James A Cress is the secretary for the General Conference Ministerial Association

AIthough Seventhday Adventists do not ordain women to the gospel ministry, more than 200 women serve in pastoral and ministry leadership roles throughout the world. In fact, not one division of the church is without women functioning in some leadership capacity.

The entire Ministerial Association staff has attempted to affirm and encourage these women, especially through the efforts of Sharon Cress. However, while many of these women have expressed their appreciation for such efforts, they have clearly stated that they wish to avoid confusion with the pastoral wives who are Shepherdess International's primary target group or with the laywomen who are served by the Department of Women's Ministries.

Therefore, with pleasure we announce that Kit Watts will serve as our special con sultant to encourage women everywhere who serve the denomination in pastoral, chaplaincy, and administrative leadership.

This is a natural assignment for Watts who, after serving 10 years as assistant edi tor of the Adventist Review, became the founding director of La Sierra University's Women's Resource Center on April 1,1997.

This center, the only entity of its kind at an Adventist college, is to familiarize stu dents with Adventist heritage and the role women have played in the realization of Christian mission. It will also facilitate dia logue with regard to mission and interper sonal relationships and help prepare women to participate in defining and shaping the church community and the public sphere.

Kit, who has previously served as a pastor, will function as our coordinator of data regarding women ministers, provide coun sel and encouragement to young women seeking a pastoral career, offer seminars for leaders who are seeking to encourage women in ministry assignments, and edit a newsletter for women pastors, which will provide nurture, encourage interchange, and facilitate awareness about this growing segment of Adventist ministers.

The church will benefit from this consultative role by gaining an opportunity to guide women as they develop their gifts and seek to use them more effectively in minis try roles. Women will benefit by having tan gible evidence that the Ministerial Association recognizes their call and is in terested in their needs and success.

You are encouraged to share the names, addresses, and current assignments of women who serve in pastoral or denomi national leadership roles. Mail to J. A. Cress, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, USA; fax 301-680-6502; or E-mail 74617.2146@compuserve.com.

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James A Cress is the secretary for the General Conference Ministerial Association

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