Dear Friends ,
As you can see on the cover, this issue of the Shepherdess International Journal is dedicated to James A. Cress. Jim, as he liked to be called, was the longest-serving Ministerial Secretary in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He died on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009.
Jim always insisted he was a “pastor on loan to the General Conference.” An administrative position was not new to Jim; he spent many years in office responsibilities, but purposed to return to church pastoral ministry. It was from our church in Atlanta that he agonized before accepting the assignment to serve within an office again. He and I both knew that pastoring was always his first love—yes, even before me!
Jim’s love for people within the office setting was ever-present in his ready smile and cheery disposition. His pastoral instincts served him well during his tenure here. No matter how jet-lagged from his travels or weary from long meetings, his office was open to anyone who needed a listening ear. No matter how overwhelmed he was with ever-pressing, never-finished duties, he always made you feel, he was there for you.
Jim faithfully supported Shepherdess and made every effort, both personally and publicly, to affirm any and all ministry wives. During every Annual Council, despite his hectic platform duties, he left the main auditorium to come up and address the ministry spouses, telling us how valuable we are to the Bride of Christ. One of his favorite seminars was “Why the Minister’s Wife Has the Hardest Job in the Church.” He educated countless numbers of laity on this issue and nurtured thousands of clergy spouses.
Jim will be greatly missed not just by me but corporately by ministry spouses. He was our advocate and our voice, and we were blessed to have him as our steadfast captain. He valued ministry wives and their significance to every aspect of church life.
Thank you, Jim, for gracing Shepherdess with your unwavering support. May God bless you with the rest you so richly deserve.