On September 8, 2021, the Southeastern California Conference Executive Committee voted to elect Elder Jonathan Park as the conference’s next president, following a recommendation from the Nominating Committee. Park has served as conference executive secretary since 2013.
“I believe our newly elected president, Elder Jonathan Park, has been shaped and formed by the Spirit of God for this responsibility,” said Elder Sandy Roberts, executive secretary of the Pacific Union and outgoing SECC president. “He carries a deep passion for the Adventist church, loves people well, is adventurous, thinks strategically and creatively, and walks closely with Jesus. Southeastern California Conference will be even better as a result of his leadership.”
Park’s love for ministry came from observing the ministry of his uncle, Pastor Daniel Ha, and from studying Korean theology books before he could speak English. His first pastoral position came at the Glendale Korean church in Los Angeles before serving in Spencerville, Maryland, and Loma Linda, California. Park joined the SECC administration team in 2011 as vice president of Asian/Pacific Ministries.
“Being named the next president of SECC is an honor,” Park said. “I am excited to continue working with my wonderful colleagues in ministry as we re-commit to discerning God’s will for our conference and build upon our culture of transparency, collaboration, and innovation.”
Park’s greatest passion in ministry is empowering and equipping church leaders and members to fulfill the Great Commission. As a pastor, he helped establish Empower Ministry, a nonprofit organization that trained young Korean Americans to effectively serve as lay leaders in their churches. Since then, he has learned new discipleship methods both as an administrator and as a student. In 2017, Park received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Andrews University on cross-cultural conflict resolution.
“God is the screenwriter and director of my life, while I am just one cast member in the telling of His story,” Park said. “In this new role, I will continue to let God lead. I trust His script and guidance, so I will obey.” He and his wife, Ashley, have been married 25 years and have three children: Evelyn, a teaching principal in SECC; Brandon, currently serving as a student missionary in Palau; and Sydney, an academy senior.
Park begins his term during a unique period for the SECC. Like all conferences, Southeastern continues to navigate the oscillating nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted the regular patterns for services, attendance, and giving. The conference is also seeking to expand affordable access to Adventist education and embrace technological advances in ministry while encouraging members to rejoin their congregations. Park also transitions into the presidency during the middle of a normal term, with the next constituency session coming in 2023.
“We have many opportunities and challenges ahead of us,” he said. “Some challenges may not have clear solutions today, but our God will journey with us and give us the answers in His time. I believe that when we trust God’s guidance, we will always find opportunities to advance His kingdom.”
By Aren Rennacker