Sydney Adventist women stand united against domestic violence

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Women, dressed in white, holding hands in prayer. (Credit: Ben Fehlberg)

More than 400 women from across Sydney came together dressed in white to make a stand against domestic violence at the recent “UNITED NIGHT 2020”, held by Sydney Adventist Women’s Ministries on February 1.

“I love how the women respond[ed] by wearing white outfits in support of the anti-domestic violence movement. Together we stand as one, against any form of violence in our community,” said Mrs Landers.

Women were served refreshments upon arrival at Parramatta Seventh-day Adventist Church hall before the program—the first on the Women’s Ministries calendar for 2020—kicked off.

The Men of Hope male choir ushered the women into the venue, served them refreshments, collected the offering, and led out in music and special items during the service.

“A spokesperson for the [Men of Hope] group affirmed the strength of women and even apologised on behalf of men behaving badly. It was a touching moment,” said Mrs Landers.

During the program, Zimbabwean-born Dr Thembi Dube presented the message, challenging and empowering women to “Show up and Trend” for God.

“Dr Thembi’s message left an indelible impression because the word on everyone’s lips as they were leaving was ‘trending’!” a Facebook post said.

Leaders farewelled Laurel Raethel, wife to North New South Conference president Pastor Adrian Raethel, and thanked her for her contribution towards women’s ministries over the years.

Erna Johnson, retired Women’s Ministries director for Greater Sydney and the South Pacific Division, presented the offering appeal, calling for funds to support the upcoming HOPE STAYZ program—a retreat for disenfranchised women—and shared current statistics on domestic violence in Australia.

Empowering women to get involved in the various ministries presented on the night, Mrs Landers shared the new vision statement for Sydney Adventist Women’s Ministries in 2020: “To Know, to Serve, to Disciple”.

Finally, Greater Sydney Conference president Pastor Terry Johnson sealed the evening by affirming the women and praying over them and their plans for 2020.

Each year, Sydney Adventist Women’s Ministries supports a local project, and this year “Heart2Heart”—a project led by Minerva Sindac-Lebmeier and women from Freshwater Seventh-day Adventist Church—is the focus.

“They make and distribute bright, colourful heart-shaped pillows to hospitals where women have had mastectomies,” said Mrs Landers. “The pillow fits neatly under the arm to support and provide . . . physical support but also emotional comfort.”

After the program, a booth was set up to provide information and patterns encourage women to help sew the pillows. Their goal is to donate 500 pillows to the cause.

In addition, food made by local church groups was available to purchase after the program, with proceeds going to help women attend the BREATHE conference later this year.

“UNITED NIGHT is always exciting and energising,” said Mrs Landers. “It was just amazing to have the support of Men of Hope and all the other male volunteers, who by their service and statement, place value on women and add their voice to ours against violence towards women and children.”

To see the upcoming Sydney Adventist Women’s Ministries events, you can follow their Facebook page.