Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists
- Adventist Women
Norma Jean Sahlin, a daughter of the Columbia Union Conference, lost her fight against ovarian cancer last Wednesday. She was 61. Sahlin was born in Takoma Park, Md., was in the Takoma Academy Class of 1970, and graduated from Columbia Union College in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. She married Monte Sahlin on October 20, 1974 at Potomac Conference’s Sligo church in Takoma Park. This Sunday marks their 39th anniversary.
Looking back, Josephine Benton, now 87, knows exactly where her desire to minister came from. Her father was a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist who frequently moved their family around the country. “I would sit and listen to my dad’s sermons, and I always knew that if I had been born a boy, I would have been a preacher,” she said. “But that path didn’t seem open to me.”
Last month at the Society of Adventist Communicators (SAC) in Albuquerque, N.M., several members of the Columbia Union Conference walked away with awards recognizing their work in the communication field.
Following the Columbia Union Conference Special Constituency’s historic July 29 decision to ordain pastors without regard to gender, the union executive committee voted to approve the ordination of 16 women pastors. The women include Allegheny East Conference’s Rosa Taylor Banks, Brenda Billingy, Paula Olivier and Lisa Smith-Reid; Ohio Conference’s Linda Farley, Lori Farr, Sandra Pappenfus and Carmen Seibold; and Potomac’s Karen L. Cress, Sharon Cress, Jennifer Deans, Debbie Eisele, Cherilyn O’Ffill and Sonia Perez. The vote included emeritus credentials for Chesapeake Conference’s Charlotte McClure and Josephine Benton, the first female pastor presented for ordination in 1973.