Washington Introduces Executive Committee Members
At its recent quadrennial constituency session, Washington Conference delegates appointed members with a variety of skills, experience, and occupations from throughout the Conference to four-year terms on the Conference’s Executive Committee.
These individuals, with the Conference president, executive secretary, and treasurer, are the primary decision-makers for the Conference between constituency sessions.
Noted first, alphabetically, are brief biographies of new Committee members, followed by information about those who have been reappointed to serve an additional, consecutive term.
Robert “Bob” Baker is a member of the Bremerton Adventist Church, where he serves as treasurer, elder, Lay Advisory Council member, and church board member.
He joined the Adventist Church 16 years ago, after attending evangelistic meetings conducted by Lenard Jaecks, then Conference president, and taking personal Bible studies.
As a resident of Washington for 61 years, he recently retired from work as a quality control manager. He and Marla, his wife of 33 years, have been blessed with four children and 10 grandchildren. He shares the Washington Conference vision that “We must all be, and help others to be, witnesses for Christ.”
“[I] am passionate about sharing Jesus with my post-Christian, post-modern friends in the most unchurched city in the country, Seattle,” says new Committee member Shasta Burr.
She is the associate pastor of the newly formed AnchorPointe Company. Although she is a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist, she came to the Washington Conference just 18 months ago.
She has a bachelor of arts degree in communications/marketing and recently earned a master of divinity degree from Andrews University.
Her husband, Jerry, is a 1996 graduate from Union College and is currently a case manager for high-risk high school students.
Samuel Crespo joins the Committee from the Tacoma South Side Adventist Church. A retired civil servant, he has been a member of the Adventist Church for seven years.
Reared a Catholic, he became dissatisfied with his faith, and when a neighbor gave him a copy of The Great Controversy, the book guided him in his search for truth.
Originally from Puerto Rico, he has lived in Washington for more than 30 years. His wife is a nurse, and they have two grown children.
A lifelong Adventist, Esther Escolar comes from the Bellingham Spanish Adventist Church, where she is a music leader. She served as an Adventist denominational employee for 24 years.
Now retired, she and her husband have three children and four grandchildren.
Kevin Fedak, D.D.S., came to Washington from Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1995. He attended Loma Linda University where he obtained his dental degree.
As head elder and Sabbath school teacher at the Lacey Adventist Church, he is active and generous in giving his time.
He and his wife, Karen, have three children, ranging in age from 15 years to eight months. Dr. Fedak was blessed by being raised in an Adventist home and being baptized as a teenager.
“[I] have continued to grow closer to Jesus, following the great Christian example shown by my parents,” he says.
Tim Gebhardt pastors the Bremerton/Belfair/Silverdale District, after pastoring in the Michigan Conference, where he also served on the Executive Committee. He holds a master of divinity degree from Andrews University.
Reared an Adventist, Gebhardt states that he left the Church at age 14 and returned in his late 20s, after being contacted at the door by an Adventist visitor.
He and his wife, Jerry, have two grown children, both graduates of Andrews University.
Jilma Jiménez serves in the Emerald City Adventist Church as an elder, Sabbath school teacher, finance committee member, and media technician.
An engineer, she holds a master of science degree in her field.
Regarding her conversion experience, she writes, “[I] was strongly influenced by my family; however, I can say that I’m a fourth-generation Adventist, due to my understanding of Scripture and God’s leading.”
Robert Paulsen is a member of the Puyallup Church and describes his past duties there as elder, youth leader, and servant!
Historically, he has served on the Auburn Adventist Academy Operating Board and Development Committee, as well as the Lay Advisory Council. He now serves on the Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee. Retired from private business, he and his wife of 46 years, Carol, have four children and eight grandchildren.
Paulsen joined the Adventist Church after a colporteur left a copy of “Signs” magazine at their home and attending evangelistic meetings in the small town of Orting, Wash.
Roland Pinder serves as an elder and member of the building committee at the Breath of Life Adventist Church. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and currently works as an engineer.
