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SDA APOSTASY  

Released by: Ray Dabrowski
Phone: +31-30-955-324 (June 29-July 8) or +301-680-6300
Written by: Dick Duerksen
          
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 1995
          
THE CHURCH AFFIRMS THE PASTORAL MINISTRY OF WOMEN
          
Utrecht, The Netherlands... Most Sabbaths, a woman Seventh-day Adventist
pastor baptizes a new member as part of a worship service. Each week a
woman Seventh-day Adventist minister preaches a sermon, chairs a board
meeting, leads out in Bible studies and prays for the sick. And each
week church administrators affirm those women pastors.
	"We receive tremendous support from our conferences and unions. We are
not ignored but are included in all conference activities, just as are
the male pastors. We receive regular affirmation and know that our
leaders know and appreciate the value of our work." says Karin
Lundberg, Senior Pastor of the Stockholm church.
	A number of the Church's nine world divisions have asked women to
accept pastoral responsibilities. Some of these women have been
employed as departmental directors or media center managers, others as
youth leaders or family life educators, but most Adventist women
ministers serve as pastors of local congregations.
	In the Trans-European Division there are now seven women serving as
pastors. Lisbeth Krage is pastor in Nyrgling and Naksron, Denmark, the
country where Marianne Dyrud serves as dean of girls and pastor for
youth activities at the Adventist academy. The Danish Union has also
employed Anne-May Muller as youth director and Kirsten R. Oster as
director of the media center. In England, Drene Somasundram pastors in
Crawley and Wimbledon. Ansku Jaakkola serves as youth director of the
Finland Union and Karin Lundberg is the senior pastor of the Stockholm
church.
	These pastors experience the full benefits and responsibilities of
ministry. "The reward of ministry is being able to participate in the
miracle of transformation," says Pastor Dyrud. "I, as an imperfect
minister, can be used by God to transform lives. It keeps me amazed at
all times!"
	Occasionally, questions are raised regarding the ability of women to
serve effectively in the position of pastor. The women pastors,
however, have discovered that few members have any concern over their
gender. Pastor Lundberg of Stockholm says, "The members are looking for
the real qualifications of ministry. They want to see that I have
received a true call from God and have accepted that call. Most of the
members do not even notice my gender, they notice and respond to my
ministry."
	Pastor Krage of Denmark adds, "I am not here because I can do a better
job than a man, but because I've been called to ministry by God."
	That calling from God is the center of life for each woman pastor. "We
are role models for the young people who are being called to the
ministry," says Pastor Jaakkola, youth director in Finland. "We happen
to be women, but we are each individual personalities, we each approach
ministry within our personal call."
	For Pastor Somasundram that call was very direct and specific. "One
day," she recounts, "I was walking out of my college dormitory dressed
in a short skirt, red lace stockings and bright lipstick. As I passed a
tall mirror I saw myself and heard God say, "I will make of you what I
want you to be." Later one afternoon she was looking at the blue sky
and saw a bright red line glowing across the sky. "I looked at the sky
and heard God speak," she says. God's voice said, "This is what I want
to do with you, make you a bright light for me." Drene was overwhelmed
and answered, "But it is so high and so far I know I cannot reach it."
God responded , "Look at the cloud." There, in the sky near the red
line, was a small white cloud, His promise that He would "always be
with me."
	The Seventh-day Adventist Church has affirmed this call by assigning
Pastor Somasundram pastoral responsibilities in Crawley and Wimbleton,
England. She, and the many other women Adventist pastors around the
world, take their Divine instructions seriously. But it's a seriousness
mixed with joy. Pastor Dyrud smiles, "It is absolutely thrilling to
bring people to Christ, to be affirmed by people I had no idea I was
reaching."
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