by Paula I. Johnson
The North American Division Shepherdess meetings, held November 5-8, 2010, during NAD Year-End meetings, were a blessing to all who attended. The meetings were led by Donna Jackson, wife of Dan Jackson, the newly-elected president of the North America Division, and Desiree Bryant, wife of NAD Secretary Alex Bryant.
During Friday’s session, approximately 50 attendees were blessed by the generosity of Doug Sayles (Review and Herald), Dale Galusha (Pacific Press), and Don MacLafferty (Kids in Discipleship). In the morning devotional, Elizabeth Talbot, associate speaker for the Voice of Prophecy, captured the essence of the gospel writers’ unique perspectives on Jesus and its application to our lives. Ruthie Jacobson, NAD prayer coordinator, introduced some students from Ozark Academy who gave personal testimonies about their recent experiences with prayer and the Lord.
Part of Friday’s agenda was to make plans to move forward as an organization for the betterment of all concerned. Donna and Desiree introduced the concept of our mission, values, vision, and new initiatives for the NAD Shepherdess, which was followed by a brainstorming session facilitated by Paula Johnson, founder-coordinator of the Association of Regional Conferences Ministers’ Wives. Paula involved everyone in small-groups discussion to determine how the suggested and accepted initiatives could move from concept to action. With so many gifted and intelligent women working together, many exciting ideas were submitted.
Mission, Values, Vision, and Initiative for the Ministerial Spouses’ Association (MSA)
Mission: To empower and support the NAD union and conference MSA leadership through networking, resources, and training.
• To be spirit-led
• Respect for ethnic diversity
• Sanctity of family
Vision: To see the Ministerial Spouses Association established and growing in every union and conference of the North American Division.
The primary Initiatives that were discussed include:
• Fellowship and networking: opportunities and as a support system
• Spiritual enrichment: for self and for ministry
• Training: as a paraprofessional in the ministry
• Resources: to meet the felt needs of ministerial families
• Family: discipling ministerial children
• Prayer: for revival and reformation in one’s personal life and in the home
In today’s age of inclusiveness, the group recognizes that the term “Shepherdess” excludes spouses of female ministers, so the ladies discussed a proposed name change—from NAD Shepherdess to NAD Ministerial Spouses Association that will be submitted to Shepherdess International and to the NAD administration.
In the NAD Shepherdess, there is strong intent to continue and strengthen the affiliation with Shepherdess International, to operate within its defined purposes, and to target primary groups. In addition, the group would like to change some of the terminology from “wives” to “spouses.”
On Sunday the ladies were invited to Donna Jackson’s home for a “spa day.” Approximately 40 women participated, and, in addition to lunch, they were treated to chair massages, foot baths, foot massages, paraffin hand treatments, and facials. There was hardly a room in the house that was not impacted by the spa experience! The fellowship was great, and the food was delicious. The spa day concluded with a devotional and prayer by Elizabeth Talbot. All the ladies left the Jackson home feeling happy, pampered, and uplifted.
Monday was another working session. Each union representative had the opportunity to speak about what was happening in her territory. Cheryl Retzer, Southern Union Shepherdess sponsor, facilitated this segment, and many ideas were shared. Paula led out in another encouraging and insightful activity, the “Question in a Basket” exercise, where questions that had been dropped in a basket were answered by ladies who had experienced similar challenges. Donna Jackson gave a powerful testimony about her spiritual journey. Janet Page, the new Shepherdess director for the General Conference, spoke about the Revival and Reformation Initiative introduced by the General Conference, after which she led the ladies in a season of prayer. Then the ladies departed, already looking forward to the next time they would to come together for the united purpose of lifting up ministerial spouses in ministry in the name and love of Jesus Christ.