GC WM | Maryland USA | Nilde Itin | July 18, 2022

Role of Female GC Vice President Continues

GC Vice President Ella S. Simmons retires, Audrey Andersson elected

General Conference Women's Ministries (GC WM) bids farewell to outgoing their vice presidential advisor, Ella S. Simmons, and welcomes incoming advisor, Audrey Andersson.

Ella S. Simmons – An experienced educator, a Christ-centered leader, an exceptional administrator, Dr. Ella Simmons recently retired after a 17-year term of service as the first female vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As a woman of God, with an understanding of people and administrative processes, she has dedicated her life, personally and professionally, to the mission of the Church.

Audrey Andersson – Kind, cheerful, generous, and experienced leader, Audrey Andersson will be the first European woman to serve as vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who will continue to contribute to the mission of the Church. Until she was elected, June 7, 2022, she was the first woman to serve as Executive Secretary for the Trans-European Division (TED).

By Nilde Itin, associate director, GC Women's Ministries

Learn more, Adventist Review News, June 7, 2022, Trailblazing with a Heart for God, Ella S. Simmons reflects on her historic appointment and the path ahead.

tedNEWS, June 7, 2022, Wanted: People of Vision, This is not the time for the status quo, by Audrey Andersson.

Don't miss the interview embedded in Andersson's article. She gives counsel to young women and girls: "Follow your dreams, the church has a place for you. God is calling young women. Follow where He leads, and you will never be disappointed."

Biographical sketches

Dr. Ella S. Simmons

Ella Louise Smith Simmons was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church there at age 16 during an evangelistic effort run by Elder Charles Graham with a young intern, Henry Wright. She has been married to Nord Simmons for 42 years. Nord is a retired high school teacher who served in the public schools in Louisville Kentucky for almost 30 years. Nord and Ella have two adult sons, Darryl and Christopher, who are educators, one in public special education and the other in corporate training; a daughter-in-law, Stephanie who is married to Christopher. They have a granddaughter, Jannette, and a grandson, Evan.

She served as a General Vice President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2010-2022.

Her professional employment experiences prior to becoming a vice president of the General Conference include service as Provost and Vice President for Academic Administration and tenured Professor of Education at La Sierra University in Riverside, California; Vice President for Academic Affairs and tenured Professor of Education at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama; Associate Dean at the University of Louisville School of Education in Kentucky where she was also a tenured member of the graduate faculty in the Foundations of Education Department; and prior to that Chair of the Department of Education in the College of Applied Sciences at Kentucky State University.

She holds the Bachelor of Science Degree from Indiana University with a major in Elementary Education; the Master of Arts Degree from Andrews University with Concentrations in Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision; the Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Louisville with concentrations in Supervision, Curriculum and Administration; and the Honoris Causa Doctor of Pedagogy Degree from Andrews University.

Her special fondness for institutional and program evaluation has involved her in university accreditation evaluation in the U.S. for almost twenty years through service and leadership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Senior Colleges.

Her research and creative activities, including funded grants, have focused on education for underrepresented groups. She has served as principal investigator on several United States Department of Education and private foundation competitive grant projects totaling more than two million dollars and as co-investigator or researcher on other grant-funded projects totaling more than 20 million dollars.

Nord and Ella enjoy reading, walking, traveling, cooking and serving others together. They love their family and love the Lord.

Audrey Andersson

Audrey Andersson, is Irish by birth and Swedish by choice and adoption. She was born in Ireland and grew up in a pastor’s family, moving around the British Isles and Canada. However, in 1993 she married a Swedish farmer, and became a naturalised Swede some years later.

She trained for ministry at Newbold College obtaining her BA in Theology. She made a detour into the publishing world, working as a Legal Editor in London, where, among other things, she developed and ran one of the first daily on-line news services from the UK High Court. Subsequently she ran her own communications company in Sweden. She was one of the writers and editors of the GraceLink curriculum, participating in the development of the Beginner to Primary curricula.

In 2002 she was called to work for the Swedish Union Conference of Churches as Executive Secretary, Communications Director and Women Ministries Director, a position she held until 2010 when she was called to serve as the Executive Secretary of the TED. Looking back the detour into the business world, uniquely equipped her for her Secretariat role. While working in Sweden she completed her Master's degree in Pastoral Ministry, at Newbold College, England.

At the 2022 General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, she was elected as General Vice President.

Her burden is winning, nurturing and reclaiming people for the Kingdom and helping people, particularly women, to achieve their full potential.

Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2022 Q2and3