From September 22-25, 2022, around 220 women attended a Seventh-day Adventist Women’s Ministries (WM) congress in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, organized for participants from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.
The recently appointed WM directors from these countries organized a varied and refreshing program that went according to plan. In addition to the main presentations, Dagmar Dorn, EUD WM director; Melanie Eckart, from the organization Open Doors; and Raquel Arrais, from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division’s WM department also made short presentations.
The event focused on lessons from the life of Queen Esther, picking up her decision to save her people in the words of the congress motto: “And NOW I will go.” In a monologue written by Dany Canedo and presented by Dilruba Kam, Queen Esther reflected on her life and her struggle to go forward and save her people.
Elida Oncea, WM director for the Austrian Union, and Chidi Ngwaba, from London, United Kingdom, were the main presenters. “With their unique approaches, both showed women what they can learn from Queen Esther to live their lives in 2022,” organizers said. “Enhanced by great musicians, our hearts were opened by enough time for singing old favorites as well as a new motto song.”
Reinhard Schwab, Stephan Sigg, and Werner Dullinger, the presidents of the Adventist Church in the three countries, expressed their appreciation and respect for the commitment and work of women, who make up more than 60 percent of church membership. The three took time to attend the congress and briefly addressed the participants.
Organizers said this was the first large event of its kind since the COVID-19 pandemic, and participants greatly enjoyed fellowshipping together after such a long time. “The smiles on their faces were proof of the joy they felt in being part of the congress,” they said.
For the participants, it was a challenge to choose which of the wide range of breakout sessions to attend. The last night was also a highlight for many attendees and featured the Liron Choir in concert with special guest songwriter Sam Samba, under the title “Gospel Music Meets Worship.”
“It is fascinating how women create such a warm and loving atmosphere when they get together,” organizers said. “We want to thank the three WM directors–Dany Canedo, Dagmar Latuski, and Elida Oncea–for all the work they put in to make the congress such a great success. Our thanks also go to Frauke Gyuroka for her competent translation, the sound technicians, and the many people who staffed the display booths and all volunteers.”
Finally, organizers said the beautiful venue and its kind staff also contributed to the charm of the congress, adding, “Most of all, we want to thank God for all the blessings of these wonderful days.”