He was an experienced church administrator who specialized in conflict management.
Published on: 06-01-2023
Benjamin D. Schoun, former vice president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, passed away on Sunday, May 21, 2023, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States, at the age of 74 Schoun was an experienced Adventist church leader who was known for his balanced approach and careful focus in conflict management and resolution.
Schoun completed a Master of Divinity in 1972 and a Doctor of Ministry in 1981 at Andrews University Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States. His thesis eventually became the book Helping Pastors Cope, a resource on developing a support system for church pastors.
From 1972 until his retirement in 2015, Schoun served in various capacities, including church pastor in the U.S. and Canada, college professor, and educational and church administrator. He served 13 years at Andrews University as professor of church leadership, director of the Center of Continuing Education for Ministry, and associate dean of the Theological Seminary. His specialty was in church leadership administration and conflict management.
In 1998, he was elected president of the Northern New England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and two years later, president of the Atlantic Union Conference.
Adventist World Radio (AWR) elected him as president in 2002, a position he held until 2010. At the same time, he served as a general field secretary for the General Conference. During his tenure as president of AWR, the number of broadcast languages increased from 45 to more than 75, and AWR began using many FM stations around the world in addition to continuing their original short-wave broadcasts.
In 2010, Schoun was elected as vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, a position he held until his retirement five years later. In this capacity, he worked closely with media entities of the General Conference, including AWR, Hope Channel, Adventist Review, and the GC Communication Department. He also served as chair of Andrews University Board and chair of the International Board of Ministerial and Theological Education.
Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference, sent his heartfelt condolences to Schoun’s family. “Our sympathy, Christian love, and condolences go to Carol, his wife, and the family with this loss of our colleague,” Wilson wrote. “Pastor Schoun had a wonderful gift for bringing balanced thinking into a situation and provided fine assistance in the area of conflict management. He loved the Lord and this Advent message.”
Wilson expressed his desire that the family may feel the comfort that only God can provide. “May the Comforter come especially close to the Schoun family at this time, bringing the hope of the soon second coming of Christ when we will see our loved ones again who have fallen asleep in Jesus!” he wrote.
Schoun is survived by his wife Carol (née Freuchtel) and adult daughter Kelly. The family held a private ceremony.