Jon Corder, left, associate treasurer and Stewardship director retired at the end of April. Steven Poenitz, right, is executive secretary and plans to step down in early June. We will miss them both dearly and wish them God's abundant blessings in their new chapter of life.

Two Lake Union leaders retire

Two members of Lake Union Conference leadership announced plans to retire after an almost combined century of dedicated ministry in the church.

Steven Poenitz, Lake Union Conference executive secretary, is scheduled to retire on June 6, and Jon Corder, Lake Union Conference associate treasurer retired at the end of April. Poenitz was scheduled to depart a few days earlier but has agreed to stay on while a new president is selected to replace Valentine who is leaving for the North American Division. 

Poenitz first started in ministry in 1974 as a pastor in the New Jersey Conference while also attending the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. Since then, his ministry took him to the following posts: 

  • 1985-1986: Kansas Nebraska Conference – Pastor 
  • 1986-1993: Oregon Conference – Pastor 
  • 1993-1997: Northern California Conference – Pastor 
  • 1997- 2008: Georgia Cumberland Conference – Pastor 
  • 2008-2018: Indiana Conference – Ministerial Director & Conference President 
  • 2018-2021: Lake Union Conference – Executive Secretary 


Lake Union President Maurice Valentine said Poenitz has been a great example of Christian professionalism, intensely recording all activities of the Lake Union Conference and tracking the growth with great interest and asking insightful questions. “It was always clear he's a soul-winner at heart and did all in his power to under gird both of his major responsibilities, that of the executive secretary and Ministerial director,” he surmised. “He grew into his position very well, having great responsibilities on many fronts to track and did them with great aplomb. He and Ernestine will be missed in our region.”  

The Poenitz’ plan to re-settle in the south and thanked everyone for the warm memories they will take with them. “My wife and I have been blessed to spend three years in the Berrien Springs community and the four states of the Lake Union. We will treasure the special friendships made with the office team members and leadership of the respective conferences.” 

Jon Corder has served the Seventh-day Adventist Church with distinction for many years beginning as a Pacific Union College student in 1972. Since then, he has worked in the North Pacific and Lake Union areas with passion and dedication. 

  • 2016-2021: Lake Union Conference 
  • 2011-2016: North Pacific Union Conference 
  • 2008-2011: Oregon Conference 
  • 1999-2008: Upper Columbia Conference 
  • 1997-1999: Upper Columbia Academy 
  • 1987-1997: Upper Columbia Conference 
  • 1979-1987: Pacific Union College 
  • 1978-1979: Educational Felt Aids 


Lake Union Treasurer Glynn Scott said that while Corder was at the Lake Union the past five years, he has shown visionary leadership. Under Corder’s stewardship, “$2.1 million was returned to the local conferences for mission and ministry while at the same time the Lake Union Revolving Fund has grown from total assets of $47 million to $50 million.  

“Jon and Cheri are committed church leaders for the Stevensville Church and we are grateful for their dedication and commitment to service.” 

Corder says that as he looks back over the years, he’s grateful for how God has provided for him. “I’d be in one place and the door would open up in the next place. Even though I encountered challenges at times, God remained faithful and kept providing good people for us to work with.” 

The Lake Union Conference will greatly miss them and we wish them well as they embark on their retirement.