Welcome Our New Synod Secretary, Carl “John” Turnquist

Bishop Mike Rinehart

John is the name by which he goes. John lives in Magnolia and attends St. John in Waller, Texas. He has been serving on Synod Council for a few years, but is stepping on to Executive Committee by serving as secretary of the Synod Council, thanks to your election this past assembly.

John Turnquist 1

The Synod Secretary does more than take minutes of synod council meetings and minutes of synod assemblies. As a member of the Executive Committee, the secretary provides leadership for the whole council and advice to the bishop. As an officer of the synod, the secretary has various responsibilities for the attesting documents and contracts. The secretary also has the responsibility of reviewing congregation constitutional updates prior to approval.

Here is a little bit about our new secretary: John holds a B.A. From the University of Tulsa (Oklahoma) and a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

John Turnquist was one of the 600+ lawyers at locations around the world who made up the Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of the Navy, from his entry into federal service until his retirement. His first position was that of Assistant Counsel, Naval Ship Systems Command. He held a number of other positions as well, including Director, Contract Appeals Division; Counsel, Naval Electronic Systems Command (now Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command); Associate General Counsel, Navy Chief Trial Attorney; and Director of the Navy Litigation Office.

Later he served as the Assistant General Counsel (Installations & Environment). In that position, he served as the senior legal advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations & Environment) and his senior staff, and as the environmental law counselor to the General Counsel of the Navy. John also managed an office of senior specialists in Washington, D.C. and supervised the work of senior environmental law specialists in San Diego, California, Honolulu, Hawaii, Bangor, Washington, and New Orleans, Louisiana. He celebrates the fact that his field offices just happened to be in locales with ever so many superb restaurants.

John was responsible for federal real property matters affecting the Navy and Marine Corps, including serving as the senior legal advisor to the departmental teams that prepared the lists of Navy and Marine Corps installations to be closed or realigned in 1993 and 1995 and as the department’s senior legal expert in the implementation of the final lists of recommended closures and realignments.

From 2002-2007, Mr. Turnquist was the Executive Director of Action in the Community through Service of Prince William, Inc. (ACTS), a multi-program human services non-profit agency, serving Prince William County, Virginia. With a budget in excess of $3 million and with 100+ employees, ACTS operates five core programs: (1) An emergency assistance program that provides financial assistance for utilities, rent, transportation, and medicine, as well as an emergency food pantry that provides non-perishable foodstuffs, and operates a 15-bed, year-round homeless shelter; (2) A 24/7/365 telephone crisis hotline that is certified for suicide prevention and intervention by the American Association of Suicidology; (3) A transitional living program that places homeless families in six ACTS-owned units for a two-year program aimed at achieving economic self-sufficiency; (4) A domestic violence intervention and prevention program, including operating a 15-bed safe house in Triangle, Virginia, a 20-bed safe house in Manassas, Virginia; and (5) two thrift stores. In June 2010, because of the slumping economy, ACTS closed its child care center that, for almost 40 years, has subsidized the care of up to 56 non-special needs children of low income working parents, too many of which could no longer afford even the low cost of the center.

Retired now, and having moved to the Houston, Texas area, Mr. Turnquist’s activities in his new home include regularly volunteering at the emergency food pantry operated by The Society of Samaritans in Magnolia, Texas, and, at the request of the Executive Director, TOMAGWA Healthcare Ministries (at which his wife, an RN, is on staff), providing a draft of what would be that agency’s first comprehensive personnel manual.  More importantly, he also is reveling in the joys both of grandchildren and of continuing to serve his church both locally and regionally.

John Turnquist 2John is one of 65 (out of more than 7,000) federal government senior executives to receive the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive, which is the highest performance-based honor that can be awarded to a federal senior executive. He also was the first Department of the Navy senior executive to receive three Presidential Rank Awards of Meritorious Executive (1984, 1990, 1997), which is the second-highest performance based award available to Federal Senior Executives. He also has received two Department of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Awards.

He has been married to the former Kathyrn Lea Nelson for 47 years. They have three grown sons. His interests include teaching adult Bible study classes, intensely following the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Club, reading mysteries, and fiddling with his guitar.  Kathy is a registered nurse and, in addition having served their former parish for 25+ years as its first social ministry parish worker, also served that parish as its principal organist for over 30 years. She has been the regular part-time keyboard musician for their current church home, St. John‘s in Waller, Texas since 2010 and also facilitates both the senior and bell choir.