Northern California Conference Jim Pedersen Announces Retirement
On Feb. 28, 2018, after almost 42 years of service with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Northern California Conference President Jim Pedersen announced his retirement, effective July 31, 2018.
"God blessed me with an incredible opportunity to serve as part of the administrative team here in the Northern California Conference for the past 19 years - 12 as president, five as executive secretary, and two as assistant to the president," said Pedersen. "It has been my honor and joy to work with so many dedicated pastors, educators, committee members, office staff, and church members."
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pedersen has served in California for his entire ministry career. He graduated from Pacific Union College with Bachelor of Arts degrees in theology and history, and he earned a Master of Divinity from the SDA Theological Seminary.
Pedersen began pastoring in 1977, when he joined the Temple City church as an intern. After two years at the seminary, he served as associate pastor of the Glendale City church and then as pastor of the Oxnard church. He later served as the senior pastor of the Eagle Rock church for 10 years.
He received the call to be the senior pastor of the Napa Community church in 1997. After two years there, he joined the NCC administrative team, first as assistant to the president and then as executive secretary.
On December 14, 2005, he was elected president, a position he's held ever since. Along with Executive Secretary Marc Woodson and Treasurer John Rasmussen, the current NCC administrative team recently marked their 10th anniversary, becoming the longest-serving administrative team currently serving in the Pacific Union.
"As an administrator, Jim never lost his pastor's heart - wanting to help people know the Lord, love the Lord, and follow the Lord," said Woodson. "I've greatly appreciated his leadership - and his friendship - throughout the past decade."
One of Pedersen's first priorities as president was to increase communication between the conference and employees/members. Only weeks into the new job, Pedersen began writing his weekly e-mailed newsletter titled "The Word on the Street." It was one of the first - if not thefirst - weekly e-mailed newsletters in the North American Division. The newsletter features news items and resources, as well as weekly devotionals, many of which were compiled for Pedersen's devotional book, The Word on the Street, published in 2015. When he retires at the end of July, he will conclude with his 578th edition of this weekly newsletter.
Throughout his time as president, Pedersen emphasized the importance of public and personal evangelism. "I am convinced that our Church and its members will continue to reach our communities with the love of Christ," he said. "One of my favorite mottos through my years here was 'Be Bold for God.' I will continue to pray that our members continue to be bold for His kingdom, so that we might go home with Jesus soon."
Pedersen has participated in evangelism campaigns in various local churches and around the world, including Kenya, Panama, the Philippines, and Russia. During his time as president, he traveled to the Dominican Republic, Mozambique, and Peru - along with NCC church members and Pathfinders - to work on mission projects for Maranatha Volunteers International.
Pedersen believes that the most successful evangelism takes place at the local church and school, and he endeavored to support pastors and educators in a variety of ways. During his tenure, the Mark Blue Lecture Series was created as a time for pastors and educators to come together. "He never forgot that the decisions we were making at the office affected the pastors, educators, and other employees throughout the NCC," said Ed Fargusson, assistant to the president. "He wanted them to know that the conference was there to support them - and not the other way around."
Pedersen's 12 years as president included one of the worst recessions in our country's history, and it affected the NCC as well, beginning in 2007. He worked closely with Rasmussen to develop strategies for financial stability to carry the conference through the difficult time. "I value Jim's team approach to leadership," said Rasmussen. "It has been great working with him and Marc to further the work of God's Church here in Northern California."
In retirement, Pedersen looks forward to spending time with family, including his five-year-old grandson, Stephen. He also plans to enjoy his favorite hobbies, including music, trains, working on his Triumph TR6, and cooking with his wife, Debi - when she's not at work. Debi, a trust officer with the NCC Planned Giving & Trust Services/Property Management Department, will continue in her current position.
The NCC is planning for its regularly scheduled constituency meeting on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham will lead out in the process of selecting the next NCC president. He will be working with the committees involved, including the Conference Executive Committee and the NCC Nominating Committee.
As for Pedersen, his last official event as president will be Redwood Camp Meeting. "I am grateful for the many wonderful years I have spent in this conference," he said. "I will continue to pray that God will bless the NCC's mission of proclaiming God's great love and preparing people for the soon coming of Jesus."
Marc K. Woodson
John D. Rasmussen
Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists | 401 Taylor Blvd. | P.O. Box 23165 | Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 | (925) 685-4300 | email@example.com