Jan Paulsen, Past GC President,
to Receive Norwegian Honor
Will be a Commander of the Order of Merit, King Harald V to present award (Posted Feb. 8, 2012).
BY TOR TJERANSEN, Communication Director, Norwegian Union
Pastor Jan Paulsen, the immediate past president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, has been named a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. The announcement from the Royal Palace states that: “H. M. The King has appointed Jan Paulsen Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for meritorious work for the good of humanity.”
“I am totally surprised and very honored by this recognition coming from H. M. The King of Norway and his councilors,” Paulsen, 77, said. “It warms my heart that the accolade came with the recognition of ‘Service for the good of humanity’, for that is what the life of Christian service is all about,” he added.
The Royal Norwegian Order of Merit was founded King Olav V in 1985 and is conferred on foreign and Norwegian nationals as a reward for their outstanding service in the interest of Norway. The actual date when Paulsen will be presented with the insignia of the order has yet to be decided.
Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, the current General Conference president, congratulated his predecessor, saying, "This is a wonderful demonstration of how God can bring a life of Christian service to the forefront for the world to know of His power. We are grateful for this special recognition of Pastor Paulsen by the Norwegian government, and thank him and Mrs. Paulsen for their many years of dedicated service to God’s church and the good of humanity, which has been so nicely recognized by the King of Norway.”
Pastor Reidar J. Kvinge, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway, said: “It is a great honor for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway that the global service of Dr. Paulsen has been recognized in this way.”
Paulsen was president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists from January 1999 to June 2010. He holds a Doctor of Theology degree from the University of Tübingen in Germany.
Jan Paulsen began his ministerial service in 1953 in Norway, later serving as a teacher in Ghana and as teacher and college president in Nigeria, at what is now known as Babcock University. From 1976-1980 he was the principal (or president) of church-run Newbold College in England, which houses the main theological faculty of the Seventh-day Adventist movement in the Trans-European region.
For twelve years he served as President of the Trans-European Division in St. Albans, England, before coming to Silver Spring, Maryland as a general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Throughout his career Paulsen has shown particular interest in furthering higher education in Africa. His initiative in establishing the humanitarian response of the Adventist Church to the AIDS pandemic was another notable accomplishment. Paulsen was also instrumental in the creation of Adventist World magazine, which in print and online now reaches more than 2 million Adventists worldwide each month, in more than a dozen languages.
Jan Paulsen lives in the Washington D.C. area; he is married to Kari (nee Trykkerud) and has three adult children. Along with numerous articles, he has published three books: “When the Spirit Descends,” in 2001, published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association; as well as “Let Your Life So Shine,” in 2003; and “Where Are We Going?” released in September 2011, both published by the Pacific Press Publishing Association.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has 17 million members worldwide and 4,700 members in Norway. Missionary John Gottlieb Matteson and his wife, the former Anna Sieverson, who had been born in Tromso, Norway, brought the Adventist message to Norway in 1878, remaining there for 10 years and establishing the Norwegian Adventist publishing house.