Adventist congregation strives to do what Lord asks them to do |

Adventist congregation strives to do what Lord asks them to do

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Submitted photo Rev. Ron Torkelson

Under the ministerial leadership of a new pastor, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Carson City holds the same ideals as prominent as ever – strong values and community involvement.

“He puts the Sabbath in our hearts,” said Rev. Ron Torkelsen, who began his ministry in Carson City just a few months ago, coming from Pleasant Hill, Calif.

“The church folk here want to be involved in their community. Though it is private, the school is also open to the community, and is by tuition. It’s multi-grades – kindergarten through eighth grades.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrates the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Torkelsen said some people keep the idea of the Sabbath and don’t work, don’t shop, and use the day to connect with their family and faith.

“The Lord said, ‘This is the day I blessed creation.’ We want to do what the Lord asks us to do.

“As a congregation we have strong values and opinions in our hearts, but we don’t tell others what to do. I let the Lord convince others what they need to do.”

Torkelsen, who is an ordained pastor through the Seventh-day Adventist Church, attended Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., where he received his ministerial degree. Carson City is his first senior pastor assignment.

“I grew up in a Christian environment,” Torkelsen said. “I got the idea of ministry while in high school. When I started looking at careers, it seemed natural to me. I enjoy working with children, also.”

The father of three, Torkelsen has been married to his wife, Connie, for 34 years. They have two daughters, Christina Sutton, 30, who lives in California, Rebekah Davis, 28, who lives in Tennessee, and son Noah, who also lives in California, and two grandchildren.

“I am a painter by trade,” Torkelsen said. “I love to renovate houses. The congregation has talked about helping someone in the community. So, as a future project – future project – because we are limited financially to what we can do, we would like to paint a house for someone, maybe fix it up a little bit, as a community service for us.”

Torkelsen said it was this congregation who brought him to Carson City.

“It was an open-interview process,” he said. “There were teens, elders and the conference president present. And it wasn’t because they needed someone to lead them, they have been lay-led for the past three years. They had leaders, they could run a church. The church wanted a minister.”

With the role of pastor, the congregation gets a well-rounded sense of humor in Torkelsen.

“I’m the only pastor I know who has fallen asleep during his own sermon,” he admitted.

“The reason I knew, my chin hit my chest, and I woke up and said, ‘Oh, my,'” he said with a laugh.

“And I haven’t done it since.”

Torkelsen said he was working an internship at three small churches in Iowa and had woken up early to write his sermon. After giving his first sermon he drove to the second, gave the sermon there, then went home to have a meal before heading out to his third sermon, about 30 minutes away.

“Man, I could have napped right then, but I drove to church number three and started to give the sermon. And I sat with the congregation, they were very loving and very understanding.”

Torkelsen said the congregation in Carson City is similar to those in Iowa.

“They are at peace,” he said. “They are a wonderful congregation and have a heart for the Lord.

“It’s fun here. It’s like one big family. When I leave here after Saturday sermon, I feel refreshed.”

Seventh-day Adventist Church holds a study time at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with children’s ministries and a children’s church once a month. General worship is held at 10:50 a.m. Saturday, with a mid-week study hour at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

For information, call 882-3541.

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.