IAD President Pastor Elie Henry (center) leads the Mid-Year Executive Committee Meetings during the third day of the business meetings next to fellow administrators Ivelisse Herrera (left) treasurer and Pastor Leonard Johnson (right) executive secretary, on May 3, 2023, in Miami, Florida, United States[Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

May 10, 2023 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

Top Seventh-day Adventist administrators and church leaders from across the Inter-American Division (IAD) concluded the first of two annual business meetings last week. During the meetings, the administrators and leaders committed to grow stronger in the mission of spreading the gospel throughout every region and community in the territory.

The three-days of meetings held earlier this month at the IAD Headquarters in Miami, Florida, United States, coined as the church’s Mid-Year Executive Committee Meetings, saw leaders reviewing and approving strategies focused on evangelism, education, and service for greater involvement among the church membership in joint evangelism efforts.

A dozen appointive members and rotating lay representatives of the three dozen stand during a segment of the business meetings on May, 3, 2023.  More than 175 church leaders took part in the meetings most in person and several online during the May 1-3, 2023 meetings.[Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

“We have come here to make a commitment to be ‘Stronger and Stronger in the Mission’ like we have been saying for months now,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the IAD. “We must refocus on the mission, remain steadfast in advancing it. That’s our only objective, to evangelize cities, communities, at all the levels of the church.”

The responsibility of keeping the momentum of the mission advancing rests on the shoulders of executive committee members and the thousands upon thousands of active church leaders and members who are committed to growing the Kingdom of God every day, every week, and every month, church administrators said.

Leaders from the West Venezuela Union listen in during the business meetings of May 3, 2023.[Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

“We must continue to be part of this great movement,” added Pastor Henry. “Praise the Lord for the great things He has done for His church. Rely on His Word and have the assurance that He is by our side, and we have nothing to fear.”

Executive committee members voted to reaffirm the financial growth parameters for the next five years that were agreed upon during the IAD Leadership Summit held in February, including for each union and its local fields to prepare a plan to ensure that all institutions and organizations achieve the working capital and liquidity as required by the operating policy of the Division, and reaffirm the focus on principles of stewardship to strengthen the spiritual life of each church member to ensure that congregations are growing strong financially sound. In addition, each union will reaffirm their baptismal projections, evaluate and implement strategic plans that align with the specific objectives and action plans set out by the various ministries within each territory’s context under the IAD’s I Will Go Mission Initiatives.

Pastor Melchor Ferreyra (center) presents several recent and upcoming evangelism initiatives during a special segment with fellow colleagues Dr. Franck Geneus (left) health ministries director, Abel Márquez (front right) communication director, and Isaías Espinoza, (second right) publishing ministries director[Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

IAD department and ministries directors presented upcoming initiatives and activities that align with the I Will Go mission initiatives, from increasing discipleship programs across churches and congregations in order to build healthy communities, to evangelism efforts throughout the Adventist education system.

Church leaders voted to appoint Luis Paredes as president of the East Venezuela Union Mission, as Jorge Atalido, who has been president of that union for several years, announced his retirement.  Paredes will leave his position as executive secretary of the union. Jaime Rojas was voted in as the new executive secretary. Rojas was serving as president of the South Bolivar Venezuela Mission.

“I thank the Lord for such a beautiful opportunity to minister to the church for nearly 40 years,” said Atalido as he also thanked the IAD administration and fellow colleagues and administrators. Church leaders took a moment to pray for Pastor Atalido and his wife Zoila in their transition into retirement.

IAD President Pastor Elie Henry (second from right) smiles as he speaks of Pastor Jorge Atalido, president of the East Venezuela Union and his wife Zoila, as he has served nearly 40 years of church service and will soon transition into retirement, as fellow administrators look on, May 3, 2023. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Also, leaders voted to appoint Silas Martinez as executive secretary of the South Central American Union Mission, a position that was vacated by Pastor Marvin Gómez, who was recently named president of a field in Nicaragua. The South Central American Union oversees the church in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Martinez, who has been serving as the union’s treasurer, will remain in the two positions.

