July 2, 2021 | St. John’s, Antigua | SLC Staff
The Women's Ministries department of the South Leeward Conference (SLC) held its first virtual retreat with a focus on mental health. The event commenced on Friday, June 11, 2021, with women from the islands across SLC. The Zoom session began with a powerful devotional feature by Pastor Anastacia Ferguson-Bansie, Women’s Ministries director of the Chesapeake Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and associate pastor of the Atholton Seventh-day Adventist Church in Columbia, Maryland.
Featured speaker, Dentrecia Blanchette, holder of a MSc in Psychology, Communication and Public Relations, emphasized the importance of selfcare as an act of stewardship. She highlighted that women should strive to nurture healthy relationships, exercise boundaries, organize physical spaces, accept support and sit often at the feet of Jesus. The presentation was well-received with numerous statements and feedback in the Zoom chat.
‘Come see the Savior of the World”, was theme chosen by the Women’s Ministries department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC). On Sabbath morning, June 12, the women of SLC held services in their respective congregations utilizing the GC’s focus.
The retreat continued on Sabbath afternoon with a virtual panel discussion, with host, Pastor Kay White, Women's Ministries director of SLC. The topic for consideration was women and mental health. The panel comprised of experts in the field of mental health: Nadine Isaac-Dennis, PhD. - behavioral specialist and counselor; Ms. Tiffany Smith, MSc in Mental Health and Clinical Psychology and Ms. Kerdis Clarke, doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology. It was established that there are many who are unable to cope with life's challenges and as a result, face mental health issues. Additionally, the stigma attached to the subject of mental health makes it extremely difficult for some to seek professional help. The panelists mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a rise in mental health issues worldwide since many feel helpless, hopeless, and fearful. The panel discussion concluded with an emphasis on the role of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in providing support for those who continue to face mental health challenges.
On Sunday afternoon, June 13, the weekend concluded, with a spirit–filled prayer session. It featured a dramatization of the Woman at the Well and the Woman with the Issue of Blood. These depictions brought home the point that when Jesus intervenes, He offers mental stability. At this difficult time in earth's history, the Women's Ministries department remains committed to ministering to the needs of women.