The Association of Adventist Women hosted their annual celebration of excellence banquet Nov. 4, 2023, at the La Sierra University Church in Riverside, California.

Woman of the Year awards were presented to theologian Dr. Olive Hemmings of Washington Adventist University, Maria Silvia Neri Castrejón, long time pastor in Mexico City, Norma Nashed of Restore a Child charity, and Dr. Drene Somasundram, trailblazer in the field of religious leadership. Two men were also honored, William G. Johnsson, author and former long-time editor of the Adventist Review, and Loren Seibold, current editor of Adventist Today.

 Johnsson’s award, given posthumously, was accepted by his lifelong companion and wife, Noelene Johnsson.

Mid-American Roots

Loren Seibold, D.Min., grew up on a North Dakota farm, in a multi-generational Adventist family.  He attended Sheyenne River Academy and Walla Walla College, where he met Carmen Ajo, a registered nurse.  They married in 1978 and began parish ministry in the Dakota Conference.  He earned a Master of Divinity degree at Andrews University, and in 1986 took the pulpit of the Palo Alto Church, in California. 

Loren completed his doctorate at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian seminary.  At the same time, Carmen graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.  When in 1999 Loren took the pastorate of a congregation in Worthington, Ohio, Carmen completed Clinical Pastoral Education there, and ministered as an ordained healthcare chaplain.

Siebold believes that God is gracious and good, so he promotes conversation about justice in the church through writing and speaking.  He’s written hundreds of essays on faith, church, doctrine and social issues. He’s been a regular writer for Signs of the Times, Ministry and other magazines, and for 10 years was a monthly columnist for Spectrum magazine. In 2015 he became the editor of Adventist Today, which grew into another full-time job after he retired from ministry in 2019.  His family still has their farm in North Dakota. He loves flowers and gardening at their Ohio home, traveling, music and art museums.

Seibold not only encourages women in ministry and leadership, he has created a safe place for conversations about this challenging issue within Adventism through his work with Adventist Today, Adventist Today Sabbath school class on Zoom, and Spectrum. 

The Association of Adventist Women is a lay organization that seeks to advance the leadership of women at every level of the church and particularly supports women’s role in pastoral care. The organization is actively seeking new members and can be joined in any country. AAW has student membership rates. 

Nominations for Women of the Year and Champion of Justice awards can be made each year by using the form on their website by April 1.

Priscilla Walters is an officer of the Association of Adventist Women. 
Photo: Courtesy AAW