[Photo: WM DACH]
Germany | Hannele Ottschofski, EUD Women’s Ministries, EUDNews

On September 22–25, 2022, around 220 women attended a Women’s Ministries (WM) congress in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, organized for the three German-speaking countries. There were participants from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, as well as several other countries.

The recently appointed WM directors for these countries had planned a varied and refreshing program that was charmingly presented. In addition to the main presentations, short inputs were delivered by Dagmar Dorn, WM director for the Inter-European Division, Melanie Eckart, from the organization Open Doors, and Raquel Arrais, who had come from Asia to participate.

The congress concentrated on lessons from the life of Queen Esther, encapsulating her decision to save her people in the words of the congress motto, “And NOW I will go.” In a monologue written by Dany Canedo and beautifully presented by Dilruba Kam, Queen Esther reflected on her life and her struggle to go forward and save her people.

The main presenters were Elida Oncea, WM director for the Austrian Union, and Dr. {First name?} Chidi from London, who both, with their unique approaches, showed us what we can learn from Queen Esther for our lives in 2022. Enhanced by great musicians, our hearts were warmed by having enough time for singing old favorites as well as a new theme song. The presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, Reinhard Schwab, Stephan Sigg, and Werner Dullinger, respectively, expressed their appreciation and respect for the commitment and work of women, who make up more than 60% of Adventist membership, by taking time to attend the congress and addressing the women with short inputs.

This was the first large event of its kind after the pandemic, and the participants greatly enjoyed meeting each other after a long time, coming from far and near. The smiles on their faces were proof of the joy they felt in being part of the congress.

For the participants, it was a challenge to choose which of the wide range of excellent breakout sessions to attend. A special highlight was a concert on the last night by the Choir Liron, with a special guest, songwriter Sam Samba, under the title “Gospel Music Meets Worship.”

It is fascinating how women create such a warm, loving atmosphere when they get together. We want to thank the three WM directors, Dany Canedo, Dagmar Latuski, and Elida Oncea, respectively, for all the work they put into making the congress such a great success. Our thanks also go to Frauke Gyuroka for her competent translation, the sound technicians, and the many people who staffed the display booths and all volunteers. The beautiful venue and its kind staff also added to the charm of the congress. Most of all, we want to thank God for all the blessings of these wonderful days.