Committee members voted to pass on a request to the General Conference Executive Committee to appoint a survey commission to study the readiness of reorganizing the South Central American Union into two unions — one as union mission for the local fields in Nicaragua and the other for the local fields in Costa Rica.

Pastor Leonard Johnson, executive secretary of the IAD, presents the request to the General Conference to study the reorganization of the South Central American Union into two unions one to serve the church in Nicaragua and the other to serve in Costa Rica. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

The Tobago Mission, which belongs to the Caribbean Union which oversees six conferences and four missions within its 25 countries and islands, is also requesting to be evaluated for an upgrade to conference status. Leaders voted to appoint a survey commission in keeping with the polity for conference status, said Pastor Leonard Johnson, executive secretary of the IAD.

The names of the 77 chaplains from throughout 11 unions and the IAD were voted to be submitted for endorsement by Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries. The historic number of chaplains recently completed four units of the Clinical Pastoral Education.

Leaders prayer during one of several prayer sessions during the May 1-3, 2023 business meetings. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Church leaders were briefed on the 150th anniversary of mission history that the Adventist church worldwide will be celebrating in 2024, explained Pastor Gerson Santos, associate secretary of the General Conference. “There will be a chance to focus the attention on cross cultural mission, reviving the concept of worldwide mission and sacrifice for mission as a way of life, involving not only pastors but every church member, young and old,” said Santos.  One special day of focus and mission activities will be held during Global Youth Day, on March 16, 2024, church leaders said.

Leaders prayed for upcoming plans and evangelistic efforts, for strength, and for the dedication of church membership in mission, especially in countries facing difficulties and economic challenges.  In addition to voting policy amendments and running dozens of specific initiatives, committee members were presented with spiritual messages to focus on the personal study of the Holy Scriptures, and constant prayer life. Dr. Armando Juárez of Montemorelos University delivered presentations on historical Adventism movements and systematic theology, while Dr. Luciano Gónzalez of the IAD Geoscience Research Institute spoke on seeking the God of the universe as church leaders chosen by God.

IAD President Pastor Elie Henry thanks administrators from the Jamaica Union for their support in the recent territory-wide Pathfinder camporee held in Trelawny, Jamaica, last. month. The administrators were each recognized with the IAD Golden Presidential Award on May 2, 2023.  [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Committee members were updated on a change of dates for the 2025 General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, July 3-12, 2025. The event has been scheduled as a 10-day session complete with an exhibit hall.

The following events and initiatives were also voted in:

  • Pastoral Baptism Day, May 27, 2023, celebration, online program from Belize
  • GAiN Americas, June 7-11, Columbia, Maryland
  • SeLD Conference, July 24-27, 2023, in person and online, Miami, Florida
  • Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Congress, Aug. 21-23, 2023, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Communication Summit, Nov. 7-8, 2023, Cancun, Mexico
  • IAD Ministerial Retreats in September 2024:
    • Cancun, Mexico, Sep. 2-5, 2024 for 5 unions in Mexico, Belize, Dutch and South Colombian Unions
    • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Sep. 9-12, for Atlantic Caribbean, Caribbean, Jamaica, Dominican, French Antilles, Haitian, and Puerto Rican Unions.
    • San Salvador, El Salvador – Sep. 16-19, for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and South Central American Unions
  • Spirit of Prophecy Symposium, Oct. 18-20, 2024, Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica
  • Massive distribution of the Great Controversy Book project will take place throughout the IAD during 2024

Group photo of the IAD Mid-Year Executive Committee in front of the Headquarters on May 2, 2023. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

The IAD’s next executive committee meetings will be held Oct. 27-31, 2023, in Miami, Florida, United States.

To learn more about Inter-American Division’s initiatives, events and activities, visit us at interamerica.org.

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