At our May 2009 graduation, the Tyndale alumni association was pleased to give the Distinguished Alumni Award to two outstanding members of our alumni family – one a Seminary graduate, and the other a graduate of Toronto Bible College.
Mark Petersen, MDiv 1991
Mark Petersen graduated from Tyndale Seminary with a Master of Divinity in 1991. After leaving Tyndale, Mark and his wife Karen spent nine years working with non-profit organizations to grow leadership in church communities across the world. He served in places such as the US, Costa Rica and the Philippines. He also served in Columbia, living amongst the people, and experiencing first hand several aspects of its drug and guerrilla-fuelled history. Through this, however, he came to admire the Colombian resilience and the positive attitudes of the people despite their many years of civil strife.
In November 2000, Mark joined the Bridgeway Foundation, a private grant-making organization whose mission is to collaborate with innovators to grow healthy and productive non-profit organizations, and to help them engage in creative transformational projects, across Canada and the world. Here, he has served as Executive Director, working with over 70 Christian and secular organizations to support numerous groundbreaking projects, including Yonge Street. Mission, Listen Up TV, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, World Vision, YMCA, and Community Justice Initiatives and Tyndale University College & Seminary. Mark has also supported Tyndale through his leadership as President of the Tyndale Alumni Association in 2007 and 2008.
Mark’s philanthropic leadership is marked by moral integrity, transparent accountability, public witness and unwavering commitment to a missional engagement of society for the sake of Christ. He continues to work with Bridgeway and lives in Mississauga with Karen and their two teenage sons, Daniel and Nathan.
University College Awardee:
Edvard Torjesen PhD, Undergraduate Degree, TBC 1947
Finn Torjesen accepts Distinguished Alumni Award on behalf of his father
Edvard Torjesen grew up in Shanxi, a province in North Central China. There he experienced World War II and saw his father Peter Torjesen, a Norwegian evangelist, shelter wartime refugees until Peter was killed by a Japanese dive-bomb in 1939. After the war, Edvard came to Canada and studied at Toronto Bible College (TBC), graduating with an undergraduate degree in 1947.
After TBC he served as a missionary in Asia. He became a language expert and worked on translating scripture into Taiwanese and Mongolian dialects. He also published Fredrik Franson: A Model for Worldwide Evangelism (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1983).
In 1990 Edvard and his family returned to Shanxi for the unveiling of a monument to Peter Torjesen. After a special appeal from the governor, the Torjesen family founded the Colorado-based Shanxi Evergreen Service, a non-profit humanitarian group aimed at assisting Shanxi and other Chinese Provinces by developing public benefit services for the common people. Edvard served as Executive Director of Evergreen for several years.
Through Evergreen, Edvard has also been involved with trade policies related to China and the US. On June 17, 1997, Torjesen addressed the U.S.-China Trade Relations and Renewal of China’s Most-Favoured-Nation Status hearing before the Subcommittee on Trade of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives.
After a distinguished career, Edvard retired to Shanxi, Taiyuan. Although suffering from Alzheimer’s, he is happy in his home, and still maintains the aura of one connected to Christ. His son, Finn Torjesen, serves Shanxi Evergreen Service as Executive Director, thus continuing the family’s involvement with the ministry.