Honored Alumni 2007
|Heritage Award: Nancy ('67) and Harold Thomas ('69)
Harold (Hal) and Nancy Thomas served as missionaries with the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Churches in Bolivia, South America, working with the Aymara people from 1972 to 1989 and cooperating with the Bolivian Friends Church in theological education, leadership training, social development projects, and church planting. Harold was also an exegete on the Bolivian Bible Society team that translated the Old Testament into Aymara.
The couple taught at Bible school and seminary levels in pastoral preparation and rural and urban church planting and, from 1999 until recently, served as founders and co-directors of the Center for Intercultural Studies, a master's degree missiological program at the Bolivian Evangelical University in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Since 2001, Harold and Nancy have participated in visioning, founding, and development of the Latin American doctoral program in theology, part of the Universidad de las AmÃ©ricas in Costa Rica. They continue to work as missionaries appointed by the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Churches.
|Oustanding Alumnus: Sam Farmer ('92)
Sam Farmer worked for 27 years with Custom Food Products Inc., a Chicago-based company, before joining the George Fox administrative staff as vice president for development in 1988. He later became assistant to the president for special projects, which included church relations, property management and acquisition, and other programs.
Sam has helped lay the foundations of several mission enterprises, invested in the lives of mission families, and participated in mission activities around the world. He was a board member and treasurer for Evergreen China Services, which provides medical, public health, educational, and business consulting services in Shanxi Province, and a board member of Sword Productions, which produces and distributes Christian films throughout Asia.
He returned to George Fox as a student in the adult degree-completion program to earn a management of human resources degree in 1992. He has volunteered as an assistant to the president for special projects for several years and assists many Newberg and Yamhill County organizations, including the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce. He is a longtime board member and current chair of the Friendsview Retirement Community Residents' Association.
Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award: Jimmi Nicole Sommer ('97)
|Christian Service Award: Jack Rea('70)
Jack Rea was pastor of the Southeast Friends Church in Salem, Ohio, for four years before he and his wife, Celesta, became missionaries with Taiwan Friends Mission. While in Taiwan, Jack learned Mandarin Chinese and spoke in Chinese at seminars for pastors and local leaders.
Following service in Taiwan, Jack became general superintendent of the Rocky Mountain Yearly Meeting of Friends Churches, a six-state area based in Colorado Springs, Colo. Jack also worked on projects for Evangelical Friends in Mexico City and Guatemala in the mid-1980s.
Jack was later vice president of administrative affairs, acting president, professor of missions and pastoral theology, and director of the doctor of ministry and international programs at the Houston Graduate School of Theology. He also formed the Houston-based Coalition for Hispanic Ministries, which provides training, support, and a networking system for Hispanic church leaders in the U.S. and Latin America.
The Reas presently live in Hong Kong, where Jack serves as provost for the United Wesleyan Graduate Institute.
|Seminary Alumnus of the Year: John Connor('77)
John Connor and his wife, Margie, began their service with the Department of World Missions of The Wesleyan Church in 1970 and have served continuously with that organization ever since.
During nine years in Zambia, Africa, John was principal and teacher at the Pilgrim Wesleyan Seminary. He was also national director of the theological education by extension program for The Wesleyan Church.
John also taught theology for a year in the Philippines and five years in Korea. He was a consultant for church development in 26 countries with Global Partners, a mission arm of The Wesleyan Church. He has written three books and co-edited another book with his wife.
He presently serves as director of the JESUS Film Partnership. As such, he manages and trains teams to use the JESUS film for evangelism and church planting. In 2004 and 2005, teams under his direction showed the film to more than 1 million people.