Adventists take the lead at WCTU convention

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Ottawa, Canada

This year’s 40th World Convention of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in Ottawa, Canada, featured no less than seven Adventist speakers, including directors of the General Conference’s Health and Women’s Ministries departments and representatives from Papua New Guinea and Australia.

A majority of the speakers were Adventists. This was an unprecedented occurrence and one we can be proud of.

“A majority of the speakers were Adventists. This was an unprecedented occurrence and one we can be proud of,” said Ms Joy Butler, the WCTU’s newly elected second vice-president and an Adventist missionary in Lae, Papua New Guinea.

Joy Butler (left) and Christine White (right) receiving Life Membership certificates for WCTU Australia.

Dr Allan Handysides, the retired health director for the General Conference, delivered the keynote address for the convention, focusing on the lifelong impact of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Pastor Kevin Amos, a retired missionary from Australia, preached at the Sabbath morning worship service, and other Adventist guests and WCTU officers facilitated workshops and delivered reports from WCTU regions and departments. 

Adventist women elected as WCTU world leaders included Joy Butler (PNG), 2nd Vice President and Field Officer for Africa; Glenda Amos (NNSW), Children’s Director; Elsie Masuku (Zimbabwe), Youth Leader; and Mitroy Sapul (PNG), Field Officer for the Pacific Islands.

The WCTU, established in 1874, advocates for a society free of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs and has historical links with both early Adventists and the women’s suffrage movement. From its beginnings in the United States and Great Britain, the WCTU is now functioning in 42 countries around the world. Membership has declined since a peak in the 1940s and 50s, but Ms Butler is excited to see a new generation rising up to take the helm. “There was a significant number of young people this time, which was inspirational and encouraging. They were energetic, intelligent and committed young people from Canada, USA, Korea and Norway.”

Youth from USA, Canada, Norway and South America with General Conference associate Health director Katia Reinert (third from left).

The 142 people present at this year’s convention (18-24 August) passed resolutions calling for action on the emerging issue of cyberbullying as well as a renewed commitment to campaign and offer support to people suffering the effects of domestic violence, human trafficking and alcohol-related harms. The WCTU will continue, according to its voted resolution, “to vigorously and publicly advocate for a life of total abstinence”.