Molly Ellen Miriam Petavel Hardinge
1908 - 1993
Ellen M. Hardinge, a pianist, was a well-known Seventh-day Adventist author, educator, missionary, and musician. She and her husband, Leslie, lived and taught in Europe, the U.S., and the Far East.
Ellen was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, on November 13, 1908, one of four children and the older of two daughters of James William and Mabel Hannah Parsons Petavel. From her earliest years had an innate curiosity about the seventh-day Sabbath and an interest in devoting her life to religious service. By the age of fourteen she had decided she wanted to be a nun but changed her mind when, sponsored by her godmother who had joined the Adventist church, she attended Stanborough College, an SDA school in England.
While attending SC, she worked at Stanborough Press and, following graduation, taught piano and speech at the school. On September 3, 1935, she married Leslie Hardinge, who had been born in Calcutta, India, had attended SC from 1930 to 1933, and was quickly becoming a highly regarded Adventist evangelist and minister in Great Britain. He was ordained in 1938 because of his success in evangelism.
In 1943, in the midst of World War II while residing in London, Molly wrote a series of columns in the church's primary magazine, the Review and Herald, about Bible games for children. These resumed in 1946 and continued through 1947.
She and her husband emigrated to the U.S. in 1946, where he attended La Sierra College, now University, for a year and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1947. That summer they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he taught in the religion department for three years before accepting a position at Washington Missionary College, now Washington Adventist University, in Washington, D.C. Because of her earlier writing in the RH, she was approached in 1948 by Eric B. Hare to prepare quarterly Sabbath School lessons for juniors. From then until 1970, she prepared 88 quarterlies.
The Hardinges lived in Washington for the next fifteen years, where he would complete an M.A., B.D., and M.Th. at the SDA Seminary, while serving as head of the religion department at WMC. He also taught at Newbold College in England, successor to Stanborough College and now an affiliated school with WMC. During this time he completed a Ph.D. at London University in 1964.
In 1965, they moved to Angwin, California, where he taught religion at Pacific Union College and eventually chaired the department until 1972, when he became pastor of the SDA church in Glendale, California. Seven years later, the Hardinges moved to the Philippines, where he served until his retirement as president and dean of the SDA Far Eastern Division Seminary located on the campus of Philippine Union College.
Throughout these years, Ellen assisted him in his ministry. She started Evangeline Clubs to help wives understand their role in assisting husbands who were serving as or preparing to be ministers. Her writing for the young continued. Among the several books she wrote was Begin Today with God, the first SDA devotional book for juniors.
The Hardinges were living in Santa Barbara, California, where Ellen was writing until two weeks before her death on March 3, 1993, at age 85. She was survived by her husband, her daughter and her husband, and three grandchildren. Leslie would die on March 12, 2001, nine year later, at Thousand Oaks, California, at age 89.
Sources: Review and Herald, 21 August 1975, 3, and several issues in 1943, 1946, 1947 (columns on games for the young); Pacific Union Recorder, 26 October 1953, 2; Obituary, 18 June 1993, British Advent Messenger and other issues of the magazine; Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Volume 10, Second Revised Edition, 1996, (Review and Herald Publishing Association) 664.