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Idaho Pastor Wins Bid for Senate Chaplain

Idaho Pastor Wins Bid for Senate Chaplain

In a clear answer to prayer, on Sunday evening, October 21, the Northwest Religious Liberty Association (NRLA), and its candidate, won its yearlong bid to have a Seventh-day Adventist pastor serve in the honorable role of Senate Chaplain for the State of Idaho. This will be for a one-year term during Idaho’s 2013 Legislative Session, which begins in January.

Jim Wibberding, pastor of the Cloverdale Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Boise, Idaho area was officially selected by the Idaho Senate President and the Senate Search Committee comprised of a bipartisan list of Who’s Who in the Idaho Senate.

Access, Influence, and Prayer

Jim will be serving with distinction in a state legislature that values religious freedom.

Retired Senator Grant Ipsen – the successful sponsor of Idaho’s “Free Exercise of Religion Act” and the former chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee – was delegated the responsibility of searching for a new Senate Chaplain at the behest of the Senate President.

Senator Ipsen contacted NRLA president Greg Hamilton in early October 2011 and asked if he knew of a Seventh-day Adventist pastor who qualified to serve as Senate Chaplain for the Idaho Legislature.

Greg then contacted David Prest, president of the Idaho Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and detailed the specific qualifications needed for a pastor to serve in such a distinctive capacity. He recommended Jim Wibberding, and Greg set up and attended Jim’s interview with Senator Ipsen – an interview luncheon that went well.

Greg and the Senator have had a long working relationship since the 1999 Idaho Legislative Session when they worked together, with LaVern Opp, to pass the aforementioned religious freedom act.

Many thanks are due to the retired Senator. In the end it was clearly prayer and the Divine Hand of God that made all of this come together for His glory.

Introducing Pastor Jim Wibberding

Jim has served the Cloverdale-Boise congregation of over 700 church members for two years after having served in the Pennsylvania Conference for ten years where he developed and directed a Conference-wide lay pastor training course, from which several are pastoring churches today.

Jim has a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Leadership from Andrews University, and is currently working on a Doctor of Theology Degree in Homiletics from the University of South Africa. He has written three books, including “Learn to Preach before Next Weekend,” “Sabbath Reflections: A Weekly Devotional,” and “The Lion’s Land” (all on Amazon.com).

His articles include “Beyond Abstinence: Presenting God’s Ideal for Sexual Intimacy” (Ministry magazine), and “Untapped Potential” (Journal of Adventist Missions). He is also featured on a DVD Preaching module in “iFollow Discipleship Resource for Pastors.”

Jim and his wife Laura are the proud parents of a 5 year-old daughter and two twins on the way! They love to hike and do fun things together as a family.

Jim says that he “looks forward to praying with our government leaders in Idaho and encouraging them in their work to preserve our freedoms.” This includes, he said, “the opportunity to contribute to our democracy in behalf of our church.”

The responsibilities that Jim will take on – in addition to the responsibilities as pastor to his congregation in Cloverdale – will include 1) carefully drafting and offering prayers before the beginning of each day’s legislative session, or 2) being in charge of delegating it out to others as necessary, and 3) being available for prayer and encouragement.

What a thrill! What a tremendous opportunity and blessing this is for Pastor Jim, and for all the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Idaho, as well as all people and institutions of faith who will be blessed by his nonpartisan service!

Thank you, Jesus! Please bless Jim in everything he says and does, is our prayer.

About Greg Hamilton

Greg Hamilton
Gregory W. Hamilton has served as President of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association (NRLA) for 19 years. His graduate work at the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Constitutional Studies at Baylor University culminated in the work titled "Sandra Day O'Connor's Judicial Philosophy on the Role of Religion in Public Life," which remains an original work of scholarship. The Northwest Religious Liberty Association is a nonpartisan government relations, and workplace mediation, program that champions religious freedom and human rights in the legislative, judicial, civic, academic, interfaith, ecumenical and corporate arenas, and is recognized as the premier religious liberty advocacy organization in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Greg’s abiding interest in U.S. foreign policy—specifically in U.S. international religious freedom policy—has led him to appreciate, as a pastor, how religion is a key component toward prophetically understanding how the world’s religious and political leaders seek to use religion to resolve major conflicts and bring about world peace.