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Ohio Conference President Announces Retirement

Story by Heidi Shoemaker
Published 9/11/13

Raj Attiken, Ohio Conference president, plans to retire after serving 25 years in conference administration.

Yesterday Raj Attiken, Ohio Conference president, announced to the conference’s executive committee his plans to retire from his current responsibilities. In a letter to conference personnel, Attiken wrote, “I have savored the privilege of participating in the transformations, advances and expansions that the conference has experienced both internally and in extending Christ’s mission in our communities. It is with immense gratitude, therefore, that I prepare to sign off from my current responsibilities and to embrace a new season of life with passion and energy.”
Upon hearing the announcement, Dave Weigley, Columbia Union Conference president, said of his colleague, “Raj has made a very valued contribution to the work of God here in this union and beyond. He is a creative, innovative and provocative thinker who really challenges how we do things in this church. He is also a person of courage. He has stepped out among others in the union to move the work forward. He has served well and will be missed as a full-time leader.”
Attiken has served in the conference’s administration for 25 years, 15 of them as president. He was reelected to conference leadership at seven consecutive constituency sessions. He began his service in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination as a pastor in 1971.
Attiken devoted much of his ministry to nurturing the church in Ohio to be firmly centered on the cross of Jesus and to grow deep in authentic biblical spirituality. His consistent emphasis on Christ-centered and grace-oriented living and serving, and his initiatives to shape a robust culture of innovation, diversity, sound scholarship, community engagement and missional entrepreneurship have received wide recognition and appreciation. His distinctive approach to church leadership, based on the principles of love, trust and freedom, helped create an invigorating faith and ministry environment in Ohio.
He grew up in the island nation of Sri Lanka, where he also began his pastoral ministry. After coming to the United States, he served as a district pastor in Ohio for 15 years before being invited to serve in conference leadership. He holds bachelor’s degrees in religious philosophy and theology from Spicer Memorial College in India, a master’s degree from Andrews University (Mich.) and a Doctor of Ministry from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Attiken’s wife, Chandra, a human resource and organizational development executive with her own consulting business, has also made her unique contributions to the ministry of the Ohio Conference.
In the aforementioned letter, Attiken closes by saying, “Chandra and I will forever cherish the friendships and collegiality that we have enjoyed in Ohio. You have enriched our lives and we feel incredibly blessed.”

Attiken says his actual retirement date is dependent on the results of the presidential search process, but he is committed to finishing out 2013.

Raj and Chandra Attiken (center) are pictured with their children, children’s spouses and grandchildren.

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