group? Will he drop hints about women being undesirable in Ministry, with all those young women in the audience?
The problem with "being a youth, and young adult’ is the fact that one has not had the time to read the bible with more than “just the facts”. At this age one looks at more older, more widely read “preachers and teachers” as Experts. And look at them as Telling The Truth. [been there, done that]
I guess we will have to see what the leaders of GYC allow to be promoted at their meetings between now and SA2015.
I know that Doctor who made awful remarks about a Transsexual, and did so to get the audience to laugh was Shameful! Will we see more of this at youth gatherings when guest speakers talk about Women?

I am happy and proud that that Public Health physician was rejected for the Job in North Georgia! Georgia does NOT need persons like him practicing in this State.


(Interested Friend) #6

In my view this is mainly a group that apparently has submitted to the pressures of the feminist cabal. It does not represent Adventism as I know it. More power to Bohr and his colleagues for confronting the feminist intrusions head-on.

Abuse is a genuine concern and should be addressed. It is not only directed against women but, reportedly one-third of males have been subjected to abuse. Don’t forget the poor little children who have suffered abuse. Is it possible that were more mothers to take a greater interest in homemaking than in empowerment we would see fewer incidents of child abuse?

In The Grip of Truth


(Denny) #7

Perhaps if parents took more care there would be less child abuse unless all mothers are making babies all by themselves these days. Yes that must be it, bad feminism for teaching fathers should be involved with childrearing as well.


(Interested Friend) #8

“The home should be to the children the most attractive place in the world, and the mother’s presence should be its greatest attraction. Children have sensitive, loving natures. They are easily pleased, and easily made unhappy. By gentle discipline, in loving words and acts, mothers may bind their children to their hearts.” {Adventist Home 21.2} (Emphasis Supplied)
In The Grip of Truth


(Steve Mga) #9

Check out Adventist Today, Oct 16, 2014 issue on line.
“Church Leaders Refuse To Lead”, J. David Newman former editor of Ministry Magazine.
Presents a lot of known and unknown history behind the scenes of the past that show the possible
history of the future SA2015.
IF these gals REALLY want Equality at SA2015, they are REALLY going to have to WORK! for it between now and then. It wont come easy!!


(Rohan Charlton) #10

Statistically males are the primary offenders in cases of child abuse. And yet you still find a way to blame women?

This is repulsive, sick reasoning. Where do thoughts like this come from?


(Elmer Cupino) #11

“In compiling this work, excerpts have been drawn from the Ellen
G. White writings penned through seven decades, but especially from
the thousands of E. G. White articles which were prepared for the
journals of the denomination.” - The Adventist Home

Another EGW compilation with questionable content. The editors made a glowing error. The passage should have read"…the parents presence should be its greatest attraction." Her statements have been “twisted” again by the “male-headship” SDA leadership.


(Denny) #12

"The husband and father is the head of the household. The wife looks to him for love and sympathy and for aid in the training of the children; and this is right. The children are his as well as hers, and he is equally interested in their welfare. The children look to the father for support and guidance; he needs to have a right conception of life and of the influences and associations that should surround his family; above all, he should be controlled by the love and fear of God and by the teaching of His word, that he may guide the feet of his children in the right way…
The father should do his part toward making home happy. Whatever his cares and business perplexities, they should not be permitted to overshadow his family;"

AH chapter 34 page 211,
Since I suspect you are an ardent EGW reader/user/quoter, still want to ignore the role of fathers and parenting?


(Elmer Cupino) #13

“Indoctrination” would have to be ruled out before meetings like these could be justified as outreach meetings.


(George Tichy) #14

“Keep the mothers in the kitchen and men will behave better.”

This is one of the main ideas that lead to the development/increase of domestic violence. Men often become belligerent because they believe that women should stay confined at home, in total subservience to them, and when women decide to be just normal they suffer the attacks of those perpetrators.

I am not talking about theories or my own beliefs. I treated domestic violence perpetrators professionally for ca. 10 years. They were all Court ordered, and needed to either attend the year long program (one 2-hour group session weekly) or stay in jail. I graduated 1,854 individuals here in California.

@elmer_cupino @rohantocharles


(Rohan Charlton) #15

Interesting George. BTW you quoted me as having written that rubbish…I didnt. Suffering friend did…Pls edit.


(George Tichy) #16

You are right, I apologize. I highlighted it within the portion that you quoted and didn’t realize that it would show you as the author.
Already edited, so you won’t be responsible for the “rubbish”…