The Australian Union Conference (AUC) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has appointed Lyndelle Peterson as a part-time Ministerial Association associate secretary after the AUC Executive Committee created the position in May 2021.
Peterson is the first female Seventh-day Adventist pastor to be employed to work across all areas of the Ministerial Association, including ministry development, resourcing, and working with conference Ministerial leaders to develop and implement strategies to support and inspire pastors around Australia.
The role will also include a focus on encouraging, mentoring, and representing women in pastoral ministry. In addition, Peterson will continue to lead the Sabbath School and Stewardship departments of the AUC.
“I am honored and excited to be able to serve in the Ministerial Association,” Peterson said, “and I’m looking forward to working with the team of Ministerial secretaries across Australia.”
“Women make up 10 percent of the pastoral workforce at the moment, and being able to have representation in these types of conversations is a good step forward,” she added.
“I have been blessed to be able to work as an associate pastor, a lead pastor, a chaplain, and departmental director, and I hope to be able to use my experience, as I work with the team, to find ways to better support pastors.”
The AUC Executive Committee also voted to introduce a Women in Pastoral Ministry (WiPM) scholarship, which will assist women already studying or thinking about studying ministry at Avondale University or Mamarapha College with their tuition fees.
“We want to support and enhance the role and voice of women in pastoral ministry,” Brendan Pratt, AUC Ministerial Association secretary, explained. “Regardless of if a pastor is a male or female, they are gifted and called by God. We want to support and honor that calling in the best way possible. We have many gifted females in pastoral ministry who are already making an excellent contribution, and our scholarship seeks to encourage more females into pastoral ministry.”
Pratt added, “I look forward to working with Lyndelle in this new role; it will be great to have an enhanced voice for women and for someone to bring a different perspective when we discuss initiatives and challenges.”
In addition to Peterson joining the AUC Ministerial Association, in 2020 Murray Hunter was appointed as Ministerial Association associate secretary for School Chaplaincy. It is a role that focuses particularly on the ministry challenges, resourcing, and support of chaplains in church schools, which is an area of ministry that has rapidly increased.
“It’s excellent having an extended team,” Pratt said. “It brings extra creativity and enthusiasm, allowing us to better serve our Ministerial Association.”
“Resourcing, supporting, and developing our pastors and chaplains is crucial for the mission of our church. I am excited about the possibilities and what our team can achieve over the next few years,” he added.
AUC president Terry Johnson said he is encouraged that church administration in Australia is making these appointments and showing support of women in pastoral ministry and leadership positions.
“The AUC wants to show that we value the contribution women make to ministry. It is important to have good representation across our pastoral team, at a union level, conference level, and local church level,” Johnson said.
“Having Lyndelle and Murray working in the Ministerial Association and introducing a Women in Pastoral Ministry Scholarship are good steps on the journey of support for our pastors and churches.”