Seventh-day Adventist Leaders in the Inter-American Division (IAD) paused on May 11, 2022, to reflect on and celebrate God’s providence during the 100 years since the division was organized in May 1922.
The centennial celebration, one of many held this year, gathered top leaders of the Adventist world church and IAD leaders, staff, and former workers, to revisit the rich mission-driven history in Inter-America, highlight God’s blessings in church and institutional growth, review key fundamental pillars in the development of the vast territory, and reaffirm their commitment to carrying out the mission with greater dedication and drive.
Dozens of church leaders, department heads, staff and their families took part during the three-and-a-half live online celebration from the IAD headquarters in Miami, Florida, United States.The gospel in every country in Inter-America
“For more than 100 years God has caused the powerful mighty wing of his Holy Spirit to blow upon us which has galvanized the great brothers and sisters to enable the church to penetrate the villages, towns, and regions of Mexico, Central America, the northern part of South America, and all the Caribbean islands,” said Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America. “Thanks to God the gospel flag has been flying in all the countries in Inter-America.”
“The message of salvation in Jesus has resounded in the homes and hearts of millions of young people, adults and seniors who joined the church through evangelistic campaigns, bible studies, small groups or home schools throughout the years, said Pastor Henry.
Much has happened in the Inter-American Division in the last hundred years, From 7,500 members in 1922 to 3.7 million members spread out in 24 unions, 156 local conferences and missions, and more than 23,000 churches and congregations, in 2022.In readiness for Jesus’ Coming
Adventist World Church President Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson praised the leadership and membership of the Inter-American Division for its progress.
“Each one of us needs to put on God’s robe of righteousness, putting us in the right relationship with Him,” said Pastor Wilson. “Proclaim it wherever we are especially in the cities and in rural areas.” Pastor Wilson encouraged listeners and viewers to leave tracks wherever they go, proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14, urging people to align themselves in union with Christ and accept the sign of loyalty—the seventh-day Sabbath, sharing hope in readiness of Jesus Second Coming.
Pastor Wilson was accompanied by fellow administrators Erton Köhler, executive secretary and Paul Douglas, treasurer for the Adventist world church, on their first trip together to any division since Köhler and Douglas were elected in April 2021.As he closed his message, Pastor Wilson appealed to those in attendance to stand in commitment to the Lord and dedicate their lives to sharing the last-day message of salvation.
Key pillars in Inter-America
Themed “Celebrating God’s Providence and Affirming our Values,” the event had as a main focus to reflect on “where we came from, where we are today, and where we are going,” said Pastor Balvin Braham, main organizer of the centennial celebration. “It’s important that we recognize the 10 fundamental pillars of Inter-America in the past 100 years,” he said. The key pillars include: prayer and dependance on the Lord, study of the Word, guidance of the Spirit of Prophecy, proclamation of the gospel, visionary administrative leadership, effective departmental leadership, dedicated support staff, devoted pastoral care, passionate laity involvement, and strong fiscal management.
Pastor Israel Leito, longest serving Inter-American Division president in the territory from 1994 to 2018, pointed to an earlier grand celebration that took place in the IAD Headquarters in Miami. “The last time we had senior administrator officers from the General Conference here together was when we inaugurated this office [in 2001],” he said. Pastor Leito spoke on the basic principles of church governance and the visionary administrative leadership throughout the years coupled with the evangelism spirit, the unity of the church among the different cultures and ethnicities, and God’s guidance to become self sustainable, has shaped the church in Inter-America thus far.
Tree planting across Inter-America
The celebration included a special tree-planting ceremony where Adventist world church and IAD administrators planted a tree in commemoration of God’s blessings and unveiled a memorial plaque in a small garden in front of the IAD headquarter office.“It is a great privilege to participate in this amazing planning of the tree which represents 100 years of God’s blessings upon the IAD,” said Pastor Wilson. “This tree represents life, growth, fruit, and it is symbolic of God’s intuition to continue to grow for the glory of God as it reaches every person in this vast territory.”
Inter-American Division’s 24 union leaderships also took part in the planting of a tree on their office properties.
Top administrators also officially launched a virtual museum which showcases images, stories, biographies, video reports and more in commemoration of Inter-America’s centennial history.
In addition, world division leaders sent special greetings during the centennial program.Centennial recognitions
Special plaques were awarded to church members 100 years old and older, and local churches and organizations established for 100 years or more across the territory, as well as commemorative plaques for the church in Panama and Cuba where the Inter-American Division was located previously from 1922-1941, and 1942-1945, respectively.
Inter-American leaders also highlighted the upcoming centennial celebrations and activities that will continue to commemorate the 100-year legacy of advancing the gospel throughout the territory.
Almeda Liedke, who was among several retirees who worked at the IAD office from 1967 to 2014, shared her thoughts and impressions when she worked as a professional assistant when the office was located in Coral Gables, Florida. She saw the likes of Pastors C. L. Powers, Bender L. Archbold, George W. Brown, and Israel Leito, former Inter-American presidents who each led the Division in change and extraordinary church growth at each period.No matter who the president was, no matter what changes were made, one thing remains the same and that is the vision and purpose of our division and that is the spreading of the gospel to every corner of Inter-America and the saving of souls,” Liedke said.
Continuing to fulfill the mission
Sharing the gospel truth to people in Inter-America for the kingdom is precisely what moved so many pioneers in the past and what motivates leaders, pastors, and laypeople to continue in the commission to fulfill that mission, said Pastor Henry.
“Let us continue to stand firm in the pillars of the IAD, preaching to the world, staying in the Bible, and working diligently so that our mission as a church may be fulfilled,” he said.To watch the entire Inter-American Division’s Centennial Reflection of May 11, 2022, visit:
To watch the entire Inter-American Division’s Centennial Reflection of May 11, 2022, visit:
HERE for English
HERE for Spanish
HERE for French
To view Inter-America’s recently launched virtual museum, go to
To view photos of Inter-America’s May 11th celebration, click HERE