3 January 2024 |
An obituary has been released by the Adventist News Network mourning the loss of Heather-Dawn Small, a dedicated leader and beacon of faith, who passed away on the evening of January 2, 2024, at the age of 66. Small, who served as the General Conference (GC) Women’s Ministries Director for over 18 years, leaves behind a profound legacy of commitment to the church and its community.
Elected in 2022 for another term, Small had been an integral part of the Adventist Church’s leadership. GC President, Ted Wilson, expressed his condolences on social media, highlighting Small’s significant contributions. “Heather-Dawn diligently served the world church as Women’s Ministries Director for many years. She was supportive of helping women become involved in evangelism and assisting the church in outreach and community activities. Heather-Dawn was very focused, through the Lord’s guidance, in making a difference in the life of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church using the talents and dedication of the women of the church,” he stated.
Small’s journey with the Adventist Church began in Trinidad and Tobago in 1995, serving as an administrative assistant at Caribbean Union College, (now the University of the Southern Caribbean). Her leadership skills soon led her to become the Children’s Ministries director for the Caribbean Union Conference (CUC) in 1996. Two years later, she was elected to head the CUC Women’s Ministries department.
Dr. Tobias Kern, president of the CUC, reflected on Small’s legacy, “Her presence was a source of solace; she exuded humility, embodying benevolence, care, kindness, and approachability. She served as the spiritual compass for the women under her care, offering counsel that was embraced due to the genuine love she radiated to all within her sphere of influence.”
In 2001, Small was appointed as Associate Director of Women’s Ministries at the World Church level, alongside Ardis Stenbakken. Stenbakken noted, “Heather-Dawn was not only a colleague but a friend. I will miss her, as will the millions of women around the world who knew she loved and cared for them.”
Small’s impactful work included partnering with ADRA in 2009 to launch EndItNow®, an initiative against abuse and violence. Micheal Kruger, president of ADRA, commended her for making the program a success, noting that it ensured continued support and awareness for violence against women. Small also emphasized the importance of helping women understand their worth in Christ. She wrote about the challenges faced in empowering women and helping them realize their value and purpose.
Remembered for her love of travel and connecting with church members worldwide, Small was a beloved figure. Galina Stele, GC Women’s Ministries associate director, remembered her as a visionary leader, passionate about women’s education and advocacy against violence. Audrey Andersson and Raquel Arraias, both prominent figures in Women’s Ministries, remembered Small as a mentor, friend, and an inspiration, highlighting her fearless spirit and strong faith.
Heather-Dawn Small obtained her B.A. in English from Andrews University and completed her MA in Leadership from Western Seminary. She is survived by her husband, Pastor Joseph Small, their children Dalonne and Jerard, and the many lives she touched. In his tribute, Wilson looked forward to the “glorious reunion” with Small at Christ’s second coming.