By Nerida Bates
The Association of Adventist Women (AAW) hosted an annual awards ceremony virtually in mid-November to present awards to both men and women for outstanding achievements, contributions to justice, and more.
During the ceremony held via Zoom, AAW awarded Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham its annual Champion of Justice award. Ginger Hanks Harwood from Chico, Calif., gave the keynote address on global issues Christians must face. She received the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award. Four other women were also honored: Dynnette Hart and Nyslie Guerrier received the Community Life award, and Dina Salas Montoya and Hilde Thorkildsen Huru received the Spiritual Life award.
Harwood helped found the Women’s Resource Center at La Sierra University. She is an academic, well-published on Biblical women and Adventist women in church history, and an ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “She has been appreciated by her theology students during her lifetime career at La Sierra University and Pacific Union College,” said colleague Fritz Guy.
Dynnette “Dee” Hart, associate dean at LLU School of Nursing, was recognized for her teaching career and for inspiring Christian nursing students in Loma Linda University, San Manuel Gateway College, Tanzania, Zambia, and Kenya. She served a critical role in organizing the Norton Clinic Social Action Corps Health System.
Pastor-Chaplain Nyslie Guerrier serves God as elder, preacher, director of family life, and women’s ministry coordinator at the Mount Rubidoux church in Riverside, Calif. She is a dynamic motivational speaker and runs a Sabbath afternoon online chat program highlighting women’s issues and social justice. Her passion is to restore those battling addiction and socio-economic and health injustices through the formation of a non-profit organization.
Juana Dina Salas Montoya served as a missionary and chaplain in Peru. She preached her first sermon at age seven and consecrated her entire life to serving God, including three months evangelizing in New York City. She completed the Theological Studies Program at São Paulo, Brazil, and later became the first and only woman missionary district leader in Peru managing several church companies. She has participated prominently in many world congresses and conferences in different countries. She was distinguished as Outstanding Miraflorina Woman by her town’s mayor for her healing spiritual ministry. She has brought over 500 souls to Christ.
Hilde Thorkildsen Huru gave her first Bible studies as a teen. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in theology, she pastored and was the first female member of the Norwegian Union Conference executive committee. She particularly championed equal access to internships for women theology graduates, and she participated in the decision to commission pastors of both genders in 2012. As a member of the Trans-European Division executive committee, she helped draft an explanation statement on why the Division saw equal ordination as a religious liberty issue and could not go against their conscience. She translated Harwood and Beverly Beem’s paper “Your Daughters Shall Prophesy” for Advent News Norway, which also published the story of her call to ministry.
“Champions of Justice have made exceptional contributions to the Adventist Church through their support of equality for women, particularly in the clergy,” said AAW President Nerida Taylor Bates. Other Champion of Justice Award recipients are Columbia Union Conference President Dave Weigley, 2019 recipient, and President Dan Jackson of North American Division, who was to be honored at the canceled GC session.
“We have the video of the awards ceremony and access to the program with full biographies and information about past awardees at our website,” said Bates. You can also find more information about AAW goals and membership information at www.associationofadventistwomen.com.”