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Four Women Pastors Ordained in Ohio

Story by Heidi Shoemaker
Published 8/21/13

Linda Farley, Lori Farr, Sandra Pappenfus and Carmen Seibold smile happily during their ordination service on August 17. Photo by Mar de Oliveira

“Today we gather to recognize the call of God on four of our own: Linda Farley, Lori Farr, Sandra Pappenfus and Carmen Seibold,” said Raj Attiken, Ohio Conference president. After 20 years of advocating for the ordination of women, Ohio Conference leaders officiated their first ordination celebration for women last Sabbath at the Worthington church. The action came as a result of overwhelming support from delegates at last year’s Columbia Union constituency session.
“These women took the road less traveled before it was mapped,” shared Daniel Kittle, principal at Mount Vernon Academy in Mount Vernon. “They followed an inner call when the church body proclaimed that God did not have women in His gospel call book.”
In fact, none of the women sought their call; rather they followed God’s sacred call to gospel ministry. “I’m not a pastor because I chose it; I’m a pastor because He chose it,” said Farr, pastor of the Wooster district. “I fought Him and He won.”
Each of the women shared their individual stories of God affirming their call. Pappenfus, a hospital chaplain, shared her journey from a career in nursing to stay-at-home wife and mother to her reluctant entrance into pastoral ministry. “I told God I would go back to school if He would open up the door. Within two weeks I was in seminary,” said Pappenfus. “God has chosen me. He equips the called.”
Farley and Seibold are both hospital chaplains.
Dave Weigley, Columbia Union president, said, “I am regretful that it has taken the church so many years to acknowledge this. It is a historical moment today, and I’m privileged to be part of it.” He then quoted union secretary, Rob Vandeman who had previously said, “Shame on us that we have taken this long.”
The day offered hope to the next generation of young adults, some who may “officially” enter the ministry and some who may not. Joanna Moses, an 18-year-old sophomore at Andrews University (Mich.) is optimistic. “I’m blessed to call the Ohio Conference mine and those in it my friends. Unity and equality in Christ. How blessed we are!”
In reflecting the thoughts of many others that day, Attiken said, “We thank these humble, dedicated, courageous individuals who have shown our church that everyone has a voice.”
Click here to view a video of the service.

Leaders lay hands on Ohio Conference’s first group of ordained women ministers. Photo by Joanna Moses

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