The Association of Adventist Women (AAW) began as a committee of the Adventist Forum, the same organization that started Spectrum, around 1979. Relatively quickly, two groups organized, one in the Washington, DC, area by Viveca Black and the other in Loma Linda led by Danielle Wuchenich. The mission of AAW was for women to “reflect more fully the image of God in their relationships to each other in the home, the church, the work setting and in the community.” These general goals struck a chord with women who were feeling unheard, and chapters grew throughout the US as well as Puerto Rico, Australia, and Europe. After 40 years, we remain a vibrant network that has spun off many sister organizations supporting more tailored goals.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/news/2022/association-adventist-women-celebrates-its-40th-year
I appreciate your article and all of the information you have shared. There was only one sentence that disturbed me:
“The fight to end abuse is much more prominent within the church’s own structure with the enditnow campaign.”
For those who have experienced abuse within the church, the enditnow campaign is a bland public relations effort. It gives the organized church an “official” abuse website along with statements to make it appear that the church is actively engaged. However, there is nothing of substance for the abuse victims.
No names are listed for anyone in charge. No one is listed to serve as an advocate. At best, the website appears to make sure that an abuse victim cannot reach out to a known individual with the enditnow campaign. As one dearly loved member, who has spent a lifetime trying to break the church’s silence on abuse within, said to me about enditnow: “There’s nothing of substance there.”
A deeper dive reveals that the enditnow campaign appears to be an effort to offer advice to and ensure that the church organization itself is protected. After all, we don’t want the church to be involved in any claims of abuse. There is little there that is concrete material for victims.
Where are the advocates who are willing to stand for the victims, even if it might create bad publicity for the church? If we squirm at the idea of bringing lawsuits and seeking legal recourse and restitution for abuse victims, then any church-led campaign is nothing more than an attempt at good PR.
I might have gone a little off-topic from the intent of your article, but women within the church need advocates who aren’t afraid to stand up to the suits and ties that grip the reins.
My understanding is that Enditnow has been very active in a few locations outside NAD, even running abuse shelters etc. It is certainly not the place to report abuse, that is the silentwhistle address and instruction on the AAW website. The written plan every conference has to deal with abuse is dramatically improved from the 1980s. Unfortunately, I agree applying the rules is often sorely lacking. You are correct, Enditnow is not involve in that in any way. Not weeding out abusers is the greatest shame on any organization and the battle must continue.
I would encourage you to visit the enditnow North America website and participate in this year’s Summit on Abuse on November 13.
Thank-you for these comments and for the replies.
My initial response to the enditnow campaigns (there have been more than one, if I recall correctly) was “What took us so long?” Like many denominations with strong prohibitions about some behaviors, abuse is rampant in some families, churches, and organizations because it can be kept secret for long periods of time before the evidence possibly explodes into public awareness. I’m glad to see so much more being done, but we have so much more to do. And the male headship attitudes only perpetuate abuse.
Agreed! This article struck a nerve. I graduated college with a Theology degree in 1980. I was the first woman to be sponsored to the Seminary by a conference, and received my M.Div. The topic of ordination of women is old and it is beyond frustrating that we are still having to talk about it!
Several of my female peers have chosen to pastor in other denominations; ones that value and affirm women clergy.
SDA’s are not good with ‘social’ issues i.e. equality, justice, fairness between genders and races etc…… perhaps this is why the ordination topic drags on and on……
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