International Women's Day, March 8, 2023

Women in Europe minister to women by marking the day with many events recognizing women's achievements, serving and supporting them, and touching their hearts. 

Adventist Church in Italy helps women learn how to overcome the "Superwoman" syndrome.

Sicily, Italy | EUD WM news | Anna Ciminello | March 21, 2023

On Thursday, March 9, we had a women's meeting at the Adventist church in Catania, on the island of Sicily, which was also attended by women from other faiths. Pastor Abigaela Trofin addressed a current topic in our days, related to the physical and psychological stress that affects many women, but also men, albeit in different ways.

Some relationship games and interaction with the women present helped ease communication. Addressing how to manage and overcome the "Superwoman" syndrome made us realize that every woman should have the opportunity to naturally show her vulnerability in all contexts of life. Seeking help from partners, colleagues, and friends should be a healthy way of relating. Asking and giving support to others should not generate a feeling of inferiority. Asking and giving knows no gender distinctions, and there are no supermen or superwomen. There are only good companions and good fellow travelers.

Photo credit: WM Italy
As reported by Anna Ciminello, leader of Women's Ministries in Catania, Sicily

Transylvania Conference supports mothers and grandmothers of children with disabilities.

Romania | EUD WM news | Simona Anca | March 23, 2023

On International Women’s Day, March 8, the Ianna-Floare-Aleasă Association from Turda invited mothers and grandmothers of children with disabilities to a special program.

The seminar presented by Simona Anca (president of the association) on the role of faith in family life, the practical communication games initiated to strengthen the mother-child relationship, helped participants to understand how important it is to believe in something in moments of limitation and not to lose hope. The illustration of a mother's sacrifice presented by Sorina Ureche, the song "Ce chara mi-este mama" (How dear is my mother) sung with much love by children and parents alike, accompanied on guitar by Sorina, a music teacher, and the children's puppet theatre, made this a particularly delightful moment.

The Mayor's presence was also very welcome on this occasion. He presented everyone with a flower and, in his speech, expressed his appreciation to the mothers, saying that they were the most special and hard-working mothers he had ever met. He also encouraged them to carry on the fight and not to lose hope. At this heartfelt gathering, 30 people (adults and children) enjoyed and encouraged each other, took pictures, and received small gifts (boxes of sweets) and flowers.

This meeting created a strong impression in the hearts of the participants, bringing confidence, hope, and the fact that they are not fighting alone, but God supports and loves them.

Photo credit: WM Romania
As reported by Simona Anca, Director of the Women's Ministries Department, Northern Transylvania Conference, Romania

Mutenia Conference honors mothers and children with a special program and prayer

Romania | EUD WM news | Violeta Peicu | March 20, 2023

The joy of spring also reached the locality of Drăgăneasa in Prahova County, on 12 March. About 89 people, mothers and children, gathered together in a program organized by the Women's Ministries Department of Petru Rareș Church, Câmpina.

The introductory and final moments were presented by Pastor Alex Ciurea, the devotional moment (about the Samaritan woman) was presented by Cornelia, the story was prepared especially for children and presented by Drusila, the quality music was performed by instrumental soloists (teenagers) and the surprises prepared and offered, made this meeting unforgettable. At the end of the program, the pastor's prayer embraced mothers and children in God's love, asking for wisdom for the beautiful upbringing of children, so that they may become people of hope for the blessing of all those around them.

Photo credit: WM Romania
As reported by Violeta Peicu, program coordinator at the Petru Rareș Church, Câmpina, Romania

God's plan for women revealed at women’s breakfast in Albstadt, Germany

Germany | EUD WM news | Hannele Ottschofski | March 12, 2023

More than 30 women gathered in the SDA church in Albstadt in the Baden-Württemberg Conference of the South German Union for their traditional women’s breakfast meeting on March 12, 2023. Lovingly prepared delicious food and beautiful decorations welcomed women of all ages to enjoy companionship and nourishment for body and soul. The topic presented by Hannele Ottschofski was especially appropriate to be addressed only a few days after International Women’s Day and during Women’s History Month. The speaker explained God’s original plan of equity for men and women and how mankind has distorted it, leading to the patriarchal subjugation of women for hundreds and thousands of years. Jesus came to redeem humanity and restore the woman to the place God intended for her at the side of man. Unfortunately, all religions, including Christianity, have participated in the abuse of women by providing so-called scriptural grounds for their subjugation. After the presentation, the women engaged in a lively discussion on the topic. Meanwhile, some men took care of washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, a great support for the women who organize these meetings.

Photo credit: Hannele Ottschofski
As reported by Hannele Ottschofski, Women's Ministries leader in Germany

An informal environment opens hearts at a women's breakfast in Bergamo, Italy.

Italy | EUD WM news | Giusy Catalano | March 2, 2023

The Women's Ministries Department of the Bergamo and Merate Adventist churches meet from time to time to share reflections, prayers, emotions, and mutual affection. On the morning of February 26, the women shared an interesting reflection and a very good breakfast in a very welcoming atmosphere. They talked about our vulnerability, emotional wounds, and the need to get help if necessary. They also shared their desire to continue as instruments of the Lord, shaped by the Holy Spirit. The atmosphere was convivial, serene, and filled with affection. The informal environment helped them share personal and family stories. In short, it is an experience to be repeated, as it was very welcome. Still not convinced? Try it and check it out.

