vitality such as have been so long needed.
....Our sisters have generally a very hard time, with their increasing families and their unappreciated trials. I have so longed for women who could be educators to help them to arise from their discouragement, and to feel that they could do a work for the Lord. And this effort is bringing rays of sunshine into their lives, and is being reflected upon the hearts of others. God will bless you, and all who shall unite with you, in this grand work.@
In 1899 Mrs. Henry published a weekly column in the Adventist Review headlined, “Woman=s Gospel Work.” The column was filled with Bible studies, poetry, letters, and practical advice.
In 1900, while attending a General Conference committee meeting, Mrs. Henry became sick and died. Her associates carried on her work for a short time before becoming discouraged, and they too quit. Women’s Ministries died too. When women, especially in North America began to again see the need for and urge the development of Women’s Ministries, no one even remembered about Sarepta Henry.
As a result of several commissions and advisories, the North American Division appointed a Women’s Ministries leader in 1989. Then in 1990, at the Annual Council, Rose Otis was appointed as director of the Office of Women’s Ministries at the General Conference. In 1995, at the General Conference Session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Women’s Ministries became a full department.
Purpose and objectives:
Dorcas has been, and continues to be, an important part of the church program; however, it is not a department of the church. It is an outreach of the Sabbath School Personal Ministries Department for reaching out into the community, primarily in helping the poor and needy. Since it was first begun by a group of women it has become broader in its nature. This is because in many places the help of men is needed. However, in other areas such as Africa where women have not been as actively involved in many areas of church leadership, Dorcas has become extremely important. Women have taken care of the program and have made it not only an outreach for the church but an area where women can take leadership, women can have training, women can have retreats and many other activities.
According to page 94 of the 2000 Church Manual:
Community Services/Dorcas Society— The Community Services/Dorcas Society is an important feature of the outreach (missionary) activities of the church. The leader of this society, the assistant leader (if needed), and the secretary-treasurer, are elected at the regular church election. This society gathers and prepares clothing, food, and other supplies