Church Growth Coordinator Retires

December 01, 2006 | Kathy Marson

After 42 years of service in the Adventist church, Jim and Fran Kilmer retired on Aug. 1. Kilmer was the Church Growth Coordinator for the Upper Columbia Conference since 1997. Before that he served as the director of Adult Sabbath School and Children’s Ministries from 1986 through 1997. During his tenure, his wife, Fran, partnered in his work.

Kilmer has a passion for discipling church members into joyous Christians and has appreciated the blessings of church growth—a net membership gain in Upper Columbia Conference of 6,000 members and more than 25 new churches. Kilmer is enthusiastic about Sabbath School classes becoming an arena for the Holy Spirit to bring about growth through dynamic study of the Word. And because of this, he agreed to author the North American Division Adult Sabbath School Teacher Certification for 2004 and 2007.

His father was a logger in Forks, Wash., where Kilmer was born in 1940, one of four siblings. He graduated from Auburn Academy in 1959 and Walla Walla College in 1963. He married Frances Williams, who graduated with a B.S. in nursing from Walla Walla College. He graduated from Andrews University with a M.A. in Religion, a major and M. Div. in Systematic Theology and a Ph. D. in Religious Education.

Together they served the church in the Oregon Conference where Kilmer pastored for 11 years. He then taught biblical languages in Beirut, Lebanon, for a year. In Kenya, Africa, he taught and pastored for six years before coming to the Upper Columbia Conference.

The Kilmers have three grown children, David, Karen and John, and four grandchildren. They thank the Lord for the privilege of ministering, and they thank everyone with whom they have served.

Kilmer says, “Precious memories will remain in our minds and hearts as we enjoy our ‘golden years.’ These memories include friendly associations at seminars, workshops, convocations and federations, as well as going from door to door with some of you in most of the cities of Upper Columbia Conference.”

The Kilmers plan to remain in Spangle and minister closer to home—spending more time with their grandkids, writing and gardening.