Jennie was elected as Executive Secretary—in 1915
Hi guys! I’m Daniel Mora, the editor for Adventist Today Latin-America. A few weeks ago, Loren Seibold asked me to write something from Latin America to commemorate the 10 years of the 2012 Columbia Union vote. Loren unknowingly motivated me to find something unprecedented in Adventist history in the Inter-American Division! I can’t tell you now; it’s a surprise for our next issue of the magazine. What I can tell you is that in my research, I accidentally stumbled upon this historical fact for the North American Division, and I am going to share it with you!
It seems that more than 100 years ago, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was a little more progressive than you might expect, especially in the Columbia Union. In 1915, when J. S. Barrows, the Executive Secretary and Treasurer, decided to resign, the West Virginia Conference Committee decided to elect the talented Miss Jennie Burdick to fill the same position. That’s right; she wasn’t married! What a scandal!
Although the news was well received by the 1915 Columbia Union Committee (I’m sure the current Committee would do the same), it was the Union’s auditor, Mr. R. T. Dowsett, who published the news in the Columbia Union Visitor periodical.
In my search, I found evidence of Jennie’s excellent work. In fact, the West Virginia Conference published Jennie’s arrival in their office as Executive Secretary. I imagine she must have given her personal touch to the office. As a good stenographer, she published in the Columbia Union Visitor the reports and documents of the West Virginia Conference (there are many interesting articles), and of course, at the end of each article she signed her name: “Jennie Burdick, Secretary”! She worked until 1919 when the General Conference called her and her husband (yes, she married John Seal in 1918) to serve in Guatemala…. I can tell you no more. She was part of a huge historical legacy in what is now the Inter-American Division (subscribe to the Adventist Today magazine to read about it).
Right now, guys, I’m off to my place in Adventist Today Latin-America, the place that you hold with your prayers and financial support. Bye!