Alaska Elects New President

The 17th Alaska Conference Regular Constituency Session got off to a warm and welcome start on Sunday, July 24, with a pancake breakfast served to delegates by conference leadership.

The session, which came on the heels of the South Central Camp Meeting at Pioneer Camp Ground in Palmer, Alaska, proved that food always helps to bring a crowd. Once the pancakes were polished off, the official roll call revealed that 161 of a potential 186 delegates were in attendance for the business at hand.

For many, the big news of the day was the selection of a president to replace Ken Crawford, who has retired after 12 years as conference president. Delegates voted with 81 percent approval to accept the nomination of Kevin Miller as the new conference president.

Miller has served the conference for nine years as a pastor, with additional responsibilities for the past six years as conference vice president for administration and ministerial director. Before coming to Alaska, he was pastor of two districts in Michigan for eight years. He is a 1999 graduate of Southern Adventist University. He and his wife, Paula, have three children aged 22–28.

The additional officers were re-elected to their respective roles. Quentin Purvis (88 percent) will continue to serve as the executive secretary and will fulfill duties as vice president of administration. Jim Jensen (99 percent) was affirmed to continue his responsibilities as treasurer and vice president for finance.

Delegates approved the recommendation of the nominating committee to refer the selection of an education and youth director to the newly elected conference executive committee, which is expected to fill the position during its gathering Sept. 30–Oct. 2. In the meantime, current director Laurie Hosey will continue in that role and will be among those considered by the committee.

Close to the heart of every conference is the ebb and flow of membership from district to district. Delegates voted to accept the Tok congregation in Tok, Alaska, into the sisterhood of churches. Additionally, they voted to disband the Aleknagik Church. Members there have already transferred to the Dillingham Church.

A major topic of discussion centered on a proposal regarding Camp Tukuskoya at Big Lake, Alaska, which requires major safety and fire code upgrades. The proposal recommends a two-year effort to transfer physical operations of the camp to local churches in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. If the designated local churches are unable to manage successful upkeep of camp operations within that period, the proposal authorizes the conference to sell the property. After significant dialog, 66 percent of the delegates approved this recommendation.

Ken and Colleen Crawford leave more than a decade of ministry in Alaska with hearts full of gratitude for the wonderful relationships established. “The beautiful thing about Alaska,” says Crawford, “is that we’re all family. No matter how remote, no matter how far apart in distance, we’re very close. That’s what Colleen and I are going to miss. That’s what makes it so hard to leave.”