The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Inter-European Division hosted its first international Women’s Congress last weekend, drawing more than 700 women from countries throughout Central and Southern Europe for worship and empowerment workshops.
Meeting in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, from September 5 to 8, attendees were encouraged to get involved in service projects and peacekeeping efforts in their own countries. The event’s theme was “Women In Action.”
City mayor Joachim Bläse asked, “What if we had women as presidents in Russia, the Ukraine and in the countries of Africa?” "Women have the power and the gift to resolve conflicts differently,” he said, “because only with peace can we achieve anything and we need you as women."
In a Saturday afternoon address, Adventist world church Women’s Ministries Director Heather-Dawn Small concurred, saying attendees can make an impact and make a noticeable difference in their families and with their friends.
The congress included 17 workshops on subjects such as health, forgiveness, depression, social media, and motherhood. The event also included a charity concert to help victims of female genital mutilation in Kenya. Attendees also participated in a flash mob to bring awareness of domestic violence.
The congress organizer, Denise Hochstrasser, who serves as Women’s Ministries director for the division, based in Berne, Switzerland, invited the 40 "chivalrous" men in attendance to participate in the congress as companions and assistants. "Men and women need each other," she said.