As Mid-America Union president, Gary Thurber is responsible for articulating the mission and vision of Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mid-America and ensuring harmony with the mission of the world church. Working with the rest of the leadership team in the union office and the leaders of its six constituent conferences, he is responsible for the efficient functioning of the varied dynamics of the church organization.
As an executive committee member of both the North American Division and General Conference, Thurber represents Mid-America Union membership to the world church, and likewise represents world church leadership to church members in Mid-America. Additionally, he serves as board member for a number of higher education and healthcare institutions, as well as media and outreach ministries. He chairs the board of Union College and works closely with its administration to ensure its success.
Thurber began in ministry as a teacher at Redwood Academy in the Northern California Conference. From there, he served as an associate pastor and assistant director of Northwest Ministries Training Center at the Kent Church in the Washington Conference. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Southern Adventist University, and earned his master’s degree in religion at Andrews University. He is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. Leadership program at Andrews University.
Ordained in 1987, Thurber has served as a pastor in the Kansas-Nebraska, Florida and Michigan conferences. His assignments in the Michigan Conference also included director of Youth, Camp and Family ministries and, later, assistant to the president for administration. He has also served as president of the Rocky Mountain, Indiana and Northern New England conferences.
Prior to coming to the Mid-America Union Conference, Thurber was executive secretary of the Lake Union Conference.
Thurber is married to the former Diane Wynn. They have two adult sons, Ryan and Justin.