Change - It's Inevitable
by Al Reimche, president, Oregon Conference

It seems like the only stable thing in our world. The moment we get comfortable with a situation or plan, or even people, we find ourselves dealing with change. It is the inevitable constant of life. Gail Sheehy is quoted as saying, “If we don’t change we don’t grow. If we don’t grow we aren’t really living.”

Changes from wet to dry, cool to warm, from school days to summer vacation would have been enough for one month, but that was not to be the case.

Changes – Wayne Wentland, who has been serving as interim Vice President for Education, begins his retirement. He has served for over nine years in our education department, first as associate education director, then for the past two years as VP for Education. We have appreciated his passion for our schools and educators. Our office is also losing Dale Milam who has served with distinction as an associate superintendent for the last two years. Dale has decided to re-join the faculty at Milo Academy. We have been blessed to have both of these men working for the best of our schools.

Changes – Gale Crosby, recent principal of Portland Adventist Academy, has stepped into the vacancy left by Wayne, and Matthew Butte, recent principal of Columbia Adventist Academy, will be joining the team in the education department in place of Dale Milam. David Davies, an educator from southern Oregon, will also be spending some time working with our schools as a part-time associate superintendent.

Change – Another change affecting the Conference has been Monte Torkelsen's decision to transition from Youth Director in charge of Big Lake Youth Camp to chaplain and Bible teacher at Portland Adventist Academy by the end of July. As a result, we have asked Tracy Wood to fill the position as Youth Director, and we will begin the search for an Associate Youth Director who will also serve as the Big Lake Youth Camp Director. Monte has served with distinction within our youth department for 20 years and has been a major influence in the lives of youth throughout our Conference. Even though he will be missed, his ministry to our youth at PAA will continue.

Change – Just a couple of weeks ago, I met with three churches who had decided to explore the possibility of merging. Though other congregations within our conference have done this, it is still very uncommon. That Sabbath evening, all three churches (Columbia Gorge, Gresham, and Open Arms) met, and after prayerful discussion, voted to form one church. The members of the newly-formed church understand that their territory has just been expanded and the reason for this merger is to develop a stronger team to address the commission God has given.

Changes can be hard, and yet in some cases, good. The transitions to different assignments, or different settings, or different stages of life can be difficult to experience but are a part of “really living.” Even in the New Earth we will be dealing with change – the growing knowledge and understanding of the plan of salvation, the joy of ever discovering and growing in our grasp and knowing Jesus and His love for us. Difficult as it is, I want to be “really living.” In fact, I can’t wait for that “twinkling of an eye” change that Jesus has waiting for us.