A new day for Adventist women
– Third regional female becomes commissioned Pastor
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once said, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” How accurate she was is debatable; what is fact is that Margaret Ramsarran has etched an indelible mark in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Guyana.
She is the first Commissioned Pastor to the Gospel Ministry of the local church.
The bestowal of Ecclesiastical authority on Pastor Ramsarran was witnessed by a gathering of members and clergy, recently, at the Olivet Seventh-day Adventist Church, D’Urban Backlands.
The church does not approve the ordination of women to the world wide ministry as is the case with men; however, women’s functioning in leadership roles is not new to the Adventist Church.
According to President of the Guyana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Dr. Hilton Garnett, “…we have been ordaining female Elders for years. Our ladies have been making significant contribution to leadership.”
However, the occasion does mark a new era for local Adventist women. Commissioning is the organisation’s highest affirmation of a woman’s call to ministry, a field that is dominated by men even in the world church.
To the hundreds of ordained ministers in the Caribbean Adventist church, of which Guyana is a part, there are only three commissioned women. The other two were commissioned in Antigua.
As noted by a prominent Women’s Ministry leader of the church, Beverly Braithwaite-Chan, “What is victory for one, is victory for all.”
She described the moment as exciting and noted that “to keep women out [of leadership] is to leave more than half of the [church] population silent. They have a meaningful role to play.”
The ceremony attracted leaders from the Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventist Churches headquartered in Trinidad.
The union comprises churches in the English- speaking Caribbean from the U.S. Virgin Islands in the North to Guyana and Suriname in the South.
President of the Caribbean Union Conference, Dr. Eugene Daniel; and President of the Suriname Mission, Pastor Linden Gudge, were on hand to officiate in the ceremony.
Dr. Daniel expressed his pleasure at being present at the history-making event. He noted that “the call to ministry is not an ordinary call; it is a call from God.”
Pastor Margaret Ramsarran has been a member of the Adventist church for over 40 years and has served in almost every department.
Speaking about her achievement, Pastor Ramsarran admitted to feeling honoured and privileged; however, she also recognised that with privileges comes responsibility, and this is what she finds overwhelming.
“I thank God for using me to accomplish His purpose. I rededicate and recommit my life to God and trust Him to continue to lead me. Wherever He leads, I am ready to follow.”