Max Torkelsen to Lead
North Pacific Union
Follows Patzer, and in his father’s footsteps
ax Torkelsen, II, a veteran Seventh-day Adventist pastor and church administrator, is the new president of the North Pacific Union Conference, officials announced November 23. Currently president of the Upper Columbia Conference, a unit within the NPUC, he succeeds the late Jere Patzer, who died October 26.
In accepting the new responsibility, Torkelsen is following not only Patzer, whom he succeeded 12 years ago as Upper Columbia president, but also in the footsteps of his father, Max C. Torkelsen, who headed the church region from 1976 to 1980.
Torkelsen was elected November 19 by the NPUC’s executive committee. Torkelsen expects to begin his new role at the NPUC early in 2009, a statement from the Union indicated.
Torkelsen had worked closely with Patzer for six years in the Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) based in Spokane, Wash., and succeeded him there as president when Patzer left for the NPUC in 1996.
Torkelsen brings extensive pastoral and church administrative experience to his new role. Following graduation from Pacific Union College in 1972 with a bachelor of arts degree in theology, he pastored in the Oregon Conference for two years before taking a two-year break to acquire a master of arts degree in church administration from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. and then a master of public health degree from Loma Linda University.
He returned to pastoral ministry in Oregon from 1975 to 1979, and then moved his family to Hawaii, where he served as pastor for eight years. In 1987, he returned to the Northwest, pastoring in Sandpoint, Idaho until 1989, when he accepted the position of communication director for the Upper Columbia Conference.
Torkelsen and his wife, Linnea, have two grown, married daughters, Annalisa and Katie, who make their homes in Portland, Ore. His brother, Monte, serves the Oregon Conference as youth director.
“Unusually challenging times require a leader of faith and courage,” says Bryce Pascoe, NPUC executive secretary.
“Under God's leading the NPUC executive committee believes that in Max Torkelsen we have a man of prayer and experienced leadership."
“Linnea and I look forward to this new responsibility with a sense of gratitude and great humility,” Torkelsen said. “We have seen God’s divine plan at work through our Adventist members and churches in the Northwest, and we look forward to making continued strides for Him in the exciting days ahead.”
The Union is the administrative body for the church in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. It includes more than 90,000 members, 400 churches, and 140 elementary and secondary schools, as well as Walla Walla University, according to the Union’s Web site, www.npuc.org
-- Reported by NPUC and AR Staff