Shepherdess Coordinators and Ministerial Secretaries from around the world gathered for a week of prayer, planning, and fellowship at the General Conference World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland from March 14–20, 2011. Sponsored by the Ministerial Association, the Advisory meetings gave the Coordinators an opportunity to meet the Ministerial Association Secretaries, learn how the Association could help them in the world field, and together make plans for the next five years.
The Advisory meetings began each day with a time of worship and prayer. Ministerial Association staff led out in a variety of prayer formats, including individual and small-group prayer. One format used was the ACTS prayer, in which each individual prays in short sentences as the entire group is led through Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. They also taught the importance of affirming each other’s prayer requests, singing together, and praying Scriptures. Interceding for each other’s personal and Division needs in prayer brought precious unity to the group.
“I never thought I would see this day happen, where we would come together as a group of leaders and spend quality time praying and interceding for each other,” said one attendee. One ministerial couple’s daughter began improving from a serious illness after the Advisory attendees interceded for her in prayer.
The Shepherdess Coordinators spent time with Janet Page, Shepherdess International Director, on two separate days, discussing the needs of each Division and how Shepherdess International could best assist them. Nancy Wilson, Shepherdess sponsor, met with the ladies one afternoon, affirming the role of the pastor’s wife and encouraging them to ensure that pastors spend time with their families each week.
As the Advisory meeting drew to a close, attendees enjoyed a special fellowship dinner on Thursday evening, a wonderful Friday-night vespers program and an uplifting worship service on Sabbath morning. The meetings ended on Sunday with an Adventist and U.S. history tour led by Jim Nix, director of the Ellen G. White Estate.
The Southern-Asia Pacific Division (SSD) held Ministerial and Shepherdess Advisory meetings in May 2011. Leaders from across the Division gathered in Manila to meet with representatives from the GC Ministerial Association and plan for the next five years. Shepherdess Coordinators from each union and conference spent a day with Helen Gulfan, SSD Shepherdess Coordinator, and Janet Page, Shepherdess International Director.
Advisory attendees earnestly sought revival and reformation through corporate prayer and worship, and many committed to praying during the 777 prayer time each day. “It is so encouraging to meet with God’s leaders around the world and see how much they love God, how hard they are working to reach people for Jesus and how they are training others to reach out,” says Page.
Gulfan hosted an “Evening of Prayer and Fellowship” for SSD’s Shepherdess Coordinators, the wives of SSD administrators and pastors, and AIIAS Seminary faculty and staff wives. Attendees came in their countries’ costumes, made new friends over supper, and enjoyed several musical selections. Page shared how her life has been changed through united prayer and spending time alone with God each morning. She also led the group through the ACTS Prayer model of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
God’s presence was felt throughout the evening. “I am so encouraged that I am not the only one who struggles. It is so comforting to hear that Jesus understands me and loves me even though I struggle to spend time with Him,” said one lady. Others commented, “I love praying short sentence-prayers in a group and breaking out in song and claiming Bible promises. I sensed God’s presence here.”