He has lived in the state of Washington for 20 years and is the father of three children.
“While attending college in Southern California, relatives introduced me to the Church, and I have not looked back,” he says.
Kevin Rogers is a church planter and pastor of the Mount Tahoma Church and Open Bible Fellowship Company. A theology graduate from Walla Walla College, he has a master of divinity degree from Andrews University. He has served as the director of the Urban Youth Impact, a student lay-evangelistic Magabook distribution program.
His wife, Menertha, works at home and cares for their two young sons.
“I gave my life to the Lord at a very young age, then experienced conversion at 16,” he says. “Factors: influence of my family, our church, church school, and a miraculous experience.”
Roger Sohn, D.D.S., is a member of the Seattle Korean Central Adventist Church, where he works as an elder, building fund manager, and lay activities leader. Dr. Sohn and his wife, Connie, have reared four children and have one granddaughter.
“My father was a first-generation Adventist in Korea. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior when I was 14 years old, through Bible studies,” he says.
Merton Vincent is first elder of the Snoqualmie Valley Adventist Church, serves as its personal ministries director and as a Sabbath school teacher, and is Lay Advisory Council member for his church.
He has served as the president of the board for WordSight and as a member of the North Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee.
An electrical engineer, he received his M.S.E.E. degree from Michigan State University. His wife’s aunt invited them to an evangelistic series, where the aunt was cured of emphysema. He made his decision to become a Seventh-day Adventist 35 years ago.
The following members were recently reappointed to the Executive Committee.
Ozzie Grant has agreed to serve for another term as an Executive Committee member. He is active in the Seward Park Adventist Church, serving as head elder and member of the Lay Advisory Council. A businessman, he has degrees in finance and religion. His wife, Betty, is a homemaker.
He says he “read [himself] into accepting the position Seventh-day Adventist Christians espoused,” and joined the Church 26 years ago. He is proud of his four adult children—two pastors and two businesswomen.
Lon Gruesbeck works in the Conference Office as superintendent of schools, a position he has held for three-and-a-half years.
A member of the North Cascade Adventist Church, he studied the Bible with classmates and was baptized by his father, Clarence Gruesbeck, 42 years ago.
His wife, Rita, works in the Conference Office as secretary in the Trust Department. They have a daughter, Stacey, who is married and living in Maryland. The light of their lives is their four-month-old granddaughter, Ashlynn.
Tom James is kept very busy serving as pastor of the Centralia Adventist Church, after having pastored other churches in the Washington Conference. He holds a master of divinity degree and is a doctoral candidate. Raised an Adventist, he has been a lifelong member of the Church. He and wife, Wanda, have three married children, three grandchildren, and another grandchild on the way.
Bruce Koch pastors the Enumclaw Adventist Church and has served in many conferences, including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. He has lived in Washington for 13 years.
He writes that his mother converted from Lutheranism when he was young and that he was led to Christ as a youth by John and Wayne Thurber.
He holds bachelor of arts and master of divinity degrees. His wife, Marina, is currently working as a Bible worker with Russian immigrants in the Conference. He has a son, a daughter, and a granddaughter.
Ed MacKenzie wears many hats at the Seward Park Adventist Church, including that of elder, Sabbath school teacher, and treasurer.
He has also served on the Executive Committees of both Washington and Upper Columbia Conferences and on the Washington Conference Land Committee.
He now is enjoying his retirement with his wife, Ruth. They have four grown children. He credits the influence of his grandparents for leading him to commit to Jesus Christ and be baptized into the Adventist Church.
Tim Madding is the new pastor of the Renton Adventist Church, after serving for several years in the Lacey/South Sound District. He also serves the Conference as a member of the Church Planting Committee. He and his wife, Andrea, have one two-year-old son, Ethan.
“When I became a homeless teenager, an Adventist family invited me in, and I learned about the love of Jesus through them,” he says of his conversion experience. •