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Association of Adventist Women: Finding Purpose In Uncertain Times


In the months of COVID-19, women have struggled to meet the needs of their children, work, income losses and elderly relatives. In many cases their needs for community have been put on a back burner. As a response, the Association of Adventist Women has six programs now available on their website: The programs are also available at their co-sponsor’s website,, October 10, 17, 24, 31, November 7, and 14 Vespers.

President Nerida Taylor Bates reports, “Since we could not plan an in-person conference we really sought to reach out to our sisters and create a global conversation about finding purpose when things are tough. The Loma Linda University Church offered us their vespers platform for six online events about making a difference in the world in these difficult times. We were able to highlight programs on four continents and our panel discussions were so uplifting.”

Out of the gate, the first panel on leadership hosted by Dr. Ella Simmons, General Conference Vice president with Dr. Andrea Luxton, President of Andrews University, Dr. Helen Staples-Evans, Vice president of Patient Care Services at Loma Linda Health and Dr. Olive Hemmings, Professor of Religion and Ethics at Washington Adventist University is a must see. Dr. Linda Becker, past Vice President for Student Services at Union College called us all to action “at a time like this.” 

Southeastern California Conference was well represented in the speakers on the topic of Self-care during COVID with Dr. Sheryll Prinz-McMillan former pastor and member of Victoria SDA Church, Dr. Rita Mercer of Mount Rubidoux SDA Church, Dr. Beverly Buckles of LLU, Anita Roberts, Women’s Ministry director at SECC and Loma Linda University Church member and family therapist, Jamie Stodola. 

SECC President Sandra Roberts spoke on how ministry has changed during COVID. Other speakers presented their suggestions for adapting ministry; the Sabbath Sofa project in Europe, How South African Pr. Nandi Fleming’s counseling moved online — filling a great need, La Sierra University’s Pr. Bev Marivilla’s family programing, and Dr. Hyveth Williams on additions to Andrews University Seminary curriculum.

Dr. Sandra Brooks of Mount Rubidoux SDA Church addressed how serving our communities has adapted with Associate Pastora Elina Camarena of Paradise Valley Spanish Church, Jolene Hilliard of LLU’s medical auxiliary’s Little White House and Cynthia Prime on her Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach non-profit. Main speaker Dr. Joy Butler, Keep Girls Safe (ADRA), did not hold back in discussing the dangers girls face throughout the world.

Former Loma Linda University Public Health faculty, Dr. Sherma Charlemagne-Badal spoke about race disparities and how to better create healthy communities. Dr. Jennifer Veltman, chair of LLU Infectious Disease, spoke on how churches can stay safe during COVID, and Dr. Nerida Taylor Bates led the panel in discussing medical missions and family-work balance.

La Sierra University Alumna Dr. Lori Barker addressed all of the friction points tearing apart community and how to actively combat them. Dr. Yamileth Bazan, Vice president of Student Life at La Sierra University lead a discussion with Bronica Martindale Taylor, Chair of African American Advisory to the San Bernardino Police Department, Charissa Roxas, digital content director of Crosswalk Church, and Melody Tan who runs Mums at the Table — a group of 9,000 mothers. Dr. Keisha McKenzie of Auburn Seminary also talked about the difficulties and successes of moving to a virtual community. 

“We are very pleased to be able to serve a wider audience and for our videos to be available to encourage women everywhere through these most unprecedented times,” said Nerida Taylor Bates. “So often good programing is only available in large Adventist Population centers. Now we can share ideas and encouragement throughout the Union and beyond. I have heard back from viewers in Australia and Africa. God is truly changing the face of ministry during this pandemic.”

“Women are by nature nurturers. We work to create community. In this difficult time of distancing. It is a balm to be reminded of how we can all work to make God’s church a home for all,” says Bates. 

For more information:, Priscilla Walters at 909-518-6111, or


This press release was provided for distribution by the Association of Adventist Women.

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash


Further Reading:

Spectrum Interview with Nerida Bates, President of AAW — by Alita Byrd, October 17, 2020


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