for the poor, needy, and unfortunate. This organization works in close cooperation with the deacons and deaconesses of the church. Community Services/Dorcas ministry, however, includes more than giving material aid; it encompasses also adult education, visiting, homemaking, home nursing, counseling, and other services. The church Personal Ministries Department has primary responsibility for this work.
However, the General Conference Personal Ministries Department web site does not mention Dorcas or Community Services (as of February 2004).
Women’s Ministries was started for a very different reason than Dorcas but one that complements the work of Dorcas. The purpose of Women’s Ministries is to train and empower women to become involved in all areas of the church and to help women be able to not only know how to use their various God-given talents but to have opportunity to use them. Women’s Ministries can help a Dorcas woman be a better Dorcas leader, and be a better Dorcas worker, but also develop other types of ministries. It may help in AIDS education, it may help her to be a better mother, it may help her learn how to become involved on church/conference/union or even division committees, or take leadership in various other church departments. Women’s Ministries helps produce spiritual growth materials as well as funding for scholarships for women. It organizes and sponsors literacy programs around the world. It becomes involved in public evangelism and evangelism to specific populations such as Muslim women. Women’s Ministries has also become active in abuse prevention and healing, even sponsoring the action of the world church to have an Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day each August. You can see that Women’s Ministries has a wide variety of activities.
You might say that the focus of Dorcas is more by the women of the church on people outside the church; and the focus of Women’s Ministries is on the women in the church so that they can then minister to others in and out of the church.
One of the misconceptions regarding Dorcas and Women’s Ministries is that women can only serve in one place in the church and so they either have to serve in Dorcas, or Dorcas has to be done away with and take on Women’s Ministries. This is not true. Women can belong to both Dorcas and Women’s Ministries and possibly be involved in Children’s Ministries and Health Ministries and Family Ministries and many other things at the same time—whatever appeals to the individual woman and wherever the Lord leads that individual woman.
It is our hope that as a result of Women’s Ministries, Dorcas will become even stronger and will find new and better ways of ministering and that women who may not be interested in Dorcas may find strength and empowerment to develop and become involved in other ministries that can help forward the mission of the Church.