Two Ohio Pioneers Receive Emeritus Ministerial Credentials
Story by Heidi Shoemaker; Photos by Jakin Thomas
“Today we are revisiting the days of pioneers of the [Seventh-day] Adventist movement when there were women evangelists who raised up churches, who preached and baptized,” said Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference, during an ordination service for Hazel Burns (81) and Margaret Turner (90) at Ohio Conference’s Kettering church last Sabbath. “Both Hazel and Margaret were second career pastors,” said Linda Farley, an ordained pastor and chaplain at the Kettering Medical Center (KMC). Burns left a full-time career in the community and began giving Bible studies without pay for nearly 10 years. She “ministered freely without pay for the Kettering church before being recognized for her service by her (Kettering) church and the Ohio Conference,” said Farley. Eventually an invitation was extended for her to become an associate pastor at Kettering. Turner was called away from a nursing career. Garnering courage, she took Clinical Pastoral Education classes one quarter at a time. Ultimately, she went back to school and graduated from seminary 40 years after completing her undergraduate degree. She went on to become a board-certified chaplain and ministered to patients and staff at KMC and served as local church elder. “Kettering church and surrounding communities still feel the effects of the ministry and mentoring of both of these women, who though retired, remain active in outreach to church and community,” said Farley. During the service, Raj Attiken, Ohio Conference president, stated, “We regret we were unable to have this service while they were still employed with a paycheck coming.” After Weigley recognized and affirmed the “specific and personal” calls to ministry each woman had received, he stated they were “pioneers in their own right,” and offered the ordination prayer. Rob Vandeman, executive secretary of the Columbia Union, concluded by saying “Better late than never. We apologize for the delay in getting these to you,” before presenting their emeritus ministerial credentials—the same ones given to every retired, ordained minister in the Adventist denomination. Video of the service may be found at http://vimeo.com/79566262, beginning at minute 16:20.