Top Seventh-day Adventist administrators in the Inter-American Division (IAD) were officially installed during a special ceremony of consecration held at the Parc Ste Thérese Thérèse Stadium in Petionville, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. Hundreds of Inter-America’s executive committee members along with local leaders and members witnessed the historic event ahead of the church’s business meetings this week.
New IAD administrators Pastors Elie Henry, president, Leonard Johnson, executive secretary, and Filiberto Verduzco, treasurer, were elected by the executive committee during its first annual business meeting held in March and began officiating as of August 1, 2018, (link to article) after Pastor Israel Leito completed his 25-year term as IAD president and began retirement on August 1.
Adventist World Church President Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson led the installation service, during which he reminded administrators how vital they are to the entire spiritual enterprise in Inter-America.
“You have already faced many challenges and they will continue, but trust in the Lord, commit your way to Him, lean on the Lord, rest in Him,” said Pastor Wilson. “I charge you to know that God has chosen you to lead God’s people in this division, the millions of people here and you can stand perfectly united in the spirit of God.”
“In this commitment and consecration service, remember that God will supply all your needs for the IAD,” added Wilson. Wilson went on to highlight their role as spiritual leaders preparing themselves and others for Jesus coming.
“Make Jesus first in your life, be a servant leader, live an exemplary personal life, work closely with your fellow workers, care for the responsibilities and individuals given to your care, lift up Jesus in your preaching, lift up the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, lift up the need for personal prayer, promote public evangelism and personal sharing of your faith, stay close to the Bible and the simple understanding of the Bible, allow the Holy Spirit to enable you to receive instruction from heaven,” said Wilson.
Wilson explained the role of a church president and once again charged all three IAD administrators to consecrate their lives in loving service to God, reflecting His character in God’s great proclamation of the gospel.
Pastors Johnson’s and Verduzco’s years of dedicated service were highlighted by Pastor Leito who pointed out their role as secretary and treasurer as described in the church’s policies and guidelines.
Reaffirmation of Administrators
IAD church leadership, including general conference leaders, division leaders, union administrators, and the congregation, recited a consecration statement in which they committed to carry out the mission of the church throughout the IAD territory.
“Today we collectively affirm the new leadership team in the Division led by our esteemed Elie Henry and his wife Ketlie, supported by the respectable Leonard Johnson and his wife Denise, and approved by our trustworthy Filiberto Verduzco and lovely Alma,” said Everett Brown, president of the church in Jamaica, representing church administrators throughout the English-speaking territory.
“We belong to a multi-cultural, multi-lingual Division,” said Brown. “Perhaps the secret to our success lies in the life in God, our passion for evangelism and the strength of our unity. We collectively offer you our support and pledge to collaborate with you to pursue the mandate of Jesus to go forward with God, trusting in the Lord.”
Other church leaders from Inter-America’s major church regions, educational institutions and publishing houses pledged their support to the new leadership.
“The best is yet to come”
In response, Pastor Henry thanked church leaders and members present for their prayers, support, and blessings.
“Some years ago, when I had my first speech in a church just overlooking this stadium, I was nervous like today,” said Pastor Henry, who is a native of Haiti.
“It was during a prayer meeting on a Wednesday evening and I did not know I would be standing here decades later,” said Henry. “God has been with me since then and I praise His name.”
“To the church leaders who are here, I want to thank you because from the beginning when I was named, you have been true colleagues who have been praying as part of this beautiful team to advance the work of God,” added Henry.
Henry paid tribute to Pastor Asser Jean Pierre, retired, and former president of the church in Haiti, who was as mentor while Henry was an intern beginning his ministry. Henry also spoke of his deceased father who worked as a pastor for many years in Haiti.
“I look for that day when the triumphant church will meet all together and will say to the Lord we have done our best,” said Henry. “We did what you asked us to do and by faith we are moving forward with confidence that the same God who has led us in the past will give us victory.”
Pastor Henry praised God for Pastor Leito’s legacy. “We believe that the best is yet to come,” said Henry. “In the powerful name of Jesus great things will be accomplished for the glory of God.”
IAD administrators signed a leadership pledging their commitment in service of the church across the territory.
Mission of the church
The Lord is coming soon, said Henry. “We have to do what we can, so let us leave this place to work triumphantly for the mission of the church, sharing the gospel of salvation.”
Prior to the installation service, church members from the four conferences and missions across Haiti came to celebrate the success of evangelism as the growth of the church nears the 500,000 membership mark. The program included musical and drama performances and a special launch of the Hope Channel Inter-America in Haiti earlier that day. More than 150 new members joined the church through a baptismal ceremony and leaders committed to expanding the church in more communities throughout the island nation.
Pastor Pierre Caporal, president of the church in Haiti, thanked the leadership of Inter-American and its executive board for visiting the country and holding its year-end meetings. Church leaders preached and visited local churches earlier during the morning church services and fellowshipped with the membership from which Pastor Henry grew up in and grew in his ministry. Pastor Wilson also toured four churches Sabbath morning thanking members for their dedicated work in serving the church and community and encouraged them to keep being involved in the mission of the church in readiness for Jesus Second Coming.
There are more than 447,600 Seventh-day Adventists worshiping in 1,124 churches and congregations in Haiti. The church operates a hospital, a university, a radio station, and dozens of primary and secondary schools.