Photo credit: Italy WM
As reported by Giusy Catalano, head of Women's Ministries in the Adventist church in Bergamo, Italy

Creative ways of celebrating and ministering to women are used in Spain.

Spain | EUD WM news | Wilma Mendoza and Elizabeth Sandova |April 4, 2023

International Women’s Day Activities in Madrid-Alenza, Spain

As part of the celebrations for International Women's Day on March 8, 2023, the women's ministries of the Adventist Church in Madrid-Alenza organized several activities. Among them, we highlight the gifts that were delivered to 21 women in the prison of Avila with a message of love and hope, and the program Breaking the rules on sexuality, developed in the church.

Materials for Women Prisoners in the Ávila Prison

In 2020, Lorena Hünicken, one of our church sisters, started visiting different women in the Avila prison. Last year, thanks to obtaining authorization to offer an Adventist religious service inside the prison, Brothers Miguel Ángel Santafé, and Pastor Gabriel Díaz joined forces to offer emotional and spiritual support to the women who have requested it.

In support of this project, the women of the Madrid-Alenza church prepared 21 Steps to Christ coloring books, into which they wrote personalized dedications with messages of encouragement and strength. In addition, the gift included a card made by the children of the Explorers Club.

Breaking the rules, in the church of Alenza

The day also included a program for the whole church entitled Breaking the Rules, in which Dr. Inés García addressed the myths related to female sexuality from a Christian perspective. The program was attended by couples, mothers and daughters, and young people. The attendees expressed their appreciation that these topics were being discussed in the church.

Special program on Sabbath, March 11

Finally, on March 11, the Women's Ministries department led the entire Sabbath program for the Adventist Church's International Day of Prayer. Women of all ages, representing all generations of the church, led the divine worship and afternoon activity. The participation of the young women in the church stood out.

During the divine service, the statement of the General Conference Administrative Committee, published this year by the Spanish Adventist Review, was read, followed by a sermon on the importance of prayer in the Christian life.

In the afternoon, different creative and participative dynamics were carried out. The objective was to highlight the importance of prayer for good spiritual health, developing the different aspects of transforming prayer from a biblical point of view.

Music, reflection, and above all, moments of prayer were the keynote of a very emotional and spiritual afternoon.

Photo credit: Luisa Mena, Spain, As reported by Wilma Mendoza and Elizabeth Sandoval, from the Madrid-Alenza Adventist church.

A gallery of photos from Inter-European Division of women celebrating International Women's Day

Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2023 Q2

Prayer for Women

Written by Karen Holford, Children, Family and Women’s Ministries Director
Trans-European Division

March 8, 2023

Today, on this International Women’s Day
we come to praise you God,
For the wonderful ways in which you father us and mother us.
We praise you for your strength and your gentleness,
Your provision and your protection,
Your power and your mercy…

We praise you for creating women who reflect so many facets of your image.
And we thank you for the wise and wonderful gifts
that women bring to this world
Through their compassion and their creativity.

We pray for the baby girls around the world who will be born this year.
May they be welcomed into families with joyful faces and loving arms,
And not be rejected, discarded, and abused because they are not boys.
May they have mothers who hold them close to their heart
and tell them they are beloved
And beautiful

We pray for the school-age girls around the world.
May they be allowed to study safely
May they be encouraged to use their gifts and follow their dreams.
May they have teachers that expand their horizons and enrich their potential
And may they never be told that any subject they want to study
is only for the boys.

We pray for the teenage girls around the world.
May they know that they are exquisite and precious.
May they not compare themselves to malnourished models and airbrushed actresses.
May they be treated with care and respect and be allowed to make their own choices.
May they have protectors and mentors and inspirers who will guide them into greatness.

We pray for the young women emerging into adulthood.
May they find husbands that love them, and are committed to them.
husbands that fight for them, and not with them or against them,
May they birth and love a new generation of respectful boys and courageous girls
who know who to love and empower each other.
May they have friends and family who replenish their energy and their spirit
when their capacity to nurture has been depleted by night feeds,
teething pain and sleep deprivation.

We pray for the women who are facing abuse,
war, isolation, illness, tragedies, and challenges.
May we reach out to them with love and generosity.
May we comfort their suffering and tears
May we stand by them when everything in the world seems to be against them
May we join together, encourage each other, break glass ceilings and change the world.

We pray for the older women around the world
May they share love and wisdom and be joyfully confident in who they have become.
May they share your love in rich and deeper ways
From the well of their own beloved hearts
May they reach out to the younger ones who are bewildered
And care for their elders who are confused.

May each woman experience that everything they do for others,
The shopping, the cleaning, the water-carrying, the lullaby, the laundry,
The email, the spreadsheet, the research project, the brain surgery, and the work of art…
Is a gift of love to you…
And even if no one else ever notices it,
Or expresses gratitude for it.
You do, and it brings joy to your heart.

Because every woman is a precious princess
In your kingdom
And one day, whatever she has had to endure on this earth,
you will comfort as you wipe away all her tears with your loving hand
and hug her close to your heart.
And whatever she has had to live without on this earth,
We know you will restore a million times in the earth made new.

We praise you for women, for your love and compassion for them and for each one of us.
May we each reach out and bless a woman in your name, today and everyday.