"And the Bride Wore White" Program Empowers Teenage Girls for Sexual Purity

Understanding relationships and intimacy begins with prayer and a personal relationship with Jesus.

South Pacific Division (SPD)

[Australia] The Greater Sydney Imagine team put together this year’s program for 13–18-year-old girls based on the program "And the Bride Wore White" by Dannah Gresh.

Beryl Landers, director of Sydney Adventist Women, reflected “It was encouraging to witness the passion, creativity, and leadership of our young women leaders as they facilitated the "And the Bride Wore White" program, with such excellence.

Shaylee Walsh, Imagine team leader commented, “As a team we believe that sexual purity is achieved through a relationship with Jesus, so we planned a day conference that encompassed relationships, intimacy, mental wellbeing, trauma and abuse. We committed, as a team, to pray for 30 days over each aspect of the program in the lead up to the program.”

The program began with Danijela Schubert, South Pacific Division Women’s Ministries leader, walking down the aisle in her wedding dress from 36 years ago! Schubert shared, “It is important that girls today meet women who are positive role models in the area of sexuality and God-intended boundaries.”

Yvonne Hypolite and Beryl Landers presented on Relationships and Intimacy respectively. Highlighting the red and green flags to look out for.

Each participant was presented with Bible study packs and a prayer journal.

“This year there was a large emphasis on prayer and relationship with God as we believe this must be our main priority” says Imagine team leader Shaylee Walsh.

The program allowed for opportunities for focused prayer throughout the day, facilitated by the young women’s prayer team leaders Emma Ah-Ching (nee Villalobos) and Alana Gordon. A beautiful, dedicated prayer space was created for girls to access during the day.

Participants engaged in meaningful, practical activities such as “Husband shopping list" and “Pillow talk,” giving participants an opportunity to reflect on their current choices and the direction they want for their lives.

Three brave women shared their raw testimonies of how God carried them through their true experiences of falling in love with someone who didn’t reciprocate, abuse and trauma, and anxiety and depression. To help the teens deal with these topics, trained facilitators and counselors served as group leaders to guide discussions and group activity.

Beautiful praise music scattered throughout the program served to create an atmosphere of worship while dealing with sensitive topics.

To end the program, the girls were treated to a beautiful High Tea in their honor during which Nomathemba Madziva, a Year 9 student at Mountain View Adventist College, spoke to the girls about "The collective beauty of the snowflake!" She emphasized the value of being body positive and how God designed each of us uniquely to go and change the world!

Shaylee Walsh reports “We hope to have shared our vision that God has chosen (1 Peter 2:9) and cherished (Colossians 1:4) these girls and how they can be conquerors for Christ (Romans 8:37).”

Photo credits: Greater Sydney Conference and SPD Women's Ministries

[New Zealand] "And the Bride Wore White" was also held in North New Zealand Conference, May 1, 2021. Lynelle Laws, Women's Ministries director, reports that it was a day dedicated to empowering, nurturing, and releasing young women, ages 13-18 years. She began the program by entering the room wearing her own wedding dress and telling the story of her wedding. Seminars about mental health, intimacy, and self-worth were held with other group activities and food.

Contributed by Shaylee Walsh, Imagine team leader for Greater Sydney Conference
with Lynelle Laws, director of Women's Ministries for North New Zealand Conference

Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2022 Q1, winter issue