From its very beginnings the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been involved in and supportive of the work of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).
In Australia, that legacy continued at the three-day National WCTU triennial meeting held at Newcastle (NSW), October 16–18. Women (and some men) from various denominations travelled from all over Australia to listen to keynote presentations about the dangers of DAT (drugs, alcohol and tobacco) and elect new officers for the next three years.
Seventh-day Adventists were elected to four of the officer positions with Joy Butler named as president, Glenda Amos re-elected as treasurer and director for children’s work, Christine White as first vice president and Margaret Major coordinator for pastoral care.
Seventh-day Adventist pastor David Haupt provided one of the keynote presentations—he related his experiences from his days at a drop-in-drug rehab centre in the heart of Cabramatta in Sydney.
He was joined by Professor John Whitehall who talked about FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) with its many damaging effects on the unborn child. Tony Brown, a lawyer and lobbyist, emphasised the importance of WCTU continuing to agitate and lobby so governments might take action to reduce the multifaceted damage caused in the community by alcohol and extended drinking hours.
A number of brainstorming opportunities were given to the participants during the three days to bring this 180-year-old movement some new life and ideas that might create greater involvement from church members. Prayer and emphasis on the younger generation, who face much pressure to indulge in alcohol and drugs, are key components of WCTU and a focus going forward.
Music was shared by the Thompson family and the Newcastle WCTU Chapter’s “Little White Ribboner’s”. On the final afternoon a cruise was organised on the Newcastle Harbour.
“As the human agent submits his will to the will of God, the Holy Spirit will make the impression upon the hearts of those to whom he ministers. I have been shown that we are not to shun the WCTU workers. By uniting with them in behalf of total abstinence we do not change our position regarding the observance of the seventh day, and we can show our appreciation of their position regarding the subject of temperance. By opening the door and inviting them to unite with us on the temperance question we secure their help along temperance lines; and they by uniting with us, will hear new truths which the Holy Spirit is waiting to impress upon hearts.”—Ellen White, Welfare Ministry, p 163.