Women in leadership
Erna Johnson is the director of Adventist Women’s Ministries for the South Pacific Division. She was born and raised in Iceland. She met her husband Eddy (a minister) at Newbold College, and together they have served the Lord for nearly 40 years. They have two married children (Terry, the youth director for Western Australia, and Vanessa, an ICU nurse), five grandchildren and three adopted grandchildren.
The task is huge: “To find the time to be everywhere I’m asked is impossible! I can see challenges facing our women across the Division and when invited to talk to them I struggle to say no to their invitations.” Erna is especially concerned about abuse both inside and outside the Church. “Seeing and hearing about abused women within our churches both saddens and angers me. The challenge for us is how to educate our members about God’s abhorrence of any violence towards any of His children.”
Erna believes that God values every one of His children. “It’s my joy and privilege to educate and encourage women to use their gifts and talents for God’s glory. In the book Evangelism (p 469), Ellen White states that ‘When a great and decisive work is to be done, God chooses men and women to do this work, and it will see the loss if the talents of both are not combined’. This is my mission, to educate both men and women. A joint ministry is what God wants for His Church.”
Thank you for your wisdom and your passion Erna. Our prayers are with you and those whom you serve.
Dr Barry Oliver is president of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.