Paul Wilson, superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference, announced today that he would step down from his role on September 10 due to worsening health issues.
“Over the past several months, a challenge, which at first seemed significant, has grown to be more serious,” he wrote in an email sent to the conference. “I have been diagnosed with Parkinsonism. In short, this means that I have many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In my case, I either have a challenging form of Parkinson’s or a more serious condition.”
Wilson who has served in the role since he was elected in 2014, wrote, “Serving as your superintendent has been a great joy—one deeper than I will try to explain. You have been extraordinarily kind and encouraging to me. I’m not aware of any Evangelical Covenant Church leader who has been treated more generously than I. While I deeply grieve concluding this ministry I love, I conclude with a full heart.”
He added, “Though my challenges are no fun to live with, I am not discouraged. All the promises of the Trinity are true. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I am at peace—the kind that surpasses all understanding. My trust is not in the strength of my faith—it sometimes wanes. My trust is in the loving-kindness of God. He holds me as he does all of you.”
Prior to taking the role of superintendent, Wilson served as pastor of First Covenant Church in Oakland, California. While there, he helped develop New Day for Children, a residential ministry that restores American minors who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
He also served as field director for what was then the Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska (now Alaska Conference) and developed the launch of Alaska Christian College. He served as a youth worker for Iglesio Del Pacto Evangelico Douglas Park in Chicago and as pastor of Community Covenant Church in Clear Lake, Washington.
Will Davidson, chair of the conference executive board, wrote in another email, that “we all find ourselves deeply heartbroken and in need of God’s tender and loving faithfulness as we grieve together. And yet, I am confident that Paul’s ministry among us will continue.”
The board has named Jean Cheng Gorman, conference director of ministerial health, to be acting superintendent until the PSWC Annual Meeting in April 2022, when a new superintendent will be elected.